Denomination: AR Grosso Date: 1289-1310 CE
Description: Obverse: PEGRADONICO D / V / X SMVENETI; Nimbate St. Mark, to right, presents royal standard to robed and bearded Doge.
Reverse: Christ with a granulated nimbus encircling his head in robe (hiton) and mantle (himation) is seated on a throne. Holds on his left knee the Gospels ornamented with five precious stones. Initials “IC-XC” (Greek abbreviation for Jesus Christ) written at the height of his head.
History: This coin was minted by Francesco Dandolo Doge of Venice between 1329 to 1339, who was one of the most successful Venetian diplomats. He acted as Ambassador to the Popes Pope Clement V and Pope John XXII in Avignon, which at the time was the host of the papal residence. Bold and at times confrontational, he was nicknamed Cane (dog) after an incident where he presented himself to the pope wearing a chain around his neck to protest the excommunication of Venice.
During his reign Venice had many skirmishes with the Turks who would rival Venice for domination of the eastern Mediterranean over the next several centuries. In addition to these conflicts, Venice also engaged in violent confrontations with the Lord of Verona Mastino II della Scala who continued the territorial politics of his uncle Cangrande I della Scala with the same aggressiveness. The Venetian-occupied cities of Feltre, Belluno und Vicenza were threatened by the Veronese but Venice did not react until the Veronese began to control the flow of river trade and tried to set up a trading base in Chioggia. An alliance was formed between the cities of Venice, Florence, Perugia, Siena, and Bologna in order to counter the threat from Verona.
In contrast to the usual practice of that time, Venice did not hire an army of mercenaries but instead conscripted its citizens between the ages of 20 and 60 for military service. With this method Venice was able to field an army of 40,000. Using this massive army, Venice was able to defeat Mastino of Verona and received guarantees of free trade for the areas in which the battles took place and rights to the cities of Mestre and Treviso.