Chapter 1 The Late Sixteenth-Century Ship in the Adriatic as a Cultural System

In: The Land between Two Seas: Art on the Move in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea 1300–1700
Author: Mirko Sardelić
Open Access

“When, then, the anchors had been weighed and the hearts of those embarked had been raised with pious prayer and they had commended their souls to God, and when the ship had begun to cut through the water, getting under way with set sails before a fair, foul or indifferent wind, then the pilgrim may gradually take what opportunities present themselves carefully and unobtrusively try to get to know the other passengers, the patron (Captain), the scriban and the other officers and make friends with them, so that they might the more willingly give him any help and succor he might need in the future. […] All travelers should avoid arguments about matters of belief with any Turk, Jew, Greek, Armenian or any other such people who might happen also to be on board, and should do nothing to vex them. For great misfortune can sometimes arise from such behavior. […] In any case let no traveler neglect to show charity to those who are ill and in need, no matter what their nation or religion, by offering them food and drink and such things. The reason for this is that not only will God Almighty richly reward such good deeds of charity, but the recipients of such benefits will never forget to repay them.”1

Bernhard Walter von Waltersweil, 1587

The theme of this volume is to explore and record the variety of contacts and modes of cultural (and artistic) exchange in the late medieval and early modern periods, primarily facilitated by the medium of water (rivers, seas, etc.). In this sense, the ship is without a doubt the most compelling agent of cross-cultural exchange in the sixteenth-century Mediterranean. As I will show, the ship is a system consisting of a carefully designed physical space and natural elements, together with social, emotional, and (cross)cultural components that interact and intersect on board. By exploring the ship as a complex and mobile microcultural system, this essay aims to propose a new avenue for inquiry into cross-cultural exchanges in the history of art and architecture, cultural history, and the history of emotions in the Renaissance Mediterranean.

During the Renaissance, shipbuilding and navigation underwent significant advancement. Increasingly sophisticated mariners’ astrolabes facilitated more accurate navigation with regard to celestial bodies, while Mercator’s improved nautical charts armed navigators with another highly precise tool. One of the results of this improvement in maritime technologies was that the two Americas were added to the world map, both of which were exclusively accessible by ship. At the same time, in the sixteenth century the Mediterranean witnessed the slow but steady decline of the Venetian Republic, the peak of the Ottoman and Spanish maritime powers, and the emergence of an English presence in the region. Venice fought three major wars for supremacy with the Ottomans in that century, the last (1570–73) resulting in a significant reduction of its sea power. As a result, the Mediterranean became almost entirely divided between Spain and the Ottomans in a sort of a stalemate, while the Habsburgs were an increasingly powerful opponent of the Ottomans on the European continent.2

As the border zone and the meeting point of three powerful early modern empires, Southeastern Europe should be considered a region of intensified cultural exchange, both enforced and voluntary or peaceful. Port cities especially were key sites of cross-cultural encounter and exchange. Indeed, the Venetian stato da mar was often simply portrayed as a chain of ports.3 Some of them were literally located at the junction of riverbeds with seashores, while others had capillary connections with other towns through road networks. Cities like Venice, Dubrovnik, and Constantinople relied heavily on these maritime exchanges, as well as on their osmotic connection with their mainland.

In this essay, I would like to suggest that thinking about Renaissance ships and cities is strategically useful. Ships are smaller, but no less complex cultural units, than cities: in fact, they are floating cities. They are the physical sites and carriers of cultural, intellectual, and trade exchange between cities. However, in addition, they constitute worlds of their own that share many—perhaps even all—of the features of an early modern city. Firstly, ships are genuine ecosystems. Secondly, they have specific architectural features that respect their functions. They have their public, private, and sacred spaces, even if often with very blurred boundaries between them. Thirdly, they contain their “inhabitants” with their physiological, emotional, spiritual, and administrative needs and thus function as polities, complete with their administrative structure and social stratification. Finally, they have a central economic function.

1 Ships as Ecosystems

Ships were conceived as ecosystems at least since the time of Noah. A fine balance of organisms cohabiting within the vessel could mean the difference between life and death, or at the very least cause changes in the physiological, emotional, and psychological states of the passengers. A rough division can be made between the life forms that are desirable on board and those that are undesirable. The former group consists of all sorts of livestock intended for trade or food (e.g., chickens, ducks, and geese). Other animals were regularly transported alive, including cows, horses, goats, and sheep, and, in this early period of transoceanic travel, ships also frequently carried exotic creatures back to Europe, such as reptiles, monkeys, and tropical birds.4 The unwanted group of animals was comprised mostly of rats, lice, fleas, bed bugs, and woodworms. Rats and a variety of bugs presented a danger and annoyance to both crew and passengers, and anyone they came into contact with ashore, while woodworms could eat away a ship in matter of years.5 This “enemy within” eventually “retired” or sunk more wooden ships than enemy fire.

