I was going through our family records last week and came upon an interesting case that happened over 100 years ago in the 1580s. It was a case where one of my grandfathers was forced to sue a Greek merchant. It all started when this Greek merchant began to steal from my grandfather’s ships. Though our family has been long known for protecting our island of Crete we acquired a few merchant vessels as a gift for our services in the Janissary Corps. This gave our family even more power in the region and this caused other competitors to resort to illegal measures to try and keep up. The added pressure from the Ottomans and the Habsburgs leaving the Mediterranean after the battle of Lepanto in 1571; this allowed for pirates to move in. The Greek Merchant was Eastern Orthodox and this gave him some respite from the Christian pirates of Malta. What this merchant would do is tell the Christian pirates when our ships would set off and once captured he would gain a portion of the profit. As he was operating out of Candia made him subject to our laws as well.
So once my grandfather acquired a number of witnesses he took him to our courts. As a result of the evidence my grandfather was awarded two of the merchant’s ships. He then allowed the Greek to continue to run the vessels with the promise to pay an annual percentage from the two vessels.
Now I understand how our family got to become so prominent in the merchant fleet of the Eastern Mediterranean.