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Capitano Generale Fodoroni supervised the loading of the last cannons. Everything was ready. The galleys started leaving the port of Galata to take advantage of the tide. Soon they were out in the gulf. From the dock Fodoroni contemplated the golden domes of St. Sophie. The Venetians had done a great job at restoring the magnificence of St. Sophie, the cathedral of Constantinople, that their ancestors had damaged during the infamous Fourth Crusade. Soon he saw the last galleys disappear from his view, and wished Major General Marcantonio Bragadino good luck.

Only himself and the Signoria knew their destination. Fleet commander Prussian King was probably now opening his secret orders. The rumor in Constantinople was that the fleet was going to Alexandria, to join the main fleet of Vice Admiral Agostino Barbarigo to confront the Ottoman navy commanded by Kapudan Piali Pasha. But that was precisely not their destination.

The Signoria had started to suspect that some senator from the Consiglio Maggiore was leaking information that was finding its way to the Porte, when Grand Vizier Mehmet Sokolli had activated the army and recruited 38,000 men in the Turkish provinces of Asia Minor just prior to the war. Perhaps he knew that the Venetians were getting ready for an offensive. Confirmation of being infiltrated came when the main source for Venetian intelligence on the Ottomans was discovered by the Porte. Cecilia Veniero, favourite of one of Suleyman's sons, had been executed in the terrible way destined for the women of the Seraglio that became pregnant from the princes not destined to inherit the throne. She was introduced in a sac with stones, that was sewed, and thrown into the Bosphorus. Her execution was not public, but between those that knew about it, was her uncle Sebastian Veniero, Capitano Generale della mar. He had sworn to avenge her death. Now they had very little information about what happened in the Ottoman Empire. Only the fleet stationed at Cyprus informs of any army movement between the former Ottoman lands and the new Egyptian provinces.

On board the capitana, the flagship galley, Marcantonio Bragadino opened his secret orders. They came directly from the Signoria. Not even the senators knew about them. His destination was not Egypt, not even Smyrna, that many senators wanted to rescue from Ottoman hands. His orders were to proceed to Bursa, conquer the city before Suleyman could arrive to its rescue, and search a certain room in the Topkapi palace. Easier said than done.

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He took out his map to study the new situation. He reviewed the positions of the armies of the Serenissima. Massimo Pesaro was in Dalmatia, with 13k men, and orders to invade Bosnia and Serbia. Meryoni Cornaro and Francesco Morosini were in Thrace, with 10k men each and orders to invade Rumelia and Dobrudja respectively. King of Minors was in the lands of our vassal Bulgaria, with 11k men. He constituted the reserve, and was to support Pesaro or Cornaro, or invade Wallachia and Transylvania depending on the conditions.

Usually Insane and Arturo Gandolfi were in Kerch with 7k men each, and orders of invading Sochi and defend Kerch from the Crimean Tatars respectively.

Cristoforo Moro was on command of 9k cavalry, on board Rythin's fleet with orders to disembark in Smyrna and pillage the Turkish provinces, defeat small armies or support him as needed. And he had 17k men and 70 of the new high calibre cannons from the Arsenal, and now he new that his destination was Bursa in Anatolia. All the enemy armies were expected to come to the rescue of the Ottoman capital. All will come against him.

Vice Admiral Agostino Barbarigo was on command of the main fleet in Cyprus, 127 ships, of which 23 of the new warships and 89 galleys. His orders were to pin down Piali Pasha at the Gulf of Tobruk, and make sure that they did not depart the port of Alexandria to wreck havoc in the Venetian rear guard. The attack on Alexandria would have to wait.

He also expected Suleyman and all the Ottoman armies to come to attack him at Bursa, leaving Egypt undefended for the eventual attack.
 

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Fodoroni was worried. Over his table he had the reports from the war. The situation was frankly worse than he had anticipated. The summer campaign of 1559 had been very disappointing. Cristoforo Moro had been defeated at Smyrna by a small Turkish army, and retired back to Rythin's fleet, leaving Bragadino uncovered. Then Massimo Pesaro, with a 6 to 1 advantage in numbers, was defeated in Bosnia. King of Minors was defeated in Serbia (the advance on Wallachia was cancelled). Francesco Morosini was also defeated in Dobrudja and retired to Bujak. All of them were defeated despite having significant numerical advantage. Meryoni Cornaro, however, held his own in Rumelia against an army half the size of his own, that crossed the river to try to lift the siege of Varna. Arturo Gandolfi was also able to defend Kerch against a huge Tatar army, but at the cost of almost all of his men. It was disturbing to learn that the Venetian armies were no enemy for the fearsome janissaries.

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Two victories however were very important. Marcantonio Bragadino had sent his report from Bursa. With his great knowledge of military engineering and his numerous cannons (total bonus 5 versus 2), he had been able to break through the small walls of Bursa in just two months. Before Suleyman was able to return from Nuyssaybin. Together with the report came a sealed parcel for the Signoria. Bragadino was also asking for permission to evacuate Anatolia, saying that the situation was becoming very dangerous. Fodoroni knew Marcantonio. He never exaggerated. He dispatched his orders for him to incorporate to the European front, leaving only the garrison of Bursa to defend the city.

Also Agostino Barbarigo had been able to soundly defeat Piali Pasha in the gulf of Tobruk, despite the Ottoman coast advantage. This was very important, as he had not been sure that Barbarigo could defeat Piali. Now the Ottoman fleet would be blocked in Alexandria, and its only role would be to increase the negotiating power of the Republic. The loss of ships was significant for both parts. He dispatched a request to the Signoria for more warships, as the galleys were being lost at great speed.

Grand Vizier Sokolli had presented a peace proposal. The sultan was prepared to pay 96[,000] ducats as war indemnities in exchange for a return to the status quo. The Signoria had laughed.

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He then gave his orders for the winter campaign. Suleyman was making the mistake of recruiting his armies only in Asia Minor. He had to take advantage of the situation to overrun the Turks in Europe by sheer numbers before the situation could turn ugly. The main battle would take place in Rumelia, where the biggest Ottoman army was heading. He ordered Cristoforo Moro to try to arrive in mid-battle, to catch the Turks unprepared.
 

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Fodoroni knew that the war was approaching a turning point when some good news started to appear on his table hidden below the pile of bad news. Arturo Gandolfi's army had been exterminated in Kerch by the Crimeans, and he had been killed. King of Minors had been defeated again in Serbia. There was some small Ottoman fleet on the lose in the Mediterranean that managed to land troops in Crete, and Suleyman had recovered Anatolia, but also the arrival of Moro allowed Meryoni Cornaro to defeat the Ottomans for the second time and maintain the siege of Rumelia, Francesco Morosini also defeated a small Ottoman army in Bujak, Massimiliano Pesaro established a siege in Bosnia, Bragadino defeated the Ottomans in Wallachia, and after leaving The Arch Mede to besiege it he went to conquer Transylvania. Also the garrison in Crete repelled the Ottoman landing and our fleets located and destroyed the rogue Turkish fleet, made of a single transport.

And in the spring 1560 the war started to go much better. There were almost no Ottoman forces left in Europe. In the Black Sea, Usually insane was carrying a solo campaign against four times more Crimean Tatars. Despite a really harsh winter, he conquered Sochi and then proceeded to siege Azov, waiting for reinforcements to defeat the Tatar hordes the were besieging Kerch, where the citizens in fear of the barbarians at the gates, promised to convert to the true faith if the city was saved.

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Finally King of Minors defeated the last Ottoman army in Serbia, and every Ottoman province in Europe was subjected to siege. Soon several of them started to fall into our hands. Bujak was conquered by Francesco Morosini, Wallachia was conquered by The Arch Mede, Rumelia surrendered to Meryoni Cornaro, Transylvania was conquered by Bragadino and Usually insane took Azov. Meanwhile our fleet won three battles at the gulf of Tobruk against Piali Pasha.

Since the situation in Europe was stabilized and we only had to wait until the remaining provinces were conquered, Fodoroni sent Bragadino to turn the war in the other theater of operations, the Northern coast of the Black Sea.

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On Christmas 1560, Bragadino arrived to the port of Kerch, entering the besieged city. He soon set his cannons against the Tatars, and made a strong sortie. Panic overtook the enemy, that did not expected such an impetuous attack, and they lifted the siege. After attending a Christmas mass dedicated also to celebrate the victory in the name of God, Bragadino embarked again to conquer Crimea. The citizens of Kerch, awed and thankful to the Lord, converted in mass to Catholicism.

In 1561, after two years of war, Ottoman Europe was conquered. Bosnia surrendered to Massimiliano Pesaro, Dobrudja was taken by Francesco Morosini and King of Minors conquered Serbia.

The war against Crimea was also won. Crimea was captured by Marcantonio Bragadino, and Azov was successfully defended by Usually Insane, with reinforcements from now Catholic Kerch. The Crimean army was reduced to irrelevant by numerous victories, that increased greatly our warscore and rendered the whole area safe. Finally Bragadino embarked for Thrace, to reunite with the now available European armies to initiate a fourth theater of operations in Egypt. Asia Minor was now defended by at least 80,000 Turks superbly commanded. All along the war the fleet at Cyprus has reported a continuous stream of small armies going North, and so Egypt could be lightly defended as it is necessary for our plan to obtain the required reward to so much effort.

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Suleyman and Sokolli are now worried about the Venetian success, and try to stop the war with genuine generosity. However, in the long list of provinces offered, there is not a single one from the list supplied by the senate.

But it is at that time when Piali Pasha, taking advantage of a resupplying trip by our fleet, manages to escape the blocking at Alexandria and shows with a big fleet at the costs of Crete. The defense fleet of ten galleys is instantly sunk. Everything is in danger. Piali could break the blocking of the straits in the Aegean. He could transport a huge army to any place in our undefended rear guard. But Agostino Barbarigo manages to reach him before he can depart Crete and soundly defeats him once more. Piali Pasha retreats back to Alexandria, and is blocked again inside the port.
 

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With the end of the Crimean campaign, the African campaign is given the green light. An elite army is assembled in Constantinople under command of Bragadino, carefully designed for the operation. It has a good amount of cavalry to fight in the desert, enough infantry for an assault if it comes to that, and as much artillery as practical, bringing the total size of the army up to what Alexandria is capable of supporting while under blockade.

Some naval battles delay the landing of Bragadino, and it won't be until the summer of 1562 that the siege of Alexandria is established. Fortunately, only small Turkish detachments are detected in the area. Perhaps we can achieve some of our goals after all. Bragadino shows his value again, and in just two months captures Alexandria, before the Turks had the time to react.

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The army is reorganized, and Bragadino leaves most of the infantry and cavalry behind and follows the course of the Nile South to low supply Cataract. When the siege is established, the fleet in Cyprus informs that a medium size army under command of Grand Vizier Sokolli is coming to rescue Egypt.

Cataract falls in three months. By then Sokolli must be crossing the Sinai peninsula. We expect him to attack in Alexandria across the Nile, and we are not too worried. The fleet could rescue our forces there, and Bragadino can easily conquer two provinces before the Ottomans can complete the siege of one. If we can conquer all our target provinces, we will complete our negotiations before the Ottomans can recover a single one.

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This is when we get the best offer ever from Suleyman. He offers seven provinces, including Alexandria. It is an extremely tempting offer, but the Doge decides to stick with the goals voted by the senators. They are wise men that know that our country could fall due to excessive success.

But when Sokolli reaches Egypt, he surprises us by turning South into Nile. Damm him! We see all our plans shattered. Bragadino will not be able to hold such attack. The army in Alexandria has to cross two provinces and the river to get to Nile. They will never arrive in time. There is only a desperate thing that we can attempt. We know that Sokolli travels slow, and must have cannons, so we send only the cavalry. For almost a month we hold our breath. This battle will decide the war.

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Sokolli arrives first. Bragadino holds better than we expected, but the morale of the Venetians after the desert campaign is lower. Carlec, on command of the reinforcements manages to cross the Nile and fall on the rear guard of the Turks. The battle changes course and finally Sokolli accepts his defeat and retreats to Egypt. Less than a month later Nile has been conquered by Bragadino. The military goals have been achieved after 4 years of war. It is time for the negotiations.
 

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Fodoroni, in Alexandria, had been given full powers to negotiate the peace with Grand Vizier Sokolli in Cairo. He reviews his arguments. Against the Ottoman Empire, Venice has won 42 battles and lost 9, and we control 11 Ottoman provinces, but most of them of low value, for a total of 92% victory. Against Crimea we hold a 100% victory. Fodoroni tries to get a separate deal, provinces from the Ottomans, and money from Crimea. He requests Alexandria, Cataract and Nile, a 52% offer, but Sokolli refuses.

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Fodoroni is aware that he must finish the war before the Ottoman armies reorganize and recover the Egyptian provinces. More Venetian victories will add nothing but increase our casualties. He decides to be less greedy, and the next month he sends the same request but including the Crimeans in the peace deal. This time Sokolli accepts. Three new provinces, one of them with a center of trade, have been added to the Venetian Republic. We also hold a port in the Red Sea. The spice trade is now secured. We just need now to control the spices in origen to cut the middleman, and to prevent the Portuguese from selling cheaper.

A month later Fodoroni is taking a drink in the terrace of an old palace turned into the Venetian Governor residence. Not much has changed in the old city with its mixture of races and religions. Fodoroni is sure that sooner or later there will be trouble in Alexandria. Marcantonio Bragadino is making his way back to Alexandria through the desert, and his presence will give security to the new Venetian provinces. Fodoroni wants to go back to Venice. He had already missed the celebrations for the victory. But a galley that was entering at that moment the port of Alexandria was going to change all his plans. It carried an urgent message from the Signoria destined to him. The unthinkable had happened...
 

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Treason!. Austria, Bavaria, and Berg had declared war to Venice. We could not enjoy even a month of peace. How could this be? The Austrians were supposed to be friendly with Venice. Venice never did anything wrong to them. Even paid them good money a few years ago when the economy was doing well. Those miserables had waited until Venice was at its lowest, exahusted from the long war against the enemies of Christendom, with her armies dispersed far away from home.

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Fodoroni did not lose his time. Recruitment was ordered in Italy, South of the Po that offered some protection. The armies in the Balkans were immediately dispatched home. Massimiliano Pesaro, in Bosnia, was the first to arrive, when the Austrians were assaulting the walls of Milan. He went with his 16,000 men to Steiermark, lightly defended by 3,000 Austrians. But once again our army was defeated by a numerically inferior army and had to retreat.

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And this is the situation right before Christmas 1563. Not very good indeed. Bragadino is on his way to the gulf of Venice, embarked with his cannons in a fast fleet of transports and warships.

Note: the armies have no names assigned because upon loading they will randomly received new commanders. Also upon loading Massimiliano Pesaro will lose command of the army in Istria, but not for lack of performance, as it is nobody's fault that our armies lack morale. On the other hand they are incredible good besiegers, as we have seen.
 

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October, 1562

My dearest Doge and fellow countryman--I am well aware that no one man wins a war so thus we all, patriotic Venetians all, can loudly boast of standing in the way of the infidel and his attempt to dominate all of Europe. While I am now preparing to come home for a long rest, [yet vague rumors still reach my ears for which I have dispatched a speedy courier, one I hope that has reached the Senate before now], I thought it best to send you a report from Varna, Rumelia where I was dispatched.
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Do not allow the peaceful picture of the Cathedral here in Varna lit with candles to confuse you. When I prepared to depart, with my friend Cristoforo Moro, the city was still in a state of disrepair. However, we have endeavored to demonstrate to the local populace how warm and friendly our rule would be while negotiations were going on. I will tell you Doge that in the days before our departure, many prominent citizens arrived to entreat us to stay. Their stories of the terror under the Ottomans are too numerous to list here, but suffice it to say, they are horrendous.

I do not find it strange, then to discover upon reading the report of Capitano Fodoroni that my family played such a prominent role in this war. Of course fortune smiles upon the bold, but those who read our history know of my family's long desire to rid Europe of the infidel. Thus, how can one say it to be merely coincidence that not only were my forces personally successful here in Rumelia, but those of my kinsman played such a crucial role in Egypt aiding Bragadino.

We arrived in Varna, the capital of Rumelia on the 23rd of July, 1559 with an army of roughly 7000 infantry and 3000 cavalry. The sea passage down to the Straights had been rough and approximately 1500 troops were unfit for battle when the invasion began. Of course our initial movement into the province was aided by the presence of the troops of Francesco Morosini. In September a somewhat disorganized force of 4000 Turks freshly arriving from the outer regions of the province were defeated easily. I believe that force eventually waged war (and lost) against Morosini.
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But, at the end of September, 5000 Turks arrived from Wallachia, fresh off their victory against the King of Minor's troops, crossed the Danube. This was a bitter contest as my forces were working not only to fight the enemy but prepare for a possible invasion from the Ottomans on the coast. Word also reached our ears of Morosini's defeat, thus we were thirdly concerned of advancing infidel troops from the north. However, by the glory of St. Mark, we were able to defeat them in a narrow contest and each army lost about 1000 men, in your case mostly infantry as usual. Out here on the battlefield, I am even more aware of the outcomes of my own vote to push our forces to be more defensive minded. That has helped our siege ability, I am sure, but it has had some impact on our morale. When I return, I will be calling for us to improve the quality of our troops while still maintaining our defensive standing!

