Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/294

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In the course of that struggle the recuperative power of Venice was amply demonstrated. She lost Negroponte; she was defeated in the Bosphorus; her whole fleet was annihilated at Sapienza. But the result of her one great victory at Cagliari was sufficient to counterbalance her losses, for by it she forced Genoa to surrender her liberties to Visconti. And so, while Venice after each disaster, after Curzola and Sapienza, was able to devote her whole energies to replacing her fleet and reestablishing her commerce, the case was very different with her rival. The Genoese Republic had accepted the lordship of Visconti at a moment of great peril, and was compelled to devote any interval of peace with Venice, not to the increase of her wealth and the augmentation of her fleet, but to efforts for the recovery of that freedom she had surrendered. Genoa could only stand by and watch with jealous eyes the reconstitution of her antagonist.

The steady advance of Venice brought about the final rupture. On the threat that they would join the Sultan Murad I and expel the Emperor John Paleologus from his throne, the Venetians wrung from the Emperor the concession of the island of Tenedos. The position of that island, commanding the mouth of the Dardanelles, made it intolerable to the Genoese that it should pass into the hands of their enemies. War was declared again in 1378. In the following year Vettor Pisani, the Venetian commander, was utterly defeated at Pola, though the Genoese lost their admiral in the battle. This delayed their attack on the Lagoons; and while they awaited the arrival of a new commander, the panic in Venice subsided and the Republic set to work to protect the home waters from an assault which seemed imminent day by day. In July Pietro Doria, the Genoese admiral, reconnoitred Chioggia, and it was clear that he intended to make that Lagoon city his head-quarters and thence to blockade and starve Venice to surrender. Chioggia lay close to the mainland, and Doria counted on abundant supplies from Francesco Carrara, Lord of Padua, who was at that time at open war with the Republic and blockading her on the land side. But Chioggia had yet to be captured. On August 11, 1379, the assault began and was renewed till the 18th, when the town fell into the hands of the Genoese. Carrara urged Doria to push on at once to Venice, only about twenty miles away; and had he done so there can be little doubt but that the flag of St George of Genoa would have floated in the Piazza, and Carrara would have carried out his threat of bitting and bridling the horses on St Mark's. But the Genoese admiral decided to abide by his plan of a blockade and his decision proved the salvation of Venice. At Venice, in the face of this imminent peril, the whole population displayed coolness, courage and tenacity. The magistrates forewent their pay; new imposts were borne without complaint; the people, invited to express their wishes on the question of continuing the war, replied: "Let us man every vessel in Venice and go to fight the foe." The public voice