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Mint Period: 1473-1474
Mint Place: Chios (Greece)
Doge: Nicolo Marcello (1743-1474 AD)
Denomination: Zecchino (Venetian Ducat)
References: Friedberg 1236 var., Montenegro 175 var. CNI 21 var. (here a contemporary immitation, possibly a Genoese issue!)
Condition: Crudely struck
Material: Pure Gold!
Obverse: St. Mark standing right, presenting cross topped banner (with flag!) to kneeling Doge.
Legend: NICOL MARCaLL - S M VENETI
Reverse: Christ standing facing, raising hand in benediction and holding book of Gospels.
Comment: Halo of light (mandorla) with 16 five-spiked stars around!
Legend: SIT . T . XPE . DAT . Q . TV Ã¢â‚¬â€œ REGIS . ISTE . DVCA
Through the Treaty of Nymphaeum the authority of Chios was ceded to the Republic of Genoa (1261). At this time the island was frequently attacked by pirates and by 1302Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1303 was a target for the renewed Turkish fleets. To prevent Turkish expansion, the island was reconquered and kept as a renewable concession, at the behest of the Byzantine emperor Andronicus II, by the Genovese Benedetto I Zaccaria (1304), then admiral to Philip of France. Zaccaria installed himself as ruler of the island, in the short-lived Lordship of Chios. His rule was benign and effective rule remained in the hands of the local Greek landowners. Beneto Zacharia was followed by his nephew (Benedetto II) and then son (Martino). They attempted to turn the island towards the Latin and Papal powers, and away from the predominant Byzantine influence. The locals, still loyal to the Byzantine Empire, responded to a letter from the emperor and, despite a standing army of a thousand infantrymen, a hundred cavalrymen and two galleys, expelled the Zacharia family from the island (1329) and dissolved the fiefdom.
Local rule was brief. In 1346, a Chartered company or Maona (the "Maona di Chio e di Focea") was set up in Genoa to reconquer and exploit Chios and the neighbouring town of Phocaea in Asia Minor. Although the islanders firmly rejected an initial offer of protection, the island was invaded by a Genoese Fleet, led by Simone Vignoso, and the castle besieged. Again rule was transferred peacefully, as on 12 September the castle was surrendered and a treaty signed with no loss of privileges to the local landowners as long as the new authority was accepted.
The Genoese, being interested in profit rather than conquest, controlled the trade-posts and warehouses, in particular the trade of mastic, alum, salt and pitch. Other trades such as grain, wine oil and cloth and most professions were run jointly with the locals. After a failed uprising in 1347, and being heavily outnumbered (less than 10% of the population in 1395), the Latins maintained light control over the local population, remaining largely in the town and allowing full religious freedom. In this way the island remained under Genoese control for two centuries.
By the early 15th century, Asia Minor and the surrounding islands had fallen under Ottoman rule, however the Genoese families managed to maintain control over the island through the payment of a tribute to the Sultan. By the 16th century, as Genoese power waned, trade with Genoa had decreased and the local rulers become assimilated into the local population.
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NicolÃƒÂ² Marcello (c. 1399 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ December 1, 1474) was the 69th Doge of Venice, elected in 1473. He held office for a short period, from August 13, 1473 to December 1, 1474. Said to have been inspired by a previous painting dating from the 15th century, Titian painted Nicolo Marcello's portrait long after his death.
Marcello was a trader with the Orient before he undertook various important public positions in the Republic of Venice such as provost of the Council of Ten, consigliere, and procurator. Marcello married twice: first with Bianca Barbarigo and later with Contarina Contarni, with whom he had a daughter.
In the 1473 election for doge, Marcello prevailed against the future doges Pietro Mocenigo and Andrea Vendramin. During his brief reign devoted himself to reorganizing the state finances of Venice. He introduced new silver coins that were called Marcello. In his will Marcello bequeathed most of his wealth to charitable ventures.
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