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DEMOCRACY AT TIME OF SERENISSIMA IN VENICE

Type of tool: 
Activity
Duration: 
120+ min
Topics addressed: 
Democracy
EuroMed
Religion

A tool to experiment the meaning of Democracy, by allowing the participants to choose their own structure and their own parliament to build their own Political Systems including a reflection on Democracy.

Aim: 

The course was aimed at analyzing the scenery of Democracy within the EuroMed context and at promoting a better understanding of the roots of democratic processes through the history and their links with the implementation of Euro-Mediterranean projects.

Methodology: 

The venue choose for ruling the TC about “Democracy” has been Venice... Why?
The TC has as main aim to explore the meaning and understanding of Democracy among the participants within Euromed. Venue is very important in residence training, because it is the frame in which during 6 or 7 days the activities will take place. The surroundings are the condition to create the learning setting needed for work-ing not only at the cognitive level, but also at emotional one. The right setting is the base in Non Formal Learning for allowing participants’ learning. Venice had tested a peculiar political system during the time of Serenissima. The political organization of Serenissima, based on certain form of participation of a large part of population and based on the voting system, was a pertinent example to be explored and discussed. The model of Serenissima seemed the right one for discussing about the Democracy’s definition, the perceptions of participants regarding their own experiences and understanding.

Step by step process: 

THE ROLE PLAY IN PALAZZO DUCALE:
General rules:
The goal of the players in the role play is to elect a new Doge at the end of the game in the senate (if the senate still holds the power then).
However each player also follows individual goals.
Most of the players have a loyalty card. A loyalty card presents symbolically the vote that each player holds in the game. Each card is marked with the name of the player’s character. The assassins have two cards each but only one of them may be used in a vote. The Doge has one card that counts two voices. The Archbishop has one card that counts two voices. The Jews do not have a card at the start of the game but can gain one later in the game by popular vote. Players can loose their cards when the Council of Ten decides so.
A vote is made by putting the cards in a yes or no ballot box. Whichever holds more cards wins the vote. In case of both boxes holding the same amount of cards, the decision means that no change will be made to the situation prior to the vote.
In general the card holder may give his card to whomever he or she wants and receives it back after a vote if she asks for it. The person who receives the card may use this vote however he/she wishes and is not necessarily bound to honor prior agreements.
Players may decide to add more rules or even change the way of voting by adding more complex aspects then just yes or no. However they will have to set up the system to do so and Game Masters will not interfere in this process.
Votes in general are possible whenever the players wish for. However in the beginning of the game not every player has the right to suggest a vote. This may change by public decision during the game. In the beginning only the heads of the houses have the right to suggest a vote. The Doge is never able to suggest a vote but needs a head of a house to suggest for him. The Bishop is never able to suggest a vote but can do so by proxy.
MAIN ROLES:
The Doge: Goal: to survive the game and to extend his power so his family has absolute power in Venice.
The Church: Goal (one of them aligned to da Ponte): to extend the church’s power, have religion take a greater role in politics, have Jews removed from political offices. One of them is the bishop who has the power to reject decisions taken by the Doge, if at least 2/3 of the family heads are loyal to him.
Da Ponte: Goals of the church plus placing the family member as archbishop of Venice. Alternatively: winning the doges office
The Doge Family – Agadi – Goal: keeping the power and extending it in the way that the da Ponte family does not play a major role in politics anymore.
Royalist/Secular Family – Nadal - Goal: Placing at least two people in the council ducale and one in the council of ten. Preventing the da Ponte family from taking the Doges post
Molin Family - Goal: Reducing the executive power of the Doge to a minimum
Di Marco Family -Goal:Reducing the power of the bishop to a minimum (no decision making powers nor the power to reject the duce’s decisions).
Jewish Community of Venice -Goal: Extending their power/citizen’s rights (having at least one member in the Doge’s council, receiving loyalty cards, which they do not have at the start of the game). Preventing the da Ponte to take the duce’s throne.
Assassin I –Can be hired by whoever wants to. Goal is to collect as many loyalty cards as possible till the end of the game to escape punishment. His role is not disclosed to public unless he wishes to do so.
Assassin II- can be hired by whoever wants to, but has the stable mission to eliminate the doge (Mission is given to him at the night prior to the game by a Byzantine agent game master). The doge can only be murdered while being alone. Or if the people surrounding the doge have pledged loyalty to the party of the murderer (done by holding the same loyalty card). Sub-goal is to collect as many loyalty cards as possible to avoid punishment if caught. His role is not disclosed to the public unless he wishes to do so.

Materials and resources: 

* Audiovisual equipment: laptop/PC + proyector + speakers + screen/big wall for projecting.
* Coloured paper
* Printed out rules and role sheets for everyone
* Tape
* Markers
* 2 ballot boxes
* Costumes are a plus, digital camera too.

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