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Defense of Korcula from Turkish Attack in 1571 (part two)
Written by Antonio (Antun) Rosanovic (or Antonio Rosaneo, Latin: Antonii Rosenei, modern Croatian: Antun Rozanović) of the historical event of the 1571 battle in which the people of the island of Korcula defended themselves against the Ottoman Empire. Originally written in Latin, 'Antonii Rosanei Corcyrae Melenae Opus'. Please note: In modern Croatian the c in Korcula is pronounced ch and is written "č". Translated from Latin by Reverend Ivo Matijaca. The writing below is based on the English translation by Nikola S. Batistich.
LINK: Image of the Zadar sample 
Please note chapters and images are added by the editor (not part of the original).
The Story (part two)
Here, I feel it is proper to say something about the island. About the origin of name, about the position of the island and the city, and about our armament stocks, so it will be easier to understand what will follow.
I firmly believe that from ancient times this was called Corcyra Melena or Nigra (Black Korčula)’it is probably because it is located simiraly to the Greek island of Korfu, both of these island are stretched in East-West direction and have similar names. Or it is possibly because it appears so dark from the sea, where the forests give it black-green appearance. In this sense, there was some poetry written and it goes as follows;
"I call myself Korčula , but earlier they called me black, both of these I like. On the Adriatic, opposite the shores of Gargano you will not find an island as dark, covered with pine forests. This is because I call myself “black” and I believe that name Korčula came from that. Here we hear a new voice that a circle wall was built around the city, and that these walls are called little heart. Just to the contrary, I feel that the beautiful walls express a picture of a great heart, since in the middle of the city Saint Marko is standing. But new voice comes that the city is encircled with new walls, and so the city walls give a picture of a small heart. In opposite I respect the beautiful masonry depicting a big heart. Then in the middle of the city Saint Mark is in charge."
Following the Trojan wars, Antenor a fighting soldier came here, as it is written by an author, and Dytes from Krete put the foundations to this city. Contradicting this, Plynie states that refugees from Knid established this city, which is possible, knowing that Antenor moved on to the sections of richer islands, and he left Korčula to his friends from Knid.
That our city is in fact city of Antenor and his friends is witnessed by our passed on history and the inscription above the Sea gate cut in stone, in spite of aging and weathering it is still preserved. This inscription contains the history of the ancient times. “Here the Antenor’s men laid down the foundations of Korčula [Curzola, Latin: Corcyrae], the work of great people."
In the year of our Lord 1594, with the renovations of city walls, fortresses and other buildings, the city was very well fortified, during the command of Rector Antun Leoni, because of that his emblem with a lion and slanted belt was cut in the stone slabs on number of locations in the city. One of the nicest ones is found on the left side of the sea gate, this one contains following inscription; “Following the demise of Troy these walls were built by Antenor; And so that because if it’s aging it doesn’t collapse, care was taken by Antun Leoni, who took care to return to it the original look and beauty.”
Some later day authors called the island and the city; Korčula. I was not able to find out the reason for this name. The length of the island from East to West is some 300 stadijs, (which is about fifty miles) the width is not uniform, at the widest it is about 90 stadiji. And at the narrowest is only 40 stadiji. The height is up to 70. The mountainous part is unproductive and dry. The island is adaptable to planting of vineyards, and also for pastures, but it excels with it’s forests. Through the middle of the island we find a number of mountainous hills, which on the ends descend to small hills. The coast is curvy with many bays and coves, with many unsafe harbors, but it has a number of large bays where boats can take refuge in bad weather, on all sides. Eastern point of the island is called Raznjic, because looking like a tongue is extended from width of 8 to a thousand steps. The West end is separated into two forks. The largest one of Saint Ivan of Gradina which takes 50 stadiji.
Rain takes care of the water needs. But still not far from Vela Luka [Vallagrande, Latin: vallem maximam] the most 300 stadiji away in the Great Field of village of Blato [Blatta], in which there is a large amount of fresh water, where at certain times, it turns into a mud field, therefore the name Blato [Etymology from a Slavic word for “mud; swamp”; compare Old Church Slavonic, Latin: Blattens] in translation means mud, and this is where the name comes from. Quite often sometimes two or three and as much as seven years that this water does not dry out, but when the water does go away, this field about 1500 feet long becomes very fertile. When it is cultivated, anything planted produces one hundred percent.
This field belongs to a certain number of families, and every seven years it is divided according to a Hungarian custom, and is given to each head of the family. Women also receive ownership as long as they remain unmarried, but as soon as the marry they loose that right, also when entering into a family that has no right to this ownership. This right she can not obtain by receiving a dowry or through inheritance, or in any other way. She even has no right to leave these families. Those who receive this land have right to only two parcels, which are called in Croatian [original written in Latin: Blatto, enim ilirica lingua ] “Stupi” ; one piece in a less productive section, and other on the more productive location. All of the parcels are of the same size, except some are a little larger, which are given to surveyors. There is six surveyors; three form the city and other three from the village. And this job is assigned to certain families, and can not be passed to others. Size of the parcel is given according to the number of members in the family.
