Negotiating Nauplion at Constantinople, 1484

31 May 1484. Constantinople.

Most Serene Prince and Excellent Lord:

By the enclosed to you [a copy of which] I sent by a ship by way of Modon, Your Excellency will learn what has happened to date. Then another ship from Moncastro arrived which confirmed this information about the movement of the people in those parts, where they have surprised the lords who, not being able to defend their coastal areas against so much artillery, force, and attack, have turned their attention to being as strong as they can inland and at the river crossing,and they have hoped that the Tatars will not turn against them since they are still talking and making vague promises, but I strongly doubt they will accept the risk because they are Muslim and also because it is the very natural inclination of people to ally with the stronger. The [Ottoman] fleet is prepared and well-equipped with artillery and a crew which they have never in the past bettered – and about this their captains and everyone commonly say, tomorrow or the next day

21a. 31 May 1484. Constantinople. Princeps et Ex. Dne: per la adligata a questa la qual etiandio mandai per una naue per la via de modon intendera la Ex. v.ra el seguito fin quelhoro: Da poi veramente e supravenuto unaltro nauilio da Moncastro lo qual dice pur questa fama de landar de costoro a quella parte tandem hauer sbigotidi quelli signori i qualli non potendo remediar a le terre maritime contra tante artellarie tante force et tanto impeto hano drizato li soi pensieri a star pui forti che porano ala campagna et su lo passo de la fiumara et che hano pur speranza chel tartaro non li dara contra per che pur li parla et promette superficialmente ma mi dubito Giovanni Dario, 22 Dispacci da Costantinople glandamente che li cargara a dosso per esser macometano e per esser anche pui natural inclinacion ali homeni acostarse a li plui potenti. Queste armada son preparade et ben in ordene de artellarie et zurme de asapi turchi che mai


they will sail out of the mouth to go against Carabogdan, where it is said that the Sultan with his forces has directed his march, so that I am certainly much easier about it – not because I wish misfortune on other Christians, but [as we] heard from Rhodes and Chios, according to a letter received there from Naples of Apulia on 7 April, the Italian peace is on the way to being settled, and also because some who came to Salonika from Venice the 24th of last month, confirmed the same information – it seems to me that this Power could hardly go to a place that would less harm Your Excellency's interests in northern parts, and it will certainly make me sleep with many fewer preoccupations. According to what seems to be the thought among men of experience, these people will open a most most dangerous effort against Poland – may God give assistance to the Christian cause.

Yesterday a slave from the Porte arrived here unexpectedly who brought several letters from the Most Illustrious Sultan directed to the Magnificent bailo and to me. In one of these, directed to the bailo alone, it was said, after many other things, that he sent the slave by horse: this is the highest status a la moresca; finally, that he should give them 3000 ducats he said he should have from the Duke of Naxos for some of his debtors [who had] arrived there. By the second, directed to His Magnificence and me, he dealt with the same material and said he had sent his messenger to Naxos first to recover his debtors, then a fusta; and that this Lord is drawing out this matter from generation to generation (to use his formal words) and that henceforth he wanted no more words – and concluded that if the said Duke of Naxos was subject of Your Excellence he wanted the Magnificent Bailo to give him the money: if, in fact, he is not a subject, he would be charitable about the matter, because he will arrange for it to be paid by the Duke.

The third letter, which was addressed to me alone, contained complaints by the flamburar of the Morea about the many excesses perpertrated in the Morea by many stratiotii and other subjects of Your Excellence, both from Nauplion as well as from your other terre in the Morea, and he sent me a good many papers in which are – all annotated in order – 56 offences, including, among others, the insult and rebellion made in the Mani by Clada and some of the stratioti from Nauplion in time past. He complained much about the said cases, saying they were not worthy of the good peace and friendship concluded [between us], and that he wanted for the malefactors to be given into his hand or else that they would close the Porte,because he did not want his people to continue in relations with ours, as Your Excellence – by the copies of the letters which His Magnificence the Bailo on his part and I on mine send to your Sublimity – will learn more clearly. For this request, having a slave on my back who asks for a response, and the kadi and subassi of the territory who do the same – and it is necessary to respond to each detail, and since this waits on the request for 3000 ducats – I have met with the bailo and we have planned the response which, in truth, would be easy enough if we were dealing with people who were not prejudiced, but, as I have mentioned to Your Excellence on other occasions, the Lords of the Archipelago have become hateful to these people because of the welcome and aid they say the corsairs have from them, and, in that area, although our cause is honest, I am concerned that by intervening on behalf of hateful persons we might not be heard as we would want, and especially because they are looking for an excuse, etc. About this, the magificent messier, the bailo, whom the matter touches more, will give more detailed information to Your Excellence. For this, in fact, he is waiting on the responses about the excesses committed in the Morea that waits on me alone:

