University of Oulu

Hautala R., Gulevich V.P. A Letter of the Tuscan Anonym on the Seizure of Caffa in 1475 from the Codex Q 116 sup of the Ambrosian Library. Zolotoordynskoe obozrenie=Golden Horde Review. 2018, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 829–854. DOI: 10.22378/2313-6197.2018-6-4.829-854

Letter of the Tuscan anonym on the Seizure of Caffa in 1475 from the Codex Q 116 sup of the Ambrosian Library

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Author: Hautala, Roman1,2; Gulevich, Vladislav P.3
Organizations: 1Marjani Institute of History of Tatarstan Academy of Sciences, Kazan, Russian Federation
2University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Tatarstan Academy of Sciences, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-06-27


This article contains the original Italian text and a Russian translation of a letter describing the Ottoman conquest of Caffa in June 1475 in a copy from a sixteenth-century codex of the Ambrosian Library in Milan (Q 116 sup., fol. 105r–106r). This letter was written on August 15, 1475 in Constantinople by an anonymous Tuscan merchant, probably of Pisan origin, judging by the undisguised antipathy which he expresses toward the Genoese government of Caffa. The author of the letter was in Caffa at the time of its fall and shared in all the hardships experienced by the city’s surrendered population, expressing these sufferings in a touching and eloquent manner. He also had to have a fairly high position based on his knowledge of the details of the negotiations of the Genoese rulers of Caffa with the Crimean khan Mengli Girey, the heads of the Tatar Shirin clan, and the Ottoman general Ahmed Pasha. His text, thus, abounds in details of the conflict with the Tatars, which began in February 1475, the subsequent Ottoman siege of Caffa, and the consequences of the city’s capitulation in early June of the same year. Nevertheless, the epistle of the Tuscan anonym highlights the drivers that led to the onset of the conflict in a rather superficial form. Therefore, the authors of this article resorted to the analysis of parallel sources for the reconstruction of those preceding events that led to the fateful siege of Genoese Caffa in June 1475. To that end, we introduce the letter by providing a detailed description of the preceding events on the basis of various epistolary and narrative sources of Italian, Hungarian, Polish, Armenian and Ottoman origin.

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Series: Zolotoordynskoe obozrenie
ISSN: 2308-152X
ISSN-E: 2313-6197
ISSN-L: 2308-152X
Volume: 6
Issue: 4
Pages: 829 - 854
DOI: 10.22378/2313-6197.2018-6-4.829-854
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
Copyright information: © Хаутала Р., Гулевич В.П., 2018. The content is available under the license Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.