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Partir en croisade à la fin du Moyen Âge

Daniel Baloup
Manuel Sánchez Martínez

How to Finance a Greek Rite Athlete: Venice, Rome and Stephen III of Moldavia

Alexandru Simon

Texte intégral

  • 1 Archivio di Stato di Milano, Milan (ASM), Archivio Ducale Sforzesco (ADS), Potenze Estere, Roma, c (...)

1In the summer of 1476, Mehmed II had attacked Moldavia. Neither he nor his opponents accomplished their goals. Still, it was his army and not the crusaders who was hastly retreating. In early September, Venice’s envoy in Moldavia, Emmanuele Gerardo thought that Moldavia had outlived rather well (i.e. cheap) the clash with the Porte. This was relative. Plagues, destructions, famine and death had struck her population too. Most damage had been inflicted by Basarab III Laiotă’s Walachians, who had accompanied Mehmed II on his campaign. Stephen III had lost most of his loyal supporters in the battle of Valea Albă in late July. Prior to it, he had been abandoned by approximately a third of his ost. The regional anti-Ottoman picture brightened after the successful Hungarian-Moldavian intervention in Walachia in October-November. Yet, by early 1477, the Ottoman reaction had turned those victories into history. Mehmed II eliminated the military positions won throughout 1476, by Hungary and Moldavia, along the Lower Danube, the Morava and the Sava. This placed Stephen, in particular, in a delicate position. His foreign and domestic support was virtually ruined. He depended, more than before, on the financial and political support of the powers which had attracted him into the conflict, Venice had been instrumental in this respect. The republic was thus the main target for Stephen’s pressures. They were probably greater than in 1475-1476, when he had vigorously demanded his financial and monarchical rights from Rome and Venice (nonetheless, after the clashes of 1476, the next major Ottoman-Moldavian confrontation only came in July 1484, when Stephen III lost his vital southern harbors)1.

2In early May 1477, John Tzamplakon, Stephen’s uncle (barba) arrived in Venice. His speech delivered in front of the senate was well received by the senators, who then rushed off to find out the latest news on the difficult Venetian-Ottoman negotiations. John was maybe the most appropriate person to gain Venice’s attention. Previously a captain in the republic’s service, he was a close relative of Mary of Mangop (i.e. Theodoro, in the Crimean Peninsula), Stephen’s wife, and apparently of cardinal Bessarion, Venice’s late Greek crusader spearhead. Moreover, Venice as well was in a difficult position. Although, no major Venetian-Ottoman fighting took place at the time, the war costed her in general 70% of her usually 1.000.000 ducats yearly budget. John had been sent to obtain her support, whether all by herself or together with Rome. Stephen wanted money for his war efforts and for an anti-Ottoman comeback. Tzamplakon stressed out Stephen’s Christian blood and financial investments. He reinfor-ced Stephen’s crusader credibility and «eligibility» for subsidies. If aid did not come to him, Stephen, like John Hunyadi’s son, Matthias Corvinus, like Venice (obviously Tzampakon did not say this straight forward), was to find an arrangement, against his will and belief, with Mehmed (in other words, Stephen was to finalize the talks initiated in early 1477, after Vlad III of Walachia’s death). Hence, during her own negotiations, Venice would have been deprived of at least one of her major cards: Stephen and the threat posed by him. Recently, in November 1476, Venice had shown how much Stephen III meant to her, by intervening in Rome and avoiding his deposition as Christendom’s athlete (Skanderbeg had been confronted with the same perspective in late 1466, when pope Paul II wanted to deprive him of his title of athlete because the Albanian lord had lost against the invading Ottoman troops of sultan Mehmed).

3After the general information on the directions to be followed at the papal curia, the instructions for Jacopo de Medio, Venice’s orator in Rome in November 1476, the text. preserved in the registers of the deliberations of the Venetian senate, described the objectives of the mission:

[...] Hoc est iuditio nostro illud membrum et illa pars corporis Christiani, que hoc tempore proximiori subiacet periculo/ maiorique remedii necessitate laborat. Super qua parte ita explicata Summus Pontifex cum sapientissimo et/ gravissimo reverendissimorum dominorum Cardinalium cetu mente et cogitatione discurrens considerabit, et que accidere/ digna miseratione, et que expectantur si neglecta fuerint, et consueta sapientia, pietate et studio/ prospiciet, ne tempore pontificatus sui, tantus miseriarum cumulus rei Christiane accedat: ut Turci/ Italiam dirripiant. Id, ut est necessarium ut dignum munere pontificio et paterno ita facile factu/ iuditio nostro modo omnes ut commune est periculum, ita comiter opitulentur, et non expectent ut uno/ potentato subactu vel delecto lues ad ceteros singillatim perveniat, et omnes tandem absumat/ quam tarda esset, et inutilis omnium penitentia, sicut tot regibus et principibus Christianorum extra/ Italiam usu evenit, qui non solus occupati atque extincti cum omni progenie perpetuo remansere. Idem,/ quod dicimus de instanti necessitate et periculo Italie, intelligi propterea nolumus ea dictum intentione/ ut reliqua Christiani corporis incendia deserantur, ut est Hungaria, Valichia [sic!] et cetere provintie/ et regna Christiana, sicut in recensione fieri oratoribus regis Hungarie delibata dixisse us,/ sed omnibus iunctis periculorum proximitatem et vehementiam subveniendum meminim arbitramur. Tempus/ aut vicinitas malorum, et Italie intentata facilisque dirreptio et clades nos movit, ut hec perte/ memorari faceremus. Tu igitur finem huic parti imponens, hortare, suade atque adeo persuade/ ut at hanc communem procurandam liberatione, et salutem cogitatus dirrigantur.// (f. 108v) Accede subinde ad explicationem et commemorationem rerum Moldavie, quam provinciam Turcus anno proximo/ ingressus maxima affectit strage et dirreptione, nullo tamen per Dei benignitatem occupato provincie oppido/ que vivo, et incolumi Magnifico Vayvoda Stephano conservari et restaurari, cum tempore poterit. Sed/ sicut ante opressionem efficaciter memorasse et quesivisse meminimus, non est Magnificus Vayvoda fortissimus/ rei Christiane athleta destituendus, sed hortandus confirmandus, fovendus atque iuvandus ad/ sui ipsius conservationem et ad hostis offensionem, id impresentiarum fieri possit litteris Summi Pontificis concessione/ Jobilei et publicatione cruciate, sicut per litteras Emanuelis Gerardi, secretarii nostri nuper memoratum/ est, ab eodes Vayvoda desiderari et postulari. Et, ut omnia tibi in hac materia nota sint/ possisque consueta tua dexteritate tractare negotium, et aliquam deducere perfectionem dari tibi/ iussimus exempla litterarum predicti Emanuelis [...].

  • 2 Archivio di Stato di Venezia, Venice (ASVe), Senato Secreti (SS), Deliberazioni, reg. 28, c. 13r-v(...)

4Sixtus IV gave in to the Venice’s exhortations and Stephen retained his title. He was thus able to push for more from the republic just a few months after had come close to losing his title2.

Crusader Rhetoric and Crusader Alternatives between the Balkans and the Crimea

  • 3 ASM, ADS, Potenze Estere, Venezia, cart. 354, fasc. 2, nn (18th of Feburary 1468); ASVe, SS, Delib (...)

5The scenario brought forth by Tzamplakon (Christian money or Ottoman peace) was neither original, nor did it become obsolete. Hunyadi, Skanderbeg or Corvinus had made use of it. Prior to the start of his Bohemian crusade in 1468, Matthias had been the most successful of all. In relation to the Christian powers, Stephen used the menaces in every decade of his remaining rule (1479-1481, 1489-1490 or 1499-1503). Responses were not always positive. Still, such menaces were a major chapter of the «late crusader rules of engagement». Venice tried everything to protect her colonial possessions, especially Scutari, again under Ottoman threat. Christian and Muslims alike were usually just pawns in her game. She had sacrificed Skanderbeg during Mehmed’s final Albanian campaign (1467). There can be little doubt that Stephen was well aware of Skanderbeg’s fate. He had to act and provide an alternative, to the East and to the West, to his potential abandonment by Venice and/ or Rome, after the events of 1476. Elegantly, his envoy had made clear what Venice risked if Stephen was abandoned and left her with only one solution. She had to support him, with money which he could use for various actions. He preferred a campaign in Crimea, as his southern harbors (at the Dniestr and Danube mounds) were the keys to the Christian recovery of the Crimea Peninsula (in Tzamplakon’s words: «se questi castelli [i.e. Chilia and Cetatea Albă] se conserverano, i Turchi porano perder e Caffa et Chieronesso»). The campaign was costeffective. It required only 10.000 men. Venice was not too found of this perspective. Such an action would have required the consent of king Casimir IV Jagiello of Poland as well as Tartar support3.