First I lament all the unfortunate events; then I keep myself to the news from Nauplion, and we explain to his Excellence that more and more excesses are committed by their people against ours; but that the princes of the world are not obligated ensure that caitiffs do no evil, because theat would be a very difficult undertaking, but they are well obligated to punish delinquents when they can put hands on them, and put the absent under ban or exile; and at present there have returned to the terre of Your Excellence some of those banned for the aforementioned excesses – that was the reason the former flamburar of the Morea (who was not able to extirpate this band from the places of his Sultan because they were daily increasing and devasting that province) requested and constrained the magnificent messier Bartolomo Minio (who was provveditor at Nauplion) that he would pardon them and receive them back into favor, because the said flamburar (who was the more offended and more powerful because of ending the great scandal) had done the same, and our rettor was reluctant to consent, and did something that he should not according to our laws – this thing pleasing to the flamburar in the name of Your Excellency, and that at present he should not make complaint of anything that was done in that situation; and concerning these nighttime offences, that I will write firmly to the magnificent rettori whom I am certain will do their duty, and because of my insistence they will give severe justice – repairing and putting as good a color on the matter as I can.

Your Excellence may be sure that if the Porte were here present, because of the favor that God has granted me with them, there would not be such a headwind. But since they are absent and hear only those who make the bad worse in their own way, being by nature arrogant, and avid for more power, and not having with them their more moderate and able notaries, they write with the sort of insolence that Your Excellency will see. I who am by nature quiet, and at my age inclined to repose, do not share the opinion of some others who are indignant and want a situation that could provoke outrage, but I judge that this barbaric ferocity is managed more securely by good manners and gentleness, because I have not seen the way to oppose it to any advangage. I do not speak of winning, but merely of drawing even, and I can promise that all Your Excellency's servants would be of this opinion – to temporize with dexterity, waiting for the benefit of time, since your most excellent state is perpetual, and since, if the mind does not deceive me, if one makes now an encounter of lances, it could endager the matter. May the Lord God who has always favored the affairs of Your Sublimity give you the grace of consulting well and deliberating sanely, and ordering what whould be done to respond on your part to all the aforesaid requests, and grant me the grace to be relieved by you of these evils devouring and imparing my ability.

Most Serene Prince, these people have asked me many times when the galleys will arrive and do this for the benefit of their state and for the satisfaction of these people, and certainly because they await their debt payment, and Your Excellency may be certain that at at his return, if the galleys have not come, they will be inflamed for one reason and another. I do not know the merchants' sailing, but I hope only that they will come to satisfy them if at all possible. If perhaps the galleys are not able to come because of a strict schedule, Your Excellency will at least arrange to send them their money, because I must tell Your Excellency that they will fly off the handle for the aforesaid reasons, and more so if they return victorious, and also if the peace of Italy is secure, which I do not think will please them, and it seems to me that they will go flipping through old books and every other insane scribble looking for the rest of the 50,000 ducats, as well as the 10,000 ducats, as they do when they are out of temper.

Your Most Excellent Signoria will endeavor for us to avoid dissension, and for us to be able to welcome and embrace them with open arms so as to pacify them and also show gratitude for services already received so that they are better disposed to support the interests of Your Excellency because, Most Serene Prince, their affairs are very different from the practice of the previous Signor. This age follows other customs and whoever does not hand out becomes hated and harassed: for me, I have unwillingly incurred expense for Your Excellency and, by that God who sustains the world, would prefer to give up part of my life and be outside this drama. But because I have committed my fate to you, I would complete matters well enough to satisfy the need and leave things in a good situation. My devotion and loyalty gives me confidence to remind [you] of nothing less. Your Most Wise Signoria will dispose of your affairs as you see fit and as you are pleased, to whose grace I humbly commend myself.

P.S. I have met together with the magnificent bailo before the Kadi and responded that Naxos was under Your Excellence, as it appears in the provisions of the peace, but that we should not, nor could not, give any of the ducats that he was demanding; and that we were in the hand of the Excellent Signor, and he should do as pleased him about the very dishonest insistance of this collector – who, to escape the fork, impales himself on the bushes – and settle this case for good; so that the Kadi, seeing himself put in such an embarassment, said, "let us write again to the Porte; he will sign and we will also sign." But I don't yet doubt the only step that they allege: for example, that the slave of the Signor who went to Naxos found his debtors there and that the Duke did not want to give them to him, and he said he had Moslem witnesses to this, nothing less.

