GOLD DUCAT / ZECCHINO DOGE DOMENICO CONTARINI - VENICE

RU03

FRASCATIUS ANCIENTS

A BEAUTIFUL GOLD DUCAT / ZECCHINO OF DOMENICO II CONTARINI, DOGE OF VENICE ITALY FROM 1659 - 1674 AD.

A COIN OF VENICE FROM THE HEIGHT OF ITS WORLD POWER

SHARP VENETIAN GOLD COIN THAT HAS BEEN HOLED AND PLUGGED

THE SIZE IS 22.2 MM AND 3.47 GRAMS.

OBVERSE – St. Mark standing right, lowering head to and receiving long cross from Doge kneeling left

REVERSE – SIT • T • XPE • DAT • Q • TV REGIS • ISTE DVCA ( "Let it be given for you, Christ, that dukedom which you rule" ) Christ standing facing, holding Gospels and raising hand in benediction, surrounded by mandorla containing stars

Contarini's reign as Doge lasted for sixteen years, and during that time he was able to bring a measure of political stability to Venice after a period which had seen multiple Doges in a short period of time.

In Contarini's first decade as Doge, the war with the Ottoman Empire grew more intense. The Siege of Candia had been ongoing from 1648, but many Venetians feared that if Candia was lost, this would mean the end of Venetian hegemony over the Mediterranean Sea and the beginning of Ottoman hegemony. The Senate of Venice therefore vowed that Candia would never be taken. Thus, the Venetian treasury was depleted, merchant families were ruined, thousands of Venetian men were

In the end, however, Venice was no match for the Ottoman Empire. On September 6, 1669, the provveditore of Candia, Francesco Morosini (appointed by Contarini in 1661, with his appointment renewed in 1667) was forced to sign terms of surrender. Morosini faced charges of cowardice on his return to Venice, but, after a brief trial, he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

In all, the Cretan War cost Venice some 134 million ducats and some 30,000 lives. In return, it had cost the Ottomans over 80,000 casualties and millions of ducats, all for a campaign that the Ottomans had thought would last only a few months.

Little else of note happened during Contarini's reign. After many years of war, Venice attempted to re-establish merchant routes and to balance its budget.Contarini spent the last year and a half of his life bedridden, and finally died on January 26, 1675, at the age of 90. The ducat is a gold coin that was used as a trade currency throughout Europe. It is made of .986 gold.

The ducat was introduced by the Republic of Venice in 1284 under the doge Giovanni Dandolo (1280-1289). The Venetian ducat, later called the zecchino, featured the Doge kneeling before St. Mark on the obverse and Jesus on the reverse. During the Middle Ages the ducat gained much popularity, as it was easy to mint, and packed quite a value in one relatively small coin. Several cities and small states in Europe – mostly Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages – issued multiple, single and fractional ducats.

Initially called ducat, it was called the zecchino after the name of the Venetian mint, the "zecca", since 1543 when Venice began minting a silver coin also called a ducat. Ducats eventually became a standard gold coin throughout Europe, especially after it was officially imperially sanctioned in 1566.

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