BOUNDARY NEGOTIATIONS AT NAUPLION 1480

 

The author of this letter to the Doge is Bartolomeo Minio, Venetian provveditor and captain of Nauplion, Greece, from 1479-1483. After the Venetian-Ottoman peace settlement of January 1478/79, it was necessary to re-establish the boundaries between Venetian and Ottoman possessions in the Peloponnesos. The text and translation from BCMV Codici Cicogna Ms 2653, Dispacci a senato ed altri di sier Bartolo Minio was done by Diana Gilliland Wright and Hohn Melville Jones, and is taken with some modifications from our forthcoming book The Greek Correspondence of Bartolomeo Minio: The Nauplion Dispacci, 1479-1483.

Photo: Aerial view of the Argolid. The territory discussed in this letter extends from the top of the bay in the center, to the end of the cape at the lower left. The plain of Iria is a left-pointing triangle in the center of the picture.


Letter XXII

[f. 19] Serenissime Princeps, etc.
A dì **** 14 del passato scripsi a Vostra Excellenza del zonzer de qui de la galia Cocha con la qual vene Synabei, protogero de la Grecia, emini deputado per el Signor Turcho a dechiarir et divider i confini **** dei luogi de la Vostra Sublimità, et con esso è venuto sier Zuan Dario, secretario de la Vostra Celsitudine, etc. Per questa notificho a quella a dì i 20 vene el bassà flamburario de la Morea qual era a le parte de la Calavrita et ha se redutto ad Argos, dove io andai con sier Zuan Dario, accompagnato da questi cittadini & molti stratioti bene in ordine. [TEXT CUT]

El dì seguente, sier Zuan Dario, el qual rimase al lozamento del bassà con Synabei, me mandò una poliza la qual li haveva dato Synabei, dicendo che 'l era contento che 'l fusse incluso a i confini nostri la chiesia di San Theodosio & dove che 'l haveva messo el confini in fin a la marina al Drapano & strava la via de andar a Iri & a i castelli preditti, per esser i confini conzonti da Napoli **** et Iri infin a i castelli, ne lassava un poco de via de passar per la marina & andar a i castelli. Havuta detta poliza, feci chiamar i citadini de questa terra, a i qual mostrai quella & consultado el fatto con loro, formassemo nui un’altra poliza a l’incontro al modo ne pareva se dovesse metter i confini, & per picola cossa non decessemo star in contesa con Turchi. La qual poliza per nui formada mandassemo a sier Zuan Dario che la monstrasse a Synabei & vedesse de assestar questa differentia [f. 21v] dei confini in fina Iri, con questo, che la differentia de Iri & Candia conzonta con Iri rimanisse per in descussione.

Sier Zuan Dario per lo ritorno del messo li mandai, me rescrisse haver mostrado dita poliza nostra a Synabei & al bassà, i qual respoxeno voler conzar questa cossa, et che loro **** voleva mandar uno dei caddi con altri soi, & nui da l'altra parte mandassemo chi ne pareva dei nostri, per andar sopra lo luocho & veder i confini che nui scrivessemo sopra la nostra poliza, et veder la differentia che era da una a l'altra & modificar et assestar quella. E cussì mandai 6 citadini i qual sono andati de compagnia de quelli del bassà sopra lo luocho et vista la differentia, forono contenti che i confini se metesse segondo nui rechiedevimo per la nostra poliza.

Unde da matina cavalcai et andai al lozamento del bassà, dove convenuti insieme con esso et Synabei **** con li caddi, concludessemo che i confini sia al modo che nui rechiedessemo. E cussì fessemo do scripture **** in Grecho, l’una de man del nostro cancellier, e l’altra de man del scrivan del bassà, de la division dei confini da la Torre Biancha da la marina dove principiassemo in fina a una valle chiamada Clissura a capo del confin del Drapano, a la qual scriptura fatta per el suo scrivan **** sottoscrisseno i tre caddi in nome del bassà, Synabei et loro **** e fo dada a nui. E l’altra, fatta per el nostro cancellier sottoscritta per mi, **** tolse Synabei. La differentia de Iri & Candia rimase per in descussione, havemo fatto grandissima instantia et temptado molto con Synabei che 'l volesse examinar i nostri testimoni sopra la probation de la proprietà de Iri e Candia & non volse per modo alcuno assentir, dicendo non haver commission dal suo Signor **** e però non se podeva impazar. Veramente ne prometeva che 'l faria sì fatta relation al Signor per modo che 'l sperava che questo de Iri et Candia insieme con i castelli rimagnerà nostri, et che in questo interim stiano al nostro possessio et per el bassà non se serà dato molestia alcuna. E cussì havemo concluso et dado expedition al fatto nostro.