Naturally, everything started with the wood. Shipbuilders inspected the allocated forests, searching for suitable masts and other building elements. Precious oak was used for body timbers, while pine and larch sufficed for superstructures.6 Wood was both the essence of the ship and the source of the power of Venice. As Frederic Lane argues, the fading of the maritime glory of Venice was primarily a failure to keep up with its competitors, who expanded their fleets more rapidly: “the basic reason for this failure was the exhaustion of one of the most vital of her natural sources, ship timber.”7 Apart from the oak forests in Italian regions (Trevisana, Friuli, and Apulia), sites on the Eastern Adriatic, such as Istria, the Quarnero Islands, and Senj and its hinterland, were very important sources of wood for the Republic, albeit they were almost depleted by the seventeenth century. The second vital component of the ship was also of vegetal origin: tar (pitch) from the black pine was used to maintain the impermeability of wooden structures. How crucial tar was for the ship is underlined by the number of craftsmen needed to complete the work on a large galley: 500 work days for a sawyer, 1,000 work days for a shipwright (carpenter), and as many as 1,300 work days for a caulker.8 Caulkers applied the tar to make the vessel waterproof, while some animal fat was applied to reduce its friction with water.

It is not without reason that the shipbuilder is called the naval architect, whose product is a work of art. The ship has almost all the characteristics of a city, with its “urbanistic” solutions for the infrastructure, working and private spaces for officials and crew, and supplies for all of their needs. In addition, this microcosm needed to be mobile in a very unstable medium. The privileged had their cabins, while the common people were often “condemned” to humid, dark places, sleeping on flea-infested mattresses.9 Indeed, it was the internal structure of the ship that was responsible for a great deal of discomfort and death. “As the vessels began to be decked over, which improved their seaworthiness and offered more protection from the elements, several factors combined to compromise these benefits: diminished air flow to spaces between and below decks, decreased light at lower deck levels, and accordingly, higher humidity below decks.”10 This “stacking up” of living surfaces created a birdcage-like environment where every imaginable bit of debris, filth, and human effluvia from the decks above gravitated to the bilges below. All of this meant that the construction of the sewage and ventilation systems was of the utmost importance.

The first element that was loaded onto the ship was the ballast, in the form of stones and large-grained sand; this maintained the stability of the ship.11 Then followed all the tools and merchandise, systematically placed around the ship, with the most vulnerable things at the bottom, to avoid exposure to water. Sometimes a big wooden cross would be put on top of the merchandise to repel “infidels.” All of this would be fixed with chains and sealed with tar.12 The prow held the sails, ropes, cannonballs, gunpowder and various supplies. In the stern were victuals, barrels with drinking water, and a pump for wastewater from below deck.

Long before anyone considers the social, cultural, or economic functions of a ship (just as is the case with a city), one perceives it as a physical space.13 The most distinctly urban feature of an early modern city was the outer protecting wall, which can be compared with the hull of a ship. Cavities within the wall, or spaces on top of it, are reserved for ordnance in both cases.14 The space inside, on the decks, was separated into public and private. On ships, these two spheres often ended up too close together, particularly problematic when physiological needs had to be satisfied. The microbiological aspects of these tight quarters were another major problem: the seventeenth-century traveler Pietro della Valle blames such closeness for the death of at least three of his fellow passengers.15 However, these deaths are almost negligible in comparison with microbiologically caused losses in large-scale naval operations: the Holy League fleet that set sail to fight the Ottomans in 1571 lost over 20,000 rowers and soldiers by early October (in the Venetian ranks alone, as reported by their commander Zane) to typhus and dysentery.16 All spaces were washed down with vinegar and fumigated in order to reduce the scale of such problems. Finally, on a Christian ship, sacred space was created around the altar. A Dry Mass (messa secca) was performed, with no host consecrated or consumed.17

As Blackmore suggests, the term “navigation” in the early modern period not only designated the system of knowledge by which ships were guided at sea but also more generally described the relationship(s) between shipping, trade, and warfare; in short, “an issue of national importance.”18 The captain, officers, and crew had to literally navigate this complex system. In the case of Venice, the captain was usually a Venetian nobleman fluent in several languages.19 Along the Adriatic the ship employed at least two pilots—one of necessity from Istria (Poreč, Rovinj, or Pula) and one from either Korčula or Corfu—who were experts and who knew all the traps of the shallows around Venice and the troublesome waters of the southern Adriatic.20

One of the key members of the personnel was the scribe (scriban) who recorded every piece of cargo and luggage on board and controlled the embarkation and disembarkation of every passenger in every port.