In this field grows some king of greasy grass, on which animals like to graze.
Then from it, their stomachs blow up than they die. The meat from these animals can not be used for eating, as well as the hide can not be used for leather, this resembles something similar to lepracy.
It is said that if all of this field was cultivated, that it can feed not only the field workers and islanders but also the people on the neighboring islands. Experts insist that the level of the field is below the sea level, that if a channel was excavated between the hills which divide this field from the sea, it can not be drained into the sea. But you can not excuse the negligence of the people. Regardless of flooding the field is not being worked on, or cultivated, except for a small part at the Eastern end that is most productive. The island with it’s surrounding small islands produces plenty of wine, wood, fish as much as is possible. Two trades dominate, these are stonecutting and shipbuilding.
This island lies in the Ilirik opposite coast of Monte Gargano, 100,000 steps in distance across the sea. To the East there is island of Mljet [Melenae, Meleda], South is Lastovo [Augusta, Lagosta] with surrounding small islands. To the West some sixty stadiji is Vis [Issa], North of us is Hvar [Pharum, Lesina] at distance of 30,000 steps, at the closest point. To the North is also bay of Neretva and along it an extended peninsula of Pelješac [Pelisac], which Ptolomey called Eneys mountains. Reaching the delta of river Neretva extending over Dubrovnik’s [Ragusa] islands, to the right and all the way up to Hvar to the left. At the junction with the mainland it makes connection only four stadijs wide, where the ancient town of Ston was established. From that point you can see city of Dubrovnik [Ragusa] as well as Hvar [Pharum, Lesina] and Brac [Brachiam] to the West.
Island of Korčula by it’s positioning creates two sea-channels; first to the East with Mljet [Melenae] and Lastovo [Augusta], which extends for the entire length of the island, some 160 stadiji wide, The other channel is created between it and peninsula of Pelješac [Pelisac], which is about 76 stadiji wide. This varies in length , but that one does not go more than 18 thousand reaches, and this one a little over 12. Korčula extends for this length until it is even with Hvar [Lesina] on the opposite shore. Mljet [Melenae] channel is without any islands, but Korčula on both ends has many small islands close to it’s shore, with many shallow rocky reefs, where it is dangerous for navigation.
The city was built some 50 stadijis distanced from the entrance to either channel, it points to the highest peak on the opposite mountainous peninsula of Pelješac [Pelisac], the city was erected on a relatively steep hill surrounded with fortified walls in circular shape, with seashore almost all around, except for the portion of South side where it is connected to the main island with and arched bridge, and a ditch under it. Buildings in the city are constructed of good quality white stone. The Cathedral with the bell tower is located in the center of the city. Because of the slope in the terrain, the Cathedral extends in height above other buildings, giving those who approach the city a beautiful scene.
In front of the Cathedral, in the middle of the city, there is a nicely tiled stone square. All of the city streets radiate from this square , in even order. This reminds as of the verses of a complimenting poet; “A circle with center surrounded all over with tight order of streets; this is picture of Korčula.” Korčula gives Dalmacija not a small glory, when it is attacked the Venetian fathers carefully are guarding it.
Exactly at this time, the city was well supplied with ammunition and other armament for defense, this was provided by Republic of Venice, by it’s great Rector Peter Bragadin. He sent to Venice a delegation of ten, led by Rafael Gabrielis, who brought in many guns, spears, bow and arrows, six canons that could shoot balls of 20 pounds.When the war started, again Filip Rosanovic was sent and he brought back more explosives and other ammunition.
From before, in the city we had armament of steel, and especially so called popes cannon, which was capable of firing balls of 30 pounds. In the armory, there was also a large stock of other assorted armaments. Fortified walls as they were already old and aged, needed to be renovated. Our biggest fear was a small number of defenders. But, enough of all of this. Let us return to our story.