6Casimir’s envoy in Venice Filippo Buonaccorsi, labored against the crusade, whereas the Tartars were still divided between Ahmed and Mengli Ghiray, loyal to Mehmed. 10.000 men could have hardly been moved towards the Crimea, even through the Pericop (the Isthmus of Perekop), without the Ottomans noticing. This had worked only for the 300 men elite troop sent in late 1475 by Stephen in aid to Theodoro. It could have seemed easier to stage an action in the Balkans. Stephen had constantly avoided such southern plans (usually created by Venice), due to the potential domestic (Moldavia’s crossing by the Tartars, as his and hers auxiliaries however) and foreign (the breaches and overlaps in authority and in monarchical claims) problems a Balkan campaign could have caused. Only Hunyadi had (once) successfully crossed the Danube against the Turks (in 1443) for more than just raids. Stephen’s attitude was different in respect strictly to the titles involved by these proposals, such as the one included in the project presented in front of Sixtus IV and of the Sacred College by the Venetian diplomat Paolo Morosini in spring 1475.

[…] Exercitus igitur hoc ordine conficiendus/ bellumque quatripartito inferrendum opera precium arbitrantur, quo celerrime maxima/ Europae parte pellendum hostem non dubitant. Polonous namque Serenissimus Rex facile ex-/ pertioribus bello Polonis ac Boemis viginti-quinque millium conflabit exercitum,/ sumptoque simul Stephano Servie sive Mundavie Vayvoda cum quinque millibus,/ transacto Danubio per Bulgariam per hostem invadant. Ungarie vero Serenissimus Rex/ cum vigintiquinque millibus ex suis militia aptioribus et experist per Serviam/et iuxta Bossinam partier aggrediantur hostem […].

7Almost naturally, due to a certain Roman and Venetian tendency to disregard the local territorial links between the various parts «and pawns» of their anti-Ottoman plans (the two powers focused on their «superior coordination»), no mention was made of the Transylvanian territorial link between Stephen III of Moldavia and king Matthias Corvinus of Hungary. This link, constituted by the troublesome royal Hungarian province of Transylvania, was to cause them many problems during the anti-Ottoman combats of the following year(s) and that had previously forced several crusader plans to fail, in the 1460s in particular. Even Stephen III’s great anti-Ottoman of Vaslui in January 1475 would have been impossible without a short-term Transylvanian compromise between all parties involved (a compromise that however might have also affected Venetian and Roman crusader planning, with severe consequences during the combats of July and August 1476).

  • 4 ASM, ADS, Potenze Estere, Illiria, Polonia, Russia, Slavonia, cart. 640, fasc. 2, nn [April-May 14 (...)

8Drafted under the influence of the victory of Vaslui, the project involved a full scale attack on Mehmed II mounted by Stephen, voivode of Serbia and Moldavia (with 5.000 men), Casimir and Matthias Corvinus (each with 25.000). In comparison to other contemporary assessments the figures were highly realistic (e.g. the 70.000 men strong joint forces of Moldavia and Walachia included in Matthias Corvinus’giant army of over 120.000, according to report sent from Buda to Florence in the same year 1475). Rome and Venice had to support the land offensive by sea and in the West. The anti-Ottoman campaign was to end on the Bosporus4.

  • 5 ASM, ADS, Potenze Estere, Turchia-Levante, cart. 647, fasc. 3, nn (16th of January 1474); Ungheria (...)

9In 1477, the context did not favor such audacious plans. In 1476, Stephen and Matthias had failed to close the «Moldavian trap» on Mehmed, whereas their subsequent Walachian success had been merely temporarily. Obstacles in the south were less susceptible to be bridged by money and diplomacy than in the east. Besides, the distance between Suceava and Ottoman Crimea was basically equal to that between Stephen’s capital city and Ottoman Bulgaria. The Crimean campaign did therefore not appear so far-fetched. Its success would have also meant the fulfillment of an old Venetian dream: hegemony in the Black Sea. Nothing was done however. In November 1477, when Scutari was again besieged, Stephen took out the Ottoman positions in Walachia (as in 1473-1474). Earlier, throughout the year, he had done little or nothing against the Turk. Until 1481 and the outburst of the peculiar Genoese crusader enthusiasm, Stephen’s Crimean plan seemingly vanished completely from the picture (the plan then resurfaced during the Ottoman-Venetian war of 1499-1503, when Stephen made a similar «offer»). In May 1477, the odds had seemed in favor of the plan. Its costs (up to 80.000 ducats, including Stephen’s share) were not high. The campaign, preparations included (if they had not already been made in order to fortify Stephen’s Venetian stand), was to last up to 5-6 months at most, for the element of surprise to remain effective. Still, someone had to block the Turk while Stephen was in the East. Tzamplakon doubted that Matthias was to continue fighting the sultan. Venice was the sole option. She had to attract the Turk to Albania, returning Stephen’s Walachian services. But he could not present all facts in front of a senate, where the Turk had his sources. He had said more than enough. It is likely that some words were meant for the sultan’s ears5.

  • 6 I libri commemoriali della Republica di Venezia. Regesti [edited by Ricardo Predelli], V, [Registr (...)

10Venice needed an anti-Ottoman success, at least (like in 1474-1475), in view of a more advantageous peace, but did not feel very capable of facing the Turk alone. Mehmed prepared for a new Albanian campaign. He was not to strike again in weakened Moldavia. Venice could not rely on Matthias. Their Italian (due to his father-in law Ferdinand of Aragon) and Adriatic (due to the conflicts over the lands of the Frankopan counts) disputes had intensified. The price for his aid had also gone up in respect to the 15.000 ducats paid to him by Venice in 1474. If Stephen left to the east, Venice was basically exposed to the Turk. Luring him into Albania, keeping him there, while the Crimea was (re)taken, was an unattractive perspective. Even if this made Stephen’s plan look unsustainable, he had achieved something else. Venice was fully aware of the fact that she needed Moldavia. Stephen III’s «absence» from the Danube front, whether because he was in the Crimea or because he had an Ottoman truce that there was no one in Europa or Asia (Usun Hassan’s promises failed to impress) to relieve Ottoman pressure off her. After Tzamplakon’s speech, she immediately started pressuring the papacy. As usual, for Venetian politics namely, Rome too had to financially support her athlete. However, though the senate understood and reacted to his message, Venice seemingly tried to avoid completely giving in to Stephen’s demands. This best explains why Stephen waited until November 1477, before entering Walachia, in the decisive hour of the new Ottoman campaign in Albania. He had waited to see how Venice’s and Istanbul’s stands towards him evolved6.

The Pillars of Crusading and the ‘Anti-Ottoman Incomes’ of the Moldavian Athlete

11Stephen refortified his Moldavian fortresses (namely Suceava, Chilia and Cetatea Albă), using all resources still available to him. Since 1474, the princely chancery had virtually ceased to issue charters. He could counterbalance the domestic situation only through foreign affairs. Peace and war seemed equally useful to him. Venice knew his limited choices. News of them reached Milan. The republic too had informed the duchy, still her ally. The astute Leonardo Botta, Milan’s man in Venice, did not have to collect all the pieces of information in secret. He had witnessed the «invention» of Moldavian anti-Ottoman successes for Venice’s benefit (in spring 1474). In March 1477, he witnessed Stephen III’s public discontent with Venice’s policy. Botta quickly noted down Stephen’s threats and charges and rapidly informed Milan.