Mariners (or sailors) were the cohesive factor that molded the heterogeneous nature of the passengers together in at least three different ways. Coming from various backgrounds, they were often skilled singers, dancers, and entertainers of all kinds. Johan Helffrich of Leipzig, who traveled in 1565, gives an account of “partying” on board during a lull: “After dinner, one of the sailors played the zither (cithara) and organized a dance, for in our company there were several women from Brabant and Holland. Other sailors performed a rarely seen show that included dancing, magic tricks, playing with ropes and other things, that lasted till late in the night.”21 Also, with their elementary knowledge of several languages from various linguistic groups (e.g., Romance, Germanic, Slavic, Turkic, Greek, and Albanian) sailors must have also facilitated communication on board. Additional supporting evidence for the importance of sailors as key language and cultural mediators includes occasional reports of mariners acting as ad hoc court interpreters in lawsuits against foreigners in Dalmatian cities.22 Finally, and perhaps most importantly, sailors’ skills in both extreme situations and in quotidian chores on the ship gave them the confidence to mediate difficult social conflicts or psychological crises on board. Bernhard Walter von Waltersweil strongly advised that pilgrims should highly respect the crew and even bravely come to help them during difficult weather conditions.23

Again, just like cities, ships are highly organized polities under the command of the captain, who holds both the prerogative and chief responsibility in regard to maritime law, commercial law, and the conduct of the ship’s crew. In fact, city statutes regulated different aspects of the equipment and life on board their ships in dozens or hundreds of articles.24 In the early modern period, the ship was also an intelligence office, a media hub, and a post office. A skilled naval officer, or even a passenger, could collect a great deal of information concerning the ports of call from his fellow passengers who disembarked and went to visit the inn, the fortress, the local monastery, or the market. The garrison strength, food supplies, and presence of merchant or war vessels were all often known by someone aboard. When two or more ships met at sea, they frequently exchanged both hard mail and news, as Pietro Casola noted in 1494: “A small boat, or rather, as they say, a copano, was lowered into the water from one of the Beyrout galleys, and many persons came to visit our captain, and many letters were brought to him from Venice. They told us the news of the West, especially about the movements of the King of France; […] and much other news.”25

It would not be an exaggeration to say that ships were the engines of the economies of Mediterranean countries in the late medieval and early modern periods. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the great rival maritime empires of Venice and Genoa established sophisticated networks of ports and trade routes, thus (re)establishing the Eurasian circulation of goods, ideas, and people during the period of the Pax Mongolica and later. In the two centuries that followed, the Iberian nations expanded the process on a global scale. Silver that was transported by ships from American mines via Seville and the newly founded Spanish Manila to satisfy increased Chinese demand effectively gave the world its first ring of globalization.26

2 A Corsair, a Merchant, and a Pilgrim

In the late sixteenth century there were dozens of different types of vessels in the Adriatic, varying greatly in their function and, therefore, also in their architecture and the types of passengers on board. In the face of such diversity, I single out three specific historical examples that reflect the history of the Adriatic during the period and comprise key aspects of the cultural systems of interest here. My first example is an unknown vessel in the (in)famous navy of the legendary converted corsair Uluç-Ali that was involved in the pillaging of towns and islands of the Adriatic in the summer of 1571 on the eve of the Battle of Lepanto. The second example, a vessel that belonged to Uluç-Ali himself before it was sold to a Venetian merchant was sunk in 1583 and lies wrecked at Gnalić, just off the town of Biograd in central Dalmatia. The third example is a pilgrim ship that traveled from Venice to Jerusalem in 1587; its story has been well documented in the account of the German pilgrim Bernhard Walter von Waltersweil.27 These three historical examples of different types of vessels common in the Mediterranean during this period serve to illuminate various aspects of my claim that ships functioned as embodiments of cultural exchange and emotional interaction in the Adriatic. They also serve to introduce the protagonists of this exchange, as well as provide historical context for the geography and people involved.

Uluç-Ali’s life story began with a pirate ship: the sixteen-year-old Calabrian Giovan Dionigi, a priest-to-be, was captured on April 29, 1536 by the legendary corsair Hayreddin Barbarossa.28 From a slave oarsman he fought his way up to become the viceroy of Algiers and eventually the grand admiral of the Ottoman fleet (1572–87). Ships had irreversibly changed his identity, for he remained unmoved by all efforts of Habsburg spies to convince him to change loyalties. Some of these attempts even included contacting his closest family in Calabria.29 Unlike many others—we should recall the example of the famous Genoese condottiere Andrea Doria who in 1528 stepped out of the French service to become the commander of the Habsburg Mediterranean fleet—Uluç-Ali remained resolute. Such changing of sides, and frequently “fluid” identities played an important role in intelligence, trade, and wars in the Mediterranean.

