The poverty of the Patriarchate of Grado and the Byzantine–Venetian Treaty of 1082

The imperial chrysobull granted to the Venetian state in 1082 provided the Venetians with considerable economic advantages throughout the Byzantine Empire, and had a major impact on the political relationship of the two powers down to the Fourth

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   PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE This article was downloaded by: [Nicovich, John Mark]  On: 24 July 2009  Access details: Access Details: [subscription number 913404567]  Publisher Routledge  Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK Mediterranean Historical Review Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: The poverty of the Patriarchate of Grado and the Byzantine Venetian Treaty of1082 John Mark Nicovich aa  Department of History and Social Science, William Carey University, Hattiesburg, MS, USAOnline Publication Date: 01 June 2009 To cite this Article  Nicovich, John Mark(2009)'The poverty of the Patriarchate of Grado and the Byzantine-Venetian Treaty of1082',Mediterranean Historical Review,24:1,1 — 16 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/09518960903000736 URL: Full terms and conditions of use: article may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial orsystematic reproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan or sub-licensing, systematic supply ordistribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contentswill be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae and drug dosesshould be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss,actions, claims, proceedings, demand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directlyor indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.  The poverty of the Patriarchate of Grado and the Byzantine–VenetianTreaty of 1082 John Mark Nicovich*  Department of History and Social Science, William Carey University, Box 157, Hattiesburg, MS 39401, USA The imperial  chrysobull  granted to the Venetian state in 1082 provided the Venetianswith considerable economic advantages throughout the Byzantine Empire, and had amajor impact on the political relationship of the two powers down to the FourthCrusade. Yet the  chrysobull  also granted considerable monies to the metropolitan of Venice, the Patriarch of Grado. In the decades prior to 1082 Grado had suffered fromsystemic poverty, and various attempts by the Doge to solve this problem failed. Thegrant of large sums in gold in the  chrysobull  was aimed at solving this problem. Eventhis ultimately failed, and another proviso of the  chrysobull , the grant of a merchantquarter in Constantinople to Venice, eventually became a funding tool for Grado andother Venetian ecclesiastical institutions. Keywords:  Venice; Byzantium; Grado;  chrysobull ; patriarch; Gregory VII; Paschal II Much scholarly work has been done by historians of Venice and Byzantium concerningthe  chrysobull  of 1082, the treaty that established the basic economic and diplomaticrelationship of the Byzantine Empire with the Venetian state down to the Fourth Crusade(1204). 1 Venice had a history of close ties to Byzantium, first as a frontier province, andlater, as Byzantine power faded in the west, as a trading partner. In 992 Basil II hadreduced the taxes owed by Venetians to the imperial government and modified theirsupervision, yet this limited grant paled in comparison to the extensive concessions of 1082. Alexius I Komnenos’s desperate need for naval aid in 1082 allowed the Venetians torenegotiate the terms of their relationship from a position of strength. The resultingdocument vastly increased the power of Venetian merchants, allowing them access tovirtually every port in the Empire, establishing a Venetian quarter within the walls of Constantinople, and relieving Venetian merchants of all  kommerkion , or customs duties.It is the last of these, the exemption from  kommerkion  and all other customs impoststhroughout the Empire that has most concerned modern historians.As Silvano Borsari has noted, the  chrysobull  of 1082 accelerated the process of thedisintegration of imperial control of its economy and the Latin infiltration of the Empire.The unintended consequence of the treaty was to place Venetian merchants in a bettereconomic position, not only over other Italians, but also over native Greek merchants, whostill had to pay the  kommerkion . 2 Venetian merchants, due to their lower overall costs,could easily undercut Greek trade and shipping, especially between outlying Aegean portsand Constantinople. This  chrysobull  acted as an exemplar to other Italian maritime states.By the mid-twelfth century the Genoese and the Pisans would seek and gain their own less ISSN 0951-8967 print/ISSN 1743-940X online q 2009 Taylor & FrancisDOI: 10.1080/09518960903000736 *Email:  Mediterranean Historical Review Vol. 24, No. 1, June 2009, 1–16  D o w nl o ad ed  B y : [ Ni c o vi ch ,  J oh n  M a rk]  A t : 16 :23 24  J ul y 2009  extensive concessions from the Komnenoi emperors, further exacerbating the economicdrain on Greek merchants. The arrival of the Genoese and Pisans also brought Italianmaritime rivalries into the walls of Constantinople, leading to multiple incidents of violence between the respective communities in the 1160s and 1170s. It was just such anattack by the Venetians on the Genoese community, as well as a growing distance betweenByzantine and Venetian political interests, that led to the mass arrest of all Venetiansthroughout the Empire in March 1171. 