Early Dawn of 15th of August
In early dawn of August 15 and on the feast of ascension of our Lady Mother of God the Virgin Mary, bellmen climbed to their position at the top of bell-towers, where they by hand beat the bells as is customary on this feast day. With the only two or three times of beating the bells, they from the heights, noticed something to the East and started screaming;
The scream spread throughout the city. On all sides people are saying that they should run into the forests, the city gates should be opened, so everyone can look for saving themselves best that they know how. Many, especially women cried and you can hear them saying;
Archdeacon happened to meet his sister a widow , with two of her twin boys, and her older daughter, where she began to beg him, asking him to kill her first and then to kill her children before they fall into the hands of the enemy. He gave her a terse answer, telling her to pray to God for her and her children’s safety, and also to be ready to assist the defenders. After this, he stopped and dropped down on his knees in front of closed doors of the Cathedral, followed by a short prayer. He understood from those that he sent to top of the bell towers, that there is some 20 galleys already in vicinity of the city, the others that they thought were ships were actually clouds. He then started running all around the city asking everyone to take their positions. In this he was not completely successful, some said they wanted to shoot him, others called him a traitor. Some were jumping down the walls, others crawled out through canon holes in the walls and some who were younger and faster first ones jumped down from the walls. Some with words, and demands attacked Jerko Gabrielis, to whom 80 year old Ivan Batista Rosanovic, while going home to get some night rest, handed over the keys to the city’s gate, like to a friend, to open the gates; but to that he did not agree. They parted without any additional arguments. While Archdeacon like this moved around the city, like if he lost his mind, begging individuals to go to their battle positions, his brother Vicko ran toward him, he was arguing with many not to run away, and saying; what are we to do, everyone is running away. Archdeacon answers; “This is where we are going to die.” Then, both of them together not any more with words, but with arms threatened those trying to escape, through that hole in wall next to Rectors palace, which was patched up last night, and now these escapees have opened it up again. They chased away all of them and again patched this hole. Then needed orders were given to the cannon handlers to take their positions. Anyway there was more of those who wanted to run away, great fear has overtaken them. Vicko Rosanovic really angry, looking at that, climbs on the tall fortress looking down on the section of town outside the walls called Varos, and started throwing stones down on those who were running over the defensive ditch, trying to stop them. Seeing that this did not do much good, he comes up with an idea to try to fool them, then he starts with as strong voice as he could holler. He said that from the top of the fortress he can see where the enemy soldiers on the land are stopping and capturing all of those that come out of the city. When they heard this, nobody was thinking of running away any more. In fact some of those who were already past the walls, scared with Vicko’s hollering, climbed ropes back up the wall and into the city. In all that confusion they could not find the keys to the explosive storage building, Archdeacon had to break the door with a sledge hammer. Some of the canon handlers were looking also how to escape, but Vicko, by threatening others by convincing words, he asked them to return back. In the meantime enemy’s ships, being helped with the force of the wind, as well as with the force of the rowers, in no time arrived within the reach of our cannons.
Then the signal was given by ringing of the bells, as was previously arranged. Then the battle started with strong screams from our side, where we bravely encouraged one another to fight. Following that, everyone started to shoot from the fortified walls, with variety of armaments in direction of oncoming ships. First some voices from the ships were heard saying not to shoot, that they are Christians, also exposing some flags with crosses. But when they realised the amount of fire was sent in their direction, they started to scream even stronger. Then some of the returned firing was heard bouncing of the walls and roofs of the houses, similar to the noise of falling hail, and arrows falling down sounding like rain. Canon balls of 70 pounds were falling down on the buildings. From catapults, balls even larger were coming down on us, even though these are less dangerous. We have noticed, that just before they would fire; that they would all run and gather on the stern of the boat, then the bow would jump up; that is why shot balls are reaching high above the roofs of the houses, as well as above the church and the bell-tower. Archdeacon himself, during this fighting exchange climbed to the top of the bell tower, there he plants a gold trimmed cross with a red-green flag, and saying loudly so he can be heard “LONG LIVE CHRIST”. This increased bravery on all of our fighters, while it scared the enemy. Therefore, with brightness of the cross and seeing resolute defence the enemy slowed down their attack. We continued to keep them at a distance with our canon fire, by throwing the 6, 12 and 30 pounders. And as some of the enemy boats come closer, instantly it would receive a cannon ball. This battle lasted for about two hours. It seemed that everyone in the city changed their feelings. The bravery returned to them, and those that were scared and worried now are showing bravery and strength of spirit. They all are helping one another; everyone is preoccupied, be it in firing guns or canons , or just helping others. In the meantime some of the enemy ships, to our surprise reached the shore. Number of the enemy soldiers disembarked by the shipyard right by Varos, then more came under three flags, all together about one thousand soldiers. With this happening the firing from the walls did not stop. Archdeacon, by seeing this many of the enemy coming out of the ships, judging that they will form and attack from the land, runs over to the fortress on the South walls called “Revelin”. There he found several defenders, very worried of this new danger, together they pointed their canon, and as they were ready to fire, when Grgur Doimi a stonecutter, whose duty was to man a cannon, while being surrounded with Archdeacon and others around him, fires number of successful shots on the enemy. All of the firing so far was mainly successful, hitting the enemy ships with the canon balls, especially from the new fortress located by the church of All Saints. That is why enemy was aiming their fire at this fortress much more that at any other, and so it knocked down a small corner of the top masonry. In Revelin Archdeacon experienced something unusual; while looking out through the openings of the walls, seeing enemy ships, he orders firing of our cannon: one steel ball, fired by the enemy hits the walls of Revelin right next to his feet, then bouncing back it lands in the ditch. But the stone that was used to close the hole in an old canon opening falls down by his foot, without causing any harm except that from falling plaster, he was sprayed with dust.