Preterea dicta Signoria ha de presenti recevuto littere de Valachia per le quali secondo ho dal/ medesimo loco e advisata ch’el Valacho Steffano Vayvoda fe grana asay/ de questo Dominio, con dire che da esso non ha potuto havere subsidio, ne adiumento/ alcuno nelle fatiche sue, como con li era stato promesso. Et che per tuto mazo non sera/ facta provisione al facto suo, esso pigliara partito col Turco, della quale/ nova dicta Signoria ha preso qualche assomno, parendolli che quando el prenominato/ Valacho se acordasse col Turco, esso Turco potria sicuramente voltare li periferi soy/ in Albania et deinde in Dalmatia. Et per ho dicta Signoria ha spaciato cavallari et scripto/ littere al dicto Steffano Vayvoda molto amorevole et plene de offerte asay (13th of March 1477; the rest of the report consisted, in the beginning, of a presentation of Florence’s unwillingness to consent to the prolongation of her agreement with Milan, after the recent death of Gian Galeazzo Sforza, and, in the end, by Venice’s efforts to secure the defense of Albanian Kroja, by means of «general <paid> levy» that had virtually been met with enthusiasm in her lands, as well as her interests in Cyprus).

  • 7 ASM, ADS, Potenze Estere, Venezia, cart. 364, fasc. 3, nn (13th of March 1477); ASVe, SS, Delibera (...)

12Venice was accused of anti-Ottoman misconduct. She had pushed Stephen into the war and left him with no means of resisting Mehmed II. Without her money he could not continue to fight. She quickly realized the peril and wrote Stephen a letter full of love and promises. Four days later, she instructed her representatives in Rome to ask for at least 10.000 ducats for Stephen. The stage was set for Tzamplakon’s speech. The latter made no direct reference to Stephen’s previous threats (or, for that matter, to Venice’s diplomatic aid of November 1476). In a polite and even emphatic at times manner, he only capitalized on them. Tzamplakon presented Stephen’s propositions. Botta apparently did not even make the effort to record Tzamplakon’s speech. Things were clear for him and his Sforza masters since March. In return, three days after the speech, Botta was to record what appeared to be of great(er) value7.

  • 8 L. Thallóczy, Frammenti relativi alla storia dei paesi situati all’Adria (offprint Archaeografo Tr (...)

13Earlier Venice had implored Matthias not to give up the hope of receiving (financial) aid and of defeating the sultan. Virtually on his knees, the republic’s envoy had urged him to leave personally on campaign in early August 1476 for it was not yet too late. Matthias was in fact pushing his credit limit, already increased by Venice’s despair that the sultan would win, to the very limit. Once the money came from the Italian Peninsula, he would gather his whole army and attack Mehmed II. In reality, all the troops the king could use against the Turk on campaign had already been sent to Moldavia. The rest could not be moved to the east or did not respond to his orders. Matthias’crusader armor however did not break. He eventually got the crusader subsidies too. Afterwards, virtually nothing more came to him. The «silting up» of the Hungarian crusader money channel may have —the money Matthias actually received certainly did— raised Stephen’s hopes of obtaining more subsidies. As far as his talks with Venice or Rome have been preserved, he did not say in fact that he had not received his cut in troops (more likely) or in florins from Matthias (his suzerain). He wanted his own standing and functional line of crusader financement. He needed incomes not only for his military safety, but also for his talks with Mehmed. The sultan’s demands had been high in 1475-1476. By 1477 Stephen «owed» him at least 12.000 ducats in overdue tribute. If he could renounce his claims on Chilia, he most likely would not give in also in that matter. He too had expenses and there had been no recent major victory to cover, from outside his yearly budget, the costs of his Moldavian campaign(s)8.

  • 9 József Teleki, Hunyadiak kora Magyarországon [The Age of the Hunyadis in Hungary], V, Pest, 1847, (...)

14Given his Venetian «negotiations» and the lack of anti-Ottoman actions on his behalf, Stephen seems to have reached a sort of truce with Mehmed. The possibility is substantiated by the (continual) talks between Buda and the Porte (January 1477-April 1478). The talks did not lead to a lasting Hungarian-Ottoman truce, nor did they prevent border fights. Nonetheless, until late 1479, Matthias did not embark on any major anti-Ottoman initiative. The outbreak of his war with Frederick III, predictable since 1476, when the emperor had done his best to sabotage the king’s anti-Ottoman war preparations, re-directed his interests and main army cores. Stephen was virtually left alone. At least, in order to buy time until his forces were restored and his protectors decided to aid him, he had to engage in talks with the Porte, though a truce was a problematic issue, partially due to one peculiar matter, of private nature too, which was very difficult to settle. It was to this matter and not to Tzamplakon’s speech that Botta devoted his skills. The boys «sheltered» in Moldavia recaptured Mediterranean attention. In July 1475, after the fall of Caffa, these puti should have reached Istanbul as Mehmed’s personal assets. The captain of the Genoese ship charged with their transport decided otherwise. The guards were killed and the ship changed course to Moldavia. Stephen became its master. This was a personal offense for Mehmed. Apparently, he reacted violently against all Christians, namely Latins, in or around Istanbul. Viewed as traitors and Stephen III’s associates, they were arrested and remained imprisoned until autumn 1477. Their release, most likely determined by commercial necessities, could have been also linked to Moldavian-and/ or to Venetian-Ottoman talks9.

15The magnitude of Mehmed’s reaction is questionable. Botta too doubted that the persecution had reached those heights. Mehmed was known as tolerant towards Christians, Latins or Greeks, living under his authority and most importantly serving him. Nevertheless, the matter is eloquent for the tensions which marked his north-eastern policy even after the conquest of Caffa. Unwilling to negotiate what was rightfully his, Mehmed certainly had problems to conceal his anger. This rendered Moldavian-Ottoman negotiations more difficult (late 1475-spring 1476). Alongside the release of the Ottoman prisoners of Vaslui or the cession the Lycostomo castle, the return of the Genoese boys from Caffa was one of the seemingly non-negotiable Turkish conditions. Mehmed also played on the fact that probably Alexander, Stephen’s first born legitimate son (from his marriage with the Casimir IV’s niece, Evdochia Olenski «of Kyiv»), was the sultan’s hostage (the boy, born in 1464, had been sent to Istanbul in 1471 or 1472, on the eve of Stephen’s marriage with Mary of Mangop). Yet, after he learned that Mehmed II had killed, apparently in an outburst of rage, Alexander of Theodoro, Stephen’s brother-in-law, the Moldavian ruler executed all Ottoman prisoners. Negotiations broke off. According to the news that reached Istanbul and Genoese Pera, Stephen of Moldavia had even stated that he did not need the Ottoman prisoners’ (ransom) money, but their bodies.

16Milanese copy of parts of a letter sent from Pera on the 22nd of May 1476:

Da novo qui e stato lo ambassatore de Valachi per fare la pace, et dicto amassatore ha dimandato in la pace/ lo Signoro de lo Todoro [Alexander of Theodoro] che era parente del Vlacho et altri si-gnori de Gotia [Gothia; the old Greek (Byzantine)-Latin denomination for the Crimean Peninsula and in particular for those parts of the peninsula under Byzantine influence], di co <il Turcho> li ha facto morire tuti e ha/ da intendere allo ambassatore de Valachi dicti esse in prexone et fexe fentizamente andare lo ambassador/ de Vlachi alle prexoni di fora ad parlare con altre persone che erano, che erano in prexone digando che erano essi./ Lo ambassatore de Vlachi intendando non erano quelli che cerchava, mostro de esso niente et firmorno la paxe, con darge lo carazo, et <il Turcho> diseva dovere dare tutti quelli Turchi che erano prexoni/ in Valachia con lo figliolo de Isach Bassa, et molti altri nominati, et cosi se ne andorno con la pace/ facta, et cusi ando in compagna dello ambassatore de Vlachi un ambas-satore de questo/ Signore <Turcho> per li prexoni. Et quando <il ambassatore di Vlachi> fo in Vlachia davante al loro Signore [Stephen III of Moldavia], si fece infire tuti li Turchi che/ erano in prexon, et il loro ambassatore si messi tuti da una banda quelli che voleva, et/ messi da banda. Lo Vlacho li disse «tu voy tutti questi <?>». Li disse de si. Alhora lo Valacho fi/ parexe tutti quelli che lo Turco domandava, et se li fexe tuti tagliare et impalare, et mando ad/ dire a questo Signore [Mehmed II] che non li voleva piu dare caraxo, et cosi visto questo Si-gnore tal novo/ se movesi da Adrianopole et da sopra lo Vlacho. Qui se arma da vele 100 et 150/ fuste et paramdarie. Se dice lo Valacho esse cavalli 40m. Dio li presti victoria.