We assumed all was well and continued to siege Varna throughout October, but in the late days of the month, at the time when we were preparing to celebrate All Saint's Day (and of course the previous nights revelry), word came to us of a massive army, equally as strong as ours, again preparing to cross the river. By now, word had come to my ears of our initial struggles in the Balkans (I hesitate to say failure, though I wonder if some Senators or leaders preceived disgust with the Balkans might have played some role in their preparation), so I began to fear that perhaps my forces might be the last of Vienna's. We fortunately had received word that the brave Cristoforo Moro was arriving by fleet from his attack on Smyrna. Daily we scanned the waters for our fleet, yet it was not coming.

November 5, the Turks came with a vengeance. These were obviously veteran troops, perhaps an army of 40,000 [it is, of course, hard to count these things]. For days we held them off, but it became clear to me that our morale was slipping. Eagerly, I and my captains walked the lines, imporing our troops for the glory of Venice, indeed for Christandom, yet we all knew that our fate hung upon the winds. If we lost this battle, the siege would fall and perhaps the entire war would collapse.

November 12, St. Mark be praised! While we looked to the sea, it was across the mountains that we heard the sound of familiar trumpets! It was Moro with his all 8,000 of his Stradioti cavalry.
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After Smyrna, his forces had returned to Constantinople and then were stationed in Bulgaria (neutral in the war) as reinforcements. The infidel had not checked that approach and were now caught between my forces near the capital and those of Moro racing across the fields of war. The arrival of Moro was crucial to raise the morale and win the battle; indeed, perhaps it is he who deserves all praise for our victory. That battle was horrible with the loses over 15,000 Turks (in my haste of course my secretaries may have counted too proudly) and over 2,000 Venetians, most among my troops I believe.

Thankfully, after that, as the siege proceeded undisturbed. I believe this to be due to our success in our second attempt in the Balkans and of course due to the bravery of our great fleet, holding the Straights througout! Had Suleyman or any of his Asian forces crossed the Straights, we would not have held.

Of course, in the end, I am aware that this time I was fortunate. Perhaps in a future engagement, I or my descedents will fare much worse. However, in this engagement with our hated enemy, as one wise man wrote to me personally, "perhaps regiments leaded by Cornaro instill fear in the enemy" (at least those of the Turks).

Meryoni Cornaro
 

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Capitano Generale Fodoroni felt uncomfortable with the Austrian war. He knew that the Austrians could easily put 80,000 men in the field, and the Bavarians 40,000. He would hit the support limit by fielding 65,000 men, half the size of the enemy, as he was not prepared to recall the garrisons from the islands and Egypt in the midst of such revolt risk. The Austro-Venetian border was made only by two provinces, Tirol and Steiermark. He had to try to force his numerically inferior, lower morale armies through this bottleneck or the war would be lost. In addition he had several months disadvantage due to the treason of Emperor Ferdinand.

Fodoroni had suggested the Doge that the signing of a separate peace with the Bavarians would greatly benefit the campaign. Doge Priule considered our past relations with Bavaria. Venice has already been at war twice with Bavaria. The first in 1425, when they were allied to Gian Maria Visconti of Milan and we declared war to him winning Mantua. The second in 1472, when their ally Tyrol declared war on us and we gained Lombardia. But we were also allied to them in 1520, when France and Burgundy declared war to us, and they fought side by side with us. They were our allies until 1531. Our last royal marriage was broken in 1558, when Albretch V accepted vassalage to the Emperor. In consideration to our past alliance, Doge Girolamo Priule offered Duke Albretch a quarter of a million ducats [250D], but he rejected it. With that money we raise instead 14,000 men in arms in Firenze and Dalmatia. An amount that we can easily lose against the armies of Albretch during the war.

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The armies of Aureo Barbarigo and Ernesto Gandolfi have already assembled at Istria, and await orders. The fleet of Vice Admiral Agostino Barbarigo brings Major General Marcantonio Bragadino to Firenze, to take command of the Western front. Coronel HoChiMinh is stationed in Romagna. But with the new year, the Austrians do not wait for the reinforcements and launch another assault on Milan. HoChiMinh decides to help the besieged city. Despite his regiment being one month sort on their basic training and numerically inferior, he crosses the Po river and falls on the Austrians just when their assault has been repelled by the brave Milanese. The situation is dangerous. 15,000 Bavarians are descending the Alps towards Milan. The battle must be won before they arrive. And it is won. The Austrians retire towards Tirol, and HoChiMinh, after resupplying Milan, leaves the field to the Bavarians and retreats across the Po back to Romagna. The Bavarians do not stop in Milan and continue to besiege Piemonte. This aborts Bragadino's plans of disembarking in Piemonte to proceed through Savoy, thanks to our treaty of military access, and attack Alsace. Instead Bragadino goes to Romagna taking command of HoChiMinh's forces. By then the Austrians are besieging Milan again with 42,000 men, and send 30,000 men to help in the siege of Piemonte by the Bavarians.

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Things are not going well in the Western front, with Piemonte and Lombardia under siege. To make matters worse, Alexandria falls into rebel hands. In the Eastern front, Aureo Barbarigo is given the green light to move into Steiermark followed 10 days later by Ernesto Gandolfi. They will defeat two small inexperienced Austrian armies, and while Gandolfi stays behind to further humiliate Austrian recruits, Aureo Barbarigo crosses the Danube into Presburg. Emperor Ferdinand is old and he has made a mistake by leaving his back door open unguarded. Soon a victorious Ernesto Gandolfi will follow into Odenburg.

Marcantonio Bragadino takes advantage that the Austrians are bussy in Lombardia and Piemonte to besiege Tirol. But new Austrian armies are coming from Steiermark. Fortunately we have stablished a chain of reinforcements also, and Matteo Vendramin will arrive in the midle of the battle, saving the day.

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The siege of Piemonte has been very difficult for our enemies. 10,000 Bavarians and 17,000 Austrians, almost half of their forces there, have died of attrition before Torino surrenders in July, 1564, almost one year into the war. But they can afford the loses. We also lose men to attrition in Tirol, where enemy forces take us over the support limit. Bragadino, Vendramin and Lando will still defeat a second attempt to push them out of Tirol by 13,000 Austrians coming from Steiermark, but they will finally be defeated and forced back to Mantua by the conquerors of Piemonte, when the siege was starting to look promising.

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The situation does not look too good in the Autum of 1564, with Piemonte in enemy hands, and Lombardia about to fall, and our Western armies in the retreat. Miozozny, on command of a new regiment attacking Steiermark to force his way into the Northern part of Austria, has also been defeated and retreats back to Istria. But then Odenburg falls into the hands of Ernesto Gandolfi. Ferdinand Habsburg has died during the summer, and Maximilian II is inexperienced. He feels in danger in Vienna and recalls the army besieging Milan, just when our city could not hold much longer. Milan has been saved twice. Ernesto Gandolfi is given order to proceed to Moravia, deep into enemy territory, while Meryoni Cornaro embarks to rescue Torino from the dirty Bavarian hands.

Fodoroni is now more optimistic. After one year, the war is now a tie. The disadvantage is still there and the raising revolt risk does not allow for much time. The Turks have also disembarked 30,000 men in Rumelia, bringing their estimated European forces to 40,000 men. Too many to allow them to launch a surprise attack.

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It is the new year of 1565. The Austrians are trying to recover Odenburg, but Presburg surrenders to Aureo Barbarigo. He is ordered to Erz, North of Bohemia. The situation in the Eastern front is very good. The Austrian offensive in the Western front has been suspended. Maximilian does not know how to respond to our strategy. Bragadino has decided to resucitate his plan of attacking Alsace through Savoy, and Miozozny is trying for the third time to infiltrate Austria through Steiermark when the Austrian army in Tirol is recalled back to Vienna. Bragadino decides to attack Tirol again, as this constitutes the only price we can expect to win in this war. But Miozozny is repelled once more back to Istria. How frustrating.

When Bragadino arrives to Tirol, he defeats a small Austrian army, but he sees 38,000 Bavarians coming towards him. The conquest of Tirol is very difficult to achive if Albretch does not stop sending his armies through it. Since the enemy has almost double amout of soldiers Bragadino attempts to flee, but he is caught still in the Alps. Bragadino is a good leader, and the Bavarians are not as strong as the Austrians. He is able to turn the battle, but the resulting attrition from so many foreign troops in Tirol is devastating to his army.

Maximilian finally sends his first ambassador. He offers 123[,000] ducats to end hostilities. But Meryoni Cornaro is about to recover Piemonte, and Ernesto Gandolfi is about to conquer Moravia, so the offer is rejected. The Doge is saving money for a counter-offer to Albretch of Bavaria.

And when Cornaro recovers Piemonte, Doge Girolamo Priule offers Albretch of Bavaria 200[,000] ducats. The total offer is worth +9% in terms of total warscore, but Albretch again rejects it. Soon Gandolfi conquers Moravia, and he is ordered to Bohemia.

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A new ambassador arrives from Maximilian. He raises his offer to 153[,000] ducats in war indemnities. The Doge gives a long thought to the peace proposal. Venice has been at war for two years against the Austrians, six years since the last peace. The war is going well, but war exhaustion has rised already to 4%. The Austrians have 85,000 men, and the Bavarians 30,000. We have 71,000 being slightly above the support limit. Soon Odenburg will be lost. But the main problem is that the siege of Tirol still resists us. The Bavarians are about to push Bragadino out of Tirol once more. There are absolutely no guarantees that a year from now Tirol will be ours and without it all the rest is moot. Soon Austria will be at Land level 14, and then we will be in trouble to win even against small armies, and they have some huge ones.

To Fodoroni it is painful to leave the matter unresolved in the battlefield. But it would be worse to have to concede defeat a year from now and have to pay the Austrians our hard earned ducats. In that case the Doge would have some hard explaining to do at the Consiglio in front of an angry mob of senators. The Doge even considered the possibility of offering a symbolic amount to Austria, to retain a casus belli against Bavaria, for a second round in five years, but Austria has never been in our list of enemies, and our reputation is rather bad, resulting in a very expensive stability, and new wars of agression will lower our reputation further. Perhaps the Austrians will ask for a re-match in a better time for us.

The war has been expensive. The Doge invoking the emergency clause, overrode the aproved investments, and has spent half of the budget in Land military research, and the other half in obtaining funds for the war. We have recruited 22,000 infantry and 11,000 cavalry for 682[,000] ducats, and our casualties amount to 20,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry. Piemonte, Lombardia and Mantua were looted. We have the consolation that the war was worse for our enemies. The Austrians must have lost about 25,000 men, and the Bavarians 20,000, and six Austrian provinces were looted. A month after the war Bavaria went bankrupt. Oh well, we could not know it. This increases their chances of being annexionated in three years, when their first ten years of vassalage are past.

Capitano Generale Fodoroni
 
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I am going to start now the historic series on the war of Cyprus and the battle of Lepanto. I hope it proves a good reading for those interested. For those that are not that interested in these historic aspect, you can just skip the colored posts, and perhaps just look at the pictures and read their commentaries to learn a little about the people and the events that we are seeing in our AAR.

We are going to see some of the characters that are showing up in our AAR: Our mighty leaders Marcantonio Bragadino and Agostino Barbarigo have an appointment with fate. On the Ottoman side we will get to know naval leaders Piali Pasha and Uluch Ali, and land leader Lala Mustafa. Political characters include Selim II, Nurbanu, Sokolli, Doge Loredano, King Felipe, Pope Pius V, and some lesser known characters that nevertheless played an important role in the events.

I hope it contributes to your enjoyement of our AAR. Since I am not a historian, feel free to report any mistake you might spot by PM. If you would like to discuss these historic posts, I oppened some time ago a thread on the 1419-1795 history of Venice here.
 

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The Fifth Veneto-Turkish war. The war of Cyprus


00Cyprus.jpg

"A race advancing on the East must start with Cyprus. Alexander, Augustus, Richard and Saint Louis took that line. A race advancing on the West must start with Cyprus. Sargon, Ptolemy, Cyrus, Haroun-al-Rashid took this line."
W. Hepworth Dixon: British Cyprus, 1887.

Reminder:
1425-1430 First Veneto-Turkish war: The war of Thessalonike.
1463-1479 Second Veneto-Turkish war: Loss of Scodra, Kroja, Negroponte and Lemnos.
1499-1503 Third Veneto-Turkish war: Loss of Modon, Coron, Lepanto, Navarino, and Durazzo.
1537-1540 Fourth Veneto-Turkish war: Loss of Monemvasia, Napoli di Romania, the interior of Dalmatia, and the Aegean Islands.

The war of Cyprus basically concluded with the battle of Lepanto. However I am going to write a more extensive issue of the battle of Lepanto to honor Miguel de Cervantes on the 400 anniversary of the publication of "El Quixote de la Mancha" in 1606. The battle of Lepanto is therefore only mentioned here and not told or analyzed.

1. The antecedents

It is hard to define the causes of the war of Cyprus since everyone seems to tell a different story depending of the point of view they adopt. The facts are that Selim and part of his advisors wanted to acquire Cyprus, and that Venice, very conscious of her own weakness, did nothing to provoke the Ottomans. Let's review what was going on in those years so you can make your own opinion.

The Venetians knew very well that sooner or later the Ottomans would attack Cyprus, as they had attacked Corfu and taken from them most of their possessions in the previous three wars. The Venetians, therefore, sent to Cyprus, about the year 1550, the famous military engineer Giovanni Girolamo Sammichele, to complete the fortifications of Famagusta according to the latest theories of defence. Sammichele built the great rampart along the sea from the arsenal to the sea castle, entirely surrounding the latter with the new wall. The rampart was thence extended along the northern side of the city to the great Martinengo bastion at the north-west corner. The Martinengo bastion, the crowning feature of Sammichele's work, is one of the finest existing specimens of military architecture of the sixteenth century. Planted on a rocky eminence, the guns upon it could weep not only the rock-hewn ditch on both sides but also the rocky slopes down to the sea and far inland. It was so strong that the Turks never attempted to attack it when they besieged the city in 1571. Sammichele died at Famagusta in 1559 before his work was completed.

01famagusta.jpg


Famagusta was a very strong city, as the Genoese had demonstrated by holding it from the Lusignan for 90 years. Sammichele made it even stronger, strengthening the citadel in the port, building the sea wall between the citadel and the Arsenal tower (at the left), building the Martinengo bastion (arrowhead shape at the right or North), and completing and improving all the ramparts.
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About ten years later, another famous Venetian engineer Giulio Savorgnano, was sent to Cyprus to advise on the defences of Nicosia. He reported that the mediaeval walls built by King Pierre II were useless against artillery, and was then commissioned to fortify the city according to the latest ideas. Savorgnano, with the help of the provveditore, Francesco Barbaro, designed the immense earthworks and ditch, about three miles in circuit, with eleven bastions faced with masonry, the remains of which may still be seen. The medieval wall and ditch, being outside the new ramparts, had to be levelled so as not to afford shelter to the attack. But, Savorgnano did not remain to complete his designs. He was recalled to Venice to meet a more pressing danger, and left the work to be completed by the new and incompetent provveditore, Niccolò Dandolo.

02NicosiaComp.jpg


Giulio Savorgnano had to deal with the intrinsic defensive weakness of Nicosia, placed on flat terrain, and therefore very susceptible to attacks as history had previously demonstrated. His response was an immense fortification effort that can be best seen from the air, and even shows in satellite images of the region. The entire city was surrounded by a circle from which eleven bastions protruded, each with the name of one of the most significative Venetian families in Cyprus, from the North and clockwise: Barbaro, Loredano, Flatro, Carafia, Podocataro, Constanza, D'Avila, Tripoli, Roccas, Mula, and Quirini.
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The fortification of Cyprus was resented by Sultan Suleyman, who considered that Venice had no right to fortify against himself a part of his own dominions. Although the Ottomans had only set foot on the island to plunder it, the Sultan considered himself the heir of the suzeraneity over Cyprus previously enjoyed by the Bey of the Mameluks, and the Ottoman sultan received since 1517 the payment of the Cyprus tribute by Venice, who did not want to provoke a confrontation.

Selim II had inherited the Hungarian war from his father when he became Sultan in 1566, and it continued for another year until it was clear to both parts that nothing substantial could be achieved, so at the beginning of 1568 an eight year truce was signed between Selim and Maximilian. Since the times he was just the heir, the conquest of Cyprus had been Selim's pet project. He was supported in that by his advisor Joseph Nasi, citing as argument the need to put an end to Christian piracy. Indeed Cyprus was a tempting target, since it was very rich and produced the famous wines of which Selim was very fond. But Suleyman and Sokolli had not felt the need to conquer Cyprus, so piracy could not have been so bad, and besides, Venice was already paying tribute for Cyprus to the Sultan. Certainly Selim granted a great importance to the issue of the wine, since his first edict was directed to make it more readily available, and he had granted his friend Joseph Nasi the monopoly on wine imports from the Black Sea. After the ascent of Selim to the Sultanate the posture of the members of the Divan (the Ottoman high council) was split. Sokolli was alone defending peace with Venice, although the pro-Venetian influence of Nurbanu, bas kadin (favourite) and mother of the heir, cannot be discounted, although she was in bad terms with Sokolli at that time. In favor of the war were Joseph Nasi, friend and advisor, Lala Mustafa, who was the army commander, and to whom Selim was indebted for his help against his brother, and Piali Pasha, the kapudan pasha (admiral), who had a lot to gain from a victorious naval war after the failed assault on Malta in 1565. The war party was helped by the maximun religious authority of the Ottomans, seyhulislam Abu'l Suud, who issued a fatwa decreeing that it was righteous to break a peace treaty to recover the lands formerly held by muslims, as was the case of Cyprus, in muslim hands between 654 and 683, and where Umm Haram (Hala Sultan in Turkish), a cousin of the Prophet, fell from her mule and broke her neck and was buried.