Turks , those that were on the land, started advancing towards the Rectors palace. Over here in charge of defence was Vicko Rosanovic with several other men; telling them to guard their positions, while he was checking on other defensive positions around the city. These men took advantage of his being absent, and before more ships arrived, they escaped. Seeing the disembarked enemy soldiers, then while running to return to previous locations , I was shocked that no one was there. There came my sister Katarina Vidali with another widow, along with one elderly peasant, then in a hurry I showed them how to use guns, two long guns that you are to set on a rest support, with it we not only kept the enemy away but also caused big harm to them. With Gods help no harm was done to us in spite of numerous shots on us as well as shooting arrows towards us . Two arrows hit his sisters hand, and the widow was hit slightly in the side of her head. Then a bullet from a gun, shot through his neck, kills Andrija Uskocic. Also, from the tower of Revelin bullets were spraying from heavy guns on the infantry of the enemy. But they also returned fire, and directed towards us numerous bullets and arrows.
Fighting was Continuing on Land
While this fighting was continuing on the land, the galleys moved away from the shore and sailed around the perimeter of the city walls, some distance away, then they would stop, point their guns towards us, then they would move fast towards us. But hearing the thunder of our guns, they would hurry back to a safe distance. In this fashion they tried several times to get close moving from the South to the North, then when they would reach the corner they would stop and start shooting towards the city walls, causing considerable damage to the walls. These would have collapsed if we didn’t brace then with timbers and beams. In the meantime we were returning the fire, rarely without any success. The fight was continuing without advantage to any side, but to our greater danger a great number if the enemy, very few of us, weak city walls, partly destroyed by the enemy, a city without leadership, lack of disciplined army, anyone in our place much stronger than we are, would give up this fight. And we outnumbered, everything was reversed by us. The enemy was attacking, and I can not understand, with what heavenly fulfilment we have forgotten our fears and kept our bravery. Maybe, because we had no other choice. And so we continued our agony surrounded from the land and the sea. The enemy from the land side continued spraying us with bullets, and galleys continued circling around the city walls, continuing to damage the city walls, as well as the homes within reach of their guns. All around us, buildings became ruins and many people were killed. There was no hope of help from anywhere, only from the heaven, that was our only hope. I honestly believe that the merciful help came from our Lady, Mother of God. Only Our Lady who would never let anyone take away from the city the miraculous occasion, like a gift of gifted protection, she showed us that under her wings is this city, like some time ago under the attack from Aragon ships, that is our guaranty, our tradition. It is for sure that there is no one else that can came to our help, but she came again to our rescue. Here is a true miracle; All of a sudden a strong wind started to blow from the North with all it’s force, like the ones we experience only in winter.
The enemy ships were all suddenly pushed against the city walls. Scared enemy, so that the ships would not break on rocky shore, in addition of our continued shelling, the rowers were made to row the galleys away from the rocks. Finally with great effort they moved away into the wind and against tall waves. They were able to move to the West and reach St. Nicholas monastery, to a small protected cove. O how blessed this help was. I can freely say, that what even a poet could not say for this our little city. ”Happy is the one who has heaven on his side”. Units of enemy’s infantry, seeing how the ships were chased away by the storm, hiding in the nearby cove gave up with their fight, and like madmen started to loot whatever they could in the Varos, residential area outside the city. They ransacked the churches and private homes, as well as the Monastery of Saint Nicholas, while they were forced to set on fire the damaged ships and their dead fighters. Number of them went back to their ships, while the others wandering around reached neighbouring Žrnovo [Zernova], already exhausted from fighting, stole the bells. And very few remained outside city walls, occasionally firing. Around noon we noticed three officers, judging by the way they were dressed, watching down from the hill of Saint Blaze.
Then we appeared on the city walls, pretending to be soldiers, one following another in formation, and with the beating of the drums; all of our men, young boys as well as the women and girls dressed in military uniforms, everyone armed with guns, led by Vicko Rosanovic. There we pretended that our numbers are as much as 1000 fighters. At nine o’clock in the evening at the base of the city walls, in the ditch one person came running dressed like the Turks, screaming that he is a Christian. We used the rope to pull him up the walls. He was not wounded although his clothes were cut up from the bullets shot at him by Vicko Rosanovic, while he was running, but he anyway survived. That was a Spaniard from Andalusia, and according to his story, he was Martin son of Martin Morales, by Turks called Ali. From him we found out not only of the attack leader Uluz Ali- Ochialino, vice king of Algiers, but also the strength and number of enemies fleet. We could not trust his statement that he was forcefully made a