The doge assumed the title of duke of Dalmatia, and a great step was taken towards the supremacy of Venice in the Adriatic, which was essential to the free development of her commerce and also enabled her to reap the pecuniary advantages to be derived from the Crusades.
The Doge Domenico Selvo began the decoration of the church in 1071, though it is uncertain whether any of his work can be now identified.
The several steps whereby the members of the grand council succeeded in eliminating the people from a share in the government, and reducing the doge to the position of their ornamental representative, cannot here be described.
The first step towards curtailing the power of the doge was taken in 1032, when the family of the Orseoli was finally expelled from Venice and the doge Domenico Flabianico was called to the throne.
After two weeks he left, having received the blessing of Pope Adrian VI., and proceeded by Padua to Venice, where he begged his bread and slept in the Piazza di San Marco until a rich Spaniard gave him shelter and obtained an order from the doge for a passage in a pilgrim ship bound for Cyprus, whence he could get to Jaffa.
The block of buildings in the interior, connecting the Porta della Carta to the Rio wing, was added about 1462 by the doge Cristoforo Moro.
The doge Dandolo now saw an opportunity to benefit Venice.
During the earlier days of the republic the doge had been a prince elected by the people, and answerable only to the popular assemblies.
The first doge elected in Rialto was Angelo Particiaco, a Heraclean noble, with a strong bias towards Byzantium, and his reign was signalized by the building of the first church of San Marco, and by the translation of the saint's body from Alexandria, as though to affirm and to symbolize the creation of united Venice.
The grey column is surmounted by a fine bronze lion of Byzantine style, cast in Venice for Doge Ziani about 1178 (this was carried off to Paris by Napoleon in 1797, and sent back in pieces in 1816; but in 1893 it was put together again); and in 1329 a marble statue of St Theodore, standing upon a crocodile, was placed on the other column.