Marino Faliero

The forty-ninth doge or chief magistrate of the republic of Venice, elected 1354. A patrician named Michel Steno, having behaved indecently to some of the women assembled at the great civic banquet given by the doge, was kicked off the solajo by order of the Duke. In revenge he wrote upon the duke's chair a scurrilous libel against the dogaressa. The insult was referred to the Forty, and the council condemned the young patrician to a month's imprisonment. The doge, furious at this inadequate punishment, joined a conspiracy to overthrow the republic, under the hope and promise of being made a king. He was betrayed by Bertram, one of the conspirators, and was beheaded on the “Giant's Staircase,” the place where the doges were wont to take the oath of fidelity to the republic. (Byron Marino Faliero.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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