In 1571, Uluç-Ali arrived with his corsair fleet in the Adriatic, instilling fear into Venetian subjects, and threatening to attack the Queen of the Seas herself.30 After sacking the castle in Budva, and conquering Ulcinj and Bar in Montenegro, the corsairs laid siege to the city of Korčula and pillaged the island of Hvar.31

The fleet left the waters of these islands on August 20, but the fear that it generated has left its traces over the centuries. In Venice, the atmosphere was very similar to the one in 1567, when rumors of an upcoming conflict with the Ottomans were the reason why the sandbanks of the lagoon were fortified and garrisoned. The island of Hvar similarly records this fear embodied: the fortified Church of St. Mary in Vrboska still dominates the village. More emotional scars (with religious implications) can be traced by reading the reports of apostolic visitations to the island. The reports insist that one of the main problems in the parishes was a form of bigamy that came about as a result of many islanders’ decisions to remarry, even though their spouses were still alive—though taken into slavery by Ottoman corsairs.32

A little more than three decades earlier, in 1539, Hayreddin Barbarossa’s fleet attacked the coastal cities of present-day Montenegro. He managed to take Castelnuovo and laid siege to Cattaro (Kotor). Faced with such great naval force, the governor of the city, Gian Matteo Bembo, decided to sink the largest ship in his port to limit the maneuverability of enemy vessels. Very conveniently for the city, and very inconveniently for her captain, a 160-ton marciliana happened to be present in the port. Stripped of her mast and ordnance she was sunk, which proved to be crucial in defending the city.33 As saviors should be, she was later resurrected from the seabed, repaired, and returned to the owner.

It was not only the Ottoman privateers who instilled fear in the Adriatic; by the end of the sixteenth century, the Uskoks of Senj had become a danger to any vessel and one of the main factors affecting relations between three empires. Wendy Bracewell has successfully identified multiple factors that influenced the formation and actions of these (in)famous privateers who pillaged on land and at sea.34 Although the peace treaty between Venice and the Sublime Porte in 1573 resulted in intensified trade relations, the shaky borderland always represented an active danger.

In the sixteenth century the relationship between the two Mediterranean powers, Venice and the Ottomans, was never a fight to death but rather a rough game of alternating partnership and rivalry.35 The two powers constantly struggled to dominate trade and to gain the upper hand in other diplomatic and political matters. In this period, due to the geopolitical developments, and especially because Venice was in a difficult situation, stuck “between the Habsburg anvil and the Ottoman hammer,” the Republic found itself in a subordinate position. Knowing that only the Ottomans could challenge the Portuguese monopoly over the spice trade, Venice was forced to assume a more subtle, even submissive, approach toward its rival. As Eric Dursteler has demonstrated, “Venice’s submission was further encouraged by its reliance on Ottoman grain, which was so significant that one official reported that Venice’s Dalmatian subjects would die of famine if the Ottoman trade were ever interrupted.”36 As trade never ceased, Uluç-Ali captured a Venetian merchant ship in 1571 during the Cyprus war and held it for ten years until 1581, when he sold it to Odardo da Gagliano, an Ottoman subject settled in Pera (Constantinople). The ship received the name Gagliana grossa due to its capacity of some 750 tons (1,200 Venetian barrels).37

In August of 1583, Zorzi Lopes Vas, a Portuguese Jew, and the Greeks Nicolo Studognoti and Dimitri Colauro began loading their goods on board the Gagliana grossa, followed by the leather merchants Giovanni di Battista and Giovanni and Stefano di Silvestri.38 It set sail from Venice shortly before October 29, 1583, just after the Flemish merchant Guglielmo (Wilhelm) Helman had loaded his last-minute cargo: a small iron chest and a trunk in a sealed linen roll. Helman’s letter that informed his partner Antonio Paruta, who was expecting the shipment in Constantinople, provides a firm chronology. It is not clear what had delayed the ship’s departure until this date, just close to two weeks before the legal ban of sailing in the harsh winter months (November 15 to January 20).

Less than two weeks later, on November 9, 1583, the news of the disastrous shipwreck of the Gagliana grossa reached Venice. What followed, apart from the production of all kinds of notary documents regarding the involved parties, the maritime insurance of lost merchandise, and the like, was the immediate start of the salvage operation under the auspices of the senate.39 Upon reaching an agreement with Giacomo Pesaro, the prefect (conte) of Zara (Zadar), the man in charge, Pietro della Moneta, engaged an entrepreneur of Greek origin, a certain Manoli, also known as “Fregatta,” to dive for the sunken cargo. The rescue operation took place at the turn of the year (December/January) under the protection of a Venetian galley, as the interested parties feared a possible Uskok attack on the rescuers. The winter weather and the depth of the shipwreck (twenty-seven meters) would have increased the expenses of an extensive rescue mission, so the operation was probably halted after Manoli and his crew managed to recover the chest of the ship’s clerk (scrivano), which contained money, pearls, diamonds, and Peruvian emeralds. The jewels were traded between the respective merchants, Salomon Rigola and Guglielmo Helman, and their business correspondent in Constantinople, Antonio Paruta.