Most Serene Prince, you will defend yourself against the matter and will do what you can about it, but as I have written to Your Excellence, these matters cannot be tended to or managed without expense in this voracious court, and I have had to pay out 100 ducats "to cure a pain of the Duke's which was incurable" and threatened him with great ruin, as the magnificent Bailo knows. Now also I have promised the slave who is concerned with this matter – because he has gone to Naxos twice – if he will leave off and will permit that the collector be inconvenienced. According to the custome of the place, I will give him 100 ducats, and he has promised me many things. As I say to Your Excellence, here I can do nothing without gold in hand and it is necessary to put a hand in the pocket. That the Duke of Naxos attends to hunting while we are in need and spend and take money at loan, to be at his mercy at the very end, seems to me a hard thing, nevertheless, for the honor of Your Serenity and to disentangle the magnificent bailo, I have been occupied with it so that our rivals beyond the borders will not have the satisfaction that Your Excellence's Bailo is humiliated for debt, but if the Duke does not send someone with money, I have to advise Your Signoria that I will not be able to deal with it further, I do not want to draw in someone else, because then I would be put in bonds for debt, because I don't know who would disentangle me.Your Most Wise Signoria will arrange and order as it pleases you.

Today, the last [of May] the greater part of the fleet has gone toward the mouth of the Great Sea; a few galleys and fuste remain which are being cleaned and all will leave tonight as it the weather one could ask for, for sailing from the mouth since it seems God is aiding them for our sins. I am sending enclosed here a copy of the letter from the Sultan. I am also sending the statement from the letter from the provveditor of Nauplion, and request you to have it read and understand it well, because, it is in truth very important. It does not seem to me right that one goes, arms in hand, into another's jurisdiction to commit such excesses, and I really wonder at the magnificent provveditor. For the love of God, most Serene Prince, let Your Signoria make sure the Albanian rabble do not throw themselves into a clash with this Signor. I commend myself to Your Excellence again and again. From Constantinople, the last day of May 1484.

per lo passato non son sta meio et per quello dicono li soi capi et tuti comunamente doman o laltro insirano fuora de la bocha per andar contra carabogdan dove se dixe el Signor sum le soe zente hauer drizato el so camino che me certo ne son molto contento non perché voia el mal de alchuna parte de la cristianita ma per che resonande de Rodi e sio per lettere hauute da Napoli de pulia de di .7. dauril la paxe italicha esser in fieri confermando etiam questo medemo alchuni venuti a Salonichi de di .24. del passato da venexia ami par che questa potencia non poria Andar in luogo che manco podesse offendere le cosse de la Ex. v.ra che a queste parte superiore et farame dormire com molto manco pensiero vero e che per quanto sento rasonar da homeni pratichi de quelli paexi laurira una porta molto pericoloso contro pollana prego el dignor dio metta remedia a le cosse cristiane.

Le suprauenuto hieri uno schiauo da la porta lo qual ha portado diuerse lettere de questo Signor drizate a la M.cia del baylo et ami: per una desse drizata al baylo solo li dice post multa che li dreza lo dito schiauo per cavala: hoc est per cima a la morescha: fin che li dia ducati M/iii dise douer hauer dal duca de nicxia per alchuni soi debitori capitati nel dito luogo: per la seconda drizata a sua M.cia et ami tratta pur questa medema materia et dice hauer mandato a nicxia prima so messo per hauer ditti soi debitori poi una fusta: et che quel Signor buta questa cossa de progenie in progeniem per dier le soe formal parolle et che ormai non uol pui parolle: et conclude che sel Duca de nicxia he subdito de la Ex. v.ra vol che la M.cia del baylo li dia ditti dinari: se veramente non è subdito: li sia de chiarito la cossa: per che lui instesso prouedera de pagarse dal dito Duca:

La terza lettera che se dreza a mi solo contien le querelle de flamborar de la morea de molti excessi perpetradi in la morea da molti stratioti et altri subditi de la Ex. v.ra: si da Napoli: como da le altre terre de la morea et mandame un libretto de parecchi sfoy de carta: in li qualli sono tuti anotadi per ordinem .56. excessi et fra li altri etiam linsulto et rebellion fata per el clada et alchuni stratioti de Napoli en el brazo de Maine in quel tempo: et agreuando molto li ditti casi et digando non esser portamenti de bona paxe et amicitia conclude che li sia dato li mal-fator inelemane or veramente che se sera le porte per che non vol che li soi pratica pui cum li nostri como la Ex.v.ra per le copie de le lettere le quali la M.cia de misser lo baylo per la soa parte: et mi per la mia mandemo ala Sub.ta v.ra: pui destintamente in tendera a le qual rechieste habiando el chiauo a le spalle che insta le resposte et questo medemo che fa el cadi et el subassi de la terre Ese conuegnera ad ogni modo respondere. et per quanto aspetta a la domanda di ducati M/iii siamo sta insieme cum la M.cia del baylo et hauemo premedita la resposta la qual in vero e assai facille: se hauessamo a far cum persone che non fosse passionade. ma como altre fiade ho tochado a la Ex. v.ra quelli signori de larcipelago son fati odiosi a costoro per lorecetto et favor dicono hauer li corsari da loro et in questa parte ben che la causa nostra sia honesta. Hintrauegnando per odiose persone dubito non saremo exauditi como vossamo et maxime quia querunt causam etc et cerca questo la M.cia de misser lo baylo a chi plui tocha la cossa dara pui destinta informacion ala Ex. v.ra: Per quanto veramente aspetta a la resposta di excessi comessi in la morea che aspetta a mi solo:

Iio prima me dolio de ogni mal seguito: poi me adherisso a la informacion hauuta da Napoli: et refermo a la Ex. soa che li excessi comessi per li soi contra li nostri sono molto et molto pluj: ma che li principi del mondo non sono obligadi a fare che li catiui non faceno mal: per che saria molto dura impresa: ma ben hobligadi de punire li deliquenti: quando li pono metter la man adosso: et li absenti metter in bando ouer exillio: et se al presente son tornadi inele terre de la Ex. v.ra alchuni bandizadi per li excessi preditti lesta cason el flamborar passado de la morea. el qual non possendo extirpar quella setta da i luogi de la soa Signoria per che ogni de cresseuano et deuastaueno quella prouincia: ha pregado et constretto la M.cia de misser bertuchio minio che fu prouedador a Napoli che li perdonasse: et c he li tollesse in gratia per che el dito flamburar che era plui offeso et plui potente per cessacion de mazor scandollo hauea fato questo medemo. et chel rettor nostro duramente a consentido et fato cossa che non doueua per le leze nostre per far cossa gratta al per nome della Ex. soa et che al presente non se doueua imputar anuj cossa che sia fatta a soa instantia: et che de li deliti fati nottamente io scriuero a quelli rectori I quali son certo per el debito so: et per le instantie mie farano seueramente justitia: aconzando e acollorando la cossa meio che posso:

Et sia certo la Ex. v: che se la porta fosse que presente per la gratia che dio ma prestado cum loro non haueria cussi forceuelle vento a le boche. Ma siando absenti et aldendo solamente li soi che fano le peze grande et a so modo siando de natura costoro superbi et adjutandoli la potencia molto plui et non habiando anche apresso de lor nodari plui moderadi et destri scriueno: cum insolencia al modo che vedera la Ex. v.ra: et io che son de natura quieta et de etade ormai in clinata a la quiete non son de quella opinion che sono alchuni de altri che per sdegno voriano de le cosse che poria in dur scandalo ma judico esser pui segura parte che cum mona maniera et cum dolzeza se venza questa ferocita barbara per che a oponerse non ge uedo el modo de neuno auantaxo non dico de superare ma nanche de impatare et po voraue che tuti li seruidori de la Ex. v.ra fosse de questa opinion de andar temporizando cum desterita aspetando el beneficio del tempo lo qual siando el stato perpetua e per hauer se la mente non me ingana che al presente se faza un scontro le lanza poria la cossa pericolare. El Signor dio che ha sempre fauorizado le cosse de la Sub. v.ra ve dia gratia de ben consultar et sanamente deliberare et comandar quello che se hauera a respondere da parte soa atute le rechieste predicte. et a mi dia gracia de essere da quella laeuiato de questi pesi molto ingordi et impari a le forze mie. principe costoro molte volte me hano domandato per le galie quando che son per vegnir et fano questo per el beneficio de la terra soa et per contento de questi populi et etiam dio perché aspetano lo suo resto et sia certo la Ex. v.ra che al so retorno non vegnendo le galie se inflamarano per luno respetto et per laltro mi non intendo li partidi di mercadanti ma voria pur che le venisseno per contento de costoro se possibille sera: quando veramente per li partidi stretti le galie non potesseno vegnir al manco proueda la Ex. v.ra de mandarli isoi dinari per che so dir a la Ex. v.ra che saltarano in caueza per li respetti preditti et tanto pui se tornarano victoriosi et anche se la paxe de Italia seguira. La qual credo non li sera grata et si me per vederli che anderano scartabelando libri vechi et cercanco li resti si de L.ta/M como di M/x et ogni altro imbrato smaniando como fano quelli che son destemperadi.