3 Further anti-Latin sentiment among the Byzantinepopulace was tapped by Andronikos I during his usurpation of the imperial throne in April1182, leading to the massacre of Genoese, Pisans, and other Latins within Constantinople.The tense atmosphere thus created between Byzantine and Latins deeply influenced thesubsequent conquest of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade (1204).Not all the concessions within the  chrysobull  were economic, for it also devolved titleand monies on the Doge of Venice and various ecclesiastical institutions within thelagoons. The Doge received the title of   protosebastos, 4 and an attached allowance, while20  libre  of gold was to be distributed each year to the overall Venetian church as the Dogesaw fit. San Marco, the ducal chapel, received the annual tax, diverted from the imperialtreasury, of three  hyperpyra  levied upon each Amalfitan workshop or warehouse withinthe Empire. The Venetians also received church buildings in Constantinople andDyrrachium. The  chrysobull  reconfirmed the pre-existing Venetian possession of StAkindynos, but in addition granted the church a bakery with an annual revenue of 20 nomismata . 5 In Dyrrachium the church of San Andrea went to the Venetians, together withan imperial pension. 6 Of primary concern here is the grant of title and monies to themetropolitan of Venice, the Patriarch of Grado. The Patriarch received the title of  hypertimos , or ‘most revered’, with an allowance of 20  libre  of gold per annum. Scholarshave mentioned these terms of the  chrysobull  in detail, but have failed to elaborate on theirsignificance and implications. 7 These terms are considered an afterthought to the primaryeconomic concessions, a kind of sweetening for the overall negotiation. However, in thecontext of the poverty of the Patriarch of Grado, these terms take on a particular meaning.In the decades prior to 1082, the patriarchate suffered from endemic poverty, and it is ourthesis that this particular clause was negotiated and included in the  chrysobull  specificallyto assuage this poverty. The poor patriarch In July 1073 Pope Gregory VII addressed a letter to Michael VII Doukas, Emperor of Byzantium. Michael had recently sent ambassadors to Gregory, seeking aid against theEmpire’s numerous enemies, and offering discussions on the reunion of the churches inreturn. Gregory was eager to send his own representative to begin high-level discussion,and he proposed ‘our brother Domenico [Marango], Patriarch of Venice and one mostfaithful to the Roman Church and to your Empire’. 8 The so-called ‘Patriarch of Venice’here was actually the Patriarch of Grado, Domenico Marango, an ideal candidate for sucha legation. He was Metropolitan of Venice, a state with a long history of political, cultural,and economic ties to Byzantium, and would be well received by the imperial court. He wasalso ideologically acceptable to the papacy. Marango ( c. 1053– c. 1073) had been an ardentsupporter of the papal reform movement, travelling to numerous reform synods inGermany and Italy, acting as a papal legate to Benevento along with Humbert of Silva-Candida, and was a signatory to the Papal Election Decree of 1059, affixing hissubscription second after Pope Nicholas II himself. 9 Furthermore, Marango had actedpreviously as an intermediary with the Orthodox Church. During the Schism of 1054  J.M. Nicovich 2  D o w nl o ad ed  B y : [ Ni c o vi ch ,  J oh n  M a rk]  A t : 16 :23 24  J ul y 2009  Marango had written in support of papal primacy to Peter, Patriarch of Antioch. Marangohad received a stern rebuke from Peter and from Michael Keroularios, Patriarch of Constantinople, but this did not dissuade Gregory from sending Marango as an emissarytwo decades later. 10 No further mention of this mission appears in the historical record, for it probablynever took place. Marango disappears at this point, dying not long after Gregory VII’sletter, and was subsequently replaced as patriarch by Domenico Cerbano; yet Marango’sdeath does not seem to have been the primary factor preventing a legation to Byzantium.Rather, poverty was the cause. In December 1074, Pope Gregory wrote to DomenicoSilvio, Doge of Venice, and to the Venetian people. He began by reminding them that theyhad been blessed ‘by the honour of a patriarchate  . . .  the very prerogative of its name andduty is so restricted and rare that not more than four may be found in the whole world.’ Yetdespite such a considerable honour, the Venetian people had proven ungrateful: Although this is so, amongst you what is so great a glory and the ornament of so exalted a highpriesthood have by consequence of a dearth of temporal possessions and the diminution of itspower become so contemptible and have fallen so far from the rightful standing of its honour,that so great a dearth of possessions would appear not to beseem the see of a simple bishopricor to be able to provide for its necessities. As Gregory went on to explain, this poverty was not a new problem, but was seeminglyendemic to the office: For we recall that Dominico [Marango] of blessed memory, the predecessor of him who nowis [Domenico Cerbano] had wished to abandon the place on the account of extremedestitution. And his successor declares himself to be constrained by a like necessity. 11 It would seem that Marango had complained of Grado’s poverty not long before his death,and that his successor suffered from the same problem. Thus the papal legation Gregory VIIproposed to Michael VII probably never took place owing to Grado’s systemic poverty, andit was probably the failure of the legation that prompted Gregory’s letter to Venice.Poverty was an endemic condition for the Venetian church, a by-product of thegeography of the lagoons. 