While the most precious merchandise was reclaimed, most of the cargo remained on the seafloor and has been dived for over the last four decades. How rich the site is can be seen from the fact that the fifty-day research campaign of 1996 alone yielded approximately 5,000 artifacts. The main shipment was glass: 5,000 round window panes for Sultan Murad III’s harem, renewed after the fire that had occurred earlier that year. Apart from those objects (757 of which are preserved intact), there are sixty different kinds and shapes of glassware.40 The most numerous collection of spectacles from the period was found neatly sorted in twenty-two wooden boxes; it seems there should have been 432 spectacles with leather frames in total. An iron-clad chest recovered in 1967 contained three linen shirts, eight woolen caps, a small box made of teak wood containing weights and a precision scale, and a remarkable roll (54 m long by 64 cm) of luxurious silk damask, decorated with a floral pattern and dyed purple. There were also many brass chandeliers (602) of German origin, possibly from Lübeck, transported in pieces to be assembled at their destination. The ship’s cargo included other metals in all forms: brass sheets and wire, tinplated sheet iron, mercury, tin, mercury sulfide (cinnabar), lead carbonate (cerussite), lead oxide (minium), and with powdered sulfur alongside them. A great variety of raw materials as well as semi- and fully finished products were found that had traveled as cargo, along with objects of everyday use, such as cauldrons, pans, bells, and silverware.41

Shipwrecks were quite common in the late sixteenth-century Adriatic, as shown by Tenenti in his meticulous work on the period 1592–1609.42 The objects salvaged by marine archaeologists, along with the archival materials of public notaries, maritime insurance documents, contralitterae (customs permits), senate decrees, city statutes, and other documents offer a compelling interdisciplinary challenge when piecing together life on board and around a Renaissance ship. The richness, diversity of cargo, and its provenance—from more than a dozen countries—attest to a wide network of cross-cultural exchange opportunities.

The third example is the galley that transported pilgrims from Venice to Jerusalem in 1587. Among them was Bernhard Walter von Waltersweil, who generously composed a sort of travel manual for future pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. Bernhard begins with the things one should do at home before the voyage, including making a will and obtaining a promissory note from a known merchant. The preparations in Venice included obtaining permission from the Church for the voyage, buying clothes and footwear and securing dishes to eat from, books, and assorted objects, including lighters, a compass, candles, needles, and thread. A highly detailed account of food follows: live animals, eggs, parmesan cheese, prunes, almonds, several species of grains, garlic, flour, oils, and all sorts of other provisions.43

In addition to recommendations on preparations for the voyage, Bernhard paid special attention to the behavior of passengers once on board. For instance, the sick and needy had to be cared for, in accordance with the requirements of Christian charity. Moreover, Bernhard specifically instructs passengers to avoid any discussions of religion—or “any matters that might be unpleasant”—with members of other ethnic groups.44 His practical advice on this issue is fully in line with modern theories of cultural regulations of emotions. Since emotions, as powerful internal experiences, can both assert someone’s individuality and potentially disrupt social harmony, members of interdependent cultures should seek to regulate their outbursts more than members of independent cultures.45

3 Ships as Cultural Condensers

Two major distinguishing features of a ship are mobility and confinement. Both of these features contribute to the speed and intensity of exchanges. While the ship itself is a confined, almost compressed, physical and social space, people and goods move through it continuously, thus producing a peculiar dynamic of confinement and heterogeneity, even cosmopolitanism. People join and disembark in other port cities, the composition of the ship’s population changes within weeks or by the day, and they ultimately land at their respective destinations enriched with (or weighed down by) diverse experiences. It is a cultural system that gives and takes; in constant flux, it changes in accordance with the stops it makes, whether regular or irregular. Flexibility and variation from the initial sailing plan represent one of the most striking aspects of diaries and travelogues. In fact, they are a crucial and an integral component of every voyage, especially as the effective sailing time was limited to only somewhere between 31% and 39% of the journey.46 Due to the very confined space, all of these cultural and emotional exchanges become intensified. As people of all social classes most often shared the same deck, they interacted in a way that would have been impossible on land.47

Thus, on a ship a new emotional space is created where there is a greater necessity for people to adapt their behavior. The ship’s community has to deal with intensified emotional responses that are associated with leading a life in a mobile, confined space, and quite literally sailing in the sea of uncertainty. In the very first instance, many passengers describe a need to deal with changed physical environments and their resulting disgust and shame, as eloquently described by Bernhard Walter von Waltersweil. The German realized, to his dismay, that it was practically impossible to go to the toilet without being seen by someone. That usually made people hold back their needs for days, a repulsive, not to mention dangerous, practice.48 The fear that crept into the souls of voyagers due to severe storms, unknown ships, bad news, or outbreaks of diseases, known and unknown, on board was palpable and is often thus described. The countermeasures included bonding, prayers, the sharing of hopes, all of which were embodied in newly formed friendships, more pilgrimages, votive paintings with emotional dedications, metal figurines, and so on.49