17This is probably one of the most vivid «ground-floor» accounts, even though it cannot be accepted with-out caution, of the events of 1476. It should be added that this account was copied on the same sheet and one the same side with the report sent from Chios, three days later, on May 23. The latter concerned the demands of Mehmed II, Stephen III’s hostage son and the Mehmed’s Caffese goods which seem to have been left out of the picture during the final negotiations, probably because Mehmed II had to settle for less. We therefore turn to the second part of the report from Chios, after the line mentioning Stephen’s refusal of the sultan’s terms.

Anzi <Steffano vaynoda> risposto allo ambassatore <del Signore Turco> non li volever dare simile cose per alcuno modo, et in quella fexe alcidere tuti li prexoni Turchi che haveva. La quale cosa/ intesa el dicto Signore Turco lasso el camino de Ungaria, et prese la via verso Vlachia, et a di/ 13 del presente [May] cavalacho de Adrianopoli. Et ha facto ad Galipoli fuste 60 in circha, le quelli le mettono in ordine, con alcune parandarie et con artiglarie, el altri instrumenti bellichi per/ lo lugo de Mocastro [Monacastro/ Maurocastro/ Akkerman/ Cetatea Albă] et Licostomo [Chilia], le quali se partira fra brevi giorni. Et e opinione che/ li dicti Vlachi siano ben in ordine, et habia el subsidio de Ungari [i.e. from Matthias Corvinus], poi che <Steffano vaynoda> ha tolto la/ impresa et la audacia de fare contra questo Signore Turco. Dio summa potentia li presti victoria victoria/ la quale tanto desideremo. Jo resto con qualche assanno delli dicti Vlachi attexa la grande/ preparatione che fa cosuy contra li dicti. Ampoi dio tuto po, el quale se digne de esse/ lo adiutere sempre.

18But, in July 1476, Deus non lo vult. Earlier however, Stephen III of Moldavia had made a handsome profit with sultan Mehmed’s Caffese goods, still vivid on the regional level in 1477 and duly recorded by Leonardo Botta.

Item, per molte altre littere de persone privar de Levante, se intende el dicto Turco [Mehmed II] essere/ molto indigonato et incrudelito verso Genuesi et la casone de tale indignatione afferiscono/ essere perche una nave genuese, chiamata la Nigrona, piu di sono caricho in Caffa/ robe de Turchi de valuta circha ducentomilla ducati et alcuni puti che erano/ mandati al dicto Turcho. Et post alle vele per venire ad Constantinopoli mutato/ consilio, parue al patrone d’essa che le richeze et il tempo li fusse molto comodo ad/ fare uno bono quadagona. Et cosi presi et morti tuti li Turchi erano sopra dicta/ nave. Se adrizo alla volta del Danubio et ando con tute queste faculta ad trovare il/ Vayvoda Stef-fano, et con esso divise la roba a suo modo. Per la quale violenta/ animosita scriveno el Turco indignato havere facto incarcerare tuti li Genuesi/ erano in Pera, in Metelino [Mytilene/ Lesbos] et nelli altri lochi circumstanti, et toltolli tute le loro/ faculta, et havere deliberato vedre il firie di Syo [Chios]. Che se queste cosa fusseno della / natura se scrivero veramente Genuesi seriano in una miserissima exterminatione./ Et etiam sono alcune altre litere che dicono esso Turcho eodem modo haver facto/ incarcerare tuti li Franchi [the Latins], videlicet tuti li Cristiani, erano in Pera et in quelli lochi/ circumstanti. Tamen queste ultime novelle non se hanno de lochi ben auctenti (11th of May 1477; the rest of the report consisted, in the beginning, of the news of the allegedly imminent, according to the Venetian Sea Captaincy, Ottoman attack on Genoese Chios and, in the end, of the Venetian republic’s expedient maritime war preparations against the menacing Ottoman power).

  • 10 ASM, ADS, Potenze estere, Ungheria, cart. 650, fasc. 3, nn (20th, 23rd of May 1476); Venezia, cart (...)

19Stephen III of Moldavia had seized sultan Mehmed II’s personal Caffese «booty» (from men to jewelry) on the ship, worth 200.000 ducats according to Leonardo Botta. Naturally, the «market value» of the «goods» was smaller under those circumstances, maybe with even up to 50% (although Leonardo Botta apparently referred precisely to the «goods»’market value)10.

How to Create, to Provide and to Control Crusaders in Christendom’s Eastern Seas

  • 11 Biblioteca Nazionale Maricana (Venice), Codices, Cod. Lat. 178 (=3625), cc. 41r-42v (16th of Septe (...)

20200.000 ducats exceeded (by some 25%) the estimated value of Stephen’s largest budget, prior to his «crusader involvement». The booty was also almost five times bigger than the, so far, estimated amount of subsidies received (especially in 1473-1474, 1478-1479) directly by him, not through Matthias, from Rome and Venice during his long anti-Ottoman war (1473-1486). 200.000 du-cats stood for approximately a fourth of Matthias’yearly income, for about a fifth of the revenues of Milan, Naples and Venice. The sum also stood for the (estimated) total amount of official and unofficial Venetian subsidies received by Matthias for anti-Ottoman warfare (1460-1476) and for some 65% of the money received up to 1477 by the king from Rome. 200.000 ducats were twothree times the money Casimir IV collected in a year. 200.000 ducats represented also about 70% of the yearly papal budget in the 1470s. The sum re-corded by Botta, based on several eastern reports, stood for two thirds of the costs (300.000 ducats according to Chalkokondylas) of Mehmed’s campaigns against Belgrade (1456), Walachia (1462) and probably Moldavia (1476). The sum was far greater than the 2.000 ducats that the «impoverished» Stephen said —in one of his blackmail letters to Casimir IV (1480-1481)— that Mehmed II had demanded of him, as compensation for the boys, and «asked» Casimir to pay him that money, as a debt of honor, for Moldavia’s role as Poland’s shield. Obviously, the value of all boys largely exceeded 2.000 ducats. Mehmed’s male preferences, which had made Radu III of Walachia (the brother of Vlad III Dracula) famous, and his anger upon the news of the ship’s fate, support the idea (also, following Botta’s tone, the some of 200.000 ducats might not have included the value of the Genoese boys)11.

  • 12 Archivio Segreto Vaticano, Vatican City, Miscellanea Armadi., II-30, f. 44 (49)r (February 25, 147 (...)

21According to the report sent by Baldassar of Piscia, papal legate for Bohemia, Hungary and Poland (who had encountered some of the boys while in Wroclaw), to Sixtus IV (September 1476), 127 boys had been on board that ship. Upon reaching Chilia, at the Danube Mounds, these boys, mostly Genoese, were certain that Stephen would set them free. They were chained and dealt with as slaves, contrary to the Christian rules of slave trade. In his defense, Stephen III could always argue that Genoese had often taken or traded Moldavians as slaves. He, like most Moldavian rulers, had several conflicts with the Genoese. Apparently he humiliated them whenever he had the chance. Especially Caffa responded in the same way. Furthermore, after Vaslui, Caffa had rejected Stephen’s proposed anti-Ottoman alliance in the (vain) hope that her refusal could assure the city’s survival. In this political respect too, the boys were just goods and pawns. The fortunate ones reached Italia in 1476, ransomed by their families. The entire affair was a political gamble as well. Sixtus IV was a Genoese proud of his origin. After the Genoese incident of mid 1475, Stephen received subsidies from the Italian Peninsula, only some three years later, according to information available until know. In return, Sixtus IV had no trouble, nor did he have real alternatives, in naming Stephen III athlete of the Christian faith (he was recorded as athlete in a papal bulla from January 1476). Sixtus IV kept asking for support for the Black Sea Walachians, who together with the Hungarians fought the Ottomans and should not be left alone (it is therefore quite possible that the fall of Caffa and not the victory of Vaslui made Stephen an athlete, regardless of his dealings with the Genoese prisoners). The pope’s calls were directed to areas and states, such as the Duchy of Burgundy, from where no real aid had come over the last decade12.

