Friday, April 28, 2006

Day 16 - 28th April 1483

"On the 28th we went out of our inn in the morning through the streets of the merchants and went to St. Mark's to hear service there. When service was over, we walked about the open square in front of the Doge's palace. In this square, before the great door of St. Mark's Church, there stood two costly banners, raised aloft on tall spears, white, and ensigned with a red cross, and they were the banners of pilgrim to the Holy Land. By these banners we understood that two galleys had been appointed for the transport of pilgrims; for when the lords of Venice beheld a number of pilgrims flocking together there, they chose two nobles from among their senators, and entrusted the care of the pilgrims to them. The names of these were, of the first, Master Peter de Lando, and of the second, Master Augustine Contarini. The servants of these two noblemen stood beside the banners, and each invited the pilgrims to sail with their master, and they endeavoured to lead the pilgrims, the one party to the galley of Augustine, the other to that of Peter; the one party praised Augustine and abused Peter, the other did the reverse. Hence it followed that these two lords, Augustine and Peter, had become deadly enemies, and each abused the other and defamed him to their worships the pilgrims, and each tried to make the other odious to the pilgrims, and suborned men to do so. From this there began to grow another evil, namely, that the pilgrims themselves had, as it were, taken sides with the factions of these two captains, and each of them were zealous for their own captain and master. So my lords were at a loss, not knowing to which of these captains they had better entrust themselves, since they heard such different accounts of each. I myself approved of Master Augustine Contarini, whom I knew to be a wise and trusty man, because in my former pilgrimage I had crossed the sea on board of his ship; but others abused him and praised the other. So for peace's sake I did not interfere in the matter, but declared that they were both good pilots if they would take us quickly to the port for which we were bound, adding that if I knew which of the two would be the quickest and soonest ready to sail, that would be the one whom I should recommend pilgrims to choose. Both, however, promised that they would begin their voyage directly, which I knew to be a lie."

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