In this article, I examine the autobiographical writing and reading practices of Giovanni Bembo, a colonial governor posted to Skopelos and Skiathos in the Aegean in 1525. During his term as rettore in the Aegean, Bembo’s scribe had an affair with his daughter and helped her to abort her ensuing pregnancy. Bembo then ordered the scribe to be publicly castrated. In the aftermath of this violent act, Bembo was blacklisted from any further governmental position in Venice. In his autobiographical letter, written ten years after the events on Skiathos, Bembo reflects on his role in the colonial Aegean, using textual practices that he learned in Venetian humanist schools during adolescence. I argue that in Bembo’s autobiographical writing and annotations, we can see the ways in which humanist education shaped the Venetian patrician colonial administrator’s experience and practice of governance in the Aegean.
On Brugnolo: J.B. Ross“Venetian Schools and Teachers Fourteenth to Early Sixteenth Century: A Survey and a Study of Giovanni Battista Egnazio,”Renaissance Quarterly29 no. 4 (1976): 536; V. Branca “Ermolao Barbaro and the Late Quattrocento Venetian Humanism” in Renaissance Venice ed. J.R. Hale (London 1973) 220; B. Nardi “Letteratura e cultura veneziana del Quattrocento” in Saggi sulla cultura veneta del quattro e cinquecento (Padua 1971) 31-33.
On the rivalry J.B. Ross“Venetian Schools and Teachers”537-538. On Sabellico R. Chavasse “The studia humanitatis and the Making of a Humanist Career: Marcantonio Sabellico’s Exploitation of Humanist Literary Genres” Renaissance Studies 17 no. 1 (2003): 27-38; F. Gilbert “Biondo Sabellico and the Beginnings of Venetian Historiography” in Florilegum historiale ed. J.G. Rowe and W.H. Stockdale (Toronto 1971): 276-293; and E. Cochrane Historians and Historiography in the Italian Renaissance (Chicago 1981) 83-86.
T. Mommsen“Autobiographie des Venezianers Giovanni Bembo (1536)”4-5; Marci Antonii Sabellici Annotationes veteres et recentes: ex. Plinio: Livio: & pluribus authoribus (Venice Iacobus Pentius de Leuco 1502).
A.T. Luttrell“The Latins and Life on the Smaller Aegean Islands, 1204-1453,”Mediterranean Historical Review4 no. 1 (1989): 146150-51. The late medieval and early modern history of the Cyclades archipelago is generally better- studied than that of the Sporades and provides an important point of comparison. See G. Saint-Guillain “Les Conquerants de l’Archipel: l’empire Latin de Constantinople Venise et les premiers seigneurs des Cyclades’ in Quarta Crociata: Venezia Bizanzio Impero Latino ed. G. Ortalli G. Ravegnani and P. Schreiner (Venice 2006) 125-233; and B. Slot Archipelagus turbatus: les Cyclades entre colonisation latine et occupation ottomane c. 1500-1718 (Istanbul 1982).
M. Kiel“The Smaller Aegean Islands”36. For the number of captives F.W. Hasluck “Depopulation in the Aegean Islands and the Turkish Conquest” The Annual of the British School at Athens 17 (1910/1911): 157.
J.R. RuffViolence in Early Modern Europe153. The only information I have found for Renaissance Italy in particular is in R.C. Trexler’s “Infanticide in Florence: New Sources and First Results” History of Childhood Quarterly 1 no. 1 (1973): 98-116.