  • 13 E.g. Archivio di Stato di Genova, Genoa, Archivio Segreto, Diversorum [reg.] 742, c. 4v; Litteraru (...)

22In 1477, nobody in Venice or in the Genoese communities in the Levant apparently knew that some of the boys from Caffa had escaped during Mehmed II’s Moldavian campaign. Sixtus IV had already been informed of this by Baldassar of Piscia. Probably, few of those who had fled from Suceava had survived. Only five of them came to Wroclaw, under Matthias’rule at the time, to the papal legate. Others may have remained under Casimir IV’s protection. Stephen alluded to them when writing to Casimir some five years after the event. Except for Stephen, who needed them for his talks in Istanbul, Krakow or Genoa, and the boys themselves, few actually cared about what had happened to them. They were not in Pagan, but in Christian (crusader) hands. This made the matter very delicate. In any case, Stephen eventually managed the situation rather well, profiting also from the fact that the «incident» was perceived as quite normal, due also to the regional context. After the liberation of Otranto, great hopes of recovering Caffa arose in Genoa. Some Genoese, namely from the diaspora, even had a very positive image of Stephen under the circumstances (1481-1482). It was not only a matter of necessity. A real tradition developed in Genoa that Stephen had treated the boys fair and well. Even Baldassar of Piscia’s tone had been more than neutral. Jan Długosz, Casimir’s secretary, one of Stephen III’s greatest supporters, had no troubles in, partially, yet openly, presenting the «incident», just after having nominated Stephen as the monarch who deserved to be the leader of the (alternative) continental crusade (the largely «conciliarist» alternative to the Roman and Hunyadi styled crusading of the last decades)13.

23These pragmatic approaches may have had also a negative impact on Stephen, leaving aside what could be interpreted as papal reluctance towards him in the autumn of 1475 (or as papal mistrust and even anger in the fall of 1476). After Caffa’s fall, Venice and Rome kept praising him. Stephen became their athlete. Judging from his reactions namely, no subsidy was sent (straight) to him. All funds went directly to Matthias. Officially neither the republic, nor the papacy said a word against his Genoese business or hindered it. They could not afford to lose him. In return, they did not send him (extra) money. Even if not all goods were sold, or pawned at their real value, even if only a few boys (some could have valued 1.000 ducats) were ransomed, he may have raised some 100.000 ducats, more than Matthias (whose military costs were greater than those of Stephen), received with great delay and scandal from Rome and Venice in late August 1476. The consequences over the time of this possible down-side are difficult to estimate. In the 1470s, long before 1492 (when Venice sent him 80.000 ducats to represent her interests once again in the East), the downside seems to have predominantly temporarily. Likewise, it is doubtful that, in case the «incident» had not occurred, he would have received 100.000 ducats in view of the imminent Ottoman attack. Rome’s and Venice’s treasury chests were increasingly empty and Stephen was not the key-crusader figure, in spite of Venice’s efforts. By tradition and authority (three quarters of the anti-Ottoman land front were under his direct control), this was Matthias. Prior to the treaty of Iaşi (by which Stephen officially became Matthias’vassal), a month after Caffa’s fall, he was perceived and accepted, depending on the context by Stephen also (he controlled at best 15% of that front), as Stephen’s suzerain. Venice too, growingly hostile towards Matthias, had to accept the facts. Furthermore however, like Rome, she had to look for alternatives, not only to Matthias, but also to Stephen, after the events of July 1476-May 1477. After the Greek rite Christian Stephen and the Muslim Usun Hassan, the alternatives were nonetheless even «stranger». In November 1477 (when Stephen eventually entered Walachia against the Ottoman), Botta sent from Venice another astonishing report (though not so astonishing for his contemporaries).

[...] Che al presente de ordinatione della Santita del Papa et del Gran/ Magistro di Rodi [Pierre d’Aubusson] debbeno venire qui a Vinetia a fare capitulo tuti li/ Cavalleri del Templo perche voriano che li prosperosi andasseno a habitare/ qualche anni a Rodi et li intabili li desseno subsidio pecuniario [...] (14th of November 1477; one of the several passages in Botta’s reports from that autumn referring to the Templars).

  • 14 Viaceslav Makusev, Monumenta Historica Slavorum Meridionalum vicinorum-que populorum e tabularis e (...)

24Yet the Templar Knights did not become Christendom’s anti-Ottoman spearheads. This was «an office» that still had to be held by the monarchs at the frontiers of the Ottoman Empire14.


1 Archivio di Stato di Milano, Milan (ASM), Archivio Ducale Sforzesco (ADS), Potenze Estere, Roma, cart. 79, fasc. 5, nn (14th of September 1475); cart. 81, fasc. 2, nn (17th of May 1476); Actae et epistolae relationum Transylvaniae Hungariaeque cum Moldavia et Valachia (=Fontes Rerum Transylvanicarum, IV, VI), edited by Endre Veress, I, 1468-1540, Budapest, 1914, nos. 19-22, pp. 22-25; [Domenico Malipiero], Annali veneti dall’anno 1457 al 1500 del Senatore Domenico Malipiero ordinati e abbreviati dal senatore Francesco Longo (=Archivio Storico Italiano, VII, 1), editor Agostino Sagredo, Florence, 1843, pp. 99-100 (Malipiero); Gugliermo Berchet, La repubblica di Venezia e la Persia, Turin, 1865, p. 99; [Giovanni Maria Angiolello] Donado Da Lezze, Historia Turchesca, edited by I[oan]. Ursu, Bucharest, 1910, pp. 88-90; Antonio Bonfini, Rerum Ungaricarum decades, edited by József Fógel, László Juhász, Béla Iványi, IV, Leipzig, 1941 [Budapest, 1944]), pp. 61-62 (Bonfini); Cronica moldo-germană [The Moldavian-German Chronicle], in Cronicile slavo-române din secolele XV-XVI publicate de Ioan Bogdan [The Slavic-Romanian Chronicles of the 15th-16th Centuries published by Ioan Bogdan], edited by P.P. Panaitescu, Bucharest, 1959, pp. 31-34, Naghi Pienaru, «Un document otoman necunoscut din 1476» [An unknown Ottoman Document of 1476], Revistă Istorică, New Series, XIII/1-2 (2002), pp. 229-241. For an overview: Alexandru Simon, «The Costs and Benefits of Anti-Ottoman Warfare: Documents on the Case of Moldavia. 1475-1477», Revue Roumaine d’Histoire, XLVIII/1-2 (2009), pp. 37-53; Idem, «The Contested Sultan: The Backgrounds of Bayezid II’s Moldavian Campaign of 1484», Eurasian Studies: Journal for Balkan, Eastern Mediterranean, Anatolian, Middle Eastern, Iranian and Central Asian Studies, VII (2009), pp. 17-50.

