The Tour of the world project:

Pedro Ordóñez de Ceballos,
El viaje del mundo (Madrid: 1614).

Book I, Chapter 3 (Part 2)

Uploaded on 8 September 2012 by .

Permalink for this paragraph 0 [7v continued]

Permalink for this paragraph 0 Our other galley had reached the Marquess safely, and he ordered that all Venetian ships and vessels in Sicily and in Naples be captured, and sent word to Venice that his galley should be set free and without harm, and that if it was not, he would do the same as was done to it to all those vessels and people that had been captured. And so the Lord ordered that we go to Venice, and when his orders arrived they were obeyed, and our ship was escorted by six galleys, and our men split between all of them. We arrived in that famous city, of which it was once accurately said, ‘Venice he who has not seen you does not appreciate you, because your greatness, beauty and wealth is almost unimaginable’. We were freed on arrival, saw all that there is to see in it, including its many relics, and the body of the glorious Evangelist Saint Mark. Indeed, one of the greatest distinctions that it has, and that exist in the world, is the treasure of St Mark’s, which was then said to be worth over thirty millions.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 Even though it is a small thing, I shall tell of something I saw there, since it might serve as an example to those who underestimate small things, and thus fail to come to great ones. It happened that being in the shop of a Venetian merchant, who was a very rich man since he had an estate of eighty thousand ducats and was of no less than eighty years of age. He was eating with his wife and three daughters in a room at the back of his shop, when a young man arrived with a coin that he wanted to buy some spices with. It was a small coin, worth less than a blanca,1 and yet the merchant rose from his table to serve the young man. All the knights present were surprised, and asked him why being such a rich and powerful man he would rise from the table for such small benefit. He replied [8r] with these words: ‘Ah, Spaniards, you look down on small things, and so know not how to keep and own! This is how I have earned everything I have. It is in this way that you amass a fortune – because spending and not saving, and not wanting to earn, and not keeping what you acquire, is how men are impoverished, and especially you Spaniards, who waste everything on games and idle pursuits.’ This is what the Venetian told us, and what made us realise that he who saves earns, that he who has should keep, and that he who listens to but a few will later be rewarded with what he deserves.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 We left that distinguished city, and heard news of two small galleys who had looted some others, and decided to pursue them. We were so unsuccessful that we turned back, and found ourselves once again in the Archipelago, and with such bad weather that we thought we would capsize one morning. After twenty days we came near the island of Hydra, and the Gulf of Barga, where we thought ourselves lost. With great dexterity we switched our clothes and flags for Turkish ones, and were able to pass. Two days later, we saw the two galleys, but by the time they attacked us, spotting our Royal Standard, we had already sunk one of them. When we boarded the other, we found on it great quantities of gold, and it was all distributed among all manner of people, and everyone was glad. From there we crossed these seas to Messina, and nothing of note happened along the way.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 We were very well received, and well rewarded – there was a soldier who was awarded three thousand sequins, and others two thousand.2 His Excellency’s share was a great fortune, and so this adventure was the largest source of his wealth. Many conscripts were freed and rewarded, and much was spent on the galleys themselves, and also in giving thanks. [8v] Processions were organised, many Masses were said, and a great number of alms were distributed, because this is the custom of Spanish soldiers, who are very generous when they can be. In the whole expedition we did not lose more than twenty-six men, and their shares were given to those of their lineage whom we could find – widows, children or relatives. Everything was sent to where they were known to live, and for those of whom we had no knowledge of relatives, many Masses and prayers were said for their souls.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 In this expedition, after thanking the Lord for delivering me from all dangers, I vowed to visit the Holy City of Jerusalem, which I did, as will be told.

Permalink for this paragraph 0 A map of places visited in Chapter 3. To see a larger version, and maps of other chapters, click here, or visit the Maps page from the menu above.

  1. A small silver coin. []
  2. One sequin contains about 3.5 grammes of gold. []