An Introduction To The Venetian Ducat

2015-12-09 Wed

A ducat is a trade coin, usually made of gold or silver, which was used in Europe from later medieval centuries till as recently as the late 20th Century CE. One of the most popular of ducats was the Gold Ducat of Venice. The obverse depicted the Doge of Venice kneeling before St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice. St. Mark is seen holding a gospel and presenting a gonfalon to the doge. The legend on the left reads ‘S M Venet’ (St. Mark of Venice) while the legend on the right reads ‘DVX’ which identifies the kneeling doge with his title. The reverse of the ducat depicts Christ standing in a field of stars enclosed in an elliptical frame. The legend reads, ‘Sit tibi, Christe, datus, quem tu regis iste ducatus’ which translates to ‘O Christ, let this duchy, which you rule, be dedicated to you’. The coin weighs 3.50 grams and measures 21 mm in diameter. Numerous contemporary imitations of this ducat have been found, most of them in the Levant where Venice spent more money than it received.