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The German Empire and the Papacy (843-1122); The Moors and Christians in Spain; the Byzantine Empire; the Rize of the Italian Re page 4

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When the 8th century came, territory on the mainland had been acquired, and the republic, steadily supporting the Eastern emperor, Leo the Isaurian, against the Pope, rose in political importance, while her commerce yearly grew in value. Early in the 9th century the seat of government was established on the island called Rialto, as safer and more central than that at the outlying town of Malamocco. The islets were connected by bridges, and the place assumed something of the appearance of the modern Venice when a cathedral of St. Mark arose, the special dedication being due to a legend that the evangelist, on a missionary journey, had been driven by a storm into the lagunes, where he now became patron of the town. During a long period of comparative peace Istria was annexed; commercial traffic was extended to the farthest shores of the Black Sea, and Venice became a leading maritime power in the Levant. After successive and very destructive conflagrations among the wooden buildings, marble from the Dalmatian and Italian quarries was brought into play, and the splendid solid palaces of the city of the lagunes began to rise. In the 10th century there was much trouble through pestilence and civil war, during which the first St. Mark's was burnt to the ground, the restored edifice being finished in 1071. After much intestine strife and popular turbulence, a glorious time for Venice came with the rule of Doge Orseolo II. (991-1008), who restored order with a strong hand; promoted trade by treaties, including one with the Saracens; conquered Dalmatia; and increased the commercial and naval importance of the state which was assuming the highest position among importing and distributing communities. Towards the end of the 11th century there was fierce fighting, with alternations of success, in the Adriatic, off the coast of Dalmatia, with the Normans of Apulia, under Robert Guiscard, Venice being the ally of Alexius Comnenus, emperor at Constantinople. By this time Venice had attained a commanding position in the world of commerce, not only through her extensive sea-traffic, but in a brisk trade on the Italian mainland, largely carried on by caravans, and in letting out ships and boats to other peoples. The navigators were famed for their enterprise and skill. In the city, the people displayed a keen love of pleasure and pageant, which was gratified by religious and secular festivals, and by regattas and other aquatic sports.

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