On board, the senses were constantly assaulted from all sides. Bernhard gives an account of quite often seeing “sailors climbing up ropes and sails, people dashing around,” but, as he notes, one gets accustomed to that quickly.50 Travelers complained much more about bad odors and stench than about the various sounds breaking the silence, but the whole ship’s activity must have been accompanied by a wide range of voices, shouts, and a cacophony generated by the sailing gear. The inner ear was even more affected, especially in rough seas: in 1551, Daniel Ecklin of Aarau complained that during “a bit stronger wind, the ship moved up and down” in a fashion where he thought he “would need to throw the liver and lungs up.”51

As these different examples show, the demands of the ship as a cultural and emotional system often conflicted with or superseded the heterogeneity of ethnicities as well as religious identities. This can be read in Bernhard’s words from the very beginning, where he pleads for avoiding religious disputes and for showing mercy to anyone in need, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. However, sometimes, threatening or frustrating physical situations increased the tensions and were met with superstition and intolerance. Severe storms and lulls, for instance, were both interpreted through various aspects of faith. One very famous example is the connection made by fellow passengers between the formation and duration of a storm, and the water from the Jordan River that one pilgrim to Palestine carried with him. In another suggestive example from 1579, a Greek monk was blamed for a long-lasting lull because he was carrying some Protestant books with him. The incident almost resulted in the monk being forced to disembark.

As early as the seventeenth century, Sir Henry Blunt puts it in a nutshell:

“Then upon the seventh of May, 1634 I embarq’d on a Venetian Galley with a Caravan of Turks and Iewes bound for the Levant, not having any Christians with them besides my selfe: this occasion was right to my purpose, for the familiarity of bed, board, and passage together is more opportune to disclose the customs of men, than a much longer habitation in Cities, where society is not so linkt, and behaviour more personate, than in travel, whose common sufferings endear men, laying them open, and obnoxious to one another.”52

Ships can be studied as ecosystems, but they are equally complex from a cross-cultural point of view. Ships connected and separated people, gave them new experiences, new ideas, and new identities; they were the most active agents of cross-cultural exchange in both peaceful and confrontational contacts. The mobility and confinement of ships made them a highly dramatic and intense site of cross-cultural exchange. They were the synapses that enabled late medieval and early modern cities to flourish, bringing fresh impulses to and from distant shores.

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Notes

1

Bernhard Walter von Waltersweil, Beschreibung Einer Reiß auß Teutschland biß in das gelobte Landt Palæstina (München: Adam Berg, 1609), 13–14. Translated from Early High German into English by the author with help from Olivia Michalowski and Raymond Geuss. I would like to thank Elizabeth and Peter Garnsey for their invaluable comments on the draft of this text. I also owe thanks to Katrina O’Loughlin and Krešimir Kužić for their helpful suggestions.

2

Cf. Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (New York: Harper and Row, 1972); and Andrew C. Hess, The Forgotten Frontier: A History of the Sixteenth-Century Ibero-African Frontier (Chicago and London: Chicago University Press, 1978).

3

Benjamin Arbel, “Venice’s Maritime Empire in the Early Modern Period,” in A Companion to Venetian History, 1400–1797, ed. Eric R. Dursteller (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 137–38.

4

Hans Stockar of Schaffhausen, pilgrim to Jerusalem in 1519, provided a long list of different animals that could be found on board; see Petar Kužić, Hrvatska obala u putopisima njemačkih hodočasnika XIV.–XVII. st. (Split: Književni krug, 2013), 435.

5

Wood worm is actually a mollusk, a saltwater clam known as teredo navalis.

6

Frederic C. Lane, “Venetian Shipping during the Commercial Revolution,” in Venice and History: The Collected Papers of Frederic C. Lane. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1966), 19. Cf. Antonio Lazzarini, “Boschi, legnami, costruzioni navali L’Arsenale di Venezia fra XVI e XVIII secolo,” Archivio veneto 145, s. 6, no. 7 (2014): 111–75.

7

Lane, “Venetian Shipping,” 21.

8

Frederic C. Lane, Venetian Ships and Shipbuilders of the Renaissance (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), 135.

9

“There is no doubt that some of the travelling party will be accommodated in humid and wet places on board. Therefore, their mattresses and other belongings will not only absorb moisture and unpleasant smells/stench, but also will be infested with white lice. It is therefore important—if the weather is nice—that these belongings are either washed or aired in the sunshine and cleaned”; Walter von Waltersweil, Beschreibung Einer Reiß, 13–14.

10

Joe J. Simmons, Those Vulgar Tubes: External Sanitary Accommodations Aboard European Ships of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1998), 6.