Dinotando a la Vostra Excellenza che sopra queste differentie **** semo sta' giorni x continui ogni dì a cavallo da matina infin a sera, andando per la campagna [f. 22] & montagne con molte disputation, per modo che quantunque io fosse debole per esser levado da novo de la infirmità, tamen non ho schivado faticha alcuna. Infine ho posto ogni mio ingenio, studio et diligentia, per conservation del honor et raxon de la Vostra Sublimità, beneficio & commodità de questa terra, la qual de la discussìon de questi confini et castelli ha havuto el suo dovere, & tutti universalmente, cussì cittadini et popolari, come stratioti, rimase contenti et satisfatti, per modo che l’ha havuto terreni, pasculi, & acque a suffitentia, cussì per i terrieri, come per i stratioti et altri Albanexi, & precipue i stratioti haverà ogni comodità et largeza de semenar, et per pascolo dei suo cavalli & altri animali.

Ser Zuan Dario in questa cossa se ha portato degnamente, l’ingenio et sufficentia del qual ha multo zovato, per modo che 'l merita laude et comendation apresso la Vostra Excellenza el qual insieme con mi in tutte cosse è sta’ de una opinion et volontà. [TEXT CUT] .


Letter XXII (5 September 1480)

Most Serene Prince:
On the 14th of last month, I wrote to Your Excellency about the arrival here of the galley Cocha on which Sinan Bey came, the protogero of Greece, the emin assigned by the Lord Turk to decide and divide the boundaries and places of Your Lordship, and with him came Sier Zuan Dario, secretary of Your Excellency, etc. By this I inform you that on the 20th, the pasha arrived, the flamburar of the Morea, who was in the area of Kalavrita and has returned to Argos where I went with Sier Zuan Dario, accompanied by the citizens and many well-disciplined stratioti. [TEXT CUT]

The following day, Sier Zuan Dario, who remained at the lodging of the pasha with Sinan Bey, forwarded to me a proposal that Sinan Bey had made to him, saying that he was willing for the church of S. Theodosio to be included in our boundaries, and where he had put the boundaries as far as the shore at Drepanon and cut off the way to go to to Iria and the castles, because the neighbouring territories from Nauplion to Iria stretched as far as the castles, he was leaving a narrow passage to pass along the shore and go to the castles. After receiving this proposal I called together the citizens of the terra, and showed it to them, and discussed the matter with them. We formed a different proposal about the way in which the boundaries should be fixed, and decided that we should not quarrel with the Turks over a minor matter. We sent the proposal that we had formed to Sier Zuan Dario, so that he could show it to Sinan Bey, and see if he could settle the difference concerning the boundaries as far as Iria, on the understanding that the difference over Iria, and Candia joined with Iria, could remain as a subject for further discussion.

Sier Zuan Dario wrote to me by return of the messenger that I sent to him that he had showed our proposal to Sinan Bey and the pasha, who replied that they wanted to settle this matter, and that they wished to send one of the cadis, with some of their other people, and that we on the other hand should send anyone of our people who seemed suitable to us, to go over the place and look at the boundaries that we had described in our proposal, and see the difference between one and the other, and adjust and adapt it. And so I sent 6 citizens, who went over the place together with the people from the pasha, and when they had seen what the difference was, they were satisfied for the boundaries to be established as we were requesting in our proposal.

So in the morning I mounted and went to the pasha’s residence, where I had a meeting with him and Sinan Bey together with the cadis, and we concluded that the boundaries should be as we had requested. So we made two documents in Greek, one from the hand of our cancellier and the other from the hand of the pasha’s scrivan, about the division of the boundaries from the White Tower on the shore where we began, as far as a valley called Klissura at the head of the territory of Drepanon. The document drawn up by his scrivan was signed by the three cadis on behalf of the pasha, Sinan Bey, and themselves, and was given to us. The other, made by our cancellier, and signed by me, Sinan Bey took. The differences over Iria and Candia remain in discussion. We were most insistent, and tried hard to persuade Sinan Bey to examine our witnesses, to test the question of the ownership of Iria and Candia. He refused flatly, saying that he did not have a commission from his Lord, and for that reason he could not meddle in the matter. He did, however, promise that he would explain this to his Lord in such a way that he hoped that Iria and Candia, together with the castles, would remain ours, and that in the meantime they would remain in our possession, and would not be harassed by the pasha in any way. With this we finished our business and made our arrangements.


I inform Your Excellency that we spent ten days over these arguments, going continually on horseback every day from morning to evening over the countryside and the hills, with many disagreements, so that I was quite debilitated, as I had only recently risen after being sick, but I did not shirk any labour. In the end, I used all my ingenuity, zeal, and diligence to preserve the honour and rights of Your Lordship, for the benefit and advantage of this terra, which after discussion of the boundaries and castles has received everything that it should, and everyone universally, both the citizens and the common people, as well as the stratioti, remain content and satisfied, inasmuch as they have lands, pastures, and adequate water, and the same is true of the terrieri, like the stratioti and other Albanians. The stratioti in particular will have every convenience and enough room for sowing grain, and for pasturing their horses and other animals.


Sier Zuan Dario has borne himself worthily in this affair; his ingenuity and ability have been extremely useful, so he deserves to receive Your Excellency's praise and commendation. He was together with me in everything, and we shared the same belief and purpose. [TEXT CUT]

       

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