The most controversial role is that of Joseph Nasi, the most famous jew of his time, and to whom intense propaganda, both in favour and against, has distorted very much. He is worth a small detour.

Joseph Nasi was born as Joao Miguez in Portugal in a Jewish family that fled Spain to Portugal and converted there to Christianity in their public life while continued being Jewish in their private life (Marranos). His aunt Gracia had married into the Mendes family, that controlled the biggest share of the Portuguese spice trade, buying from the King of Portugal and selling into the rest of Europe. They also had big interests in the commerce of jewels. In 1536, wanting to escape Portuguese Inquisition with the business she had inherited from her husband, Gracia, her daughter and Joao migrated to Antwerp, but further Jewish prosecution there forced them to move to Venice in 1544. But in Venice, Gracia was accused by her sister of being a Judaizer (false convert) that wanted to leave for the Ottoman Empire with her riches. She was arrested in 1546 and her property embargoed. Joao appealed to Sultan Suleiman at Constantinople, through the influential court physician Moses Hamon, a Sephardic Jew who brought the story to Suleiman in hopes of marrying his son to Gracia's daughter. Suleiman, who wished the transfer of the Mendes business emporium to Turkey, sent an envoy to Venice requesting that Gracia be allowed to travel immediately to Constantinople. Two years, however, elapsed before the negotiations with the Republic were completed and Gracia was released in 1549. She finally travelled to Constantinople in 1553. She was followed the next year by Joao. Here he changed his name to Joseph Nasi, got circumcised, and married his cousin Reyna, the daughter of Gracia, thus securing her fortune. Through his letters of introduction Joseph soon gained influence at the court of Sultan Suleiman. In the struggle for the throne between Suleiman's two sons, Selim, prefect of the province of Kutaya, and Bayazid, the younger but far more talented, Joseph from the beginning adopted Selim's cause, the sultan's favourite, also supported by his instructor, the powerful Lala Mustafa. In the decisive battle at Konia between the two rivals, Bayazid was defeated. He escaped to Persia, and was there murdered with his four sons. After this success, Selim made Joseph a member of his guard of honor, while Suleiman made him Lord of Tiberias in Palestine, to be used exclusively for Jewish colonization. From his failed attempts at this colonization, he is credited as the first zionist in history.

03nasi.jpg


The Miguez family managed quite well to get hold of the huge Mendes fortune. Gracia Miguez married Francisco Mendes and when he died in 1536 she was named administrator of half of the fortune in the name of her infant child Reyna. The same year, Francisco's brother, Diogo Mendes, owner of the other half, married Brianda Miguez, Gracia's younger sister. When Diogo Mendes dies in 1542, Gracia manages to be named administrator of the whole fortune. In 1546 Brianda denounces her sister Gracia to the Venetian authorities, probably hoping to recover her late husband share, but only manages to cause further loses to the Mendes fortune in Venice and France. After Gracia and his nephew Joseph Nasi, previously Joao Miguez, move to Constantinople, in 1554, Joseph marries his cousin Reyna, securing the Mendes fortune in the Miguez family. Since the cousins did not manage to have children, in the end the money was confiscated by the sultan when Joseph died in 1579.
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And so the events leading to the war started in 1566, when an Ottoman fleet of 80 galleys under Piali Pasha (Kapudan Pasha or first Admiral) attacked the Genoese island of Chios and the Aegean islands of the Duchy of Naxos, nominally independent but in the Venetian esphere of influence. They fell easily, as Venice and Genoa were in no condition to confront the Ottoman Empire and could not come to their aid. In Chios, the rule of the Giustiniani was terminated, in Naxos the Dukes of the house of Crispo came to an end when Jacopo IV was deposed.

04massaGiusti.jpg


The island of Chios was conquered by Venetian Pietro Giustiniani in 1208 in the aftermath of the fourth crusade. The Venetian Giustinian family claimed descent from Byzantine emperor Justinian through his sons Marco and Angelo, exiled under emperor Tiberius. In 1346 the island was conquered by the Genoese who placed it under control of a commercial enterprise or Maona, whose members took the name of Giustiniani in 1362 after the palace where they lived. The island was prosperous due to the mastic (resin) trade, monopoly of the Giustiniani. In 1415 they became tributary of the Ottoman. The decadence of Genoa precipitated the end of the Giustiniani in Chios, when in 1558 the Genoese Doge negotiated the transfer of the debt of Genoa with the Ottomans to the island enterprise. The Giustiniani were unable to meet the demands, and the same fleet of Piali Pasha of 80 galleys sent to take control of Naxos, stopped first at Chios. Although the island surrendered peacefully, it was sacked anyway, and the Giustiniani taken prisoners to Constantinople. Those younger than 12 were force converted and conscripted into the Janissary. Twenty one youngsters between 12 and 16 years old were demanded abdication of their faith, three accepted and were circumcised, the other eighteen refused and were tortured and killed on September 6, 1566. They were later canonized. The adults were interned in Kaffa, Crimea, where many died. The survivors were later released upon intercession by Charles IX of France. This picture, "Il massacro dei Giustiniani a Chios", by Francesco Solimena is found in the Museo di Capodimonte (Napoli), while a fresco copy by Francesco de Mura is at the Galleria di Palazzo Rosso in Genoa.
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But the expedition to Chios had another unexpected effect, and Piali Pasha was removed as Kapudan Pasha in 1568 under the accusation of having retained for himself an unfair part of the booty of Chios. Nevertheless he kept command in the imperial fleet but he would be fifth in command at Lepanto, a very important issue. Muezzinzade Ali Pasha, who had been educated in the palace, and was married to a half-sister of Selim would finally be named Kapudan Pasha in his place. Muezzinzade Ali Pasha had previously been a commader of the Janissaries but he retained the more experienced Piali Pasha and Pertev Pasha as his viziers (naval advisors).

Selim then rewarded Joseph Nasi with the Duchy of Naxos. Selim also granted him the monopoly on wines imported into Turkey by way of the Black Sea, said to have brought him a net income of 15,000 ducats annually. In addition, he obtained important trading privileges in Poland. Through his business and his influential position at the Porte, Joseph Nasi created a network of spies and informers throughout Europe, whose importance should not be dismissed lightly.

It is said, although not confirmed, that at some point in the past, Selim had promised Joseph Nasi the title of Governor of Cyprus. It is clear however that he did expect such concession, to complete his governorship of Naxos and his wine concessions. To that, we must add his personal grunge with Venice, that although was not by far one of the worst prosecutors of jews, had indeed prosecuted his family and refused some requests that he had directed to the Signoria to improve the jewish situation there.

In 1568 the Moriscos in Spain rebelled against the increased attempts to assimilate them. For a long time they had resisted hoping for a rescue by their brothers in faith from the other side of the strait, and they had been led to believe that the growing power of the unstoppable Ottoman empire would help them recover al-Andalus. Indeed Grand Vizier Sokolli was their champion, and defended a war against Spain in the Divan, while seeing the war against Venice as an unnecessary distraction. The moment for the rebellion was well chosen because all the experienced troops were in the Low Countries under the Duke of Alba and it took Spain one year to gather enough forces to deal with the enemy within. The rebellion was very bloody on both parts and the pirates of the Barbary coast, under Ottoman rule, supplied guns, volunteers and liberated convicts to fight for the rebels, but the military help from the Ottoman empire never materialized. In the spring of 1569, a Moorish delegation travelled to Constantinople to request the help of Selim. They obtained great sympathy and vague promises. Left alone, the Moriscos were finally defeated in 1571. The rebellion convinced the Spanish Habsburgs that the assimilation was impossible, and so the expulsion of the Moriscos became a question of time.

05moriscos.jpg


Right after the conquest of Granada in 1492, the moriscos became a problem for the kings of Spain. Their rebellions were constant, and the state of permanent war against the muslim corsairs of the Barbary cost and the Ottomans did not allow the time and conditions for a gradual absorption as was planned initially. Sometimes a simple unfounded rumor was enough to trigger a morisco rebellion, and soon they were considered the enemy within, even if the moriscos from Castille and Aragon were for the most part quite pacific, unlike the moriscos from Granada, fanaticized by 200 years of frontier war.
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On September 13, 1569, a great fire broke out in the Arsenal of Venice and a great explosion destroyed numerous houses and palaces and four churches, leaving the Arsenal in shambles. Sabotage was suspected but never proved, and some point, without any proof, to Nasi's network of spies. In any case, Nasi learned of this almost immediately through his network of informers, although he was led to believe that most of the Venetian fleet had been destroyed, while in fact only four galleys were lost. Nasi urged Selim to carry out his long-cherished plan for the conquest of Cyprus, to take advantage of a weakened enemy. Selim, who was still in need of the conquest that should inaugurate the reign of every Ottoman sultan, finally allowed himself to be convinced by the pro-war party in the Divan. Sokolli influence could only manage to convince Selim of addressing the Signoria with a request for a peaceful surrender of Cyprus under menace of war, that was delivered by ambassador Kubad to the signoria in February 1570. The letter cited the piracy in Cyprus that disrupted Ottoman trade routes and pilgrimage to Mecca as the reasons for the demand.

Venice could not accept such demand, and her response arrived to the Porte in April: "Venice is firmly resolved to defend her legitimate possession of the island of Cyprus, trusting in the justice of God." This answer prompted Selim to order the inprisonment of the Venetian ambassador Marcantonio Barbaro. Meanwhile, 90 galleys and 3,000 men had been assembled at Zara (Albania). The troops were under command of condottiero Girolamo Martinengo known as Sword of Gold for his inclination to plunder, that made him one of the favorite condottieri to the mercenaries. But command of the fleet was given to Francesco Zane, an indecisive man that did not dare to go alone to Cyprus and went to Corfu to wait for the fleets that the Pope and the King of Spain had offered, losing a precious time to reinforce the island before the arrival of the Turks.

06cyprusloss.jpg


Given the disparity in size and resources between the contenders, and the position and distance of Cyprus to Venice, without Venetian naval and military superiority Cyprus was lost from the start. The Venetian navy was afraid of venturing alone far from Corfu and Crete, given the Ottoman naval superiority in the last 70 years. Also the Ottoman army was at least 20 times bigger than the Venetian army. Except for a miracle, Cyprus was doomed.
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Already in March and April two Ottoman fleets have made to sea, and a month later, on May 16, 1570, a fleet under Piali Pasha's command, joined them with the bulk of the forces and went to conquer the island. The Ottoman resources were far bigger than the Venetians: 126 galleys, 25 smaller warships, 80 transports and 50,000 men with horses and artillery. The war of Cyprus had started.
 
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2. The conquest of Nicosia

While the war preparations were hurried in 1569, the Venetian diplomacy worked in two fronts, trying to reach a peaceful agreement that failed, and trying to obtain for the Republic the help of the other Christian States at war with the Sultan. Pope Pius V (Michele Ghislieri, from Bosco in Alessandria) was very receptive to Venice problems, and immediately allowed the Signory to levy a tenth on the property of the Venetian clergy for the purposes of the war. The Pope saw the opportunity for one of his most ardent desires, the organization of a Holy League of Christian nations against the Turk. The Italians had paid a high price to the Mediterranean war of Suleyman, and Pius had supervised the improvement of the defensive fortifications in the Papal States. It was now the time to go on the offensive against Selim. Pius did not lack allies. The Knights of Malta were in his debt for the money donated for the rebuilding of their fortifications after the siege of Malta of 1565, and Cosimo de Medici, recently invested Grand Duke of Tuscany by him, was willing to provide his recently created naval order of St. Stefan, with his twelve new galleys as the Pope's fleet. The Signoria authorized their ambassador in Rome to enter the negotiations for such a League, but the negotiations proceed slowly. The Venetians were anxious about the consequences of entering such a league, as their experience had not been good with the previous one, and a peaceful solution was preferred. On the other hand Felipe II of Spain did not want to join the league and the participation of Spain was deemed essential for the league to succeed both in terms of ships, troops and financing. Pius V offered Felipe one million ducats in church exemptions, but still Felipe doubted. On one side it was going to be an expensive venture at a time when troubles were mounting both in the Low Countries and at home with the Moriscos rebellion. On the other hand, the necessary mutual confidence between Spain and Venice for the enterprise was lacking. Felipe was well aware that Venice would abandon the league when it no longer served a purpose to them, and use it only as a bargaining chip with the Sultan. But it did not escape to all of them that the loss of Cyprus would only serve the interest of the Turks, so they all agreed in providing help. Spain sent 60 ships under command of Gian Andrea Doria, Genoa one galley, the Pope paid for the 12 galleys that belonged to Tommaso de Medici of Florence and placed them under command of Marcantonio Colonna, three from Malta and three from Savoy. But the fleet did not have a unique command, nor had the parties agreed on any previous plan, and due to the delay of the Papal ships, the fleet did not leave until August 1570, to meet the Venetian fleet in Crete.

07Cosimo.jpg


The naval Order of Saint Stephen was created by Cosimo de Medici to commemorate the battle of Marciano, on Saint Stephen's day, August 2, 1554, when the Spanish and Fiorentines decisively defeated the French and Sienese, leading to the annexation of Siena by Tuscany. The headquarters of the knights were stablished at the Palazzo dei Cavalieri, built in Pisa in 1562 by Georgio Vasari, and the church of Saint Stephen next to it. The symbol of the Order is a red lanceolate lobed cross that the statue of Cosimo carries on the breast plate. The statue is at the Piazza dei Cavalieri, at the entrance to the Palazzo in Pisa. The 12 gallies of the Order constituted the Papal contingent.
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While the negotiations for a Holy League proceed from March 1570 to May 1571, the war started and the Ottoman fleet of Piali Pasha, after devastating the island of Tinos, that was nevertheless succesfully defended by Girolamo Paruta, arrived at Cyprus near Larnaca on July 1, 1570. There, Lala Mustafa Pasha, the Turkish commander, landed his men and guns at Limassol unopposed, and sent reconnoitring parties into the interior to discover the strength of the island. The Cypriots, who had no reason to love the Venetians, offered no opposition to the invaders, but supplied them with provisions, surrendering the stronghold of Leftari. At night, the Venetians entered the city and massacred the men, and disperssed the women and children in the mountains to set an example, exacerbating the dissafection of the Greek locals. Larnaca surrenders on the 4th of July, and Lala Mustafa waits there for the arrival of the whole of his troops, amounting to some 50,000 infantry, 2,500 cavalry, 30 pieces of heavy artillery and 50 smaller guns.

In Corfu, Francesco Zane sends an expedition to take the fortress of Margaritino (Margariti), a short distance inland from Parga, in the coast of Epiro, North of Prevesa. Sforza Pallavicini with 5,000 men and four cannons, after studying the defenses, decides to withdraw, despite the protests of the provveditore generale Sebastiano Venier, and returns to Corfu. On July 12, the fleet of Francesco Zane finally departed Corfu, but the Venetian fleet was hit by a serious pestilence losing many men. After being reinforced with the Cretan fleet of Marco Querini, they attacked the fortress of Braccio-di-Maina (Mani), at the Southernmost tip of the Peloponnesian penninsula, a region of difficult access by land, where they recruited the help of the local Greeks under direction of the Melissinoi brothers. The castle was destroyed because of the difficulty of keeping it. After this action they decide to go to Candia (Crete) for repairs and reinforcements, and to wait for the delayed promised fleets from Spain and the Pope, while the pestilence was still taking a heavy toll on the Venetian soldiers and sailors on board the fleet.

08maina.jpg


Mani, the Southernmost finger of the Peloponnesian penninsula, was (and still is) a poor isolated region that even the Turks did not bother to control tightly. It had several strongholds, and its main importance was that it was obligated pass to all maritime traffic before the opening of the Corynth channel. The reason that it was attacked by the Venetians was probably because they could, being halfway between Crete and Cephalonia, and lightly defended. The name Fortezza de Mania does not say much, as there were four castles in the region.
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Meanwhile, the Venetian commanders in Cyprus collected all their forces in the fortresses of Nicosia and Famagusta, with a small garrison in Kyrenia. The troops available in the island were far outnumbered by the Turks.*

Besides the Cypriot militia, there were about 3,000 regular infantry and 2,000 of the reinforcements sent with Girolamo Martinengo, who had died from the pestilence on the voyage, and was buried at Famagusta. The cavalry hardly amounted to 500, because the feudal nobles who were responsible for maintaining horses had been replacing them by the locally bred mules. Men of authority were lacking. The office of lieutenant-governor was vacant by the death of Lorenzo Bembo, and his successor had not arrived before the Turks invaded the island. The provveditore was Niccolò Dandolo, a man of weak character and unable to grapple with the situation. Astorre Baglioni, general of the militia, a strong and efficient officer, devoted himself to the completion of the defences of Nicosia. He also wished to oppose the Turks on the coast, but as his advice was overruled by the provveditore, he left Nicosia, and with his militia and Stradioti went to Famagusta.