11

A reference to how much ballast was used can be found in Richard A. Gould, Archaeology and the Social History of Ships (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 213: “The approximate 35 tons of stone ballast recorded at the site would have sufficed for a ship of 100 tons […].” How delicate a problem stability can be: one can observe this in contemporary cruisers (effectively floating cities of a kind) that carry huge water-filled containers on their upper decks. The water does the fine-tuning in stabilizing the ship by causing it to ease more smoothly back to a stable position in rough seas, thereby lessening the sudden movements that would otherwise affect the passengers on board (i.e., becoming seasick).

12

Kužić, Hrvatska obala, 522.

13

Cf. Christopher R. Friedrichs, The Early Modern City, 1450–1750 (A History of Urban Society in Europe) (London: Longman, 1995); see also Niklas Eriksson, Urbanism under Sail: An Archaeology of Fluit Ships in Early Modern Everyday Life (Stockholm: Södertörn University, 2014).

14

John F. Guilmartin, Gunpowder and Galleys: Changing Technology and Mediterranean Warfare at Sea in the 16th Century, 2nd ed. (London: Conway Maritime Press, 2003).

15

Pietro della Valle, Viaggi di Pietro della Valle il Pellegrino (Roma: Appresso Vitale Mascardi, 1650).

16

Noel Malcolm, Agents of Empire: Knights, Corsairs, Jesuits, and Spies in the Sixteenth-Century Mediterranean World (London: Penguin House, 2015), 118–21.

17

Some people speculate that this was to prevent seasickness.

18

Richard D. Blackmore, “Navigating Culture: Navigational Instruments as Cultural Artefacts, c. 1550–1650,” Journal for Maritime Research 14, no. 1 (2012): 31–44.

19

Hans Stockar mentioned that his captain was fluent in “pagan (Arabic), Turkish, Greek, and many other languages”; Kužić, Hrvatska obala, 435.

20

Kužić, Hrvatska obala, 506. See also Mithad Kozličić, “Adriatic Sailing Routes as Reported in the 14th and 15th Century Pilgrims and Travel Reports,” Balkan Studies 41, no. 1 (2000): 5–25.

21

Kužić, Hrvatska obala, 490.

22

Archivio di Stato di Venezia, Lettere di rettori e di altre cariche. Liesina 1498–1792. Busta no. 278. Lesina 5.X.1498–21.III.1598, f. 277–78. I owe thanks to Sabine Florence Fabijanec for this information; cf. Eric R. Dursteler, “Language and Identity in Early Modern Mediterranean,” in Mediterranean Identities in the Premodern Era. Entrepôts, Islands, Empires, eds. John Watkins and Kathryn L. Reyerson (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014), 35–52; and also Predrag Matvejević, Mediterranean: A Cultural Landscape (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999).

23

Walter von Waltersweil, Beschreibung Einer Reiß, 15.

24

Distinctions among four city statutes (Venice, Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik) in regulating all important maritime issues (albeit covering just the period until the second half of the fifteenth century) were dealt with in Domagoj Mijan, “Pomorske odredbe Zadarskog statuta u usporedbi s istim odredbama Venecijanskog, Dubrovačkog i Splitskog statuta.” Radovi Zavoda za povijesne znanosti HAZU u Zadru 46 (2004): 109–68.

25

Margaret Newett, Canon Pietro Casola’s Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the Year 1494 (Manchester: University Press, 1907).

26

Dennis O. Flynn and Arturo Giráldez, “Born with a ‘Silver Spoon’: The Origin of World Trade in 1571,” Journal of World History 6, no. 2 (1995): 201–21.

27

Walter von Waltersweil, Beschreibung Einer Reiß.

28

Gustavo Valente, Vita di Occhialì (Milano: Editrice Ceschina, 1960), 34.

29

Emrah S. Gürkan, “My Money or Your Life: The Habsburg Hunt for Uluc Ali,” Studia Historica: Historia Moderna 36 (2014): 121–45.

30

The author of this essay is currently writing a paper titled “Uluc-Ali’s Adriatic Expedition of 1571” (forthcoming).

31

Kenneth Meyer Setton, Papacy and the Levant, 1204–1571 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1984), 1025 onward.

32

Andrija Vojko Mardešić, Slavko Kovačić and Antun Oršolić, eds., Spisi apostolskih vizitacija dalmatinskih biskupija. Spisi apostolskih vizitacija Hvarske biskupije iz godina 1579., 1602./1603. i 1624./1625.: Acta visitationum apostolicarum Diocesis Pharensis (Rome: Hrvatski povijesni institut, 2005).

33

Renard Gluzman, “Resurrection of a Sunken Ship: The Salvage of the Venetian Marciliana that Saved Cattaro from Barbarossa,” Archivio Veneto, sesta serie, no. 8 (2014): 29–78.