Muslim. He told us a story where he was taken prisoner some twenty years ago by Mulej Bagazon, king of Veles in Lybia, when he was only ten years old. With the rest of prisoners he was taken to Fes and there was forced to accept Moslem religion. He would probably never had left the captivity if the occasion didn’t come for escape. With all of these stories we kept this man tied up and under guard. In the meantime the wind calmed down, the enemy carefully moved their ships, from the cove next to St Nicholas to the opposite shore of Pelješac [Pelisac]. There was no galleys left without any damage, from the twenty or so that sailed across. Some of the broken masts and cross beams, some missing beaks, others with broken ribs and damaged sterns. Ten were seen unable to move and were pulled by other boats. From the runaways we found out that 180 Turks were killed, and about the same number of their slaves in this fight. In the middle of the canal, two boats from Pelješac [Pelisac] met them, bringing them gifts. Later on they told us how they were brought in front of Uluz Ali asking him to forgive the penalty they had to pay that was imposed on them as the citizens of Dubrovnik Republic [original name: Republic of Ragusa]. He asked them if there was any military present in Korčula, their answer was they did not know, since they are a supposed enemy they are not allowed to visit the city. Then he asked if the Venetian galleys these last couple of weeks were visiting Korčula. Their answer was; they did, then they add that they left the defence personnel. All throughout Spain I conquered much larger and stronger cities, I could also take this one, but I don’t have time for that. Leaving them he sailed over to harbour of Viganj, at a distance of some three thousand steps from us. All during the night and also the following day they spent repairing their ships, and by busying themselves they left us alone. Our runaways while that morning at the attack of the enemy were lowering themselves by ropes down city walls, miraculously all survived. Some of them were hiding in the thick forests; some rowed over to the island of Lastovo [Lagosta], and some others arrived in Zadar [Zara] spreading the rumour how the city of Korčula is taken by the enemy and then set on fire. Also they said how the heroes of the defence, Archdeacon and his brother Vicko, at the city gates were killed by having their heads cut off. When this was heard by our Rector who was in Zadar [Zara] during the siege, thanked God for what had happened like he predicted. Those who left before the attack, have forgotten their misery, feeling sorry for us. But few days later when they learned the truth, the happiness turned to sadness. They turned away the untrue news and they were happy and proud what was accomplished, they happy, all returned home to Korčula.
With all of the problems and fear, shaking from excitement we realised that we were the victors, with Gods help, happy and proud of our bravery. You had to be proud to see those elders of 80 years of age running, with bravery handing over the ammunitions, as though they were the young twenty year olds.
We Have to Show Respect
We have to show respect to Ivan the Baptist Rosanovic 83 years old, who from the age had deformed lower jaw, where everyone could see him how with a spear in his right hand encouraged others to fight. Ladies, not longer in fear, although in womanly fashion they felt sadness, but anyway they bravely handled the guns and ammunition.; then if any one of they would get wounded, if able they would continue in performing their duties. Girls who normally are afraid of light breeze, learned how to handle the guns. The children, appearing much older then their age with their bravery and they were causing enemy damage and fear. The males in numbers very few, with their heroism and bravery answered their call, not running away from their task, and not saving any effort. Truly there was no one, since the fighting started who did not truly fulfill their duty, their assignment or their job. After the battle, when the enemy left Archdeacon put together exact list of all the fighters in the city. I truly believe that it is proper to here enter all the names, identifying everyone, so that no one can be shorted of this treasured experience. For that, with a limited number of fighters we can conclude that this victory was a gift from God. First of all I would like to mention the clergy that participated in the defence. With them I must include Antuito Rosanovic, expert in law, city archdeacon of 47 years of age. Also Marin Vidosic, the pastor, man exceptionally useful, in those trying moments, in nightly awakenings, careful sentry, untiring in prayer, and what is especially important to mention, in spite of his 50 year age and I spite of his health problems, he was always helpful with his speed and effort.
Next to him we must notice efforts of Antun Pavich, called Crvenko; Marin Miletich or Draganich who made himself available to the use of cannons in place of runaway canonisers, who from the tower of All Saints, caused great damage to the enemy. Also Antun Pomenich of Spominjalo, sacristan of the cathedral.
Of the noblemen there was 21, as follows; Ivan Baptist Rosanovic, almost 83 years old, Jerome Gabriellis 15 years younger, Marin Obradich about the same age. Nikola Vidosich the elder, who in spite of his poor health participated in the battle. Nikola Arneri, Nikola Gabrielis son of Jerome. Franjo Urban, Vicko Rosanovic, Luka Branovich, Marko Gruzich present judge of the minor council, Franjo Sevilich, Miho Cetinich son of Kuzma, Franjo Prizmich, Anton Marinovich, Ivan Seman, Ivan Petrovich, Franjo Tulich, Nikola Draginich, Anton Batistich, Marin Zaknich, Ivan second son of Marin Zaknich.
