Permalink for this paragraph 0 Chapter III: Wherein all is told about what happened in these seas, until our return to Messina, and prison in Candia
Permalink for this paragraph 0 I mentioned how a great joy entered all manner of people on our galleys, when they heard of [6v] the wealth of the wargalley and caramoussals. But since what God has ordered is inescapable, that night a great storm gathered, and we were convinced that if we did not reach the two caramoussals and other ships, the wargalley and two millions and their people would be lost. We attacked them, but it happened that in capturing their crew and part of what they carried, one of their ships sank, and so the sea took half of what we thought to be ours, and then the storm took the other half. And we were left alone, very devoutly asking God for his divine mercy: and when we were almost about to capsize, we sailed into the mouth of Lake Maeotis,1 and we never saw those vessels again. In all that region of sea, we would take up to some thirty small ships over the next ten days, all of which we sank after looting what valuables they carried, to everyone’s delight. We then heard news that two ships were carrying all the tribute from Georgia, which is the Kingdom that was of George Kastrioti Skanderbeg, and of other kingdoms. We went to the river Chemuch in the port of Faso,2 and from there we sailed in tight formation for as long as it seemed necessary. One night, we encountered a ship, and sawing through its hull we looted a great treasure of gold, some silver, and other things, that were said to amount to one million. Our other galley tried doing the same, but failed because it was discovered, and without being able to loot anything, the ship sank to the bottom. Then we agreed to leave that sea, and this we did to avoid being detected, because if news reached Constantinople we could find ourselves in great difficulty. And so we avoided land until we saw Galata, but because it was late and almost night we passed safely, and since we waited before making port, we went on for another day, and by oar and sail [7r] we escaped the following night.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 Another day we captured a brigantine, from which we heard news that two ships from Constantinople had arrived at the port of Faso. Two galleys had been seen with the ships carrying tribute, and since these two galleys were not identified, this brigantine had been sent to the islands to ask whether Turkish galleys had stopped there recently, but they had not been seen, and the brigantine was on its way to relay this news to the Great Lord. We also learned that two other brigantines had been dispatched [from Constantinople], one to Candia and one to meet Uluç Ali, Great Pasha of the Sea and King of Algiers,3 to investigate what galleys these were. Prudence and diligence (which is the mother of good fortune) were necessary, and soon we neared Candia, where we saw twelve galleys. These were the guards and defenders of these waters, since one cannot sail in Venetian waters, except on pain of death from stern to prow.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 The general of these ships was the Dux, or Duke of Candia, who was known as four-eyes. He sent word that we were to appear before him, or be sunk. Don Francisco de Benavides was upset, and sent word that he was a General of the King of Spain, and that he came to deliver a message, and that it was not convenient for the service of his King to be detained, and that he urged him not to send threats, that he gave him his word as a Gentleman, that even if he had six galleys, he should not be concerned, and that he required him to let him pass freely, because the messages he carried were for the benefit of all Christendom. When his demands and replies were heard, it was decided that we would go in the flagship, and that the others should go and relay our news, and this was done. We entered, and disembarked in the bay. This city has a great port, and it can be closed with a chain. They disarmed us, and we were detained there for several days, during which we suffered great pains, since [7v] every time a ship arrived from Venice, the Duke would say that ‘his lordship will soon order us to behead you all’.
- The Sea of Azov, to the northeast of the Crimean Peninsula. [↩]
- It seems likely that he is referring to the port of Azov, which would suggest the river in question is the River Don. This may be confirmed by the fact that in the Book of Jubilees or Leptogenesis (ספר היובלים), the river is mentioned as the boundary between the lands of Shem and Japheth, sons of Noah. I am very grateful to Ares Papangelou for this insight. [↩]
- 1519-1587. [↩]