34

The Uskoks were members of a military community, mostly consisting of refugees or rebels from the regions where there were intense war operations or other sorts of issues associated with conflicts in the border zone. Catherine W. Bracewell, The Uskoks of Senj: Piracy, Banditry, and Holy War in the Sixteenth-Century Adriatic (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1992); cf. also Alberto Tenenti, Piracy and the Decline of Venice 1580–1615 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967).

35

Cf. Maria Pia Pedani, In nome del Gran Signore: Inviati ottomani a Venezia dalla caduta di Costantinopoli alla Guerra di Candia (Venice: Deputazione editrice, 1994); cf. also Benjamin Arbel, “Maritime Trade and International Relations in the Sixteenth-Century Mediterranean: The Case of the Ship Ghirarda (1575–1581),” in Living in the Ottoman Ecumenical Community: Essays in Honour of Suraiya Foroqhi, eds. Vera Costantini and Markus Koller (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 391–408.

36

Eric R. Dursteler, Venetians in Constantinople: Nation, Identity, and Coexistence in the Early Modern Mediterranean (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 4–5.

37

Irena Radić Rossi and Mariangela Nicolardi, “The Shipwreck of Gnalić—Mirror of Renaissance World,” TINA Maritime Archaeology Periodical 2, 2014: 34–52.

38

Irena Radić Rossi, Mauro Bondioli, Mariangela Nicolardi, Zdenko Brusić, Lovorka Čoralić and Filipe V. Castro, “The Shipwreck of Gnalić—Mirror of Renaissance Europe,” in Gnalić—blago potonulog broda iz 16. stoljeća, eds. Ana Filep, Ela Jurdana and Ankica Pandžić (Zagreb: Hrvatski povijesni muzej, 2013), 76.

39

The first one to identify the shipwreck from the Venetian documentation was Gasparetto, who was primarily interested in the ship’s glass cargo. Astone Gasparetto, “Vetri veneziani da un naufragio in Dalmazia e da documenti dell’ultimo cinquecento,” Studi veneziani 17–18 (1973): 411–46; “The Gnalić Wreck: Identification of the Ship,” Journal of Glass Studies 15 (1976): 79–84.

40

Irena Lazar and Hugh Wilmott, “The Glass from the Gnalic Wreck—Preliminary Report,” Annales du 17e Congrès de l’Association Internationale pour l’Histoire du Verre Anvers 2006 (2009): 333–38.

41

Irena Radić Rossi, Mariangela Nicolardi and Katarina Batur, “The Gnalić Shipwreck: Microcosm of the Late Renaissance World,” in Croatia at the Crossroads, eds. David Davison, Vince Gaffney, Preston Miracle and Jo Sofaer (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2016), 223–48.

42

Several hundred ships ended up as wrecks. Alberto Tenenti, Naufrages, corsaires et assurances maritimes à Venise 1592–1609 (Paris: S.E.V.P.E.N, 1959); Braudel, Mediterranean. Cf. also Carlo Beltrame, Sauro Gelichi and Igor Miholjek, eds., Sveti Pavao Shipwreck: A 16th Century Venetian Merchantman from Mljet, Croatia (Oxford: Oxbow, 2014).

43

Walter von Waltersweil, Beschreibung Einer Reiß, 3–5, 10–11.

44

Walter von Waltersweil, Beschreibung Einer Reiß, 14.

45

Brett Q. Ford and Iris B. Mauss, “Culture and Emotion Regulation,” Current Opinion in Psychology 3 (2015): 1.

46

Renard Gluzman, “Between Venice and the Levant: Re-Evaluating Maritime Routes from the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century,” The Mariner’s Mirror 96, no. 3 (August 2010): 268.

47

I could not find any scholarly works dealing with the psychology of confined spaces in this particular historical period. However, the space missions—on modern or future (space)ships—have created a great demand for studies on the topic of long journeys in the Earth’s orbit or to Mars. Instead, cf. William M. Reddy, The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of Emotions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001); and Mirko Sardelić, “Model proučavanja i izazovi povijesti emocija—skica,” Historijski zbornik 58, no. 2 (2015): 395–402.

48

Walter von Waltersweil, Beschreibung Einer Reiß, 16–17.

49

Kužić, Hrvatska obala, 431–32. See also Sante Graciotti, La Dalmazia e l’Adriatico dei pellegrini “veneziani” in Terrasanta (Lido di Venezia: La Musa Talìa Editrice, 2014); Anica Kisić, Ex voto Adriatico: Zavjetne slike hrvatskih pomoraca od 16. do 19. stoljeća (Zagreb: Matica hrvatska, 2001).

50

Walter von Waltersweil, Beschreibung Einer Reiß, 16.

51

Kužić, Hrvatska obala, 463.

52

Henry Blunt, A Voyage into the Levant, 4th ed. (London: Printed by R.C. for Andrew Crooke, 1650), 9–10.

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