doge(redirected from dogeship)
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the head of the republic of Venice from the late seventh through the 18th centuries and of the republic of Genoa from the 14th through the 18th centuries. In Venice the doge was elected for a life term by the patriciate from among its own ranks through a system of indirect votes, and initially he had great power. After the attempts by some doges to transform their rule into a hereditary seigneury, the Venetian oligarchy gradually (12th-14th centuries) reduced the role of the doge to that of a figurehead. In Genoa the position of lifelong doge was introduced in 1339 but was limited to a term of two years in 1528.