If you want to catch up on the (limited) Venetian history I've covered so far, feel free to go here!
Well, lets get into the wild and crazy life of Francesco Morosini, shall we?
This is going to be a shorter blog than normal (by a significant margin) for the simple reason that I did one last year--with a bit more details of Francesco Morosini's life here.
Things Francesco Morosini would like you to forget:
- He was a real butterfingers. In 1687 during his sack of Athens (the same expedition that had him blowing the roof off the Parthenon and taking the Piraeus lion riddled with Varangian runes back to Venice) Morosini had a grander ambition. To take the horses and chariot statues of Athens back to Venice. Historian JJ Norwich describes the scene:"Morosini, doubtless remembering the carrying off of the four bronze horses from the Hippodrome of Constantinople in 1205--tried to remove the horses and chariot of Athena that formed part of the western pediment of the temple. In the process the whole group fell to the ground and smashed to pieces."
- On the return trip back to Venice after sacking Athens, he made detour after detour, convinced that if he came back after winning a victory, he would be met with a heroes welcome. He settled on the fortress of Malvasia on an island in southern Greece. Unfortunately, it was impregnable and not able to be sieged--Norwich records the only approach to it on foot being less than a yard across, meaning that the only way the Venetians could get at it would be to blow it all to hell with artillery. Fine, after what they'd done to Athens and the Parthenon, that didn't seem like a bad idea. Morosini ordered the construction of two large gun emplacements to be constructed. Fortunately for the Greeks and unfortunately for Francesco Morosini, he took grievously ill and had to pass off command to his liutenant. He was rushed back to Venice where he got his enthusiastic welcome--but was too sick to enjoy it.
-Francesco Morosini had a taste for the spotlight and personal glory--earned or not--that he carried with him to the dogeship. More than anything else, it would seem from examining his life and tendencies--he feared a decisive defeat like his experience at Candia. As a result, he was always seeking fresh battles--victories--in his mind--to get the stain out, as it were. This left him weirdly sensitive to Venetian public opinion--at least where it came to things military--and had him spend the last years of his life figuratively chasing dragons in the hope of having people see him as a great hero of Venice.
He got halfway there--certainly, several boats have been named after him.
We'll talk more, I think, about the Siege of Candia that shaped Morosini next week, as part of our context episode on Venetian politics.
If you want to catch up on the talkback or get your questions answered that popped into your mind during the show, click below, and all shall be revealed.