2 Archivio di Stato di Venezia, Venice (ASVe), Senato Secreti (SS), Deliberazioni, reg. 28, c. 13r-v (8th of May 1477; Tzamplakon’s speech, edited, for instance, in Nicolae Iorga, Veneţia în Marea Neagră. III. Originea legăturilor cu Ştefan cel Mare şi mediul politic al dezvoltării lor [Venice <’s Involvement> in the Black Sea <Area>], in Idem, Studii asupra evului mediu românesc [Studies on the Romanian Middle Ages], edited by Şerban Papacostea, Bucharest, 1984, no. 47, pp. 289-291(Veneţia); Stefano Magno, Annali veneti e del mondo [1443-1478 (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, Codices, Cod. 6215-6217), III, Ad annum 1477, ff. 671r-674v (and Ad annum 1478, ff. 692r-693r); C[onstantin]. Sathas, Documents inédits relatifs à l’histoire de la Grèce au Moyen Âge, Paris, 1884, V, p. 211; Codex Diplomaticus Partium Regno Hungariae Adnexarum. Magyarország Melléktartományainak Oklevéltára (=Monumenta Hungariae Historica, I, 31, 33, 36, 40), II, A Magyarország és Szerbia közti összeköttetések oklevéltára. 1198-1526 [Documents regarding the Relations at the Meeting-Point between Hungary and Serbia. 1198-1526], edited by Lajos Thallóczy and Antal Aldásy, Budapest, 1907, no. 369, pp. 267-268; Eudoxiu De Hurmuzaki, Documente privitoare la istoria românilor [Documents regarding the History of the Romanians], XV-1, Acte şi scrisori din arhivele oraşelor ardelene Bistriţa, Braşov şi Sibiiu, 1358-1600 [Documents and Letters from the Archives of the Transylvanian Cities of Bistriţa, Braşov, Sibiu], edited by N. Iorga, Bucharest, 1911, nos. 171-176, pp. 76-79; Malipiero, pp. 111-112. N. Iorga, «L’oncle d’Étienne le Grand», Bulletin de la Section Historique de l’Académie Roumaine, V-VIII (1916-1920), pp. 79-81; Dan Ioan Mureşan, «La place de Girolamo Lando, patricien vénetien et titulaire du Patriarcat de Constantinople (1474-1497), dans la politique orientale de l’Église de Rome», Annuario del Istituto Romeno di Cultura e Ricerca Umanistica, VIII (2006), pp. 153-258 (here pp. 182-184). De Medio’s instructions are in ASVe, SS, Deliberazioni, reg. 27, cc. 109r-111r. At the end of the instructions (which included, among others, the Republic’s position on the Hungarian problem from the crusader point of view and the level of Matthias’relations —whose heralds had just left— with the Habsburgs and the Jagiellons, Venice’s affairs in Italy, with an emphasis on the promotion and the defence of the Venetian Girolamo Lando, the <Latin> Patriarch in Constantinople), the major emergencies of the moment, the Turks and Bohemia (which were closely linked with each other through Matthias Corvinus and the crusade), were resumed: «Volunt commissionem Nostram in omnibus excepto quod in fine novi capituli dicere volunt sic: verus ut Summo/ Pontifici notissimum esse arbitremur incepit sicut ex inclusis exemplis litterarum oratoris nostri inspicere/ poteritis inter Imperatoriam Maiestatem et Serenissimum Dominum Regem Hungariae pullulare discensio non negligenda/ intervenientibus rebus regni Boemie et aliis causis, que, si processerunt non tollere omnes indutias/ et pacificationem factam cum Rege Polonie non poterunt; et consequenter avertere Regis Hungariae/ cogitarum ab impresia Christiana et reddire omnem [sic!], studium Summi Pontificis omnemque laborem et impensam/ penitus inutilem, super qua materia alias etiam processori tuo scripsisse meminimus. Et propterea tu nostro/ nomine memora, hortare et persuade Sanctitati predicte suam interponere digentur operam et auctoritatem per illas vias/ et media, que fuerint efficaciora, ne discordie ille procedant ulteriu, sed omnia inter eos pacentur; et/ attendatur ex omni latere ad propugnationem rei Christiane, ne hosti auso iam Italiam attendere, sicut nosti/ ex frequentibus invasionibus et dirreptionibus, tanta prestetur occasio intrepide adoriendi quandocunque/ voluerit potentiam Christianam et illa subacta aliam et item aliam invadendi absumendique tandem/ omnes, sed illi potius potenter occuratur presteturque que deliberata presidia et regi Hungarie et Valaco et/ ceteris indigentibus prout ex motu et invasione inimici magis necessarium fore intelligetur/ pro communi omnium liberatione et salute. Hec nobis videtur supra ceteras importantissima maxima dignissimaque/ ceterarum consilio et prospicentia Beatitudinis antedicte» (f. 111r). Hungary and Moldavia had to receive help, otherwise a disaster was imminent. No perfidy could be accepted any longer. Italy’s businesses had to be put in order. Rome had to solve, once and for all, Matthias’conflicts in the north. Stephen did not have to be dismissed as champion of Christian faith. His country had not suffered such great losses. He had to receive further evidence of the pope’s confidence. The relationship between the Moldavian lord and the papacy had to be reinforced and renewed (much to the loss of the former’s enemies) through the publication of the crusade and the Roman jubilee. For Paul II’s attempted deposition of Skanderbeg as Christendom’s athlete and its broader context: [Odorico Rinaldo], Annales ecclesiastici ab anno MCXCVIII ubi desinit Cardinalis Baronibus auctore Odorico Raynaldo accedunt, XIX, Ab anno 1459 usque ad annum 1492, Cologne, 1694, Ad annum 1466, no. 2, p. 178 [late 1466]; Iacopo Ammannati Piccolomini, Lettere (1444-1479), edited by Paolo Cherubini, II, Pontificato di Paolo II, Roma, 1997, no. 208, pp. 875-876 (in particular); Bernard Doumerc, «Venice and Protection of its Colonial Domain in the Balkans: A Late Crusade (1463-1503)?», Athlete was more than just a title. Further researches are much needed in this respect.

3 ASM, ADS, Potenze Estere, Venezia, cart. 354, fasc. 2, nn (18th of Feburary 1468); ASVe, SS, Deliberazioni, reg. 28, c. 13v (8th of May 1477); Ş. Papacostea, «La guerre ajournée: les relations polono-moldaves en 1478. Réflexions en marge d’un texte de Filippo Buonaccorsi-Callimachus», Revue Roumaine d’Histoire, XI/1 (1972), pp. 3-21; Oliver Jens Schmitt, «Actes inédits concernant Venise, ses possesions albanaises et Skanderbeg (1464-1468)», Turcica. Revue d’études turques: peuples, langues, culture, états, XXXI (1999), pp. 247-312; Jan Władislaw Études Balkaniques, XLIV/3 (2007), pp. 115-132. Woś, Politica e religione nella Polonia tardo medioevale, Trento, 2000, pp. 48-50; Nagy Pienaru, «Proiectul scitic. Relaţiile lui Ştefan cel Mare cu Hoarda Mare» [The Scythian Project. Stephen the Great’s Relations with the Great Horde], Revista Istorică, New Series, XIV/5-6 (2003), pp. 121-135; Idem, «Un document», pp. 229-241. For further information on the context, see Iulian-Mihai Damian, «La Depositeria della Crociata (1463-1490) e i sussidi dei pontifici romani a Mattia Corvino», and A. Simon, «The Hungarian Means of the Relations between the Habsburgs and Moldavia at the End of the 15th Century», Annuario del Istituto Romeno di Cultura e Ricerca Umanistica, VIII (2006), pp. 135-152 and pp. 259-296; Idem, «The Arms of the Cross: Stephen the Great’s and Matthias Corvinus’ Christian Policies», in Between Worlds, I, Stephen the Great, Matthias Corvinus and their Time (=Mélanges d’Histoire Générale, Nouvelle Série, I, 1), edited by László Koszta, Ovidiu Mureśan, A. Simon, Cluj-Napoca, 2007 [2008], pp. 45-86 (here pp. 48-50).

4 ASM, ADS, Potenze Estere, Illiria, Polonia, Russia, Slavonia, cart. 640, fasc. 2, nn [April-May 1475; misedited, under 1462, by Jovan Radonić in Đurađ Kastriot Skenderbeg i Arbanija XV veku (istoriska iratha) [George Castriot Skanderbeg and Albania in the 15th Century (Historical Sources)] (=Spomenik, XCV), Belgrade, 1942, no. 226, p. 128; re-edited in A. Simon, Cristian Luca, «Documentary Perspectives on Matthias Corvinus and Stephen the Great», Transylvanian Review, XVII/3 (2008), pp. 85-113, here pp. 101-103; Veneţia, no. 34, p. 276; no. 38, p. 279; no. 42, p. 282; Malipiero, pp. 111-112; Geo Pistarino, «La caduta di Caffa, diaspora in Oriente», in Idem, Genovesi d’Oriente, Genoa, 1988, pp. 477-518 (here pp. 514-518); A. Simon, Ştefan cel Mare şi Matia Corvin. O coexistenţă medievală [Stephen the Great and Matthias Corvinus: A Medieval Coexistence], Cluj-Napoca, 2006 [2007], pp. 102-103, 360-361, 445-446; For the earlier eastern plans of Venice: Enrico Cornet, Le guerre dei Veneti nell’Asia, 1470-1474. Documenti cavati dall’Archivio ai Frari in Venezia, Vienna, 1856, no. 43, p. 44; no. 85, p. 106; no. 90, p. 112; [Iacopo Ammannati Piccolomini], Diarium Concistoriale dell cardinale Ammanati atribuito dal Muratori a Giacomo Gherardi da Volterra, in Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, Bologna-Città del Castello, Nova Series, XXIII/3, 1904, pp. 141-144.

