The Doge was elected by a byzantine sequence of committees, and was considered the shrewdest elder in the city. This system of leadership, designed to keep power away from the richest families, held for over a thousand years.
The idea of a daybed probably refers to the magnificently luxurious state barge, the bucentaur, on which the Doge travelled in great style, possibly with a daybed to recline on. Four bucentaurs were built, each more splendid than the last, between 1311 and 1729. The last was a floating palace of gold leaf and red velvet, 35 metres long, with places for 168 oarsmen. When Napoleon took Venice in 1798, he ordered the vessel destroyed.