09martinengo.jpg


This armour from Martinengo, at the Royal Armoury in Torino, is a good example of the kind of armor that the defenders wore.
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The Turkish commanders debated whether to attack first Famagusta or Nicosia. Lala Mustafa learned from a desertor of the dissensions between Niccolò Dandolo and his liutenants at Nicosia, and decided to take advantage of the enemies divissions. The Turkish army therefore marched to Nicosia without opposition and in July pitched their camp to the south-east of the city, on a high ground. The siege was undertaken in the approved method of those days. The first batteries were set up at a distance of about 300 paces from the ramparts, on a front of about a mile extending from the Paphos gate to the Famagusta gate, to attack the four southern bastions of the city.*The Turks raised four earthen forts with which to protect themselves against the artillery of the city, and to annoy its defenders. One was on the hill of St. Marina, 270 paces from the Podocataro bastion; one at St. Giorgio di Magnana; one on the little hill called Margariti, and the other on the chain of hills of Mandia.

Under cover of the fire from these batteries the besiegers occupied the old mediaeval ditch (which had not been completely filled in), and from there they pushed forward zigzag trenches which could not be enfiladed by the defenders on the ramparts. By this means they got within eighty paces of the ramparts, and there set up their second line of batteries from which for four days they bombarded the four bastions, Podocataro, Constanza, D'Avila and Tripoli. But, as this fire had no effect on the earthworks of the city, they drove trenches up to the counterscarp, the outer edge of the ditch, where they threw up parapets of earth and posted musketeers to drive the defenders from the walls. Under cover of this fire they drove deep trenches across the ditch, protected from the flanking fire of the defenders by ramparts constructed of earth and brushwood. By this means they reached the corners of the bastions and began to cut away the masonry so as to form a sloping approach by which to deliver an assault.

10NicosiaPinargenti.jpg



The siege of Nicosia in Pinargenti's map of 1573. I have written the names of all the bastions as a reference. The Turkish attack took place from the South, centered on the Podocatero, Constanza, D'Avila and Tripoli bastions. In the blank legend I have pasted an enlargement of the left corner that shows the destiny of those captured by the Turks. The lucky ones were hanged, while the unlucky ones were impaled. "The most rabid of all deaths" according to whitnesses, were the impaled could last three days before the liberating death would finally come.
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Meanwhile the defenders had not been idle, but the fire from the ramparts had not been able to stop the construction of trenches and batteries, nor were there sufficient troops in the city to enable them to make a counter-attack. Nevertheless, when the Turks had crossed the ditch and began to demolish the bastions, it was evident that a sortie must be made to destroy the works of the besiegers. The sortie, made at midday when the Turks were sleeping in the shade, had some temporary success. Two batteries were captured, but by scattering to collect loot the Venetians were unable to withstand the counter-attack of the Turks, and were driven back into the city. The defenders then gave up all idea of further sallies, inner lines of defence were hastily constructed across the four threatened bastions and messages were sent to Famagusta to ask for help. They were encouraged by reports that the Venetian fleet was coming to their aid and rejected the proposals made by Lala Mustafa to surrender on honourable conditions.

Due to the indecission of the fleet commanders, the defenders of Nicosia would not receive any help. Colombani, the survivor of the party sent to Famagusta for help met a refusal from Bragadino. Although Astorre Baglioni was willing to march to Nicosia, Bragadino knew that both cities would be lost if Famagusta was left unmanned. As in the siege of Malta, resistance behind strong walls was the only option against the vastly superior Ottoman army. There were 20 Turkish soldiers in the island for each defender. Nevertheless Baglioni would frequently hostigate the Turks with his cavalry, inflicting them numerous casualties, but unable to distract them from the siege.

11bastionnicosia.jpg


One of Nicosia bastions, as it remains today. Ironically, the Southern bastions attacked by the Turks are now in the hands of Cypriots, while the Northern bastions are kept by the Turks in the only divided city that remains in Europe. We can see the minaret from a mosque protruding from the background.
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The siege had now lasted for six weeks, the summer season was drawing to a close, for fifteen days the various attacks on the bastions had been repulsed with great loss of lives to the assailants. The diseases were also taking a heavy toll between the Turks and the morale was decreasing, so Lala Mustafa determined to make a great effort to take the city by assault. Piali Pasha was informed from Rhodes that the Venetian fleet was not likely to arrive owing to dissensions among the allies, and he ordered a hundred soldiers from each ship at Larnaca to go to Nicosia, increasing the troops in 20,000 more against the handful of defenders. The courage of the jannissaries was revived by the promise of rewards to those who should first cross the walls, and a general assault on four bastions was ordered. Before dawn on 9 September the Turks advanced to the attack. Scaling the walls of Constanza bastion while the defenders were still asleep, they made themselves masters of the bastion, killing its commander the Compte di Roccas and driving the defenders into the city square. The Tripoli bastion was also stormed, and three guns there were captured and turned upon the defenders in the square. Street by street the Turkish forced their way into the city. The last stand was made in the courtyard of the Palace, were Niccolò Dandolo and the last defenders finally surrendered when they were promised their lives would be respected, but they were immediately killed after surrendering. Eight days of pillage were decreed, the city plundered and the third palace of the Lusignans burned down, as the previous two ones had been destroyed by the Genoese and the Mameluks. The number of casualties of the terrible massacre is estimated at 20,000. Between those that surrendered and were killed was the bishop Francesco Contarini, while many youngs were enslaved and taken with the booty to the ships at Larnaca. One of the women destined to the harem, Amalda de Roccas, chose death to dishonor and managed to blow up the ship where she was held, that sunk with its load of booty and captives.

12Torchprisoner.jpg


Ilustriation of the Cypriote woman holding a torch, entitled "the victorious prisoner", from the book "The gallery of strong women", by Pierre Le Moyne, Paris 1947.
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On the news of the terrible massacre of Nicosia, the commandant of Kyrenia surrendered without making any defence, and that castle is therefore the only one of the Venetian fortresses that has remained intact to the present day. The remainder of the island, with the exception of Famagusta, followed the example of Kyrenia and submitted to the Turkish forces.

The news of the fall of Nicosia also reached the allied fleet on September 18, near Castelrosso (Kastellorizo) an island south of Rhodes not too far from Cyprus. Colonna proposed to help Famagusta, but Doria wanted to attack Durazzo in Albania, and Zane preferred to land at Negroponte in Euboea. So nothing was done, Doria decided to return to Messina with the pretext of bad season, and so the fleet that could have prevented the attack on Cyprus, or at least helped Famagusta, returned home. Francesco Zane could have continued to Famagusta with his 112 galleys but he decided to retreat to Candia without combat. The Venetians were enraged and substituted Francesco Zane for the older but fierce Sebastiano Veniero as Capitano Generale, with Agostino Barbarigo as Provveditore Generale, while at the same time prepared to sign peace at any price, as the French ambassador suggested, accepting that the island was lost. Meanwhile, under the direction of Veniero the Venetians started a campaign of attacking in diferent parts of the Ottoman Empire. Sebastian Veniero pillaged the island of Andros, while in November Antonio da Canal stablished a new siege at the fortress of Margaritino, near Parga in Epiro.

But Pious V was decided to have his Holy League at any cost, and he sent his grand-nephew, cardinal Michele Bonelli, known as cardinal Alessandrino as his legate to Spain and Portugal. Bonelli had resigned to his post as Camerlengo so his great-uncle could sell it to Venetian cardinal Luigi Cornaro, grand-nephew of Queen Caterina Cornaro and also active promotor of the League, for 70,000 scudi to raise funds for the war against the Turks. He finally succeded after long discussions to persuade Felipe II to participate in the League. Felipe agreed to pay the bulk of the cost of the League and involve himself in the Oriental Mediterranean in exchange for command of the joint fleet and the agreement that after two years of activity in the Venetian area of interest, the Ionian and Aegean seas, the Holy League Fleet would turn to the Barbary Coast for another two campaigns, before turning to the Papal interest of driving the Turks out of Constantinople. Portugal and France refused to join the League, England was not asked and Russia didn't bother to answer.

The signing of the Holy League gave Venice new hopes on the war when they were already considering the peace proposals of Sokolli, since they obviously included the cession of Cyprus.
 

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3. The siege of Famagusta

The fortifications of Famagusta, designed by Sammicheli, responded to the most advanced conceptions of defensive warfare: the rectangular enclosure of the wall, almost four kilometers long and strengthened at the corners by strong bastions, had ten towers placed at intervals and was protected by an inclined earth rampart 30 meters wide. Behind the walls, ten fortresses surpassed their height, named the Knights, overlooking the sea and the sourraunding lands, while at the outside, a deep ditch surrounded it. The main direction for an attack was protected by the imponent masses of the Martinengo bastion and the Andruzzi fortress. The Martinengo bastion was so strong that was never attacked and can still be seen today. The Andruzzi fortress was protected by the lower Rivellino (ravelin) bastion, placed ahead of it. The walls were designed to move the artillery easily from place to place, and the bastions had no blind spots and fire coud be directed against those trying to climb or mine the walls, while the defenders artillery was protected from enemy fire.

13martinengo.jpg


The Martinengo Bastion. This immense bastion of over a square mile big was built by the Venetian architect Giovanni Sammicheli between 1550-1559. With its triangular design constitutes the best XVI century example of military architecture in the World. Built over rock on the North-West corner of Famagusta, it was designed to protect the city from a landing or a northern attack as it covered all that area to the sea. The maximum thickness of the walls is 20 feet (6 m.), and all built of stone masonry. It has two levels. The top level is accesible to cannons from two ascending ramps at the sides, and dominated the countriside at the other side of the moat. The bottom level is accesible from two descending ramps from the top level and two descending ramps from the city. In its vaulted chambers there are vent holes for gunpowder smoke to escape and for ventilation to take place. On its walls there are niches for gunpowder barrels and cannon balls. Its cannon flankers, three on each side, protect the walls at both sides of the bastion. The flanker gunports are the largest along the entire walls for here the biggest guns were installed. It is comparable with the French forts built just before the First World War at Verdun. The bastion is named after Ercole Martinengo, disciple of Giulio Savorgnan, that worked on the fortifications of Famagusta before and during the siege. He is not to be mistaken with condottiero Girolamo Martinengo who died before arriving to Famagusta, or with captain Luigi da Martinengo, who fought until the bitter end. When Lala Mustafa attacks Famagusta, he realizes how strong the Martinengo bastion is, and so he decides to leave it alone. Therefore, the North-West side of the city is rendered safe by the bastion, making the defense of the city easier for the Venetians.
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The first forces of Lala Mustafa arrived at Famagusta on the 16 of September 1570, when the plundering of Nicosia was still taking place. The head of Niccolò Dandolo was delivered to Marcantonio Bragadino in a basket. Lala Mustafa Pasha himself, leaving a garrison of 4,000 men in Nicosia, arrived with his main army to Famagusta in October 1570, and pitched his camp at the village of Pomodamo, three miles to the south of the city. Finding that the fortress could not easily be taken and that the season was now too late to begin a regular siege, he retired to his camp to pass the winter, which was unusually severe. Piali Pasha retired with his fleet and men to Constantinople, leaving behind 40 galleys to guard the siege. But in January, twelve Venetian vessels under command of Marco Querini arrived at Famagusta with food, munitions, and 1,700 troops under command of Luigi da Martinengo, the only captain corageous enough to come to the island. Querini managed not only to break the blockade, but also sunk two Turkish galleys. The beys of Chios and Rhodes, in charge of the blockade, paid with their lives their failure. In February Marco Quirini departs from Famagusta with his fleet of 12 ships, and Bragadino and Baglioni let the Turks believe that the defenders have abandonned the city in those ships. When the Turkish army approaches, Baglioni leads a fierce attack killing 2,500 enemies. During the winter, the defenders of Famagusta worked night and day to improve the fortifications under the able direction of Girolamo Maggi d'Anghiari (or Hyeronimus Magius Anglariae), an English born military engineer at the service of the Venetian Republic, and Ercole Martinengo, a pupil of Savorgnan.

14OthelloGate.jpg


The citadel was built in the XII century during the Lusignan period, to protect the harbour. The citadel was originally surrounded with a moat. In 1492 the Venetians transformed it into an artillery stronghold making alterations similar to those at Kyrenia castle. The marble panel above the entrance shows the winged lion of Venice, and includes the name of Nicolo Foscarini who remodelled the castle. The citadel consists of towers and corridors leading to artillery chambers. On one side, its large courtyard is the refectory, and above it apartments, both dating back to the Lusignan period. In the courtyard of the citadel there are some Ottoman and Venetian cannons and their iron balls. Cristoforo Moro, who according to some is the original Shakespeare's Othello married to the beautiful Desdemona Barbarigo, was a Venetian captain and governor of Cyprus between 1505 and 1508. Shakespeare places Othello's play in a port in Cyprus and may have turned Cristoforo into a Moor due to his name. The present day name of the citadel, Othello's Tower, came into use during the British colonial period. The Venetians have done something similar and identify Palazzo Contarini-Fasan in Venice as Desdemona's palace, and a hotel claims to be the place were Desdemona first met Othello at a dancing party.
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In April 1571 large Turkish reinforcements of men, arms, and provisions arrived from Caramania and Syria, bringing the number of assailants to 193,000 soldiers, 40,000 engineers, 3,000 cavalry and 113 pieces of artillery, to the 8,000 defenders, of them 4,000 infantry, 800 militia, 3,000 citizens and peasants, and 200 Albanian stradioti.*It was indeed an epic siege. They fought men and women, soldiers and priests, with superhuman efforts. Furniture, pieces of the houses, churches and convents, everything no matter how precious was used to rebuild the battered walls. Four groups of young women ran up to every part putting down fires, treating the injured and encouraging the survivors, while monks and priests guided from the bishop of Limassol, that died on the task, went around bringing a crucifix and invoking the eternal rest for the dying and the divine help on the defenders. The recent memory of the fierce slaughter at Nicosia, removed every illusion on the clemency of the attackers, and persuaded them to sacrifice their lifes, robbing the enemy from the pleasure of a new massacre.

15Ffortifications.jpg


Left, ample ramps for the cannons lead to the protected bastions of Famagusta. The revolutionary defenses, product of the knowledge acquired in the Italian wars, that the Ottomans did not possess, where the main factor in allowing 7,000 defenders to hold for so long against 200,000 attackers. Right, the ravelin, or demi-lune, an outwork composed of two faces, forming a salient angle that splits the enemy attack, and protects the bastion behind and above it, the Andruzzi fortress. The ravelin and the Andruzzi fortress protected the only land gate of Famagusta. At the ravelin and at the Arsenal tower took place the fiercest attacks by the muslim hordes.
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While Famagusta was subjected to its long siege, the resistance of its defenders gave time to conclude the negotiations to form the Holy League, that was finally signed by the special envoy of Felipe II and former minister, the influential cardinal Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, on May 25, 1571. It was agreed to concentrate the combined fleet at Messina, under command of Don Juan de Austria, half brother of king Felipe of Spain. The signing of Spain also brought the inclusion of the Italian States under her orbit, Florence, Savoy, Urbino, Ferrara, Parma, Mantua, Genoa and Lucca, but only four national contingents were formed according to who paid the bill, Spain would not only pay for his ships and soldiers, but also for those of the rest of the Italians; Venice, Papal States, and Malta covered their own expenses.

16Famagusta.jpg


A map of Famagusta during the siege. The Turks attacked the South wall from the Arsenal tower to the ravelin, and the South half of the Western wall. The Martinengo and Diamante bastions were not attacked, neither was the castle or citadel. The knights (cavalieri) were raised platforms inside the walls from which protective fired was directed to the assailants, there were three behind each wall, with the names of the main cities in that direction, Limassol in the South, Nicosia in the West and Kyrenia in the North. When the city walls were broken, a second line of defense had been made by joining the knights with hand made ramparts.
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Meanwhile the Ottoman fleets reigned in the seas. Uluch Alí with his corsairs attacked Crete at La Canea and looted and burned Rhetimo whose habitants had abandoned it, on July 7, devastating later Corfu, where everybody outside the fortress was killed, and four Venetian galleys were captured. Uluch Ali attacks then with 17 galleys the Maltese fleet of 4 galleys of Pietro Giustinian capturing another two. Muezzinzade Ali Pasha, the Kapudan Pasha, leaves Constantinople in March with 30 galleys and attacks the island of Cephalonia and is reinforced in May with the 124 galleys of Pertev Pasha and proceeds to the Adriatic where he reunites also with the fleet of Uluch Ali, attacking Zante, Durazzo, Valona, Dulcino, Antivari, Lesina and Curzola, capturing 7,000 peasants as galley slaves. Meanwhile the corsair Kara Hodja (black eyes) attacks the gulf of Venice, and the army of Ahmed Pasha attacks Parga, in the Albanian coast of the Epirus, north of Preveza, a city still in Venetian hands due to the loyalty of its citizens. The Venetian fleet of Sebastian Veniero and Agostino Barbarigo, was able to avoid the muslim fleets in the Adriatic, arriving in June to Messina, where the Holy League fleet was going to assemble.

