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 Marcantonio Bragadin

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Melisende
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PostSubject: Marcantonio Bragadin   Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:19 pm

Marcantonio Bragdin
(1523 - 17/9/1571)

Captain of the Venetian Army under the Perugian General, Astorre Balgioni in the wars with the Turks in Cyprus (1570).

Marcantonia began his career as a Lawyer in Venice (1543) before advancing to the position of Magistrate (1560 - 1566). Bragadin become Governor of the Venetian Prison system shortly after, and was then elected as Governor of Cyprus (1569). It would be his misfortune to be caught up in the Turkish assault on the island of Cyprus.

The Turks, who reportedly numbered 80,000, began their attack on the city of Nicosia (3/7/1570). Nicosia fell after two months and 20,000 civilians were slaughtered whilst thousands were enslaved (9/9/1570). Having received word of the Turkish landing, Bragadin immediately began fortifying the city of Famagusta against the impending Turkish assault, which began two months later (23/9/1570).

The siege of Famagusta lasted for nearly one year - the Cypriots and Venetians were vastly outnumbered. It was said that Pasha had at his disposal 200,000 men and 145 guns, whilst the defenders number between 10,000 and 11,000 with only 90 guns. The city walls were finally breached (July 1571) and the city fell depsite a vigorous (and, for the Turks, an unexpected) defence (31/8/1571). Bragadin and Baglioni went personally to the Turkish Commander - Mustafa Pasha to offer the surrender of the city (1/9/1571). Pasha offered what appeared to be agreebale terms - the survivors, both soldiers and civilians, could withdraw to safety on Crete.

Pasha, however, turned on both men. Many have considered Pasha's actions to have been as a result of his own underestimation of the dertemination of the defenders of Famagusta, which was a slight upon his own military prowess. Baglioni was beheaded immediately - Bragadin had both ears and his nose cut off and was held in prison for nearly a fortnight. His untreated wounds festered and Bragadin became seriously ill.

However, the worst was yet to come. Bragadin was dragged around the city walls with heavy sacks (of earth and stones) on his back. He was then tied to a chair and hoisted to the yardarm of the Turkish flagship, where he was taunted and mocked by the ship's crew.

Bragadin was then taken to the main square for his execution. He was tied naked to a column and flayed alive. It was said by the Chroniclers of the day that Bragadin bore this torture in silence for a half hour - he finally died when the executioner reached his waist. Then upon completion, Bragadin's head was cut from his body, which was quartered.

“… and slowly they detached from its alive body the skin, undressing it in sol a piece, to begin from the nape and the back, and then the face, the arms, the thorax and all the rest…”.

Cyprus was finally annexed as a Turkish province and Pasha became its first Governor.

Bragadin's skin was presented to the Turkish Sultan in Constantinople. It was returned nine years later to his sons, and was deposited in the Church of S.Gregoria. It was then transferred to SS.Giovanni e Paolo (18/5/1596).

Two months after Bragadin's death, the Turks were defeated at the Battle of Lepanto.

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