From regular citizens, peasants-tradesmen, there was 66, as follows; Marko Resich ships carpenter, he handled the cannon at the salty well. Franjo from Mila the Greek merchant. Marko Radotovich the seaman, George from Dubrovnik [Ragusa], a hand at Rosanovich household, Nikola from Epir - second hand at Rosanovich, excellent rifleman, Anton form Dubrovnik [Ragusa] a porter, Franjo Profacich a fisherman, Nikola Profacich a fisherman, Luka the butcher, Christopher Pavlovich a stonecutter. Franjo his son also a stonecutter, Marko Radich a farmer, Tomas Oslica a porter, sickly and of limited help. Franjo Jurjevich who died in the battle as an excellent handler of a cannon, Gregory Klarich a porter, Nikola Maglicich a baker, Jakov Matkovich from Dubrovnik [Ragusa] a seaman. Marin from Hvar [Lesina] who while they were retreating hit the stern of Uluz-Alias galley with a shot he fired from a cannon located at All Saints Fortress. Vlahusa or Vlaho Longo a farmer, Gregory Martiklich a seaman , Nikola Vulatkovich a stonecutter, Marin Suturica called King a Fisherman, Franjo Grbin a fisherman. Peter a hand by Tronkovich-Filipovich, Nikola Gurdich barrel maker, Anton Kosta a stonecutter. Nikola his son also a stonecutter, wounded in battle. Gregory Dojmi a stonecutter, Marin Suratich with a missing leg, a stonecutter. Anton Pomenich the elder a ship carpenter, Franjo Bonguardo a fisherman, Anton Vitkovich a fisherman, Anton Banicevich called Basica, a farmer. Andrija Bigan a porter, Franjo Karlich a stonecutter, Marko Milankovich a farmer and cannon handler. Andrija Vulatovich a seaman, sickly Mato Kalamnja a porter and an old man. Franjo his son also a porter, Ivan Valentin, Franjo Pavlov from Hvar [Lesina] a ships carpenter, who in this battle while handling the popes cannon, was very useful and helpful. Vuk Katich, Franjo Botokan a stonecutter, wounded canoniser. Vicko Goriglavich Ardentin, Vick from Dubrovnik [Ragusa] a porter, Ivan Todorov Greek from Valona, foreigner, he was of doubtful character, but we tried his bravery and loyalty, setting example for the others. Marko Pavlovich a stonecutter, his nephew Marko of same trade. Jerome Pomenich a stonecutter. Miho a blacksmith of 70 years of age. Ivan from Hvar [Lesina] a shepherd, Marko Radonich a shepherd, Peter Kupusina a farmer, Luka Smrkinich a shipbuilder, Ivan Kovach his brother in law, Gaspar from Istra [Istria] a porter. Andrija Miljenovich the elder, helpful only at the altar, in prayer. Natalin son of late Mate the Greek a ship-carpenter. Luka Shore Markov a fisherman, Vicko Bilovich, Vicko Pavlov Bigan, Vicko son of Mate the fisherman, and the five last mentioned were young boys of 10 to 12 years of age.
From the village of Blato [Blatta], excepting the noblemen there was 11, as follows; Ivan Oreb, Nikola Bacich, Anton Petrovich, Jakov Picich, Grgur Keich, Ivan Rozan, Ilija Glavocich, Franjo Bacich, Ivan Kastropil [Castropil, Latin: Castrophilus] , Antun Sinkovich and Pavao Bozidarich.
There was as many defenders from Lumbarda [Lombarda]; names as follows; Ivan Buculin, Ivan Radinich, Marko Roginich, Stjepan Milina, Bernica Jelicich, Nikola Musich, Marin Radinich.
From Pupnat [Poponatta] there were 8, Marko Markizon, Peter I Miho Separovic, Marko Motusich, Ivan Ruskovich, Jakov Anzulovich, Peter Farac, a hand by Anzulovichis. Zrnovo [Zernova] outnumbered all the others with 35 fighters present; Jakov Cebalo Bistrica, Franjo Ostoich, Andrija Uskocich, Jakov his son, Anton Brkovich, Ivan Skokandich, Anton Cvitanich, Franjo Fugusich, Andrija Stankovich, Franjo Katarin and Jerko, Jeronim, Marko the elder and his son Marko Kuljanovich,(all of these work for and are protected by Banicevich and Rosanovic.) Anton Curac, Ivan Nikolicich, Franjo Lukinich, Anton with his son Ivan and his brother Marko Koinovich. Marko I Jakov Radovich, Jakov Vaceta, Marko Brcich, Marko Pinjatica, Franjo Crnogorac, Ivan Krojilo, Marin Kuspilich, Ivan Bosinovich, Stjepan Bello - sickly. Except for these 153, other males were not present, except possibly some young boys like Horacije and Hanibal Vidali, many were elderly, tired and without much strength. On our side there were only two casualties; Andrija Uskocich next to Vicko Rosanovich, and Franjo Ostoich buried in the rubble of walls falling around him. There was six lightly wounded, and as many women wounded. There also was five burned by the fires from the great hurry, from which one Franjo Kosta a stonecutter, several days later died, he is really worthy of eternal memory, because he rather exposed himself to the extreme dangers for his father and for his place of birth, rather than to run away from his loved city, and expose himself to a shame. He, namely knowing the intentions of the enemy, while being in Dubrovnik [Ragusa], where at that time he resided with his wife and his sons, by foot hurriedly came to his hometown, where inside closed in walls was promoting bravery among the citizenry with his words and example. I praise this person above all, so that our heirs would respect him and learn from his valour. Another one, Franjo Batokan, lost his arm, and both of his legs and therefore he becomes a paraplegic. Rest returned back to their normal conditions.
