Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

progress, both in the north, where horses. The unprotected condition of Belgrade fell, and in the south, where the island was well known at ConRhodes became Turkish. This was stantinople, and Soliman's son and not a brilliant period of Venetian successor, Selim II., surnamed El history. During Soliman's reign, in Mest, or the Drunkard, coveted Cythe year 1540, a humiliating peace prus, and formed plans for its conquest. was concluded between Venice and It is at this period of history, about the Porte. By this treaty, besides the year 1568-9, that Señor Rosell the payment of an exorbitant sum, commences a volume to which a crown the republic gave up several Albanian was unanimously awarded by the ports, and most of the Venetian Spanish Royal Academy of History, islands in the Archipelago. These and which, as well by the research it onerous and shameful terms were displays as by the manner of its exeacceded to by Venice almost without cution, certainly does great credit to a blow having been struck, and at a its author. In Spain the appearance time when she had the support of the of works of this class is now exceedEmperor Charles V., and of the Pope, ingly rare. There are few readers in who had formed a league with her that country at the present day, and against the Porte. There then was very few writers whose names are evidently little of that determined worthy of mention. Literature of all spirit in her councils which, a century kinds is much neglected, and the few later, supported her through the glori- books published consist chiefly of ous war for the possession of Candia— third-rate poetry and plays, and of a desperate struggle, illustrated by translations from the French and countless heroic deeds, and during English. Good historical works are which a Venetian fleet was seen to seldom produced, and that of Señor blockade the Dardanelles, whence the Rosell may be looked upon almost as Turkish ships dared not attemptto issue an event. He has made excellent use forth. In 1540, a far meeker and less of the works of a host of writers, honourable spirit guided the chiefs of chiefly Spanish and Italian, many of the republic. Almost at the first clash them contemporaries of, some of them of arms they sought peace, and, freed sbarers in, the battle of Lepanto; of at heavy cost from their unworthy the Coleccion de documentos inéditos of apprehensions, they suffered their Messrs Navarrete, Salvá, and Baranda, country to sink into inaction. For and of papers and correspondence exthirty years Venice remained inert isting in the National Library of and declining. During that long slum- Madrid, and in the archives of Simanber, nothing was done to reform her cas. The general interest of his book institutions, or increase her resources; is heightened by the many characterher fleet and army were neglected, as istic traits and anecdotes he has introwere also the necessary fortifications duced, and the style in which it is of her coasts and islands. This was written induces a regret that a lannotably the case with Cyprus, a rich guage so well suited to the narration and valuable possession, whose remote of stirring events and martial exploits position relatively to Venice should of should not be more frequently employitself alone have suggested the neces- ed for that purpose by those whose sity of a strong guard and many pre- native tongue it is. cautions. The island was well worth The profound peace existing bekeeping, for it produced great abun- tween Venice and the Porte at the dance of corn, saffron, sugar, cotton, time of Selim's accession, was and fruits, although, under the Vene- obstacle to his designs upon Cyprus; so tian sway, historians affirm that more long as his object was gained, he cared than three-fourths of its superficies little about the justice of his cause. were uncultivated. As for its de- If scruples he had, which is unlikely, fences, its military posts were ne- he quieted them by a singular chain glected, the fortifications of its towns of reasoning. Venice had received were suffered to decay, and a force of Cyprus as a gift from Catharine Cor, seven hundred cavalry, established naro, daughter of a Venetian, and for the guard of its coast, was allowed widow of a king of that island. But to dwindle to one bundred wretched this king was a usurper, who had dis