17Famagustasiege.jpg


The siege of Famagusta depicted by Pinargenti in 1573. The Port was well defended by the Castle (Castello), and the North side by the Martinengo bastion. The Turks attacked the South side between the Arsenal tower, next to the sea, and the ravelin that protected the Land door, and the South side of the Western walls. The numerical superiority of the Ottoman army, that continuosly recibed reinforcements, was astonishing, demonstrating the level of resources that the Ottoman empire was capable of movilizing at the peak of its power, and that for many decades hid the decadence that its army had already entered. Had Famagusta received the timely reinforcements many times promised, the siege could have prolonged for years, but it is doubtful that Cyprus could have been recovered, as unlike in Malta, the Ottoman army could hold to what they had already conquered, and the Venetian economy did not allow for prolonged wars, while the Ottoman Empire was designed for constant war.​
 
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4. The fall of Famagusta and the fate of Bragadino

In the siege of Famagusta, the first Turkish batteries were constructed on a front of 1,000 paces on the south side of the fortress, against the arsenal tower near the harbour to the ravelin which guarded the land gate at the south-west corner. By the end of May the Turks had driven their trenches up to the counterscrap, entered and crossed the ditch, and had begun to mine the ravelin and the arsenal tower. Some of the mines were discovered and captured by the countermining defenders, who were glad to make use of the gunpowder they contained, as the fortress was beginning to run short of ammunition. Baglioni conducts an unorthodox defense, and blows up the Turkish trenches at the mount of the Jews, poisons the wells, and sets tablets with nails all around the walls. On June 21, the besiegers succeeded in firing a mine under the arsenal tower. The wall was shattered by the explosion, and immediately the Turks made an assault over the debris. Led by Baglioni in person, the defenders repulsed the attack after five hour hand-to-hand fighting. On June 29, a second mine was fired under the ravelin, making a great breach in the walls over which the Turks attacked encouraged by Lala Mustafa Pasha himself. The arsenal tower was also attacked simultaneously, but both attacks were repulsed after six hours fighting. After this, the defenders themselves laid a mine under the ravelin to blow it up if it could be no longer held.*In ten days of crashes, 30,000 Turks between soldiers and engineers have met their death.

On 9 July a third general assault was made on the whole rampart with its three intervening towers between the ravelin and the tower of the arsenal. The ravelin was captured, but immediately Luigi da Martinengo fired the mine, killing 100 Venetians and 1,500 Turks, and Baglioni takes the rest of the defenders and repells the assault. All through July the Turks destroyed the ramparts by mine and cannon. In two weeks Mustafa has a large trench built and orders the fourth general assault. Baglioni and Martinengo carry out a sortie and when retreating explode another mine on the left flank of the ravelin, burying 700 Turks. Again and again the Ottomans assaulted the breaches, only to be repulsed at the second line of defence constructed of casks and sacks filled with earth. On the 29 a particularly bloody assault takes place preceded by the explosion of five mines around the flank of the Knights of Limassol and one at the square of the Arsenal. This time the Venetians are only able to repell the assault with strong losses to themselves. The defenders of Famagusta are running out of supplies and water, and the civil population starts to pressure the Venetian commanders to surrender. The next day a renegade contacts Baglioni with an offer that is rejected, and Lala Mustafa orders a fifth general assault two days after the previous one, that is also repelled while the Turks count the eldest son of Lala Mustafa Pasha between their death. But only 500 defenders are left, many injured and all tired from the tension, constant work and lack of food, they are enough only to place a man every 50 meters of the defensive perimeter. After withstanding 26 assaults their situation is desperate, and the last day of the month the cipriot nobility oblige the Venetians to ask for surrender. Baglioni opposes it because he is aware of the fate met by the defenders of Nicosia, but facing certain death, the civilians and his own men convince Bragadino that the defense is no longer possible. Only seven barrels of powder are left.

On July 30, Lala Mustafa is forced to report to Selim that he had lost 60,000 men in the 26 assaults against Famagusta, and he is probably understating the number. 163,000 shells had fallen into the city during the siege, an amount more usual of XXth century sieges. The outer walls have been broken in six of the eleven strongholds, but the defenders still have the citadel intact, where they could still resist if the walls finally fall. Ignoring that the defenders have almost exhausted their gunpowder and were also running out of water, and even domestic animals and rats were difficult to find for food, stricken also by the death of his son and the great number of casualties suffered, Lala Mustafa accepted the terms for the surrender of Famagusta on the first of August. The terms included that all lives were to be respected, safe transfer of the troops and arms to Crete, and freedom to the civil population to remain safe in Famagusta or to accompany the troops. In a single day the terms were settled and signed. The Turks immediately sent fourteen vessels into the harbour, and on them the sick and the wounded were embarked together with some families. By August 4, most of the garrison had gone on board the ships and the city was left to the Turks. As soon as they entered it, General Marcantonio Bragadino had complained Lala Mustafa that his soldiers were showing violence to the remaining inhabitants, for which there were not sufficient ships. Mustafa replied that he would take steps to prevent any further violence on the part of his men, that two more ships would be provided, and that he would be glad to meet Signor Bragadino in person.*

18Canbulat.gif


The Canbulat tomb in Famagusta. Djanboulat, bey of Kilis in Adana, was among the high ranking officers commanding the right wing of the Turkish army along with Iskender Pasha and Deniz Pasha, at the south section of the walled city. He died in the attacks to the Arsenal bastion and was declared a martyr. His tomb was placed below the bastion. According to one Turkish legend Djanbulat Bey drove his horse on a big reel with blades which was mounted by the Venetians at the entrance of the Arsenal Bastion in order to prevent the advance of the Turkish Army, and with his sacrifice he opened the doors for the conquest of Famagusta by his army. A more modest legend states that Djanbulat's bravery allowed the capture of the Bastion. Of course we know better that neither Famagusta nor its bastions were conquered, but surrendered under terms.
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The same evening General Marcantonio Bragadino with Astorre Baglioni, Luigi da Martinengo and the rest of the officers rode out of the city to the pavilion of the pasha, where they were received with great courtesy. They were disarmed and introduced into the presence of Lala Mustafa Pasha, who conversed with them for some time. Then Mustafa demanded hostages for the safe return of his ships and, when Bragadino refused to go beyond the terms of capitulation, Lala Mustafa Pasha accused him of having put to death certain Turkish prisoners. Bragadino’s reply so enraged Mustafa that he himself cut his right ear, and have his men cut his left ear and his nose. He then ordered the rest of the officers killed. Of Bragadino's party, only the engineer Ercole Martinengo saved his life, hidden from the rage of Lala Mustafa by the chief eunuch. The other forty members in the party were immediately killed. Baglioni was beheaded, Gian Antonio Querini was strangled, 70 year old Lorenzo Tiepolo was hung, and all the rest killed in different manners in front of Bragadino, and then all their heads collected in a pile. Bragadino was then imprisoned with his wounds untreated. About 300 soldiers and civil defenders where then killed and the remaining enslaved and taken to Constantinople.

Almost two weeks later, on August 17, Bragadino was brought from imprisonment, sick from his badly infected wounds. He was subjected to torture being dragged around the walls, with sacks of earth and stones on his back, then tied on a chair and hoisted to the yardarm of the Turkish flagship where he was exposed to the mockery of the sailors while Lala Mustafa and other Turkish officers mocked and insulted him and his religion. Too weak to walk, he was beaten, undressed and tied to a pole in the main square. He was then flayed alive starting at the back of the neck and continuing down. By the time they reached his waist he had expired, they nevertheless continued until they took out all his skin. His head was cut and put on a pike. His body was cut in four and each piece was placed in one of the bastions of the walls. His skin was filled with straw and cotton, and carefully sewed, then placed over an ox and paraded all over Famagusta. Bragadino's skin was taken on board a ship with several of the heads from his officers and exhibited at every port of call before being presented as a trophy to Selim II in Constantinople.

20marcantonio.jpg


Marcantonio Bragadin, martyred in a most horrible way, together with the rest of the leaders of the defense of Famagusta.
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Some years later the skin of Bragadino was stolen from the Arsenal of Constantinople by an enslaved Veronese soldier, Girolamo Polidoro, who gave it to the Venetian Balio. In 1588, Girolamo Polidoro addressed the following letter to the Doge of Venice:

"Serenissimo Prince,

I, Hieronimo Polidoro from Verona, enslaved in the service of this excellent Republic, and not forgetting in my slavery my devotion to the Republic, nor fearing any danger, I was the very happy martyr that at the request of illustrious Tiepolo, at the time Bailo (ambassador) to Constantinople, raised at the house of the Arsenal the skin of preclare Bragadin, and under my clothes took it safe and entire to the illustrious Bailo, with the virtue, courage and infinite devotion that I profess to your Serenity. What happened to me after that, is too horrible to hear by the ears of such religious and lenient prince, and even more unbearable to tolerate by human nature. Because accused of this just action by the Turkish ministers, I underwent innumerable agonies that perhaps no person has had to endure in the living memory of mankind. Many days I was tortured, tied to a rope hanging from my feet, beaten on the belly and the back with three thousand blows of a stick. Beaten on my "nature" to the point that I have become eunuch. Half dead I was returned to my agonies, hanged from my feet again, folded, with a ball in my mouth, my head pushed into a recipient with salted water, I suffered the most terrible penalties.

After all these agonies, broken, ruined, reduced to begging, with each of my faculties reduced, I finally find myself at the feet of your Serenity, where I implore, for the love of Christ, a pension of sixteen ducats per month.
"

The services and courage of this soldier, thanks to whom we have definite proof of the destiny suffered by Marcantonio Bragadino, and that gained him terrible tortures were only worth five ducats per month to the Signoria. The Venetians gave the remains of Bragadino sepulture with honors at the church of Sts. Giovanni e Paolo in 1596, were they still rest, surrounded by his monument, as was officially attested in 1961 for one of his descendants.

19Lala.jpg


Lala Mustafa Pasha in his encampment after his victory at Kars (Turkey). He sits beneath a canopy, with Ali Celebi (Gelibolulu) kneeling before him. Standing nearby is Molla Celebi Katizade, who holds a spear that pierces a Safavid cap and is strung with human ears. One half of a double-page miniature painting from a sixteenth century manuscript of the Nusretname, an account of the Turkish conquest of Georgia by Lala Mustafa Pasha in 1578. British Library.
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Since there is not doubt that the supreme army commander of the Ottoman army, and member of the Divan (Ottoman high council), broke his word after accepting the honorable military surrender of the enemy, and cruelly gave death to those that unarmed had surrendered to him under terms, the historians only disagree about his motivation. Western historians have accepted the Venetian testimony of those present that Lala Mustafa was infuriated by the terrible losses incurred that he would find difficult to explain to the sultan, and did not take well the finding that the defenders had reached their limit of resistance and that the generous terms that he had accepted and that had deprived him of the glory of conquest, were unnecessary. Meanwhile Turkish historians defend that Bragadino's insolence brought this punishment on him and that there was an issue over some Turkish prissoners that Lala Mustafa believed had been executed, and that upon that belief, he considered the conditions of surrender as void, or in other words, that once the other party had met their terms of the compromise he felt relieved of having to do the same because he did not find everything to his liking. What I find most amazing about this story is that the number three in the Ottoman Empire, after the sultan and the grand vizier, would commit such heinous acts, and then present himself to the head of his country with the skin of an enemy that had surrendered to him on assurance that his life would be respected, and that such head of the state would accept the present and endorse such acts and display the trophy in the Arsenal. I guess the only country in Europe were such things could happen in the XVI century was the Ottoman Empire. The city of Famagusta had its name changed to Gazimagosa, the city that could not be conquered. The cathedral of St. Nicholas, where the Lusignan kigs of Cyprus were crowned as kings of Jerusalem, was converted into the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque to honor the criminal, and a minaret now protrudes next to the left tower.

21StNicholas.gif


St. Nicholas Cathedral was constructed between the years 1298-1312 during the Lusignan period and is one of the most beautiful Gothic structures in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Lusignan kings would be inaugurated as Kings of Cyprus at the St. Sophia Cathedral in Nicosia, and later as Kings of Jerusalem at the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Famagusta. In 1571 the cathedral was turned into the Lala Mustafa mosque by the Turks. The architecture of the western front of the building has been influenced by the architecture of the Reims Cathedral. It has an unparalleled window with Gothic style tracery. The XVI century Venetian gallery in the courtyard is today used as a reservoir for ablutions. A Venetian insignia can be seen above the circular windows at the entrance. The relief ornamented with animal figures is thought to have been brought from a temple in Salamis. The apsis of the cathedral is in the Eastern style and is composed of three parts as in most Cyprus churches. The windows in the top part have been well preserved. There are two chapels at the side. The church of St. Peter and St. Paul was turned into Sinan Pasha Mosque, after the second Turkish governor of the island.
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But with the surrender of Famagusta and the fall of the entire island of Cyprus in Ottoman hands, the war had not concluded. The three Ottoman fleets did not succeed in locating and engaging the Venetian fleet on its way to Messina, so convinced now that the Venetians did not have the courage to present combat, they retired in September to winter in Lepanto.
 
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5. The battle of Lepanto and the end of the war

Uluch Ali, on his return to Algiers for winter with 25 corsair galliots, disembarcks in Calabria, at his birth place, and finds out about Don Juan's fleet in Messina, but he reports that the fleet will probably winter in port. Nevertheless, he is denied permission to travel to Algiers and has to return to Lepanto to join the rest of the Ottoman fleet.

The allies of the Holy League ignored the fate of the defenders of Famagusta when they finally collected all their forces in Messina towards the end of August. Despite the lateness of the season, Don Juan de Austria quickly organized the fleet and departed port by mid-September. It was not until the end of September, when they reached Cephalonia that they learnt of the torture and death of Bragadino and his officers, and the surrender of Famagusta. Don Juan decided to continue towards Lepanto, where the Ottoman fleet was docked for winter, in the hope that they would present combat. Selim ordered Muezzinzade Ali Pasha to present battle, and both fleets came together on October 7, 1571 at the entrance to the Gulf of Patras. The Christian triumph was absolute, and essentially the bulk of the Ottoman navy was wiped out, with only a few damaged ships under command of Uluch Ali escaping, and about 60 more that did not participate in the battle. The Christian loses were very light compared to the Ottoman ones. The battle of Lepanto was the biggest naval engagement since the battle of Actium and it marks the end of the galley battles after 3,000 years of Mediterranean galley warfare. Being their first crushing defeat, the Ottoman sources almost kept silent about it, referring only to the "dispersed fleet."

22GreekLepanto.jpg


A Greek painting of the battle of Lepanto on a table, in the Orthodox icon style. The Greeks were already tired of Turkish domination and were now more receptive to Latins. The victory at Lepanto gave hope of liberation to many, and some raised in rebellion at the Venetian request, armed and supported by Venetian troops. After peace was concluded between the Porte and the Signoria, the Greek rebels were bloody massacred by the Turks, and the orthodox priests, held responsible under the Millet system, were usually hanged or burned. Once more, relations between Latins and Orthodox did not lead to love precisely.
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At this point you might want to look down a few posts and read the 13 chapters on the battle of Lepanto and then continue with the war of Cyprus, or you could continue with the war now and check Lepanto later.

Given that the season was over, that Cyprus was now well garrisoned by the Ottomans, and that the Turkish fleet had already retired to its winter quarters in Lepanto, the Holy League fleet would have not achieved anything of substance if, unexplainably, Selim would not have ordered Muezzinzade Ali Pasha to present combat. The possibility of destroying the entire navies of Spain and Venice in a single battle, and thus opening the entire Mediterranean to his armies, was probably worth the risk to him. We must consider that for 70 years, since the battle of Sapienza in 1499, the Ottoman navy had been unbeatable, and so confidence was probably high. The Christians, on the other hand, risked a lot more, as if their combined fleets had been wiped out, they could not have stopped the previsible Ottoman offensive that would have followed. The Christian victory at Lepanto made sure that the Christian nations in the Mediterranean were safe, from then on, from Turkish agression, with the exception of Venice, still possessing highly vulnerable outposts deep in the Ottoman area of control. The Ottoman Empire also lost forever the supremacy at sea.

Soon after the battle, dissensions broke out again between the Holy League members, this time over the booty, and every contingent returned to port for the winter, waiting for the next season to continue the war. A month later, the fortress of Margaritino, in the hands of the islamized Chamides and a symbol of Turkish oppression in the area, surrenders to Paolo Orsini and is destroyed. Meanwhile Grand Vizier Sokolli put all the resources of the Ottoman Empire to the rebuilding of the fleet, and over the winter, in just five months, 150 new galleys were commissioned, a feat that could probably only be pulled by the Ottoman Empire. It is said, however, that in their construction and due to the urgency, they had to use fresh wood as there were not enough reserves of properly dried and treated wood, and that this navy was not of the same quality that the one that Barbarossa had built, and that those ships rotted quickly. It is possible that this was true, as those ships never saw naval combat against the Christians and were out of commission in a few years.

23Margaritino.jpg


The fortress of Margaritino (Margariti) is still as it was left by the Venetians. The fortress surrendered to the Venetians and the accompanying people from Parga, who had several scores to settle with the muslim Chamides, in just three days.
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On May 1572 Pius V died, and the new Pope, Gregory XIII (Bolognese Ugo Buoncompagni) tried hard to put new life into the Holy League against the Turks, but he was more concerned with the Protestant problems.

