Using dogesr to find out about the doges families

JJ Merelo



Only men belonging to one of the Venetian noble families could actually become doge after the Serrata; however, even if the number of noble families was initially small, it was eventually expanded to include several hundred noble families (Lane 2019). Not all of them, however, were able to include one of their own in the list of doges; on the other hand, the same serrata brought about informal mechanisms that guaranteed a fast turnover in the job of doge, so that many families would get the chance (Merelo 2023)

Using data from dogesr (Merelo-Guervós 2022), we will, in this vignette, have a look at these families, who they were, and how many of them were there.

Set up

We load the dataset needed, called doge.families.

# library("dogesr") # If you have already installed this package
devtools::load_all(".") # Comment this, uncomment above if you have installed this package

This will import the data from the dogesr package into the doge.families tibble.

Ranking families

Here’s the ranking of the families with the highest number of doges; the Contarinis and Morosinis, right on top.

knitr::kable(head(doge.families[order(-doge.families$n),],n=10),row.names=F,col.names=c("Doge family","Number of doges"))
Doge family Number of doges
Contarini 8
Mocenigo 8
Participazio 7
Candiano 6
Dandolo 5
Gradenigo 5
Corner 4
Donato 4
Faliero 4
Loredan 4

Which types of families are these? We can use data from the rest of the packages to find out:

doge.families$type <- unname(family.types[doge.families$Family.doge])
knitr::kable(head(doge.families[order(-doge.families$n),],n=20) %>% select(1,3),row.names=F,col.names=c("Doge family","Family type"))
Doge family Family type
Contarini Apostoliche
Mocenigo Ducali
Participazio Estinte
Candiano Estinte
Dandolo Apostoliche
Gradenigo Apostoliche
Corner Evangeliche
Donato Ducali
Faliero Apostoliche
Loredan Ducali
Morosini Apostoliche
Tiepolo Apostoliche
Grimani Ducali
Michiel Apostoliche
Orseolo Estinte
Priuli Ducali
Venier Ducali
Barbarigo Ducali
Foscari Ducali
Galbaio Estinte


Having a list of doges’ family names is convenient and allows you to create visualizations and perform analysis easily, combining it with other datasets.


Lane, Frederic C. 2019. “The Enlargement of the Great Council of Venice.” In Florilegium Historiale, 236–74. University of Toronto Press.
Merelo, Juan J. 2023. “It’s a Doge’s Life: Examining Term Limits in Venetian Doges’ Life Tenure.” Histories 3 (1): 21–31.
Merelo-Guervós, J. J. 2022. “What Is a Good Doge? Analyzing the Patrician Social Network of the Republic of Venice.” arXiv.