no

possessed his sister of the crown ; and concealing these measures as far as thus, although the republic had for possible from the ambassador of the eighty years been undisputed mistress republic at his court, he ordered his of Cyprus, Selim maintained that she cruisers to capture, upon futile prehad no legitimate right to its posses- texts, all the Venetian merchantmen sion. Moreover, he looked upon the they fell in with. This might have Venetians as feudatories of his own, sufficed to open the eyes of the governsince they paid him various tributes, ment of Venice, but they remained and did homage to him as successor strangely blind, until the repeated of the Soldan of Egypt. But he had warnings of their ambassador, and the probably no need of thus excusing to positive information he sent, forcibly himself the prosecution of an enter- dispelled their illusion, and filled them prise whose success would in some with anxiety and alarm. Seeking to degree obliterate the stain cast upon repair by activity their want of forethe Moslem arms by their repulse at sight, they hastily adopted various Malta, whilst it would give him a extraordinary means of raising money, welcome addition to his dominions in selling state property to the amount of the shape of a fertile island situated three hundred thousand crowns, imin the very midst of them. Some posing a contribution on the clergy, historians have set down amongst the putting up to auction the high office thirsty monarch's motives his great of procurator, eight of which places fondness for the famous Cyprus wine, were sold for twenty thousand ducats but it is unnecessary to seek trivial in- each, and permitting a number of centives, when so many more potent young nobles to purchase seats in the naturally present themselves. Whilst grand council. A fleet was equipped, pondering his plans, an unexpected consisting of 136 galleys, eleven event facilitated their execution, and galeas, or larger vessels of the class induced him to accelerate it. In the specially known as Venetian galleys, night of the 13th September 1569, a fourteen ships, and some transports terrible explosion and shock roused and smaller vessels, and was put under Venice from her slumbers. It was the orders of the cavaliero Jeronimo succeeded by a universal shriek of ter- Zanne, procurator of St Mark's, whilst ror, as the Venetians sprang from their Sforza Palaviccino took command of beds, and hurried out of their houses, the land forces. This done—and it believing in an earthquake. The evil was all that the penury of the treasury was not so great. Fire had broken permitted to be done—Venice sought, out in the arsenal, and the powder through the Pope, the assistance of magazine had exploded. The first the Catholic princes of Europe. The alarm over, measures were taken to days were gone when all nations extinguish the flames, and were speed- courted the alliance of the Queen of ily successful. The explosion was the Adriatic, and beheld in it an assurheard at a distance of thirty miles ; ance of triumph : it was now her turn four churches were in ruins, and vari- to supplicate, and ber fate to meet reous edifices suffered more or less, but fusals. France had little or no fleet, few persons perished, and only four of and was on terms of amity with the the galleys in the arsenal were lost. Turk; moreover, she was distracted Report exaggerated the disaster; it by internal dissensions. The Huguewas said that the whole Venetian fleet nots, under Condé and Coligny, had been destroyed, and that a multi- pressed the Catholics hard ; Cathetude of nobles and citizens had perish- rine of Medicis assnred the Pope and ed. Selim heard and believed this, the Venetians of her good wishes, but and redoubled the activity of his war- could afford them no aid. From Englike preparations, getting together land nothing was to be expected, troops, provisions, and ammunition, and since its sovereign was then Elizastimulating by his presence the arming beth, a greater enemy to Rome, says of galleys and founding of cannon in a writer of that time, than the Turks the arsenal at Constantinople. Whilst themselves.* More might be hoped

* Marco Antonio Arroya, Relacion del Progreso de la Armada de la Santa Liga, chap. i. Milan, 1576, (note by Don C. Rosell).

from Austria, but the Emperor Maxi- and the attempt must be made. The
milian did not choose to abandon the Pope sent Monsignore Luigi Torres, a
state of peace in which he then was churchman of much prudence and di-
with the Porte, and, moreover, he was plomatic skill, to the King of Spain.
not well pleased with the Pope for Philip, after due reflection, replied
having sanctioned the elevation of that he could not then make up his
Cosmo de Medicis, second Duke of Flo- mind about joining the league, which
rence, to the sovereign title of Grand- required further consideration, but
duke of Tuscany. So he excused him- that ould assist the Venetians,
self, making promises for the future. and would at once give orders to Juan
Don Sebastian of Portugal, who per- Andrea Doria, his admiral in Sicily,
haps already meditated the rash expe- to join the papal and Venetian squa-
dition to Africa which cost him his drons with the galleys under his com-
crown and dominions, and, as most mand. The Pope had named Marco
believe, his life, pleaded the ravages the Antonio Colonna to the command of
plague had made in his dominions, and the twelve vessels equipped at his
the necessity of attending to the de- cost.
fence of his own coasts, as motives for Meanwhile Selim II. had sent an
declining to co-operate. Even Persia ambassador to Venice to demand the
was invited by the republic to join the cession of Cyprus, declaring that he
league against the Turks, but declined would consider a refusal tantamount
provoking so powerful an enemy. The to a declaration of war. In the letter
Italian princes, weakened by the fre. intrusted to bis envoy he styled him-
quent wars of the sixteenth century, self Sovereign of Cyprus, as heir to
and divided amongst themselves, could the rights of the Soldan of Egypt.
render but small assistance. Genoa He complained of imaginary aggres-
sent a single galley, the Duke of sions of Venetian subjects, of shelter
Savoy another, the Knights of Malta afforded to pirates in the ports of
three galleys, and the Dukes of Flor- Cyprus, and of the molestation of
ence and Urbino a small number of pilgrims to Mecca; he offered his
soldiers. The Pope, foreseeing future friendship if the kingdom in question
danger to his own dominions from the was given up to him, and swore in
ambition of the Turk, but having no the contrary case to conquer it by
galleys, agreed to equip and maintain force of arms, and to carry fire and
twelve of those that lay useless in sword into all the other provinces of
Venetian ports.