On the next year's campaign, the new Kapudan Pasha, Uluch (now Kilich, or sword) Ali Pasha consistently avoided combat with the Holy League fleet under command of Marcantonio Colonna. Both fleets met at Cape Mallo and Cape Matapam, at the South of the Peloponnese. On the first encounter Kilich Ali Pasha refused the battle, and on the second he retreated after losing five galleys, taking refuge at the harbour in Braccio-di-Mania. In September, the Spanish fleet of Don Juan de Austria arrived to Corfu and Alessandro Farnesio, proceed to attack Navarino with 4,000 Spanish soldiers, 500 Venetians under command of Paolo Orsini, and 1,000 adventurers under command of Girolamo Acquaviva. But when the siege was already established, Kilich Ali Pasha showed up with the Ottoman fleet, and the men had to be quickly brought on board for the battle. Once the siege was broken, Kilich Ali Pasha avoided battle and took refuge in the Gulf of Coron, that was too fortified to assault. Since the presence of the Ottoman fleet prevented a sustained siege, the attack on Navarino was cancelled.

24Mania.jpg


Map of the Morea with several places marked with the Italian names. Navarino (Pylos), where the siege could not take place, with the nearby fortresses of Modone (Methone) and Coron (Koroni), surrendered by Venice in 1503, and Malvasia (Monemvasia), surrendered in 1540. Several actions took place in or near Braccio-di-Mania (Mania's arm or Mani), a crossroads in the sea. In the Spanish drawing we can see the Holy League fleet in action against the main fortress in Kiparissos. Notice that the Venetian maps (and the Spanish copies) were wrong in placing Vathia at the right of the harbour. The harbour was protected by fortresses at both sides of the entrance, and was the port were Kilich Ali took refuge after his defeat at the skirmish of Cape Matapam. Two fortified places North of the one attacked in this map, is the fortified village now called Gerolimenas, that was took by the Venetians two years before, in the summer of 1570.
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The Venetians were discouraged by the lack of results, especially from the Spanish side that did not show enough enthusiasm to their eyes, and the only achievement of the Holy League was the capture of one Turkish ship. A Spanish ship came under attack of 25 Turkish galleys. The Venetians and the Spanish sent reinforcements, and so did Kilich Ali Pasha, but when he saw that he did not have a great numerical advantage he quickly retreated to Modone, but one of his galleys, under command of a nephew of the famous corsair Barbarossa was captured by the Marquis of Santa Cruz, Don Alvaro de Bazán.

It is worth to read what Miguel de Cervantes, also present in this action, had to say about the small incident in El Quixote: "The following year, which was the year seventy-two, I found myself at Navarino rowing in the leading galley with the three lanterns. There I saw and observed how the opportunity of capturing the whole Turkish fleet in harbour was lost; for all the marines and janizzaries that belonged to it made sure that they were about to be attacked inside the very harbour, and had their kits and pasamaques, or shoes, ready to flee at once on shore without waiting to be assailed, in so great fear did they stand of our fleet. But Heaven ordered it otherwise, not for any fault or neglect of the general who commanded on our side, but for the sins of Christendom, and because it was God's will and pleasure that we should always have instruments of punishment to chastise us. As it was, El Uchali [Uluch Ali] took refuge at Modon, which is an island near Navarino, and landing forces fortified the mouth of the harbour and waited quietly until Don Juan retired. On this expedition was taken the galley called the Prize, whose captain was a son of the famous corsair Barbarossa. It was taken by the chief Neapolitan galley called the She-wolf, commanded by that thunderbolt of war, that father of his men, that successful and unconquered captain Don Álvaro de Bazán, Marquis of Santa Cruz; and I cannot help telling you what took place at the capture of the Prize. The son of Barbarossa was so cruel, and treated his slaves so badly, that, when those who were at the oars saw that the She-wolf galley was bearing down upon them and gaining upon them, they all at once dropped their oars and seized their captain who stood on the stage at the end of the gangway shouting to them to row lustily; and passing him on from bench to bench, from the poop to the prow, they so bit him that before he had got much past the mast his soul had already got to hell; so great, as I said, was the cruelty with which he treated them, and the hatred with which they hated him" [Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote. Book One, Chapter 39].

So, was him the son or the nephew of Barbarossa? It was both. The older brother, Aruj, was the original Barbarossa with a red beard, and he was killed by the Spanish. His younger brother Khizr, despite his brown beard, inherited the nickname and became more famous, receiving the name of Khayr-ad-Din, or gift of God. The Barbarossa killed by his own slaves was the son of Aruj and Khayr-ad-Din's nephew.

And with this paltry achievement, the campaign of 1572 was concluded. The main conquests of the Venetians were the fortresses of Sopoto and Margaritino in Albania, and Clissa in Dalmatia. Parga had changed hands, but was again held by the Venetians. After the victory of Lepanto, and the conquest of Margaritino, Antonio da Canal was able to raise the Greeks of Acarnania and Etolia, in the Ionian cost between Prevesa and the Gulf of Patras, in rebellion against the Ottoman oppression.

25Epirus.jpg


The coast of Epirus, together with the Morea, was the preferred target for Venetian action. Very close to the safe port of Corfu and to Cephalonia, the Venetian fleet felt safe enough to act here even when the Ottoman navy dominated the seas. Except for a brief period, Parga was under Venetian control, raising the hopes of the neighboring Orthodox Greeks of escaping domination from the distant sultan. In the end their hopes were ill-placed, as the Venetians were not only powerless against the Turks, but also pursued their own goals that did not include a selfless liberation of Greece.
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However, by the end of the 1572 season it was clear to the Signoria that nothing more could be accomplished in the war. The patriotism and enthusiasm after the victory of Lepanto had waned, and the anti-war party was growing strong as the economy was worsening and the war outlook did not improve. Cyprus was now firmly in Ottoman hands and it would take a even bigger army to root them out. Felipe obviously was not going to go on an all-out war against the Ottoman Empire four thousand miles from home just to return Cyprus to Venice, at best a circumstantial ally. Additionally, as agreed, the Holy League's next two campaigns were going to look after the interests of Spain and the rest of Italy in the Barbary coast. So in September 1572, the Council of Ten authorized the Venetian Balio Marcantonio Barbaro to enter in peace negotiations with Grand Vizier Mohammad Sokolli, who was friendly to Venice and favorably inclined to peace. He told Barbaro: "by conquering Cyprus we have cut off one of your arms, but by defeating our fleet you have only shaved our beard. You can not expect another arm to grow to replace the cut one, whereas the shaven beard always grows again and even more abundantly." On March 7, 1573, the matter was settled. The treaty, which was signed in Constantinople, sealed the cession of Cyprus to the Sultan. It further arranged that the Venetians should give back to the Turks the fortress of Sopoto, near Corfu, which they had taken; that they should raise the tribute paid to the Porte for the possession of Zante from 1000 to 1500 ducats ; and should pay 300,000 ducats as war-indemnity. Clissa (Klis) and Parga remained in Venetian power, while Margaritino was abandoned. The Greeks that had raised in rebellion, were once more left to their own, and were massacred by the Turks, with the metropolitan of Patras burnt at the pire.

It was again another disaster for Venice who found herself in the difficult position that the one country on whose trade her prosperity depended, periodically attacked her to deprive her of her most precious possessions. Even the French ambassador at Constantinople, Francois de Noailles, bishop of Aire (Aix), wrote to his king Charles IX, how badly it had all turned out for Venice.

26ambassadors.jpg


Imperial ambassador Charles Ramire (he is identified for being the Austrian ambassador in Selim's time), held by two Osmanli dignitaries, bows deeply before sultan Selim II, as the court ceremonial demands as a sign of respect and inferiority. Another European legate awaits his turn also held by two Pashas.
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Despite having signed peace in March, 1573, and to show the reliability of the Turks, five months later, Sinan Pasha, former captain of Dragut and Uluch Ali, and future governor of Cyprus, returning from Tunis, attacked Corfu, killing those outside the fortress, burning and pillaging, and starting a siege on August 18. However a Venetian counterattack forced them back to their ships on September 6. In the attacks of 1537, 1571 and 1573 Corfu lost nine tenths of its population. Improvements in the fortress and the island defenses were started in 1576.
 

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6. The consequences

The defense of Famagusta is one of the most glorious pages in Venetian history, and quite comparable to the stern resistance that the Knights of the Order of St. John presented during the sieges of Rhodes and Malta. They did a lot to dispell the myth of Ottoman invencibility when resoluted men and women confronted them, and contributed to halt the Ottoman advance. It is sad to think that during those terrible months they always thought that sooner or later Venice would come to their rescue.

27bisanti.jpg


The coin used at Cyprus during the Venetian period, the "carzie" was coined at Venice. But during the long siege of Famagusta, from September 1570 to August 1571, having exhausted them, Marcantonio Bragadino minted a new coin, named "bisante" after the previous Cypriot coins from the Lusignan period that in turn came from the "byzantion", the gold coin of the Empire. This is the only coinage made in Cyprus during the entire Venetian period. The bisanti, all of them dated in 1570, have the following inscription: In the anverse, the lion of St. Mark, symbol of Venice, with the legend "Pro Regni Cypri Praesidio". In the reverse, below a small angel or "amorino" that implores to heaven for the city surrounded by the enemy, in four lines, the legend "Venetor Fides Inviolabilis" and "Bisant". It is an extremely rare coin and a testament to the long siege.
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For the Ottoman Empire, the war of Cyprus was very expensive, and Grand Vizier Mohammed Sokolli, the main opposer to the war, was also the only winner as he came again firmly in control of government. Selim, after having reached his glorious conquest, continued his live of pleasures and drunkenness with even more intensity, abandoning all government tasks into his able hands. All the partidaries of the war lost influence. Lala Mustafa Pasha was accused of losing too many men against the Venetian strongholds and was removed from the political scene for several years, his ambition of becoming Grand Vizier never fullfilled. Of the 200,000 Ottoman soldiers involved in the conquest of Cyprus, it is believed that 80,000 perished, while the defenders had only 10,000 men. Piali Pasha, despite being married to a sister of sultan Selim, had already been removed from power in 1570 because of the Chios incident, and the defeat at Lepanto guaranteed that he never recovered influence. Muezzinzade Ali Pasha, also a brother-in-law of Selim, died at Lepanto. Pertev Pasha, who fled Lepanto wounded, saved his head thanks to the good offices of his wife, who had strong ties to the imperial harem, but died October 7, 1572, on the exact first anniversary of Lepanto. Uluch Ali, the new Kapudan Pasha, after some success given his extraordinary naval capabilities, continued the collaboration with France against Spain and Portugal, recovering Tunis in 1574, but was disenchanted by the progressive lost of interest of the Ottoman sultans in their navy. He died an unexplained dead in Constantinople in 1587 when he was trying to make himself named Beilerbey of the Barbary coast with the not so secret ambition of independence from the Porte. The Turkish chroniclers of the time did not risk to report the death of such an important man, and it was said later that he died at the hands of a slave or at the blade of his barber's knife. Probably the sultan had him killed, although some believe the Spanish secret agents finally got him after several failed attempts. Without sons, he left his enormous fortune and his 1,300 slaves to the sultan.

Selim II died in December 12, 1574, breaking his skull in a fall while drunk. With the ascenssion of his son Murad III, and the Valide Sultan Nurbanu, the enemies of Sokolli gained influence over the sultan, and Sokolli's power started to fade. His supporters were imprissoned or executed, and he was finally assasinated in October 1579. His executioner was a Bosniac dervishe (monk) that was said to be mad. Some Turkish historians had blamed him with the controversial order to the fleet to engage the enemy at Lepanto. On command of the fleet was an inexperienced fleet commander, Muezzinzade Ali Pasha, who had previously been only an army commander. A naval defeat for a land empire could be considered of secondary importance and would discredit most of his political rivals, and after all Cyprus had already been won. If this is true, he clearly miscalculated the naval disaster that could take place. I find more plausible that Selim and the Divan believed in their invencibility and sought the opportunity to wipe out the fleets of Venice and Spain once and for all, a situation that would have played very well to the advantage of the agressor. Under the influence of his mother Nurbanu, the Venetian Cecilia Venier Baffo, the weak Murad maintained a peaceful policy towards the West, renewing the peace treaties with Venice in 1575, and with Austria in 1577, and finally reaching an eight years truce with Spain in 1578, that would be definitive.

28SelimII.jpg


"Selim the Sot died suddenly, as the accidental result of a last solitary debauch. Superstitious by nature, he had seen portents of his approaching end in the appearance of a comet, a destructive earthquake in Constantinople, floods which threatened the holy places of Mecca - but above all a serious fire in the kitchens of his Serraglio, which destroyed also its wine cellars. This seemed to confirm his premonitions, since the death of his grandfather had been preceded by a fire in the Serraglio of Adrianople. Disconsolate, he paid a visit to a Turkish bath that he had lately built and whose walls were not yet dry. To deaden his fears he drank, at a single draft, a whole bottle of Cyprus wine. Then, tottering unsteadily, he slipped and fell to the floor, cracking his skull on its marble flags and thus precipitating a fatal fever. Such was the not inappropriate end of Turkey's least distinguished Sultan." The above citation from Lord Kinross "The Ottoman Centuries" shows that in the end Cyprus got its revenge through its wine.
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Regarding Joseph Nasi, he did not obtain the rewards that he expected. Every land conquered by the Ottomans belonged to the sultan, that usually aportioned part of it for timars (lots for soldiers) and kept the rest within the family. Lala Mustafa was made governor of Cyprus, and its rents were for the most part assigned to the Imperial Harem, and Joseph Nasi was not appointed to any position. Being on the losing side of the political confrontation, Joseph Nasi's influence waned after the conclusion of peace with Venice in 1573, and although he retained his offices and income, the remainder of his life was passed in quiet seclusion in his castle of Belvedere. Nasi died childless on August 2, 1579; and his property was seized shortly after his death by sultan Murad on the advice of Sokolli, except for the 90,000 dinars stipulated in her ketubah (marriage contract) that were kept by his widow, Doña Reyna Nasi. With that money, a shadow of the Mendes riches of her mother, Reyna stablished a Jewish printing shop in Constantinople. The death of Nasi was lamented in the Jewish community. With Nasi, the Duchy of Naxos, also known as the Duchy of Archipelago, came to an end.

29Venice.jpg


The loses of Venice to the Ottoman Empire were mounting. There was too much disproportion between the huge Ottoman Empire and the tiny Venetian Empire to be otherwise. But Venetian decadence was a slow one due to the virtues of her government, while the Ottoman Empire had started a quick internal decadence that would turn them from the first power in Europe into the last.
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After the Cyprus war Venice entered into a permanent commercial crisis. Textile production of silk and wool also declined. The same happened with printing in part because of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Shipbuilding in the arsenal diminished. In 1575-1577 there was a terrible outbreak of plague, with tens of thousands of deaths in Venice. In 1590 there was a serious famine, and food supplies did not return to normal until 1594. Part of this impoverishment was due to the fact that Venice, in spite of its wretched economy, was pursuing a policy of totally retiring the public debt. This was made easier by going from a gold to a silver standard in 1562. The Cyprus war had cost 6 million ducats, but the government now payed off the Monte vecchio, the Monto Novo, the Monte novissimo, and the Monte di sussidio, so that by 1600 all loans had been liquidated. Venice had now very little empire left to lose. During the XVII century, Venice was able to stabilize its economy and halt its decadence, while the Ottoman Empire entered a free fall for the next 200 years. They were still going to fight two more wars, but in the future the tiny state was going to be able to put up a fight against the muslim giant that periodically attacked her.

30TitianMarsyas.jpg


As a homage to Marcantonio Bragadino, Titian painted "The Flaying of Marsyas" (1575-76), which depicts the final stages of a musical duel between the God Apollo and the satyr Marsyas. According to Greek mythology, Marsyas was a sepherd that picked up the pan flute when Athena, daughter of Zeus, discarded it out of vanity - she had been told that her face became bloated and ugly when she played the instrument. Becoming an expert player, Marsyas challenged Apollo, the patron of music, to a performing contest. Apollo agreed but stipulated that the winner could decide the punishment of the loser. Marsyas was departing as victor when Apollo added his voice to the sound of the lyre. Marsyas protested, arguing that the skill with the instrument was to be compared, and not the voice, but the judging Muses awarded the victory to Apollo, who chose to hang Marsyas from a tree and flay him alive. While his skin was stripped off the surface of his body that was but one wound, Marsyas complained: "Why do you tear me from myself? Oh, I repent! Oh, a flute is not worth such a price!" [Marsyas. Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.385]. Later Apollo regreted his harsh punishment. The suffering and death of Marsyas were lamented by earthly beings such as animals, other satyrs, and nymphs, whose flowing tears formed a river named after him. We can hardly imagine the suffering that can be inflicted on a human being by this most cruel torture.
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Another of the defenders of Famagusta is worth mentioning. Girolamo Maggi d'Anghiari, or Hyeronimus Magius, was an English born scholar, notary at the New World for the king of Spain, educated both in letters and jurisprudence at the University of Pisa (1546). A true Renaissance scholar, he was addicted to the study of the sciences, and particularly to the mathematics and military architecture. In 1551 he published his book "Cinque primi canti della guerra di Fiandra", and in 1564, together with Jacomo Frusto Castriotto "Della fortificatione delle città". Also in 1564 he published the "Variarum Lectionum" that touches upon a wide variety of subjects from superstition, magic conjuring and lycanthropy, to the medieval legends surrounding Gilded Horses and the Four Swordsmen (The Quadriga), Byzantine protoreligious mythology, military tactics and torture. He probably never imagined while writing it that he was going to get first hand experience on the subject of torture. He was working for Venice on the fortifications of Famagusta when the island was invaded. Together with the rest of the citizens that remained in the city, he defended Famagusta, besieged by the Turks. He contributed by inventing machines which destroyed the Ottoman works. When that city surrendered on terms of respecting the defenders freedom, the Ottomans pillaged his library and carried him away in chains to Constantinople, a slave to Mohammed Pasha. Despite the hardship of his captivity, during the nights he wrote a treaty on bells and carillons, "De Tintinnabulis", a book still read by the curious. To try to gain his release, he dedicated and sent it to the Imperial ambassador Charles Ramire from Gendt. Given the lack of success, he wrote a second book, based on his experiences, about "the horse" and other instruments of torture, illustrated in a horrible and hair-raising way, dedicated and sent to the French ambassador at The Porte, Francois de Noailles, bishop of Aire. The attempts of Girolamo Maggi to rescue his life were in vain as they met with the indifference of the French ambassador, that could probably have saved him, given his high position. On the night of March 27, 1572, Girolamo Maggi was tortured and strangled.