5 ASM, ADS, Potenze Estere, Turchia-Levante, cart. 647, fasc. 3, nn (16th of January 1474); Ungheria, cart. 649, fasc. 2, nn (15th of February 1474); A. Simon, «The Arms of the Cross», pp. 55-56 (Venetian-Genoese hostility naturally surpassed the rather strong adversity which had developed between Moldavian and Genoese Pontic political structures and figures throughout the last century). For military costs and wages, as well as for prices in the Italian Peninsula and East-Central Europe: Fernand Braudel, Frank C. Spooner, «Prices in Europe from 1450 to 1750», in The Cambridge Economic History of Europe, general editor Michael M. Postan, IV, The Economy of Expanding Europe in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, edited by E.E. Rich and C.H. Wilson, Cambridge, 1967, pp. 394-398; Gy. Rázsó, «Military Reforms in the Fifteenth Century», in A Millennium of Hungarian Military History, edited by László Veszprémy, B.K. Király, New-York, 2002, pp. 70, 76; Donald E. Pitcher, An Historical Geography of the Ottoman Empire, Leiden, 1972, pp. 92-97, 138-139.

6 I libri commemoriali della Republica di Venezia. Regesti [edited by Ricardo Predelli], V, [Registri XIV-XVII], Venice, 1901, no. XVI-65, 73, pp. 213, 215; Iván Nagy, Albert B. Nyáry, Magyar diplomacziai emlékek. Mátyás király korából 1458-1490 [Souvenirs of the Hungarian Diplomacy: The Age of King Matthias. 1458-1490] (= Monumenta Hungari-ae Historica, IV, 1-4), II [1466-1480], Budapest, 1876, no. 245, p. 355 (MDE); Veneţia, no. 42, p. 282; [Jan Długosz ], Jan Dlugosii Senioris Canonici Cracoviensis Opera omnia, editor Alexander Przezdziecki, XIV, Historiae Polonicae libri XII [II], Krakow, 1887, pp. 651, 665; Malipiero, pp. 41, 43; Fabio Cusin, Il confine orientale d’Italia nella politica europea del XIV e XV secolo, II (Milan, 1937), pp. 151-153; Gy. Rázsó, «Una strana alleanza. Alcuni pensieri sulla storia militare e politica dell’alleanza contro i turchi (1440-1464)», in Venezia e Ungheria nel Rinascimento, edited by Vittore Branca, Florence, 1973, pp. 95-101. J[oseph]. E. Woods, The Aqquyunlu. Clan, Confederation, Empire, Minneapolis-Chicago, 1976, pp. 127-137; Kenneth M. Setton, The Papacy and the Levant (1204-1571), II, The Fifteenth Century (=Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society, CXVII), Philadelphia, 1978, pp. 314-322.

7 ASM, ADS, Potenze Estere, Venezia, cart. 364, fasc. 3, nn (13th of March 1477); ASVe, SS, Deliberazioni, reg. 28, c. 1r (17th-18th of March, 10th, 19th of April 1477; part of the data was edited, for instance, in Hurmuzaki, VIII, 1376-1650 [edited by Ioan Slavici?], Bucharest, 1894, no. 21, pp. 16-18; nos. 24-25, pp. 21-22), E. Basso, «De Boucicaut à Francesco Sforza. Persistance et changements dans la politique orientale des seigneurs étrangers de Gênes au XVe siècle», in Le partage du monde. Échanges et colonisation dans la Méditerranée médiévale, edited by Michel Balard and Alain Ducellier, Paris, 1998, pp. 63-77; Marco Pistoresi, «Venezia-Milano-Firenze 1475. La visita in Laguna di Sforza Maria Sforza e le manovre della diplomazia internazionale: aspetti politici e ritualità pubblica», Studi Veneziani, New Series, XLVI (2003), pp. 31-69 (here pp. 44-49). At the time, another Moldavian-Venetian problem was the «Venetian» (Latin) Patriarchate of Constantinople (see here Hurmuzaki, VIII, no. 18, p. 14; D. I. Mureşan, «La place de Girolamo Lando», pp. 188-190). The full (late crusader) impact of the latter (and major) issue still eludes us in fact.

8 L. Thallóczy, Frammenti relativi alla storia dei paesi situati all’Adria (offprint Archaeografo Triestino, 3rd series, VII, 1), Trieste, 1913, pp. 34-36 (Frammenti); Bonfini, IV, pp. 91-92. See in comparison Edgár Artner, Magyarország mit a Nyugati Keresztény muvelodés védobástyája: a Vatikánai Levéltárnak azo okiratai, melyek oseinknek a Keletrol Europát fenyegeto veszedelmek ellen kifejet erofeszitéseire vonatkoznak (cca. 1214-1606) [Hungary as Propugnaculum of Western Christianity: Documents from the Vatican Secret Archives. 1214-1606)], edited by Szovág Kornél, Budapest, 2004 [compiled in the 1930s], especially nos. 100-103, pp. 110-120 (1475-1478) (Magyarország); Mihail Guboglu, «Le tribut payé par les Principautés Roumaines à la Porte jusqu’au début du XVIe siècle d’après les sources turques», Revue des Études Islamiques, XXXVII/1 (1969), pp. 41-80 (here pp. 68-72). It is also interesting to note (given Venice’s own Ottoman peace talks) that the money the republic usually requested from Rome for Stephen III in 1477 and 1478 (10.000 ducats) came very close to the minimal sum owed by the Moldavian ruler in tribute to the Ottoman sultan.

9 József Teleki, Hunyadiak kora Magyarországon [The Age of the Hunyadis in Hungary], V, Pest, 1847, p. 54; MKL, I, nos. 259-260, pp. 381-383; no. 281, p. 419; Frammenti, pp. 39-41; Gy. Rázsó, Die Feldzüge Königs Mathias Corvinus in Niederösterreich 1477-1490, Vienna, 1973, pp. 5-7; Ş. Papacostea, «Caffa et la Moldavie face à l’expansion ottomane (1453-1484)», in Atti del Colloquio Genovesi nel Mar Nero durante i secoli XIII e XIV, edited by Ştefan Pascu, Bucharest, 1977, pp. 150-152; O. J. Schmitt, Das venezianische Albanien (1402-1479), Munich, 2001, pp. 604-612; Sándor Papp, «Stephen the Great, Matthias Corvinus and the Ottoman Empire», in Between Worlds, I, pp. 107-122. For the Crimean context (1474-1476), see also Matei Cazacu, Keram Kévokian, «La chute de Caffa (1475) à la lumière de nouveaux documents», in Cahiers du Monde Russe et Soviétique, XVII, p. 495-538, G. Pistarino, «La caduta di Caffa», pp. 481, 488-489.

10 ASM, ADS, Potenze estere, Ungheria, cart. 650, fasc. 3, nn (20th, 23rd of May 1476); Venezia, cart. 364, fasc. 5, nn (11th of May 1477). Franz Babinger, Mehmed der Eroberer unde seine Zeit. Weltenstürmer einer Zeitenwende, Munich, 1959, pp. 382-388; A. Simon, «Quello ch’e apresso el Turcho. About A Son of Stephen the Great», Annuario del Istituto Romeno di Cultura e Ricerca Umanistica, VI-VII (2004-2005), pp. 141-169. For the Pontic and Italian background: Idem, «Anti-Ottoman Warfare and Crusader Propaganda in 1474: New Evidences from the Archives of Milan», Revue Roumaine d’Histoire, XLVI/1-4 (2007), pp. 25-39. For the boys and their relatives: Ştefan Andreescu, «Autour de la dernière phase des rapports entre la Moldavie et Gênes», Revue Roumaine d’Histoire, XXI/2 (1982), pp. 257-282. The «business focused» captain probably got his share of the «booty». On the other hand, given Stephen’s conduct towards the Genoese, relieved that they were in Christian hands, we cannot rule out the possibility that the captain too was put into chains by the ruler.