12 The lagoon dwellers were forced to turn to other means of production suitable to an aquatic environment where dry land was at a premium, includingsalt-works, fisheries, and vineyards. The bishoprics, monasteries and parishes of thelagoons faced similar constraints, and thus lived off similar sources of income, ones oftendonated to them by pious laymen within the lagoons. One of the more prominentinstitutions, the Benedictine convent of San Zaccaria, possessed considerable property onthe mainland, granted either by localnobles, prominent landowners, or in one notable case,by Emperor Conrad II. 13 Yet San Zaccaria was an exception rather than the rule.Typically, a member of the Doge’s household, a daughter or sister, was the abbess, andnumerous daughters of prominent Venetian families took their vows there. 14 It comes asno surprise that the mainland nobility would patronize San Zaccaria, if only for politicalreasons. There is no evidence that other institutions within the lagoons possessed any suchproperties on the mainland, and they had little property within the lagoons.Grado seems to have possessed even less than its suffragans. Again, geography played amajor role, exacerbating the situation. Grado was surprisingly remote from the political andeconomic centre of the lagoons, and located on a small island situated at the easternmostedge. In fact Grado was far closer to the rival Patriarchate of Aquileia than it was to theRialto. 15 Ontheir small islandthe patriarchhad little roomfor agriculture, and yet there maynot have been enough residents to work what land they did hold. 16 Unlike otherecclesiastical institutions in the lagoons, they enjoyed few alternative sources of income.  Mediterranean Historical Review  3  D o w nl o ad ed  B y : [ Ni c o vi ch ,  J oh n  M a rk]  A t : 16 :23 24  J ul y 2009  Despite their own prominence, they could not expect donations from the mainlandnobility. The mainland nobles were partisans of Aquileia, and in their eyes Grado was asuffragan bishop arrogating the patriarchal title. The situation was further exacerbated bythe rise of the Reform papacy and its alliance with Grado. Domenico Marango andDomenico Cerbano, both partisans of reform, could expect no backing from the imperialnobility of the mainland, who were largely imperial supporters. More surprising is the lack of donations from within the lagoons. During the first three quarters of the eleventhcentury, only two pious donations to the Patriarchate of Grado are recorded. The family of the late Doge Tribuno Memo made a donation in May 1012, and a chaplain of San Marcodid the same in February 1058, in both cases of salt works. 17 Even taking into account thatmany documents related to Grado have not survived, the lack of pious donations fromthose under Grado’s jurisdiction is striking.While noting the Pontiff’s letter to the Venetians, Gregory VII’s most recent biographerH.E.J. Cowdrey cites ‘tensions between the city and the patriarchate’ as the reason for theirlack of support. 18 To what tensions Cowdrey refers is not clear, and there is no evidence of any political or ideological disconnect between the patriarchate and the Venetiangovernment, and subsequent events would demonstrate that the Doge and his councillorswere quite active in assuaging Grado’s poverty. 19 As far as the Venetian populace wasconcerned, again there is no evidence of any specific animus against Grado. However, asnoted Grado was remote, sitting well apart from the Rialto, Torcello, Chioggia, and most of the other population centres of the lagoon. This may simply have been an issue of distance.Venetian citizens had bishops, parishes, and monasteries immediately within their owncommunities to which they could donate their property. Pious donations were motivated bythe immediate concern for one’s soul and those of one’s kin, and it is only natural thatindividuals and families sought out familiar institutions with which they had generationalconnections to patronize with donations. Grado had no local population from which theycould expect such pious donations. As a result of their foundation in such a remote corner of an already poor lagoon, the patriarchs were left to struggle for a livelihood.The Doge knew of Grado’s plight, and by the time Gregory’s letter to Venice hadarrived, the Venetian government had already acted to alleviate the poverty of Grado. 20 Doge Domenico Silvio convened a meeting of the prelates of the lagoon in the ducalpalace in September 1074. Present before Silvio were the bishops of Caorle, Castello,Cittanova, Jesolo, Malamacco, and Torcello, along with the abbots of San Ilario,San Giorgio Maggiore, Santa Trinita` di Brondolo, and San Felice di Ammiana, four judgesof the ducal court, and 27 other leading citizens of the city. Clearly it was an occasion of great importance to the Venetian state and to the church: We, Domenico Silvio, by the grace of God, Doge of Venice and of Dalmatia, at one with thebishops, abbots, judges, and the greater part of our faithful citizens, among others who pertainto the advancement of our country, gather to deliberate concerning our Patriarch of Grado,who to all of Venice is the head of all our churches. 21 The document does not deal with the actual deliberations of this gathering, nor does itmention the poverty of Grado directly; yet it immediately turns to a list of lands, goods,monies,andrightsthatvariousconstituentsagreedtogiveannuallytoGrado,beginningwiththe Doge himself, and proceeding through the bishops and abbots:‘Allof this the mentionedbishops and abbots have given to pay, on the kalends of September, our patriarch for everyyear.’ 22 The list of property, goods-in-kind, and specie given over is as follows:1. The Doge: Silvio agreed to give over lands at Villa, near to Cittanova, as well asdevolving the annual concession of the Caprensi of Istria, 100 amphorae of wine.  J.M. Nicovich 4  D o w nl o ad ed  B y : [ Ni c o vi ch ,  J oh n  M a rk]  A t : 16 :23 24  J ul y 2009
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