La v.ra Signoria proueda si che nui precidamo le materie scandolesse et che possiamo cum aperta ciera receuerli et acarezarli per mitigarli et monstrarli anche gratitudine de li seruicii receuuti adrio che se disponano meio per lauegnire a le cosse de la Ex. v.ra per che: principe le cosse lor cono molto variade dal rito de quel primo Signor: Et questa eta porta altri costumi et chi non sporze vien odiado et persequitado: me per quel dio che sustene el mondo mal volentiera a recordo spesa ala Ex. v.ra et voria perdere parte de la mia vita et esser fuora de queste trame: Ma pur siandoge per la sorte mia a questa: voria complir le cosse in ben per satisfar al bisogno et lasare le cosse in bono asetto: La mia deuocion et fede me da fiducia de arecordar niente de manco la v.ra sapientissima Signoria dispona de le cosse soe como li par et piaxe ala gratia de la qual humelmente me recomando.

Post scripta siando stadi insieme cum la M.cia del Baylo auanti el Cadi et fatage la responsta che nixia era sotto l Ex. v.ra como pareua per i capitoli de la paxe ma che non doueuimo ne podeuimo dar niente dj ducati dhe comandaueno. Et che erimo ne le man de la Ex. del Signor et fesse como che li piaxeua deshonestando molto le instancie de quel amaldar et qual per scampar la forcha se atacaua a ogni frasca smembrando quel caxo polidamente. adeo chel Cadi vedendose confusodisse: scriuemo iterum a la porta: fermera luj et ancora nuj fermeremo. ma non me dubito se non dun passo solo: che elli alegano: Zoe chel schiauo del Signor andato a nixia trouo al ditto luogo li soi debitori et chel duca non ili ha voluto dar et dice hauer testimonij musulumani de questo. niente de meno: principe se deffendera la cossa et farasse tuto quel ben ne sera possibile: ma como ho scripto ala Ex. v.ra queste cosse non se mono far ne manezar senza spesa in questa corte vorace et home intrata in ducati 100 per medegar una piaga del dito ducha la qual era incurabille et menazuali grande ruina como sa la M.cia del Baylo: adesso ancora ho promesso a quel schiauo che caza questa cossa per esser anda a nixia do volte che cessendo et lassando che hame promesso assai cosse et como dito a la Ex. v.ra qui non se pol far cossa neuna se non cum loro in mano et conuiense dognora metter la man in tasca et chel duca de nixia atenda acazar che nui stentiamo et che spendiamo et toliamo dinari a usura: per star po asoa descricion: me par dura cossa. pur per honor de la Ser.ta v.ra et per destrigar la M.cia del Baylo me ne ho impazado azo che li emuli nostri de fuora via non habino contento: chel Baylo de la Ex.v.ra sia in cime per debiti: per che non so chi me destregaraue. La vostra Sapientissima Signoria proueda et comanda como li piace.

Larmada hozi de ultimo e andada per la major parte verso la bocha de mar mazor sono restate poche galie et fuste le qualle se spazano et sta notte andarano tute. et fali vn tempo a domandon de bocha et par ben che dio li aiuta per li peccati nostri: Mando ala Ex. v.ra qui inclusa la copia de la lettera del Signor. Mandoli anche el capitolo de la lettera del prouedador da napoli et suplico a quella la faza lezere et intendela ben: per che in vero importa assai ne non me par honesto che armata manu se vada in la jurisdicion daltri a far simili Excessi: et maraueliome molto de quel prouedador. per amor de dio principe proueda la Signoria v.ra che le rabie di albanexi non ge getta ale zuffe cum questo Signor. A la gratia de la Ex. v.ra iterum atque iterum me recomando. Ex Constantinopoli die ultimo maj 1484.