Familyv Zénahat, 1651


I recently came across one of my grandfather’s journals. He spoke of a lawsuit that he was a part of while trying to enter into a side venture outside of his tailoring. A Greek merchant and he were in a dispute with the Venetian authorities over some goods that were seized by the Knights of Malta. My grandfather had entered into a partnership with one of his nearby Grecian neighbors here in Galata.[1] They were in a business partnership of buying and selling textiles. The Greek partner was transporting the textiles from Livorno back to Constantinople where my grandfather awaited his return. I find it odd that they would buy their goods from Livorno since many of the goods in Livorno are stolen goods.[2] However, I guess it was a good enough deal that they were willing to overlook where the goods came from originally. But while at sea the vessel containing all the textiles and my grandfather’s Grecian partner were attacked by pirates.[3] They were attacked by those known as the Knights of Malta. They call themselves the knights, but I agree with my grandfather that they do not deserve the name.[4] They confiscated the goods, but even my Grandfather’s partner was able to free himself from these pirates. Together, my grandfather and his partner decided they would take the matter up with the court of the Knights of Malta.[5] They decided that the partner should be the one to bring the case before the Knights since my grandfather was Muslim and would be discriminated against because of that. Instead, the part would go there, as he was a Grecian, and state his Christianity. Thus, they hoped that the court would give compensation for the lost goods. They were unable to receive compensation and instead of taking this case to anyone further, they gave up. Due to their religions they were unable to obtain any reparations and so the associates parted ways. My grandfather, after this, decided that he should just abandon these sorts of ventures and instead stuck to tailoring.

[1] Molly Greene, Catholic Pirates and Greek Merchants: A Maritime History of the Mediterranean (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), 49.

[2] Ibid., 92.

[3] Ibid., 98, 121.

[4] Ibid., 3.

[5] Ibid., 11.


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