11 Biblioteca Nazionale Maricana (Venice), Codices, Cod. Lat. 178 (=3625), cc. 41r-42v (16th of September 1476; the best edition of the report belongs to Kryzstof Baczkowski, «Nieznane listy Baltazara z Piscii do papieża Sykstusa IV z lat 1476-1478 ze zbiorów weneckich» [Baldassar of Piscia’s Reports to Pope Sixtus IV from the Venetian Archives. 1476-1478], Prace Historyczne [Historical Studies], LXXXIX (1989), Appendix, no. 1, pp. 242-248); I. Bogdan, Documentele lui Ştefan cel Mare [The Documents of Stephen the Great], II [1493-1503, 1458-1503], Bucharest, 1913, no. 193, p. 366; [Laonic Chalcocondil, Expuneri istorice [Historic Demonstrations], edited by Vasile Grecu, Bucharest, 1958, p. 285; Leben und Taten der türkischen Kaiser. Die anonyme vulgärgriechische Chronik Codex Barberinianus Graecus (Anonymus Zoras) (=Osmanische Geschichtsschreiber, VI), edited by Richard F. Kreutel, Graz-Vienna-Cologne, 1971, pp. 145-146; Erik Gügedi, «Mátyás király jövedelme 1475-ben» [King Matthias Budget of 1475], Századok [Centuries], CXVI/3 (1982), pp. 484-506; Şevket Pamuk, «Money in the Ottoman Empire, 1326-1914», in An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1914, [I], edited by Halil Inalcik, Cambridge, 1994, pp. 951-956; K. Setton, The Papacy and the Levant, II, pp. 320-327 (with further data). For the papal crusader funds in the 1470s, see Benjamin Weber’s PhD thesis, Lutter contre les Turcs. Les formes nouvelles de la croisade pontificale au XVe siècle, Toulouse, 2009 (mss), especially pp. 296-297, 376-377, fig. 8-9.

12 Archivio Segreto Vaticano, Vatican City, Miscellanea Armadi., II-30, f. 44 (49)r (February 25, 1476; edited in Magyarország, no. 101, pp. 111-112), 83 (88v) (August 12, 1475); II-53, ff. 88 (94)v-97 (102)r (February 15, 1476) II-56, f. 201 (211)r (August 30, 1475); Reg. Vat. 578, ff. 92r-93r (13th of January 1476; the bulla was misedited, under 1477, as already noticed by Oskar Halecki, From Florence to Brest. 1439-1596, Rome, 1958, p. 104, note 14, in Augustinus Theiner, Vetera monumenta historica Hungarica sacram illustrantia II, Ab Innocentio PP. VI. usque ad Clementem PP. VII. 1352-1526, Rome, 1859, no. 636, pp. 453-454); Codice, I, no. 120, pp. 307-309; no. 151, pp. 364-368; no. 377, p. 815; II-2, no. 658, p. 338; no. 1087, pp. 103-104; no. 1102, pp. 114-116; no. 1104, p. 122; no. 1117, p. 195; Acte şi fragmente, III, pp. 50-51, 88-89; Şt. Andreescu, «Un nou act genovez cu privire la Ştefan cel Mare» [A New Genoese Document regarding Stephen the Great], Studii şi Materiale de Istorie Medie [Studies and Materials in Medieval History], XXII (2004), pp. 133-136. The efforts of the families to ransom the boys are documented. Yet, it could be of interest that Botta does not mention in his «synthesis» the return of (part of) the boys to the peninsula, ransomed or not.; and see in particular

13 E.g. Archivio di Stato di Genova, Genoa, Archivio Segreto, Diversorum [reg.] 742, c. 4v; Litterarum: Officium Monete, [reg.] 1804, cc. 44r-45v; Materie Politiche. Scritti in lingua orientale ed africana, 2737 D, nn [Documenti Greco-Bizantini], [dos. G] (13th of September 1480, 2nd of February, 31st of December 1481); ASM, ADS, Potenze Estere, Venezia, cart. 364, fasc. 5 (May 11); Biblioteca Museo Correr (Venice), Manoscritti, Provenienze diverse, 594, ff. 39r-v, 41r (3rd, 18th of July 1481); BNM, Cod. Lat. X-178 (=3625), c. 41v; Documente Ştefan, II, no. 193, p. 366 (see the «version» in Theodor Holban, «Noi documente româneşti din ar-hivele polone şi franceze» [New Romanian Documents from Polish and French Archives] (I), Anuarul Institutului deIstorie şi Arheologie A.D. Xenopol, XV (1978), no. 2, p. 467); Giacomo Grasso, «Documenti riguardanti la costituzione di una lega contro il Turco nel 1481», Giornale linguistico di scienze, lettere ed arti, VI (1879), no. 113, pp. 483-484; no. 119, pp. 487-488; Długosz, pp. 630-631, 639-644; Şt. Andreescu, «Dernière phase», pp. 277-279.

14 Viaceslav Makusev, Monumenta Historica Slavorum Meridionalum vicinorum-que populorum e tabularis et bibliothecis italicis derompta, I-2, Genua, Mantua, Mediolanum, Panormus et Taurinum, Belgrade, 1882, no. 15, p. 137 (1492); Veneţia, no. 47, p. 290; no. 51, p. 203; Gy. RÁzsó, «The Mercernary Army of King Matthias Corvinus», in From Hunyadi to Rákóczi. War and Society in Late Medieval and Early Modern Hungary, edited by János M. Bak and B. K. Király, New-York, 1982, pp. 130-138; András Kubinyi, «König Matthias und die ungarischen Bischöfe», in Idem, Matthias Corvinus. Die Regierung eines Königreichs in Ostmitteleuropa, Herne, 1999, pp. 137-161 (here p. 159, note 88); A. Simon, «Antonio Bonfini’s Valachorum regulus: Matthias Corvinus, Transylvania and Stephen the Great», in Between Worlds, I, pp. 207-226 (here pp. 219-224); Idem, Ştefan cel Mare şi Matia Corvin, pp. 114-118. The otherwise balanced «German propaganda work» of Stephen, destined for German environment of his Habsburg allies (Cronica moldo-germană, p. 34), offered in the early 1500s an idylical picture of the matter, indicating that the problem posed by his conduct had not disappeared in Christian areas other than Italia. The question of how many of Stephen’s business partners were Christians also remains open. For the last quoted report: ASM, ADS, Potenze Estere, Venezia, cart. 365, 1477, fasc. 11, Novembre, nn; 14th of November 1477. There could be more to the «Templar story» in this eastern respect too. According to one of the first modern Romanian Scholars, Gheorghe Asachi (1788-1869), Stephen III’s plan was to recover Caffa with his troops on land and with maritime support from Portugese knights («Valea Albă» [The White Valley], in Idem, Cântecul cignului [The Song of the Cygne], edited by Elena Chiriac, Khishinev, 1998, pp. 280-320, here p. 302). On one hand, the Portugese Knights (i.e. the Order of Christ) were basically the sole legitimate form of independent survival of the Knights Templar after their trial (most «repented» Templar were reinserted as Knights Hospitaller) and also proved rather active on crusader soils. On the other hand, archival (re)discoveries have confirmed the information extracted and developed from the now lost Moldavian princely archive in the late 1700s and early 1800s (for instance, see in comparison to the abovementioned Venetian crusader project of spring 1475 presented by Morosini in Rome the data edited by M. Cazacu, «Un voyageur dans les pays roumains et son Histoire de la Moldavie: Leyon Pierce Balthasar von Campenhausen (1746-1808)», in Naţional şi universal în istoria Românilor. Studi oferite Profesorului Şerban Papacostea cu ocazia împlinirii a 70 de ani [National and Universal in the History of the Romanians: Festschrift Şerban Papacostea], edited by Ovidiu Cristea and Gheorghe Lazăr, Bucharest, 1997, pp. 402-417).


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