The Marriage to the Sea is the annual ritual through which the “Maritime Republic” of Venice (Lane, 1973) represented its particular position in the Mediterranean Sea. For hundreds of years, until the end of the Republic as an independent state in 1797, the ritual would begin at the threshold of the summer of every year, precisely on the day of the Ascension of Christ. The Doge, the head of state, would leave the Ducal Palace in his golden vessel, the Bucintoro, to reach the place of the Two Fortresses where the confines of the Lagoon opens to the Adriatic Sea, accompanied by the most prominent political and religious authorities and a long procession of ships. There, he threw a golden ring into the water to sanction the unique relation of the City with the aquatic element, uttering the propitiating words in Latin: “Desponsamus te Mare, in signum veri perpetuique domini”, that is, “We marry you, o sea, as a sign of true and perpetual dominion.
For more specialized information, please download our Webzine SILKROADIA VOL.3 NO.1, and read "Venice’s Marriage to the Sea: Ritual, Representation, and Environmental Transformation" written by Pietro Daniel Omodeo is professor of philosophy of science and Heiner Krellig is a professor of art history, both at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.
Pietro Daniel Omodeo, Heiner Krellig