There was around one hundred refugees, and no one felled in the enemy hands except Catarina the daughter of Marko Radosich, the shepherd from Varos. At dawn some appeared asking for forgiveness. Most people refused to talk to them , while throwing rocks at them. Archdeacon asked them to stop that and suggested that they should be brought back into the city by pulling them with the ropes, up the walls. It is not nice to be mean, actually one of them was wounded in his forehead. When everything is fine, how fast we forget love toward others. Not long ago we were asking for God’s mercy with tears and screams, and not with willing hearts, but from fear from greater dangers, and by being located in the city that had to defend itself. Then we criticised our friends and compatriots, because of the mistakes they naively made. And so there was no reason for these people to soften their feelings, but only that there will be in this city next time more fighters in the case that we are attacked again. Even though some people could never agree with these refugees, the archdeacon with his words succeeded in silencing them. In the night of August 17, Uluz-Ali with his ships sailed away towards Hvar [Lesina]. But Karakozije with his 55 boats sailed through or channel, a little after our third nightly guard. Not paying attention to us he proceeded to Hvar [Lesina], while we were expecting that he may come towards us. This same day came a sentry from one of the hills saying how there on the sea horizon there is a large boat, that is heading from Lastovo [Lagosta]. A while later this sailing ship arrives and brings Nikola from Otranto, who brings us the news, how soon there will arrive our [Venetian] fleet intent to fight with the Turkish fleet. This was a great news for us, even though the archdeacon knew that our allied navies did not exactly unite, but anyway he felt it was a encouraging news. This one actually came to find out about the numbers and strength of the enemy fleet.
We being glad to hear the friendly support, and then we let him to jointly with archdeacon write a letter to his excellency the Dodge in Venice, and send this letter across the sea to Apulia and then by land route to Venice. We also wrote a letter to the chief commander of Venetian fleet , telling him also of the Spaniard from Granada whom he took and handed over to the duke Venier. We are not sure if he completed all of his given tasks, but I guess that he missed some duties, because it was heard that the letter was handed to Augustin Barbarigo, than, this letter never reached the dodge. Uluz-Ali and Karakozije spent six days plundering Hvar [Lesina], leaving the town and settling in the hill fortress. They set most of the town on fire along with two monasteries, The Franciscan one and also the Dominican. Inside the wall many churches and public buildings. Causing so much damage all over the island of Hvar [Lesina], sailing freely all around the island , they continued their burning, killing and plundering. Only the town of Jelsa [Civitas Vetus Ielsae] defended their fortress, and people of Sutomore bravely defended themselves, as they say they killed 200 Turks. It is also said that the women from there used rocks instead of arrows to cause damage to the enemy. There also appeared the pirates from Neretva [modern: Neretvani ] , and they as well caused a lot of damage. In six days from one village they took about 70 souls. Uluz-Ali with his fighters just before 23rd of August, in the middle of the night staying close to the shore of Pelisac, quietly sailed past Korčula, sailing in straight line. Karakozije this same day from western end of peninsula of Pelješac [Pelisac], crossed our channel and reached the port of Raicsce [Raičšće,Porto Barbier] around three o’clock with 56 galleys, then by changing course reached again shore of Pelješac [Pelisac]. We didn’t know what this crossing back and forth meant. We feared that they possible unloaded soldiers in Račišće [Porto Barbier], who could attack us again from the land. So that whole night we spent worrying that we may be attacked again, but most of us felt that we will be glad to fight and for some it would be a chance to correct the conduct they showed earlier. Others feared that the end was coming this time, and feeling sorry that they returned to the city. Regardless, everyone was praying God for help. I can truly sum up our feeling of the fighting, that because possibly of situation I found myself in blindly believing that this was truly an end, and that death was certain.
When Karakozije was sailing by I actually did not make any moves, because I become brave from the past encounter, so I felt that these galleys were not as strong as those in Uluz-Ali’s fleet. These were made for shorter trips and did not carry as many soldiers. After the fourth nightly guard the ships from Karakozije reached the shore of Trstenica just east of Orebic [Sabbioncello], only three miles east of Korčula. There the stayed for about two hours. They formed a line, appearing, as they were to head toward us and attack again, then again they leave formation. Finally four small galleys reached our island of Badija where there is a Franciscan monastery. There they set the monastery on fire and stole the church bells. This monastery was one of the nicest ones in all of Dalmatia [original: monasterium totius Illyrici]. Beautiful church could not completely burn, because it was all built with cut stone, while everything inside that was wooden had burned. Wall were all damaged by smoke and blackened. Later on all of these ships sailed over to Lumbarda [Lombarda], where there are our summer homes. There they met with 1500 men who night before have disembarked in bay of Račišće [Porto Barbier]. That night they rested, spread over the entire width of the island, starting from the centre they advanced eastward, inspecting every rock and hill, the valleys and caves, they took 34 peasants as prisoner. They also took many domestic animals, and that which they could not drag with them they left laying dead for eagles and crows to feed on. In Lumbarda [Lombarda] their senses or any reasoning left them, after drunkenness, and partying in the home courtyards, they left, after setting all those homes on fire. Finally we noticed in direction of Mljet [Meleda] a boat on sails and oars heading towards our island, and also Karakozija galley which headed directly towards this boat. Where they joined, and after some exchanges, together they sailed away. We concluded that the order was delivered to Karakozije from the Turkish fleet, to as soon as possible join the rest of the fleet. We also received information on this from our side. Next day, not only did we hold our usual yearly celebration that was started by our ancestors in memory or our home towns attack by terrible Aragonian navy 80 years ago, but also to give thanks best we could, for surviving the recent attack, where we collected several of Uluz-Ali’s cannon balls and arrows as trophies, which we placed right next to those from Aragonian attack.
