XV, 2019, 1

Moldavia’s Tribute at the End of Stephen the Great’s Reign: the Testimony of Marino Sanudo “the Younger” | p. 103–112

Andrea Gritti, Marino Sanudo, Moldavia, Ottoman Empire, tribute, Venice


Moldavia as a tributary state of the Ottoman Empire is a well-known topic in Romanian historiography. Among the sources used to establish the amount of gold paid by the principality to the sultan figures the “Journals” (Diarii) of Marino Sanudo. The present paper insists on Sanudo’s sources, on the Venetian-Ottoman relation at the beginning of the 16th century and on the context in which the information is included in the „Journals”. Regarding the tribute paid by Moldavia, Sanudo depended on the relazione delivered on December 2, 1503 by Andrea Gritti in front of the Senate on his return from his mission as ambassador in Constantinople.  What is striking is that there are significant discrepancies between Gritti’s speech as was written down by Sanudo and the same discourse included by Eugenio Alberi in his published edition of the Ottoman reports. One of these differences is the absence of any allusion to the amount paid by the tributary states (Moldavia included) to the Ottomans in the version published by Alberi. As the text published by Alberi represents a polished version of the discourse delivered in December 1503 one may assume that the lack of any reference to the tribute paid by Moldavia has to do with the delicate situation of Venice after the peace concluded in 1503 with the Porte. The loss of important territories as well as the tribute the Republic had to pay for Zante was perceived by the Venetian government as an important loss of prestige. Thus, it is probable that the final version of Gritti’s relazione, i.e. the one kept in the Venetian archives and published by Alberi in the 19th century, excluded any reference on the Ottoman relations with other Christian powers in an attempt to cover the Republic’s loss of reputation at the end of the war of 1499-1503.