Arriving on the island of Candia in 1589, the traveller Samuel Keichel
noted that it was occupied by Italians, Germans, Swiss, Englishmen and
Frenchmen, along with Greek light cavalrymen. According to the reports of
Venetian governors ('baili' ,
the Italian and Corsican soldiers were
fairly reliable. However, Tomio Pompei, a professional soldier from a
distinguished Veronese family serving the Serenissima, instead claimed that the
'oltramontani' ('those from beyond the mountains' - the Germans and the Swiss)
were believed 'to succeed in taking places and preserving them'1, and to be
'impetuous and stubborn'2. On the other hand, the Levant light cavalrymen -
Croats, Albanians and Greeks - had a bad reputation, and were considered
undisciplined and violent in comparison with the local civilian population.
In peace time, the ordinary garrison of the Kingdom was primarily made up of
troops from central Italy, the traditional recruiting source of the
Serenissima. From 1575-76, only two men came from Serenissima territories (Brescia) out of a total of 24 officials in the Candia garrison which numbered
23 captains and a colonel. The vast majority came from Abruzzi, the Marches,
and Emilia. It is likely that a great many garrison soldiers came from the same
areas that their captains did, for it was common practice for captains to
recruit their men from their own lands.
1 'riuscire a proposito per prender posti e per conservargli'
2 'impetuosi ed ostinati'