the republic. To so arrogant and inThere was one potentate whose jurious a message as this there could assistance, if obtainable, would com- be but one reply. On receiving it pensate the numerous disappoint- Selim rejoiced at the rejection of his ments encountered by Venice in her terms, and prepared for instant action. quest of allies, and that was Philip II. Mustafa, pasha of Cairo, was named of Spain. At that time, says Tomaso chief of the whole invading force, and Contarini, in his Relatione di Spagna, sailed from the Dardanelles at the “the states and powers of the world end of May (1570), with thirty-six were almost all united under those galleys and a large number of transtwo great monarchs, the Turk and the ports laden with artillery, ammuniKing of Spain.” It was for the interest tion, horses, and necessary stores, of Spain, as mistress of Sicily and under command of Aali Pasha, Selim's Naples, and of part of the African brother-in-law. He had been precoast, to check the intrusion of the ceded by eighty galleys and thirty Turks; but, upon the other hand, Ve- galiots, commanded by Piali Pasha, a nice had on similar occasions refused Hungarian renegade, in whom Selim her aid, and had_maintained her had great confidence, and who was alliance with the Infidel, suffering appointed general of the naval forces Rhodes to be captured, and leaving of the expedition. The two fleets to the Spaniards the glorious task of joined upon their way, and after pausrelieving Malta. The conscience of ing at Rhodes to take on board some the Republic reproached her with janizaries and other soldiers necesthese derelictions, and made her fear sary for the sieges they projected, on a refusal; but the case was urgent, the 1st of July they reached the shores

