The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Ii. Constantinople

Venetian galleys

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As it was now late, the ambassadors waited until Wednesday to visit the gate called Quinigo; where they found the said Master Ilario, and the other courtiers of the emperor; and they then went to see the other things in the city, returning to Pea, where they lodged. On another day the ambassadors were unable to pass to Constantinople as they intended, because news came to the city of Pera, how that certain Venetian galleys had come upon the Genoese fleet, which was making war on the kingdom of Alexandria (of which Mosen Buchicate was captain), and that many persons had been killed near Mondon, and several galleys taken, together with Chastel Morate, the nephew of Buchicate {Jean le Meingle, surnamed Boucicault or Buchicate, has already been mentioned several times, by Clavijo, in the previous chapter. He was one of the greatest captains of the age, and was the son of a marshal of France, of the same name, who signed the peace of Bretigni. After serving in many parts of Europe, Boucicault accompanied the Due de Nevers to Hungary, and was taken prisoner at the fatal battle of Nicopolis, He was brought up before the brutal Turk, with the other Christian knights, to be murdered; but the Sultan was tempted by the hope of a great ransom promised by Nevers, and Boucicault escaped. On his return to France he was made a marshal of France, and was sent to Constantinople in 1399, to assist against the Turk. The Greeks received him with demonstrations of joy, and he was created Constable of the Empire. After passing a year in the East, he returned to Europe with the Emperor Emanuel, and was received at the French court with great distinction. At this time he instituted an order of knighthood for the protection of ladies, to be called 'De la Dame Blanche a l'Ecu vert,' consisting of thirteen knights, who were bound by the statutes of the order for five years. Their device was 'un ecusson d'or, emaille de verd, sur lequel etoit represente en email blanc le portrait d'une dame modeste.' In 1401 Boucicault was appointed governor of Genoa, by Charles VI, at the request of the Genoese; and he distinguished himself in successful expeditions to Cyprus, and other parts of the Levant. After leaving Genoa, he was at the battle of Agincourt in 1415, where he was dangerously wounded and taken prisoner. He died in England in 1421, aged fifty-five, and his body was embalmed and sent to France. It was buried with those of his father and mother at Tours.-Froissart; Histoire du Marechal de Boucicault (Paris, 1697)}. On account of this news, there was a great stir in the city, and the people seized upon certain Venetians who were there, and took their ships; and the governing power of the city seized a galliot in which the ambassadors were about to go to Trebizonde, because they wanted to send her with a message. This caused great annoyance to the ambassadors, for the time was short, and they were unable to find such a vessel as they required, so they were obliged to seek for another ship, to enable them to proceed with the king's service. They, therefore, sent to master Ilario, to say that they could not go to Constantinople on that day, as they had promised, but that they would do so some other day; and he sent half a pig to the embassy, being one which had been killed lately. Afterwards, on Thursday the 1st of November, the ambassadors went to Constantinople, and soon found Master Ilario, and others of the household of the emperor, at the gate of Quinigo, where they were waiting. They then mounted on horseback, and went to see a church called 'Santa Maria de la Cherne,' which is within the city, and opposite to a ruined castle, which used to be a lodging, used by the emperors. The said castle was destroyed by an emperor, because he found his son in it, in a manner that will be related to you presently.