War and Peace - The War for Candia previous 3/8 next

Candia and the preparation for war


In September of 1638 the Senate  allocated 90,000 reals  to the Provveditore Generale  of Candia for the payment of the militias  and the purchase of grain. It also asked for confirmation of the rumours then rife in the capital concerning an imminent Turkish attack on the island. On this occasion it decided to send several citizens from the United Provinces of Holland to the Kingdom in support of the upcoming defense operations - Frans van Wert, his son Jan, and their student van Bor. These were men who had experienced the triumph of the wars of independence against the Spanish in their own country. Dutch engineers were then prized throughout Europe for their skill and speed in erecting economically viable landworks used to advance the first line of the defence, strengthen the walls , and delay enemy impact with 'the edge of the moat and the counterscarp of the ramparts  and curtains ' 1. From the early 1640s onwards these new foreign innovations would influence the Republic's defensive strategy in Candia . One example is the fortification work begun by van Wert on the rock at Moraiti at the mouth of the Suda . With their support in the impending Turkish attack, the Senate elected to fortify those areas which were already defended, and instead ignored those that needed more long-term and extensive restoration. Thus the rock of Suda was further fortified, while Chania , 'with its body completely languid and infirm and needing the salutary assistance'2 of the Republic, too close to the beaches where the Turks could most easily attack the heart of the island, was merely provided with a simple ravelin . These engineers demonstrated great dedication to the Republic until the tragic conclusion of September 1647. After witnessing the death of his son in the defence of Chania, Frans van Wert too lost his life in the course of an enemy sortie. He was honoured with a solemn funeral oration read out in the Senate, and his family received a pension.

1 'il bordo della fossa e con la scarpa di baluardi e cortine'
2 'dal corpo tutto languido et infermo et bisognoso della salutifera mano'

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Viaggio virtuale tra le fonti storiche veneziane
Rotta: Venezia e il Levante (sec XV - sec XVIII)
© 1996 by the VENIVA consortium