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

of Cyprus. The Venetians were less and of less strength, and who bad prompt in their proceedings. Zanne consequently shut himself up in the and Palaviccino lay for two months at latter place, leaving Nicosia in charge Zara, waiting orders, ill supplied with of his lieutenant, Nicolo Dandolo, an provisions, and with a contagious officer of very moderate capacity. malady decimating their crews. At The fortress of Nicosia was some miles last they quitted that anchorage, and in circumference, and required a large on the 23 June reached Corfu with garrison; instead of which it contained seventy galleys. There they were to but ten thousand men, most of them wait for the rest of the fleet, and for inexperienced in war, and so scantily the Spanish and Roman squadrons. provided with fire-arms that they had The former was expected from Mes- to use halberts. There were but fifsina, the whereabout of the latter was teen hundred regular troops, more unknown. During the stay of Zanne than half of the remainder consisting at Zara, the Doge of Venice, Pietro of civilians belonging to the town and Loredano, died suddenly, many said to the surrounding country. The forby poison, administered because he tifications, recently repaired by enwas one of the few Venetians who gineers from Venice, were in a pretty desired at any cost to preserve peace good state; but before there was time with the Turk. He was succeeded by to lay in the necessary supplies of Luigi Mocenigo, the fourth doge of ammunition and provisions, Mustafa that family; and the place of procurator, was before the walls, and commenced vacated by that election, was conferred a vigorous cannonade. Piali had upon Sebastian Veniero, proveditore advised him to begin with Famagusta, of Corfu, a valiant officer, but too as the easiest prey; but Mustafa held impetuous and irritable, whose name it unworthy of his reputation to begin frequently recurs in the history of the where there was least peril and diffiwar then about to commence. Before culty. In numbers, in warlike apZanne's arrival at Corfu, he had ac- pliances, and in military skill, the complished an enterprise of some con- Nicosians were infinitely overmatched sideration, capturing by surprise the by the Turks; and they felt that their Turkish fortress of Sopato ; and at only chance of intimidating the beabout the same time Marco Quirini, siegers, and of seriously diminishing captain of the gulf of Venice, took their numbers, was by assuming the and utterly destroyed the fort of offensive. Accordingly, on the 15th Maina, returning unmolested to Corfu August, a furious sortie was made, with slaves and booty. But mean- the hour chosen being that at which while that which should have been the Turks usually were asleep in their the main object of the Venetian fleet quarters. So vigorous was the sally was unattended to, and Cyprus re- that the assailed fled in all directions, mained without reinforcements. It suffering great loss; and the confusion was not until the 230 July that Zanne extended soon to Mustafa's tents, and quitted Corfu for Candia, in order to to the ranks of his janizary guard. recruit his crews, whose numbers But presently th Turks recovered were greatly reduced by disease, and from their panic : the cavalry came to be nearer to Cyprus, in case it up, and the Venetians, having no reshould need his aid. At that date serve to cover their retreat, suffered Mustafa had already been for three severely, losing some of their princiweeks in Cyprus, with one hundred pal officers, and leaving one hundred and sixty galleys, an army of at least prisoners in the hands of the enemy. fifty-six thousand men, and thirty This was their first and last sortie. pieces of heavy artillery. Seeing him. Considering, however, the circumself unopposed on disembarkation, he stances under which it was made, it resolved to march at once upon Ni- was a most daring exploit, and it cosia, the capital of the island, in greatly revived the hopes of the bewhose centre it was situated. This sieged, and gave some uneasiness to was contrary to the expectation of Mustafa. He repeatedly assaulted Astor Baglione, the governor of Cy- the place, but his troops were invariprus, who expected Famagusta to be ably repulsed with considerable loss; first attacked, as nearer to the sea and as the garrison refused to capitulate, he began to think they relied them to exact from their allies that upon relief from some unknown quar- they should carry their co-operation ter. Doubly desirous, therefore, even to the extent of sacrifice.” So quickly to terminate the siege, he sent the fleet proceeded on its voyage. But to Piali and Aali Pashas, requesting on the night of the 22d, when it was them to send him a hundred men from at anchor in a port near the Karamaeach one of their galleys, to reinforce nian coast, within a short sail of Cy. his army and make a final assault. prus, Marco Quirini, who had been out The pashas would willingly have com- to reconnoitre, returned, almost beside plied at once with his demand, had himself with grief, to announce the they not first had to make sure that fall of Nicosia, whose walls had been the combined squadrons of Venice, razed, and its wretched inhabitants Rome, and Spain, were not on their massacred. way to succour Cyprus. But it was Early in September, the two pashas, the last day of August before Doria Piali and Aali, hearing nothing of the and Colonna joined Zanne at Candia. approach of the Christian fleet, took a Their combined force amounted to hundred men from each one of their a hundred and eighty galleys, twelve galleys, thus forming an army twenty of them very large, fourteen ships, thousand strong, which they sent to and a great number of transports. In Mustafa, who greatly needed it, for the a council of war, composed of the troops he had with him were disthree generals and of the chief officers, couraged by repeated failures, and by some were of opinion that it was too the obstinate defence of the besieged. hazardous an enterprise to relieve On Sunday the 9th September 1570, Nicosia, and that it was better to a day ever memorable in the annals effect a diversion, and draw off the of unfortunate Cyprus, a general enemy from Cyprus by an attack on assault was made on all four sides of some Turkish possession. General the town. The attack was furious, Zanne combated this opinion, insist- the defence heroic. The Venetians ing that the sole object of their junc. and Cypriots, certain of death, fought tion was to go to the assistance of with desperation. At last, and on a Cyprus, and that it were a stain upon sudden, in consequence of some accitheir honour to leave it undone. Do- dent or neglect on the part of the ria, a cautious and experienced officer, besieged, the nature of which has been skilful and prompt in action, agreed variously stated, but is not exactly with Zanne, but insisted first on an in- known, the Turks gained one of the spection of the fleet, to ascertain the con- bastions, and tbronged into the place. dition of the vessels, and the numbers They gave no quarter, and the exand quality of their crews. He was cesses that ensued were horrible. No ready at any moment, he said, to show sex nor age was exempted from their that his ships were wellarmed, supplied, brutality. The rapine and slaughter and equipped, and had their full comple- lasted the whole day; there were ment of courageous and well-trained more than twenty thousand victims, soldiers. Zanne, whose crews had been and the few nobles who were spared sadly thinned by disease, yet could not only escaped to bear captives' fetters, object to the proposed inspection, but and to endure the derision and mockfound pretexts for postponing it, pro- ing of a Constantinople mob. Dandolo, fiting by the delay to get in stores and the Bishop of Baffa, and some other recruits. At last it took place, on the nobles and chiefs, who defended them16th September, at Sitia, the eastern- selves in the court of the palace, capimost port of Candia, and, according tulated on condition of being allowed to the present Spanish historian, the to quit the city uninjured, but were at Venetian fleet was “in so pitiable a once inhumanly slaughtered. Musstate that Doria marvelled at their tafa's joy at bis triumph was, however, daring to attempt any enterprise with notably diminished by a singular init. Nevertheless, by disarming some cident. He had embarked on board of the galleys, the crews of the others the Grand Vizier's galley and two were reinforced, all being deficient in other vessels a number of beautiful soldiers and rowers; and this the Ve- youths of both sexes, and a great netians thought sufficient to entitle quantity of rich booty taken in Nicosia,

« AnteriorContinuar »