31GirolamoMaggi.jpg


First page of Girolamo Maggi's 1564 book "Della fortificatione delle città", and an illustration from his book "De Tintinnabulis" that shows a proposal for a bell piano. A book written while a slave in Constantinople, before he was murdered.
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The history of Cyprus, that poor island, continued being a sad one as had always been. The Cypriots at first improved their situation, as the feudal laws introduced by the Franks were finally abolished and the serfs freed and allowed the purchase of land and its inheritance. The main churches were converted into mosques. The Latin church was expelled and the Orthodox church was granted recognition, and inserted into the Millet system, that considered tolerated religions as intermediaries, and the archbishop and the three bishops returned to their sees. But soon they discovered that the dog had just changed its collar. A few years later Archbishop Timotheus presented a request for help to Felipe II of Spain which stated: "There have recently been repeated cases of abuse on the part of the conqueror; in a greedy manner they attempt to confiscate and seize the property of the inhabitants; Christian houses are broken into and domiciles violated, and all sorts of dishonest acts against wives and daughters are committed. Twice until now churches and monasteries have been plundered, multiple and heavy taxes have been imposed whose collection is pursued by systematic persecution, threats and tortures, which lead, many persons to the ranks of Islam, while at the same time, the male children of Cypriot families are seized in order to form the brigades of the Jannissaries. This most hard practice is the worst of the sufferings to which the people of Cyprus is subjected by the Turkish administration." In brief this describes the situation of the Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire that explains the decline of the Balkans, Greece and Cyprus under the corrupt Ottoman administration. They did not like it.

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A map of the new Ottoman province. Under the corrupt and inefficient Ottoman administration, the island entered the worst period of its terrible history, marked by impoverishment and depopulation. Cyprus, the place in Europe where wine and parfums were discovered 5000 years ago, turned from a rich productive land into an almost barren island.
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Between 1572 and 1668, the Cypriots staged 28 "bloody" uprisings to protest the taxes. That's an average of one bloody uprising every 3 and a half years. In 1660, the Sultan recognized the Archbishop and the Bishops as "the protectors of people" and the representatives of the Sultan. In 1670, Cyprus came under the jurisdiction of the admiral of the Ottoman fleet. The admiral sent an officer to govern in his place. In 1703, Cyprus came under the jurisdiction of the grand vizier who sent a military and civil administrator. This office accompanied the highest bid for the tax rights to Cyprus. The Cypriots were being cruelly exploited to repay the note on the bid. By 1760, the situation on the island was critical. An epidemic of plague, bad crops and earthquakes caused many Cypriots to emigrate. The initial population of 150,000 plus the 30,000 Turkish settlers was reduced to a mere 25,000. The final straw came when in 1764, the newly appointed Pasha doubled the taxes. Chil Osman (the local tax collector) and 18 of his friends were torn to pieces by Greek and Turkish Cypriots. The group had to pay a huge sum to the Sultan and the families of the victims. It was assessed that each Christian family had to pay 14 piastres and each Turk 7. The Turkish Cypriots led by Khalil Agha attacked the Turkish government authorities. The uprising was suppressed and Kahlil Aga beheaded.

The consequences of the Greek rebellion spilled onto Cyprus. The Sultan consented to the execution of 486 Christians on July 9th, 1821, accusing them of conspiring with the rebellious Greeks. The casualties included 4 bishops, many clerics and village officials and prominent citizens. They were beheaded in the central square of Nicosia while Archbishop Kyprioanos was hanged. The property of the church was plundered and the Christians forced to pull the upper stories off their houses. Maybe to make sure there were no tall buildings on which to station a lookout. In 1878, 307 years after they took control, Turkey relinquished the rule of Cyprus to Britain. But this was not to be the end, as in 1974, the Turks invaded once more the now defenseless island, taking control of half of it and creating the only iron curtain that remains in Europe.

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A winged lion with the open book and the inscription "Pax tibi Marce evangelista meus", or "peace unto thee Mark my evangelist". It is a timeless reminder of the Venetian pride that sits in the grass of the courtyard at the Othello's tower in Famagusta, now under the rule of the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus supported by the Turkish army.
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Although the decline of the Ottoman Empire is attributed at the period that starts with Murad III, Selim's son, we can already see the start of it during the latest years of Suleiman. The Janissaries were already losing their edge against the Western armies and victories were increasingly more difficult to achieve. The decree of 1566 that allowed the Janissaries to marry, followed by admittance of their sons into the corps, and in 1576 the admission of muslims that heralded the end of the devshirme (child-levy) as the way of entrance into the Janissary, were very efective in creating a group only interested in their own advancement. The decline of the Turkish nobility that provided the counterbalance to the Janissary with the sipahi cavalry, and the break-up of the timariot system left the sultanate unbalanced and economically weakened, at a time when the spiral of prices/wages due to the price revolution caused by the New World precious metals was starting to hit the Ottoman Empire with disastrous results.

34othello.jpg


It is Othello's pleasure, our noble and valiant
general, that, upon certain tidings now arrived,
importing the mere perdition of the Turkish fleet,
every man put himself into triumph; some to dance,
some to make bonfires, each man to what sport and
revels his addiction leads him: for, besides these
beneficial news, it is the celebration of his
nuptial. So much was his pleasure should be
proclaimed. All offices are open, and there is full
liberty of feasting from this present hour of five
till the bell have told eleven. Heaven bless the
isle of Cyprus and our noble general Othello!
[Othello by William Shakespeare. Act 2, Scene 2.]
[The scene depicts Othello (Cristoforo Moro) with Desdemona Barbarigo and her father Aureo Barbarigo*]
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* ;)
 

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7. The Order of St. Stephen. A lesser known military order.

Cosimo de Medici, Duke of Florence, founded the Military Order of Saint Stephen, Pope and Martyr, on March 15, 1561, to commemorate his victory over the French led by Marshal Strozzi at the battle of Marciano, on Saint Stephen's day, August 2, 1554. The order, authorized by Pope Pius IV and confirmed by Pope Pius V in 1562, naming Cosimo and his succesors Grand Masters of the Order in perpetuity, obliged his members to defend the shipping of Christian nations against pirates, liberate Christians from the slavery of the Turks and, above all, defend the Church and the Catholic Faith.

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The arms of the Naval Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen, as they appear in the church of St. Stephen at the Piazza dei Cavalieri in Pisa.
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The knights, with base in Pisa, were in action within two years of the foundation of the Order, coming to the aid of the knights Hospitaller at the siege of Malta in 1565. In 1567 Pius conferred on Cosimo the title of Grand Duke of Tuscany for him and his heirs and successors, with sovereignty over Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Siena and the surrounding territories, despite the objections of the Emperor and the King of Spain. In 1571 they armed twelve galleys of the Order at the service of the Pope under command of Marcantonio Colonna, which distinguished themselves at the Battle of Lepanto. With the death of Cosimo, his son and successor, Francis (who became Grand Duke in 1571), was no less enthusiastic in his support for the Order and the galleys of Saint Stephen were engaged in skirmishes with the Turks along the Barbary coast in 1582, at Monastero in 1585, Chios in 1599 and the Albania coast in 1604. Francis was succeeded by his brother Ferdinand I (1587-1609), who supported the knights in their attempt to raise the siege of Famagusta in 1607; unfortunately they were repulsed but, with forty-five galleys, captured and pillaged the city of Bona in Algeria. The Order reached the apogee of its power under the Grand Magistery of Ferdinand I, who was responsible for the construction of the Church of Saint Stephen in Pisa - the population of this city doubled between the foundation of the Order and 1613.

With Ferdinand's death, the Grand Magistery passed to his son, Cosimo II, whose premature death in 1621 led to a regency during the early years of his son Ferdinand II, who succeeded at the age of eleven. The costs of these naval expeditions had become increasingly burdensome to the Florentines, whose own economy was not as robust as it had been in the previous century, while the citizens of Livorno bitterly resented the war with the Turks with whom they had been engaged in immensely profitable trade for the previous two centuries. Confronted with the opposition of the citizenry, Ferdinand gradually reduced the military activities of the Order, selling the majority of the galleys to the French in 1647. In 1668 an agreement was made with the Turks by which the sultan permitted them to trade in Turkish waters, a protection already accorded to the navy of the Emperor. In 1678 the Turks attacked the Venetian ports along the Albania coast once again and the remaining galleys of the Order distinguished themselves in assisting the successful defense of the Venetian Republic. Although the Order was now relieved of the burden of constant warfare, it continued to maintain a number of galleys as Venetian auxiliaries, assisting the latter in their capture of Prevesa and Santa Maura in 1684. A few knights joined the crusade in Morea of 1716-1719, sailing on the galleys of the Order (which were not engaged in the fighting). During the remaining years of Medici rule the Order abandoned its naval role; during the previous century it had succeeded in liberating between six thousand and fifteen thousand Christian prisoners from the Turks.

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Sigismond Habsburg, Archduke of Austria, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and current Grand Master of the Order of St. Stephen, dressed in the Order habits.
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With the end of the Medici dynasty, the title of Grand Duke of Tuscany and Grand Master of the Order went to the Habsburg Archdukes of Austria where they remain. The Grand Duke Leopold abdicated his rights and as Grand Master of the Tuscan Orders on June 18th, 1993, and has been succeeded by his elder son, the Archduke Sigismond Habsburg, Grand Duke of Toscana, current Grand Master.


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Information for this posts has come from many places, but I would like to cite the following: The height of the Ottoman power, by Moritz Beosch, in The Cambridge Modern History. Cambridge, 1903-1912. (vol. 3). Robert Midgley's translation of The war of Cyprus from Antonio Maria Graziani (De Bello Cyprio, 1624).
 

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What was to be known as the war of Cyprus started with the outrageous letter of sultan Selim II demanding the immediate surrender of Cyprus under menace of falling over Venice with the power of a torrent, and wage war to her everywhere, causing her all the possible damage and conquering Cyprus by force. Long were the debates over the letter delivered by ambassador Kubad to the Signoria by the Maggior Consiglio.

The Senate was split almost in half. Senator Meryoni Cornaro delivered his usual diatribe against the Turks, but this time his words did not fall on deaf ears. Now many senators could see that the Ottoman menace was real, and that the last war had not reduced the desire of Selim to attack Venice. Cornaro's Blue Party associates Ernesto Gandolfi, Enrico Contarini and Benito Lando showed their clear support for a war against the Ottoman Empire, while cautious senators Matteo Vendramin and Manolo Trevisan were won to the cause of war even if warning about undue haste.

Against them was senator Sergio Gradenigo, champion of the Golden Party in defense of peace. He spoke with words of wisdom against a worsening of the Republic's international reputation. He cited the precedents of previous leagues against Venice, and spoke of the concern in Europe for our increasing power. He was supported by his party mates Agostino Ziani and Cuthbertus III, that clearly supported a recovery time before new confrontations. Senator Mikael Gatt spoke of our need to strengthen Egypt and realigning our alliances, and also voted for peace. Senator Miozozny argued that the Ottomans no longer constituted a real menace to our power and he saw little profit in such adventure. He defended Genoa as a better target, but found little support for it.

At that time the decision seem to favor peace, but the Blue Party gained an unexpected advantage in the absence of senator Massimilian Pesaro, who had previously spoken in favor of peace. But the real surprise took place when senator Aureo Barbarigo left the benches of the Golden Party where his family has always been affiliated, and sat with the Blue Party senators, voting also for war against Selim.

An adequate answer was sent to Selim by hands of Turkish ambassador Kubad: "Venice is firmly resolved to defend her legitimate possession of the island of Cyprus, trusting in the justice of God." And preparations were started for the now inevitable war, as we could expect a Turkish attack at any time. Already some merchants were informing of active recruitment all over the Ottoman Empire in preparation for the assault on Cyprus.

Capitano Generale Fodoroni had already plans in place. Major General Bragadino and Vice Admiral Agostino Barbarigo were his best commanders, and so he had to start the war as soon as possible to get the best use of them. The Arsenal had promised to deliver new improved weapons by the end of 1570, but Fodoroni believed he could advance the positional war before that date, and then use the new weapons to crush the Turkish armies before obtaining the goals decided by the senate. The senate had set his eyes on the rich Egyptian provinces of Delta and Cairo (Egypt), watered by the fertile Nile. Smyrna had also ample support, as it was expected that its Greek inhabitants could be won over and even converted to the true faith. But Smyrna was difficult to conquest and keep, unless the Ottoman armies were first eliminated.

Instead of starting the war in spring as usual, this time he would be bussy reorganizing his armies and could not start before the autumn. But if he was lucky, and this years winter was mild, he could conquer several of the provinces by the next summer, given the good siege training that the commanders had received.

Massimo Pesaro had moved to Kosovo from Dalmatia and had joined Manolo Trevisan there for the simultaneous invasion of Serbia and Bosnia respectively. The Real Deal was transported from Firenze to Macedonia and our vassal Bulgaria, to act as pivot, ready to invade Wallachia or to support other armies in the European front. This time the Turks have over 30,000 Janissaries in Europe, and so the clash promises to be very bloody. The siege expert Bragadino, takes his cannons to Thrace. He meets there with Svantevid, who has raised a new army. They are to invade Rumelia and Dobrudja. Our past experience has shown us that the Turks in Europe are always very sensitive to attacks in Rumelia, always trying to break them even by attacks across the Danube, so our best commander must be placed there.

In Egypt we are very limited in our manpower and we do not have any men available in the European front as the fight there promises to be difficult. Benito Lando in Sardinia, and S.W. Myers in Crete will have to bring half of their forces to Alexandria, while Arturo Gandolfi defends Malta, Sergio Gradenigo defends Corfu, and Enrico Contarini defends contested Cyprus. But if Barbarigo does well his job, the Ottoman fleet will be too bussy to challenge our islands. Dirutz is in command of the small force in Nile that was ready to depart for our outpost at Kerala, but now he will have to take active part in the war, even if he is too young for it.

Finally Seboden will defend Kerch. But his forces there are so small that we fear he might meet the same fate that Arturo Gadolfi suffered in the previous war.

In the sea, Norrefeldt is in command of our tiny Red Sea squadron, made by two warships and one transport. Dandolo defends the Aegean with 45 galleys, while Meryoni Cornaro defends the Sea of Marmara, also with 44 galleys. Smaller fleets will defend our islands, but hopefully they won't be required.

The war of Cyprus was ready to start. But the Christian forces suffered a blow when they learned that Kara Koyunlu had surrendered Syria and Kurdistan to the Ottoman Empire. Now they would get full attention from an increased enemy.
 

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Honorable senators,

In contrast with our Doge's lack of confidence, I am happy to be again in the midst of battle against insurmountable odds. My only worry is that we might run out of worthy enemies to slaughter to the glory of our Serenissima Repubblica.

This time we face the Turks with an added complication. We know that about 30,000 Janissaries had been disembarked in Rumelia and were somewhere in Europe. Additionally our Egyptian armies are woefully inadequate. Kerch is also badly defended, but at least there is no Turkish presence nearby. We are already above our support limit due to merchant failure, and troops are needed everywhere.

But we have also learnt a lot about our enemy tactics. We have concentrated most of our forces in the Balkans to try quickly to secure our backdoor. At the same time our troops in Egypt will try to at least hold our provinces there. After Europe has been secured, we will try to conquer our goals, the provinces of Egypt and Delta, and second to that Smyrna, that is protected now by a medium size fortress.

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When the war is declared, our troops receive orders to invade Bosnia, Serbia, Rumelia, Dobrudja, Delta, Quattara and Nile. Selim is out for a big wake up call. But perhaps that devil of Grand Vizier Sokolli suspects something. When The Real Deal reaches Bulgaria, he discovers that Massimiliano Pesaro is walking towards a trap. He has been deceived into thinking that he has only 1000 Turks in front of him in the Serbian planes, while in fact, the bulk of the Ottoman army, formed by 27,000 janissaries, is already crossing the Danube river to fall on his back. Without thinking for a second, The Real Deal gave orders to his tired soldiers to continue marching towards Serbia, hoping to reach the battle on time to save Pesaro. This was going to be the most crucial battle of the European front.

While the battle of Serbia was raging, Manolo Trevisan initiated the siege of Bosnia. Winter was coming, and he hoped he did not have to abandon siege if snow was hard. Marcantonio Bragadino, meanwhile had overcome the defenses of Rumelia, and was showing his amazing sieging abilities. He was hit by attrition when Svantevid had to delay his arrival to Dobrudja to avoid a disadvantageous confrontation against 7,000 more Turks that were crossing the Danube into Wallachia, the Ottoman assembly point in Europe. The Ottoman strength in Europe amounts to 35,000 soldiers. We have been able to assemble 56,000, but we are being hit by attrition.

