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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

IX: The Hospitallers at Rhodes, 1421-1523,   pp. 314-339 PDF (14.1 MB)

Page 330

grand master hastily armed a galley which captured many Turkish corsairs
operating in Rhodian waters; some were killed, others were put to work excavating
the moats of Rhodes.43 
 In 1503, when Venice made peace with the Turks, Rhodes was isolated. On
July 3 of that year the grand master Peter of Aubusson died; his successor,
Emery of Amboise, prior of France, was elected at once by the Convent, but
did not arrive in Rhodes until 1504. Meanwhile his lieutenant, Guy of Blanchefort,
prior of Auvergne, appointed captains for the three galleys of the order,
which were called Petronilla, Victoriosa, and Catherineta (or Catherinella).
He sent the galleys against a squadron of Turkish corsairs which had ravaged
Rhodes itself in August 1503, and then gone toward Makri (Fethiye) on the
mainland. Eight Turkish ships were sunk, and two captured, with much booty,
but in the fight one Rhodian galley was burned. 
 For their part, the knights repaid with acts of piracy the continued incursions
of Turkish corsairs. In 1504 it happened that one Kemal Beg, a kapiji-bashi
(messenger or quartermaster) of Kurkut Chelebi, Bayazid II's son and governor
of southern Anatolia, was captured by a boat commanded by Guy Borel Valdiviessa
e Maldonato. Kemal was taken as a slave to Rhodes; but on the night of July
20 he succeeded with twelve other slaves in eluding the vigilance of his
guards. He tried to escape on a Spanish ship, but fell into the sea and was
drowned. Kurkut, from his residence in Laodicea, wrote the knights several
letters in Greek demanding the liberation of his kapiji-bashi and threatening
to inform the "lord Chonochiari."44 The order replied, explaining what had
happened, and expressing its regret at Kemal Beg's death; but, referring
to the threats, it added that the order, for its part, had to complain of
the continued attacks by "Cortogoli and his companion corsairs" and of devastations
made by the Turks in the neighborhood of the castle of St. Peter. Finally,
on July 28, 1504, the order sent this dry response to the son of the sultan:
"Most illustrious sir, we are good and peaceful friends of the lord Chonochiari,
and of your own most illustrious lordship, and we are always ready to do
everything that is just and honest and due to good friends; and to this purpose
we are on this island, by order of the most serene Christian princes, from
whom we have favor and 
 43. Malta, cod. 79, fol. 83. Titian was commissioned by James Pesaro to
paint an altarpiece commemorating this victory; see E. Panofsky, Problems
in Titian, Mostly Icono graphic (New York, 1969), pp. 178—1 79 and
fig. 16. 
 44. I.e., his father Bayazid II. Chonochiar4 which often occurs in Venetian
and Rhodian documents of this period, is a European corruption of the Persian
khunkar, khudavand-gar (emperor), one of the titles of the Ottoman sultans.

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