All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to email@example.com. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in March 2012.
In 1204 Enrico Dandolo, Doge (chief magistrate) of Venice, made an agreement with the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on the division of the treasures they
were expecting to plunder in Constantinople. Dandolo (blind and at the age of 80 or even 90) personally led the Venetian fleet's successful
attack on the maritime walls of the city.
According to the agreement Venice was entitled to 3/8 of the booty. The fall of Constantinople entailed that of the Byzantine Empire, but Venice and the crusaders could not partition among themselves all its territories,
because some of them continued to be controlled by local Byzantine rulers.
In 1573 Venice signed a peace treaty by which it acknowledged the loss of Cyprus; the Venetians were aware that their possession of Crete had become very precarious because the island was surrounded by Ottoman territories and they were careful not to give the Sultan a pretext for a new war.
In 1644 however the Knights of Malta attacked an Ottoman convoy which was bringing home part of the Sultan's harem returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca. The attack occurred near Rhodes and it was successful; the Maltese ships on their way home with the loot stopped at a bay on the southern coast of Crete to take on board water and subsequently at Cerigo and Cefalonia, two other Venetian islands.
Sultan Ibrahim accused Venice of connivance with the Maltese Knights and in the following year an Ottoman army landed on Crete. The war lasted until 1669; at its end Venice surrendered the whole island with the exception of three fortresses (Grambusa, Souda and Spinalonga) on islets, which protected natural harbours where Venetian ships could anchor during their route eastwards. During a new war (1685-99) the Venetians made an unsuccessful attempt to reconquer Crete. A third war (1715-18) ended with Venice surrendering its fortresses on the islets.
Grambusa (Granvousa) and Castello (Kasteli/Kissamos)
La Canea (Xania), S. Teodoro and Souda
An Excursion to Moni Arkadi
Spinalonga and Castel Mirabello
An Excursion to Kritsa
Castelfranco (Frangokastelo) and other castles on the southern coast
Sittia and Paleocastro
Introductory page on the Venetian Fortresses
During the first war Marco Boschini, a Venetian painter and engraver published a book describing the Kingdom of Candia. The icon of this section and the image used as background for this page show a detail of its first engraving.
Other Venetian fortresses:
On the Ionian Islands: Corfų (Kerkyra) Paxo (Paxi) Santa Maura (Lefkadas) Cefalonia (Kephallonia) Asso (Assos) Itaca (Ithaki) Zante (Zachintos) Cerigo (Kythera)
On the mainland: Butrinto (Butrint) Parga Preveza and Azio (Aktion) Vonizza (Vonitsa) Lepanto (Nafpaktos) Atene (Athens)
On Morea: Castel di Morea (Rio), Castel di Rumelia (Antirio) and Patrasso (Patra) Castel Tornese (Hlemoutsi) and Glarenza Navarino (Pilo) and Calamata Modon (Methoni) Corone (Koroni) Braccio di Maina, Zarnata, Passavā and Chielefā Mistrā Corinto (Korinthos) Argo (Argos) Napoli di Romania (Nafplio) Malvasia (Monemvassia)
On the Aegean Sea: Negroponte (Chalki) Castelrosso (Karistos) Oreo Lemno (Limnos) Schiatto (Skiathos) Scopello (Skopelos) Alonisso Schiro (Skyros) Andro (Andros) Tino (Tinos) Micono (Mykonos) Siro (Syros) Egina (Aegina) Spezzia (Spetse) Paris (Paros) Antiparis (Andiparos) Nasso (Naxos) Serifo (Serifos) Sifno (Syphnos) Milo (Milos) Argentiera (Kimolos) Santorino (Thira) Folegandro (Folegandros) Stampalia (Astipalea)
You may refresh your knowledge of the history of Venice in the Levant by reading an abstract from the History of Venice by Thomas Salmon, published in 1754. The Italian text is accompanied by an English summary.
Clickable Map of the Ionian and Aegean Seas with links to the Venetian fortresses and to other locations (opens in a separate window)
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