Here our Grandfathers Inscribed
Here our grandfathers inscribed following; HERE WE STOPPED THE NAVY BELONGING TO KING OF NAPLES THESE HANGING ARMAMENTS ARE PROOF OF OUR VICTORY, THIS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. In similar fashion we also inscribed a testimony that we dedicated to God and Virgin Mary, as well to our protectors St. Bartomew and Saint Mark, principal protector of our town as well to all other saints; as follows;
SEVENTY FIRST YEAR AFTER THE ONE THOUSAND AND FIVE HUNDRED RUNNING YEARS SINCE OUR LADY GAVE BIRTH, FROM THE ENEMY GALLEYS ALL AROUND US, ULUZ-ALI ATTACKED US ON THE DAY OF ASCENSION OF OUR LADY, ULUZ-ALI SUFFERS DEFEAT, BROKEN, RUNNING FROM OUR SHORES, WITH THE HELP OF OUR LADY, WHO HELPED US, WE DEDICATE HERE TO SHOW OUR THANK-FULLNESS, WITH THESE RELICS.
After all this, the archdeacon notifies Jakov Foscarini and Filip Bragadin of our salvation and of enemy’s shipping leaving from all of Adriatic. These two had a duty from Senate in Venice, as commanders of both land and sea military forces in Dalmatia [originality written: Illyrici]. They hurriedly notified the Senate of what has happened , telling that there was no more fear in all of Dalmatia, and that everyone is proud of what has happened in Korčula. I would also like to mention that this victory was the beginning what was to follow, victories in other Mediterranean locations like the one by Bay of Korinth. I also believe that our victory gave others the will to fight and to stop the aggression from the East. The pagan saying goes; The luck is in charge of wars. The word from holy scriptures is more valued, which says; The Lord is in charge of the armies. Similarly the holy service to God in a Mass, confirms; The heaven and Earth are full of greatness of Gods armies,- because The Lord Sabaots army, everyone can understand; while in opposite word “luck” doesn’t mean anything. Namely the God is creator of everything, and He is in charge of all the armies. But where else can you see how God directs human race, there it is a proof of this in our defence of Korčula. If you try and be quiet not talking about this. So many great and large cities conquered, burned, and what is this little town, abandoned, with weak defensive walls, with insignificant defences, anyway succeeded in not being taken over. Who gave the strength to those children not trained or accustomed to fighting, gave the gift of speed, strength and bravery? Who, to those women and girls gave the heart and spirit, dressed in soldiers uniforms, with danger of being wounded and dead, to pass on arrows and ammunitions to fight the enemy? Isn’t it God’s spirit, which gave them the strength to attack enemies. Isn’t this God’s handiwork, that nobody was taken prisoner by the enemy, If that has happened they would uncover our weakness, where enemy would find out how few of us there was. Even those running away from the city could have been easily taken as prisoners. And what about this? In the bay of Risanj there was 400 galleys belonging to the enemy. These were selected ships from Uluz-Ali’s and Karakozije’s fleets, being readied to move on Dalmatia [originality written: Illyricum]. Both very prepared and ready. One led 55 sails, and the other 20 larger ones. They moved together to cause havoc. They cheated one another in ravaging different towns, they both bypassed Korčula, while they hit the island of Hvar [Lesina] again. Why is it that upon their return after plundering Hvar [Lesina], they again split. One is afraid to attack again and other has no time for it. O blessed Virgin, we believe that in these dark moments you interceded for us in front of God. Then, like you were an example with your modesty while on this world, where so now, while in heaven are doing all possible if front of God for our benefit.
Recognising these efforts of yours, we again ask you to give our people the courage, and to those that you with your mercy saved. We also pray Saint Bartholomew and Saint Mark the evangelist and all the Saints. Strong in our faith, never giving in to weakness, we made great success here as well as in our heavenly future home, where we enjoy the fruit of your protection. By asking this we pray that Lord will help us, along with his Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom together with Father and Holy Spirit forever lasting respect and honour.
- Defense of Korcula from Turkish Attack in 1571 (part one)
- Korcula Dialect
- Korcula History, Romans & Venice
- Historical Compendium of the Island of Korcula - Compendio Storico dell Isola di Curzola
- ^ The Narentines, who are referred to today mainly as Neretljani, were a nation of Slav pirates. Also known as Arentanoi. By the time of this battle they where just privateers in the services of the Ottomans. In 1571 the Narentines no longer had a state and where a small group of pirates from the neighboring river Neretva.