Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/116

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had returned to the Euripus; his small squadron was within sight of the city; the garrison was signalling to him; and he made no effort to save the place. If he had broken the boat-bridge, as Hunyady had done at Belgrade, he would probably have rescued Negroponte; it was his plainest duty to try, and Venice punished him for his fainéance. After the fall of its bulwark, the whole island passed into Turkish hands.

The event created in the West little less consternation than the fall of Constantinople itself. Pope Paul II and old Cardinal Bessarion were fluttered; and Sixtus IV (who succeeded in 1471), in conjunction with Ferdinand of Naples, accomplished something more considerable than the western powers had yet done. They sent a number of galleys to join Pietro Mocenigo, an able seaman whom Venice had chosen captain of her fleet. At Samos in 1472 Mocenigo commanded 85 vessels, of which 48 were furnished by Venice and her dependencies, 18 by the Pope, 17 by Ferdinand, and 2 by Rhodes: an armament notable as the greatest that the combination of Christian powers at this time achieved. The Venetian admiral who had taken on board a number of Albanian stradioti conducted a war of raids with skill, swooping down and plundering Passagio, a trading-town over against Chios; burning Smyrna; pillaging the quays of Satalia, then a mart of the oriental spice-trade; helping the royal house of Cyprus. One brilliant feat was wrought by a Sicilian, who venturing into the Dardanelles with six companions fired the Turkish arsenal of Gallipoli, and expiated his daring by a cruel death. Such warfare was highly agreeable to the mercenaries who were paid on the system of receiving a part of the booty; but it was hopelessly ineffectual, and Venice recognised that war must be waged by land. The scene was shifted to Albania, where Scanderbeg's legacy had fallen to Venice. Here all turned on the possession of Scodra (Scutari), the key of Albania, which had the same kind of strategic significance as Negroponte or Acrocorinth. The Sultan was determined to secure it, and Sulayman, governor of Rumelia, laid siege to it in 1474. He was repelled by its brave defender Antonio Loredano; and the stress of need which the inhabitants endured was shown, the moment the siege was raised, by their general rush for the gates to quench their thirst in the waters of the Bojana. In 1477 the Turks renewed their designs in this quarter by besieging Kroja, and at the same time their light cavalry (akindje) harassed Venice in the north by overrunning Friuli. The garrison of Kroja, reduced to eating their dogs and receiving no aid from Venice, submitted in the ensuing year, and Mohammad advanced to the second siege of Scodra. The Venetian republic was hard pressed. In these days its yearly revenue did not touch 100,000 ducats; nor could the Venetians at this moment expect aid from other powers; Ferdinand of Naples was actually intriguing with the Turk, and Friuli was exposed to the inroads of the infidels from Bosnia; the plague was raging in the lagoons. Unable to relieve Scodra, Venice resolved to make peace and consented to hard conditions,