Agnello Participazio

Coat of arms of Angelo Participazio. Doge of Venice.

Agnello Participazio (Angelo Particiaco, Latin: Agnellus Particiacus) was the tenth (traditional) or eighth (historical) Doge of Venice from 811 to 827.


He was born to a rich merchant family in Heraclea and was one of the earliest settlers of the island of Rialto, which civitas Rivoalti became, under him, the civitas Venetiarum.

In 810, the reigning doges, Obelerio, Beato, and Valentino, called in the king of Italy, Pepin, to support their tottering power. It was Agnello who took up the defence of the city during the subsequent siege of Pepin. After Pepin fled and the doges were exiled, Agnello was elected to the dogeship. His Rialtine house on the Campiello della Cason became the first doge's palace in Venetian history and he soon began expanding it in stone. His reign began on a happy note. By the Pax Nicephori, Venetia was retained by the Byzantine Empire and renounced by Charlemagne, but its practical independence was affirmed. Agnello began the minting of the first Venetian coinage.

Agnello's reign is otherwise known for the birth of modern Venice: a city of canals and bridges, centred on the Rialto. Agnello turned his attention to land reclamation and refortification. He appointed a building commission of three men to oversee the work. Nicolò Ardisonio was in charge of fortifying the lidi against the sea. Lorenzo Alimpato dug canals and reinforced the islands, preparing new sites for construction. Finally, the construction of newer and better edifices was given to Pietro Tradonico, a close relative of Agnello. Torcello, Burano, Heraclea, and Rialto were all rebuilt. Bridges were built, even across the Brenta and the Grand Canal was born. Still, at this time, the few stone buildings were fortresses or churches.

Agnello was married to Dogaressa Elena.[1] Agnello's latter years were plagued by family quarrels. His elder son, Giustiniano, was away in Constantinople and so a younger son, Giovanni was appointed as co-doge. When Giustiniano returned, he flew into a fury. Agnello appointed his third son, Agnello, co-doge and began to oppose Giustiniano, even besieging him in San Severo. Eventually, the pro-Frankish Giovanni was forced into exile at Zadar. Agnello was succeeded by his eldest son Giustiniano.



  1. Staley, Edgcumbe: The dogaressas of Venice : The wives of the doges. London : T. W. Laurie
Political offices
Preceded by
Obelerio degli Antenori
Doge of Venice
Succeeded by
Giustiniano Participazio
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