The Real Deal finally arrives to Serbia when Pesaro's troops are already losing morale. Due to Pessaro's cavalry advantage, however, the Janissaires count a great number of casualties. This battle would have been lost in the previous war, but the increase in quality and the fire bonus received are working magic in our troops. But Serbia is very poor, and we cannot find enough supplies, and so at the change of the month, 14,000 Venetians have died or deserted, both from the battle and attrition. The battle at this point is still undecided, despite the cavalry advantage, and the Ottoman disadvantage from crossing the river. But finally the battle is won, and the Ottomans retreat counting also 14,000 casualties. The Ottoman power in Europe has been broken by Massimilian Pesaro and The Real Deal. There is now hope that the European campaign will be a short one.

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One thing has worried me in the first months of the war. We know that Piali Pasha has taken his fleet into the Black Sea, but we ignore where. Barbarigo is stationed in the Sea of Marmara with Meryoni Cornaro and his 44 galleys to prevent him from escaping. Soon we discover what he had been doing, when 14,000 Turks disembark in Kaffa by surprise, defeating the garrison of Theodoros. Seboden is undecided between continuing the siege of Sochi or going to defend Kerch. He is badly outnumbered. But the decision will be taken from him when in December a snow tempest abates over Sochi. He then abandons the siege and goes to defend Kerch to avoid dying from attrition. Seboden is hit by attrition before leaving Sochi, and by then the Turks are crossing the strait into Kerch. We fear for Seboden's life but clearly we should have more confidence in him, as with only 3,000 soldiers, he defeats the big Ottoman army forcing them to retreat into Sochi. Immediately 1,000 more soldiers are recruited in Kerch, and reinforcements are planned. But Agostino Barbarigo is dispatched to Kerch looking for Piali's fleet with orders of engaging the enemy even if inferior in numbers.

In Africa, S.W. Myers, in command of 14,000 men, crosses the Nile and squashes the tiny Turkish garrison in Delta and proceeds then to besiege Cairo (Egypt), while young Dirutz, who was waiting in Nile to be embarked to Kerala, leads his small army to besiege Delta. Ernesto Gandolfi, takes his fleet from Crete to block the port in Delta. There is no sign of enemy activity, and we hope to conquer both provinces before the Ottomans react. Benito Lando is covering Quattara to prevent Turkish forces to attack from our rear guard, but we lack troops to conduct a proper siege.

The year 1569 ends with our great offensive going more or less as planned. Bosnia, Serbia, Rumelia, Dobrudja, Delta and Egypt are under siege by us, and Crimea is being besieged by the Theodorians. We also get the news that the French Catholics have gained independence from Burgundy, and we wrongly thought that this did not concern us.

Obviously the Ottomans are going to react to our attack, and so in 1570 we replenish our lost forces by raising 15,000 men in Greece, and we place in command of the fleet in the Aegean, Vice Admiral Marco Querini. If not as brilliant as Barbarigo, he is certainly a good fleet commander (4, 3, 2). The Ottoman counteroffensive comes in Rumelia as expected, but good Marcantonio Bragadino defeats the numerically superior Turks without breaking a sweat. Certainly the performance of our troops has improved very much. Varna (Rumelia) surrenders after the battle, her hopes of rescue evaporated. Bragadino then goes to help Svantevid in the siege of in Dobrudja, since he has been left almost exclusively with cannons.

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Agostino Barbarigo finds Piali Pasha at the coast of Rumelia, and enters battle with him as ordered. His fleet is not only smaller, but contains also numerous transports, and a smaller number of warships. Despite this shortcomings, the first of the over twenty engagements collectively know as the battle of Lepanto, is clearly won by Barbarigo, who persecutes Piali towards the sea of Marmara. Both sides lost one ship. Meanwhile, a fleet from Yemen also attacks the tiny fleet of Norrefeldt in the Red sea, however, Norrefeldt manages to win without loses.

More victories are announced. Massimiliano Pesaro and The Real Deal conquer Serbia, and Manolo Trevisan conquers Bosnia. Pesaro and The Real Deal join their armies and go to Transylvania, while Manolo Trevisan attacks Wallachia. Bragadino conquers Dobrudja and sets siege to Bujak. He is really fast in his sieges. The Ottomans reorganize their 15,000 Janissaries left and besiege Rumelia. Europe will be in our hands before they finish that siege. Soon Bragadino conquers Bujak also. Selim realizes he must have been drunk when he demanded the surrender of Cyprus. He offers 318 ducats, Serbia, Bosnia, Bujak, Rumelia and Dobrudja. The Signoria and the Consiglio laugh at him.

But things are changing in the International scene. Cologne, allied to the Turks and at war with us, is annexionated by its Burgundian oppressor. The French Catholics, fearing the same fate, enter alliance also with the Ottoman Empire and declare war to us. What kind of Catholics are these? Oh, wait, they are French, that explains why they ally with the Devil himself and declare war to a Christian nation.

Let's go back to Africa, where the sieges of Delta and Egypt proceed at good speed. However we soon receive news that the Sultan is sending his best commander, Lala Mustafa Pasha to recover Egypt. However Selim is short on troops and he assigns Lala Mustafa only 14,000 men. In the heat of the summer of 1570, Lala Mustafa Pasha, known as the butcher of Cyprus, attacks S.W. Myers. We had recommended Myers to retreat, as there is no hope of victory, but he valiantly insists on trying to save the siege of Cairo. The siege cannot be saved, but Myers cavalry cuts through the ranks of the Ottoman army, ill prepared for this attack in the sands of the desert. At the end of the day, Myers is forced to retreat across the Nile, losing 4,000 men, but 9,000 Turks lay dead in the desert.

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Lala Mustafa Pasha attacks then Dirutz in Delta. Dirutz does not hold any advantage in the marshes of the Nile's delta, and is defeated with grave loses. The Spaniards have come to help, but they conduct a strange war, going South to attack some rebels in Yemeni Nubia. Are they out of their mind? Those rebels were helping us, keeping Nile safe. Last time we invite them to a party. And finally the Arsenal delivers his promised technological advance in December 1570. The new arquebuses are quickly distributed between our troops. But a rumor spreads through our armies in Egypt. Their hero and leader Marcantonio Bragadino appears to have fallen in the hands of Lala Mustafa, and he has had him skinned alive, and then mocked and desecrated his remains. A furor fills the hearts of our troops. They want Lala's head. Myers crosses the Nile river again, and leaving a cover force in Cairo, attacks Lala Mustafa in Delta. He is defeated again, but this time less than 1,000 sipahi (cavalry) survive the battle. And Lala is trapped in Delta by the covering force in Cairo. Revenge is at hand. We recruit as many soldiers as possible in Egypt, and in the spring 1571 a new offensive is launched. Dirutz crosses the lower Nile ignoring the dangers of such attack, while Myers crosses the upper Nile into Cairo. But Dirutz is possessed with rage, the men defending Lala Mustafa Pasha start to diminish, 800, 400, 200, 120, 80, finally only Lala and one of his sipahi are alive. Dirutz directs his horse for a personal fight against Lala, and with a clean sweep of his schiavona cuts Lala Mustafa's head. Revenge at last. But the sieges have been lost and have to be painfully restarted. Much time has been wasted, but victory is at hand. Sadly the rumors of Marcantonio Bragadino's dead turn out to be true, as his most cruel assassination is confirmed.

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In October 1571, the final stage of the great naval battle of Lepanto is also taking place. The Ottoman fleet is all but defeated. Agostino Barbarigo has insisted in taking the most dangerous position, at the extreme of the inshore wing, to avoid Piali from escaping. But fate will have it, that he will take an arrow through his left eye. The Ottoman navy has been destroyed. Piali is able to escape with eight warships and one transport. It does not escape us that from now on the Turks will not be able to ferry troops in significant numbers to Europe. Their days are counted. I just cannot think of a more glorious death for Agostino Barbarigo, that dying at the helm of his ship fighting the Turks, on the day the Ottoman navy was crushed at Lepanto. Both Bragadino and Barbarigo had served Venice well, both shall be remembered.

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But we are still at war. In the previous months, Giulio Savorgnano (3, 4, 1, 1) has taken command of the siege of Transylvania. Bragadino, before meeting his martyrdom, and Trevisan, coordinate their efforts to release the siege of Varna (Rumelia), with the goal of reducing the Ottoman army size below siege capacity. After the death of Bragadino, Svantevid recovered command of the army and continue this task, while Giulio Savorgnano, after conquering the last Ottoman province in Europe, will join forces with Manolo Trevisan and will take the artillery across the Bosporus strait. We have the conquest of Smyrna as our goal, but the Ottoman army defending it will have to be softened before.

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We are in conditions of totally crushing the Turks once and for all. We will have more than double their numbers, and good leaders. We will be able to finally capture rich Greek Smyrna. Can this be possible? Of course not, because another "most Christian" nation is going to come in defense of the Turks, backstabbing us and trying to take advantage of our compromised situation. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Now I am real mad with the Austrians. To make matters worse, Savorgnano is heavily defeated in Anatolia and retreats with great loss of live. We are at war against Ottoman Empire, Mughal Empire, Crimea, Qazaq Horde, Yemen, French Catholics, Austria, Bavaria, Netherlands and Berg. Fortunately we have Spain and Theodoros on our side, but we must make peace with the Ottomans. The only problem is that we have not gained control of any of our target goals. Has this been all for nothing?


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To be continued...
 
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Honorable senators,

Maximilian has caught us with our pants down once more. Fortunately his cousin Felipe supports us and will help, especially against the Dutch, who have honored their compromises with Maximilian. But our first priority is to get some troops into the area, as nobody stands between our enemies and our heartland. In a few months 23,000 soldiers are recruited.

We are keeping a close watch on Coronel Stantevid. This young senator started his meteoric career in the European front at the war of Cyprus, where he directed the siege of Dobrudja until the arrival of Marcantonio Bragadino. After that, he participated as liutenant of Bragadino, where he acquired a significant experience in the siege of fortified cities. After the death of Bragadino, he once again became commander of the army and continued the campaign of curbing the numbers of Turkish soldiers present in Europe below siege capacity. He achieved his goal right when Austria declared war to us, and then he responded to our call to all armies except the African corps to return home. He was the first to arrive to Istria, where he was soon joined by General Giulio Savorgnano, transported by sea after his defeat in Anatolia. The new Italian army in Romagna was put under command of Dandolo. I ordered them all to wait for the right conditions. The Austrian resources were amazing. Over 120,000 Austrians and Bavarians were launched against the walls of Milan, but these numbers played against the enemy, as disease spread through their men, and 44,000 of them died during the long siege imposed by the valiant Milanese.

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Good news came from Africa, as Cairo was finally conquered by S.W. Myers. The Turks are badly beaten. Without presence in Europe, without a navy to move significant armies across the seas. Zygmunt August, king of Poland sees the opportunity and declares war to the Ottomans. This is going to be a military parede for him. Grand Vizier Sokolli, desperate about the new war, sent an offer through the French ambassador. 195[,000] ducats, Serbia, Bujak, Bosnia, Rumelia, Dobrudja and Egypt. It seems that an agreement will soon be possible, and the negotiations proceed.

We have learnt a great deal about our Austrian foe in our past war. We know exactly how they will react. We know that Maximilian will send all his armies to the attack, leaving Austria undefended, but when we invade them, they will abandon their attack and reorganize in Viena, and will try to recover their provinces without attacking our armies. Not a very wise strategy. When the passage is expedite, we send Savorgnano to Steiermark, and Svantevid to Presburg. Dandolo stays in Romagna and a new army is comissioned in Dalmatia, and placed under command of Enrico Contarini. A new army is also raised in Firenze, commanded by Miozozny. Dandolo is ordered across the Po and into Austria.

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The bad news of the fall of Milan, are partially compensated by the conquest of Damietta (Delta) by Dirutz. The Spaniards have helped significantly in the war. Besides their victories, they have conquered Beluchistan and Provence. But Provence cannot be obtained, and giving them Baluchistan would not do them a favour. Therefore we request 175[,000] ducats, Delta, Egypt and military access. Sokolli accepts in the name of Selim. Apparently he is too drunk in his Serraglio to realice what is happening. The Poles will have now their chance at kicking the Ottomans from Europe.

The end of the war of Cyprus aggainst Selim does not release more armies, as our forces in Egypt are barely enough to keep order there. But it allows us to send protection troops to Louga and Kerala, now in a real danger from the Dutch. Marco Quirini will take Benito Lando to Louga, with 2,000 men, and Norrefeldt will take Seboden to Kerala with 6,000 men. No, it is not a punishment. At least you are guaranteed action against the natives from time to time.

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In Europe, we have now five armies in action. The Austrians are abandoning their attack and returning home. But their numbers have been halved by attrition in Lombardia and Piemonte. Miozozny is in charge of recovering Milan. Svantevid, in a really short time has conquered Presburg and moves deeper into Moravia. Savorgnano's siege on Steiermark is close to an end, and Dandolo has defeated several small Austrian armies and has set siege to Ostmarch across the Danube. Enrico Contarini moves to support Miozozny against the Austrians. But he will not arrive in time to participate, and will remain in Mantua. The honor of beating a superior army will correspond entirely to Miozozny. But winter of 1572 is here, and with the snow, Dandolo will be forced to abandon the siege of Ostmarch, and will go to Odenburg, a plains province easier to conquer, that rarely has snow in winter.

In the spring of 1573, the Bavarians besiege Istria. Savorgnano finally conquers Steiermark and Dandolo conquers Odenburg. Maximilian starts to worry and offers 48[,000] ducats. But the signoria now knows him. He must pay a lot more than that for his double treason. We are worried by the news from our Spanish allies that the Duke of Alba is coming to help us in our sieges. It is imperative that he does not help with the siege of Tirol, our aproved goal for the past war, that is maintained as the current goal.

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Soon Miozozny recovers Lombardia. Our Doge offers the Duke of Bavaria 300[,000] ducats to end the war with us (14% offer), but he rejects. We think he is making a mistake, as we are a lot stronger now, and although our war exhaustion is high, it is not out of control yet.

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While the Austrians try to recover Odenburg, Istria is about to fall in the hands of the Bavarians. We dispatch Enrico Contarini, who very eficiently dislodges the siege, forcing the Bavarians to retreat home. Giulio Savorgnano also defeats the Bavarians in Tirol, but he pays the attrition price. This is exactly what we were trying to avoid, the Bavarians doing the hard work for the Austrians, and making our victory impossible.

Soon Moravia falls into the efficient hands of Svantevid, who then moves to Erz. The Austrians now offer 56[,000] ducats and Steiermark, but that is not what we want. We offer the Duke of Bavaria, 250[,000] ducats (18% offer). Surprisingly they reject it.

Before the end of the year, Odenburg is recovered by Maximilian, and we suffer a revolt in Nile, that is quickly defeated by S.W. Myers.

Since the war is aproaching its end, the Signoria decides to continue operations past December. A decision not without precedents, that is helped by the Senatorial decision on the goals against Austria in a recent election.

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Enrico Contarini tries to open a new front in Austria after a victory in Salzburg, but after crossing the Danube, he is defeated by a combined attack of Austrians and Bavarians, taking refuge in Moravia. But after the loss of Presburg he will be defeated again.

Bavaria has been a thorn in our side. But as their military decline and they keep sending expeditions to Istria, they suddenly become an easy prey. Contarini invades Ansbach, while Miozozny goes with half of his army to undefended Bayern. The Bavarians loose a string of battles and become unable to raise new armies. Suddenly the Bavarian ambassador comes running to the Ducal palace with an offer of 47[,000] ducats.

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He is certain that his offer will be taken, after all our generous offers, but he notices that the situation has changed when he is received coldly. The Bavarians are no longer a threat, but a contributor to our victory (+8 warscore). The Doge looks into his eyes and says: "I made you an offer you should have not rejected. Go back to your Duke and tell him he won't be obtaining a special treatment from us."

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In June 1574, Svantevid makes a final contribution to the war and captures Erz. Archduke Maximilian offers 200[,000] and Steiermark. We tell the ambassador to wait for a counteroffer. In July, Tirol is finally conquered by Savorgnano. There is no need to wait for the capture of Bohemia by Dandolo. Spain has conquered Zeeland from the Dutch, but militarily they have lost slightly, nevertheless they have a positive contribution to the peace negotiation. Bavaria has also been beaten militarily by us (+8% separate score), but Austria has been heavily defeated. Our offer of accepting 200[,000] ducats and the surrender of Tirol is quickly accepted. We are victors. Glory to the republic. The gold of Tirol shall finance our rebuilding and our commercial expansion.

Whith the end of the war my job is finished. I eagerly await the next war. Perhaps next year? After all war exhaustion is only at 7%, and I am trying to push my daughter through the University of Padova, and the extra income in my paycheck for being destined abroad during wars is welcomed.

Yours sincerely,

Capitano Generale della gente de Terra, Fodoroni
 

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Now that we have had our own battle of Lepanto, against the Turks!, with no less than 3 of the right leaders!, and with the same outcome!, it is time to examine that battle with more detail.

I must say that I am amazed that we have so much real history showing up in our AAR, when our Venice has nothing to do with the historical one.