FALIERO (or [[Falter), Marino]] (1279-1355), doge of Venice, belonged to one of the oldest and most illustrious Venetian families and had served the republic with distinction in various capacities. In 1346 he commanded the Venetian land forces at the siege of Zara, where he was attacked by the Hungarians under King Louis the Great and totally defeated them; this victory led to the surrender of the city. In September 1354, while absent on a mission to Pope Innocent IV. at Avignon, Faliero was elected doge, an honour which apparently he had not sought. His reign began, as it was to end, in disaster, for very soon after his election the Venetian fleet was completely destroyed by the Genoese off the island of Sapienza, while plague and a declining commerce aggravated the situation. Although a capable commander and a good statesman, Faliero possessed a violent temper, and after his election developed great ambition. The constitutional restrictions of the ducal power, which had been further curtailed just before his election, and the insolence of the nobility aroused in him a desire to free himself from all control, and the discontent of the arsenal hands at their treatment by the nobles offered him his opportunity. In concert with a sea-captain named Bertuccio Ixarella (who had received a blow from the noble Giovanni Dandolo), Filippo Calendario, a stonemason, and others, a plot was laid to murder the chief patricians on the 15th of April and proclaim Faliero prince of Venice. But there was much ferment in the city and disorders broke out before the appointed time; some of the conspirators having made revelations, the Council of Ten proceeded to arrest the ringleaders and to place armed guards all over the town. Several of the conspirators were condemned to death and others to various terms of imprisonment. The doge's complicity having been discovered, he was himself arrested; at the trial he confessed everything and was condemned and executed on the 17th of April 1355.
The story of the insult written by Michele Steno on the doge's chair is a legend of which no record is found in any contemporary authority. The motives of Faliero are not altogether clear, as his past record, even in the judgment of the poet Petrarch, showed him as a wise, clear-headed man of no unusual ambition. But possibly the attitude of the aristocracy and the example offered by the tyrants of neighbouring cities may have induced him to attempt a similar policy. The only result of the plot was to consolidate the power of the Council of Ten.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. - An account of Marino Faliero's reign is given in S. Romanin's Storia documentata di Venezia, lib. ix. cap. ii. (Venice, 1855); M. Sanudo, Le Vite dei Dogi in new edition of Muratori fasc., 3, 4, 5 (Citta di Castello, 1900). For special works see V. Lazzerini's "Genealogia d. M. Faliero" in the Archivio Veneto of 1892; "M. Faliero avanti ii Dogado," ibid. (1893), and his exhaustive study "M. Faliero, la Congiura," ibid. (1897). The most recent essay on the subject is contained in Horatio Brown's Studies in Venetian History (London, 1907), wherein all the authorities are set forth. (L. V.*)
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