Venice galley rowing alla sensile1

The Middle Ages of Ancona: Guiscado Brancafiamma, pirate or hero?


In 1150, as Augustine wrote Peruzzi (born 1764, died 1850), religious, historical and Italian poet of Ancona in 1835, there was a rebellion of several cities in Istria, including Pula, Porec to Venice, at the instigation of the Byzantine emperor, who at that time was at war against the Venetians. The Emperor urged and made many promises attractive (probably as aid money and the opportunity to sign favorable trade agreements), for ensure that Ancona and Rimini,are arrayed against Venice. Lured by these promises, they have put together a fleet of ships, at whose command he was assigned Guiscado Brancafiamma, this alliance was called by historians of Ancona “Anconitana.” This fleet has assaulted and pillaged,with piratical actions, the rich Venetian merchant ships that followed the trade routes, then, to escape from the warships of Venice, took refuge in the port of Pola and other Istrian cities. But the Doge of Venice, Domenico Morosino, brought together fifty galleys, with this powerful fleet began a ruthless war, has subdued Pula, Rovigo, Porec, Umag, Novigrad, city that the Venetians believed that were guilty of protect to the ships of corsairs of Guiscado Brancafiamma (as he also wrote Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Vignola1672, 1750 Modena, an Italian priest, writer, historian and librarian). The Venetian admiral in charge of the fleet, Marino Gradenigo, gave no respite to Guiscado Brancafiamma and its ships. There were spectacular clashes at sea between the two fleets, but at the end of the numerical superiority has rewarded the Venetians. The alliance “Anconitana” in the last clash had lost the five “triremes” (it was a type of warship that was moved, in addition of the sailing, had three rows of oarsmen, positioned on both sides of the hull) and the ship on which There was Guiscado Brancafiamma, who was taken prisoner. In violation the laws of war, Guiscado Brancafiamma was hanged. Venice treated him like a as a commander of pirates and not as an enemy of war. After this defeat the “anconitani” they had asked and obtained the peace and the alliance broke up.

Paolo Carnevali

Paolo Carnevali

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