Family Sanudo, Undated Journal Fragments from the Year 1678

….Hello all, my name is Giuseppe Sanudo.  The year is 1678 and I have found myself in Algiers.  I am currently in the Janissary corps which has brought my father great honor as I am very proficient at my duties.  I have ended up in North Africa as a crewman on one of the most prestigious corsairs in the Southern Mediterranean.   We oftentimes fly the flag of friendly countries to gain ground on the European merchant ships, this has proved to be a very effective method.  Once we bring the captives to port it is one of my secondary duties to figure out who has the most potential of gaining a ransom or more importantly who has skills as a shipwright.  It seems as though all the good ones end up in Constantinople for some reason or another.  The unskilled workers I have ordered back onto the boat to put them to use as oarsmen.[1]  The conditions my captain puts them under are terrible.  The hardtack that they give them is not fit for a dog; luckily I am not a dog.

…My name is Carmela Sanudo I was captured on my voyage to go live with my brother Giuseppe. He has a very good job and has plenty of room for me, or that is had plenty of room for me.  We were boarded by a Dutch renegade who was extremely rude as well as violent.  He chained us below deck and did not feed us until just before we reached landfall two days later.  Once on shore I was given to the Dey of Algiers as a house servant.  Some say I was worth more than the galley slaves my brother use to speak of in his letters; I guess it costs more for me to look presentable and let everyone know that the Dey is wealthy enough to give his slaves new garments and a hot meal.  I hope to talk to the Dey and somehow let him know that my brothers ultimately work for him as a Janissary.   Maybe this along with a price from my brother, if he sees it fit, will grant me my freedom.

[1] Robert C. Davis, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, The Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 69-85.


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