10 January 2011

My Very Good Friends

Cyriaco wrote about seeing these dancers on Samothraki,
built into the new palace.

In working on my talk for the AIA last week, I became fascinated with the particular culture of the eastern Mediterranean in which Cyriaco moved.  He had the wealth and status -- and the personal appeal -- to be the guest of local rulers, so when he was in Mistra he stayed with Constantine Palaiologos; Manuel Asan, governor of Imbros, gave him a boat to go to Samothraki, he had Christmas with Francesco Gattilusi, prince of Thasos; he stayed with Francesco Nani, governor of Mykonos, who took him to see Delos; and he got rides on the galley of Giovanni Delfino, Captain General of the Venetian fleet.

What is more interesting, and more important, is that all of these men had some degree of interest in antiquities, showed him what they owned personally, and took him out to see interesting things in the area. Not just the rulers: farmers and fishermen took him to see carvings and sites and caves all over Mani; a Cretan fisherman, Phantasios, showed him the mole near Maroneia made of shattered sarcophagi. Monks in several monasteries on Athos brought out their oldest manuscripts for him.

I find it highly significant that Cyriaco was shown the antiquities on Imbros by Michael Kritoboulos, and in Sparta by Laonikos Chalcocondyles.  These are two of the three historians of the period.  And he would have known Doukas, too, who was secretary to several Genoese governors of Galata, including Cyriaco's friend Baldassare Maruffo. Maruffo rebuilt and extended the walls of Galata. Cyriaco wrote and had carved a Latin inscription commemorating this, and the inscription survives now in the Istanbul museum.

In Nauplion, Pietro Rangano and Joannes Bendramon, took him to see what they thought was Mycenae. (What did Italians think they knew about Mycenae in 1448?) They were off by 1000 years, but they were interested, and had made an effort to look.

Ag. Adrianos - Katsingri as drawn by Cyriaco

Ag. Adrianos - Katsingri

Ag. Adrianos - Katsingri
 Cyriaco drew the stones to the right of the doorway.

[For a context for Ag. Adrianos-Katsingri, look at this entry on 3rd-century watchposts.]

[NOTE: This seems to have posted itself before I finished.  I will just leave it as it is and save the rest for another Cyriaco post.]

Much of this talk is taken from Cyriaco of Ancona: Later Travels.  Edward W. Bodnar with Clive Foss. I Tatti Renaissance Library,  HUP, 2003.

1 comment:

  1. Based merely upon the evidence of preservation activity before and after Ciriaco, it can be surmised that he was to the medieval Mediterranean what facebook is to the rest of us, today. His eagerness for knowledge and an historic name may have grease the wheels of respect and cooperation he garnered from almost everyone he met.


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