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Other 16th-century conflicts

Contemporary maps of 10 sixteenth-century wars

NICOLÓ NELLI (FL. 1552-79)

The siege of Soppoto, 1570 (Borsh, Vlorë, Albania) 40°03ʹ45ʺN 19°51ʹ24ʺE

c. 1570

Etching with engraving; printed on paper; laid down on paper; mounted on paper (Mount Type B) | 16.0 x 24.2 cm (image and sheet) | RCIN 721052

A view of the Venetian attack, led by Sebastiano Venier (later Doge of Venice; c. 1496-3 March 1578) on the Ottoman fortress of Soppoto between 7 and 10 June 1570. Fourth Ottoman-Venetian War (1570-1573). Oriented with north-east to top.

This action appears to have immediately preceded the outbreak, with the Ottoman invasion of Cyprus on 27 June 1570, of the Fourth Ottoman-Venetian War. The view shows the Venetian fleet in the foreground, while troops are besieging the fortress of Soppoto, tc, using one 14lb and one 20lb cannon (‘colubrine’ or culverins - early cannon of great length), and two 3lb ‘falconetti’ (small cannon). Captain Manoli Marmori comes to the aid of the Christians with 1000 Albanians.

Sopoto was a fortress now in the Albanian town of Borsh, on the Albanian coast north of the island of Corfu of which, according to the title of this view, Venier was then Procurator. Soppoto, and the whole of Albania, had come under Turkish rule since 1478. According to Borroni Salvadori, this view is taken from one made by Domenico Zenoi; This separately issued plate by Nelli is partially a mirror image and was later included in Simone Pinargenti’s Isole che son da Venetia nella Dalmatia et per tutto l’arcipelago fino a Costantiopoli (1573).

  • Nicolo Nelli (b.1530, active 1562-74) (engraver) [below cartouche, bottom left:] Nicolo Nelli f.


    Army-Venetian Republic
  • Watermark: Map: none visible; backing paper, indistinct: a cross in elaborately decorated oval, two other circles underneath with central designs

    Condition: three fold lines; some wear and loss of paper, repaired by being laid down on paper before being mounted; brown discolouration from the adhesive which was used to attach the backing paper; no gilt edges

  • 16.0 x 24.2 cm (image and sheet)

    cropped (platemark)

    19.9 x 31.0 cm (mount)

  • Printed title:

    Fortezza di Soppoto presa dal Clarmo / Sor Sabastian Venier Procurator` et / Proueditor general dell' isola di Cor / fu insieme col Clar:mo Proueditor / Zelsi alla quale impresa diedero / principio addi 7 giugno et hebbero / la fortezza alli 10 ditto 1570. [bottom left, in a cartouche ornamented by strapwork]

    Additional text:

    [along the bottom, in nine adjacent panels, the names of the commanders of the nine oared galleys, or the names of the ships themselves, in the foreground.]


    George III heading: Soppoto June 1570.

    Other annotations: (Recto) [left, above old heading, black pencil, erased, old heading noted.] (Verso) [right, in brown ink, obscured by backing paper, a list with numbers and supplies in Italian]; [top left, on mount, black pencil: I/49; [left of centre, red pencil:] 1/47.

    George III catalogue entry:

    Soppoto Fortezza di Soppoto presa da Sebastian Venier, procurator et proveditor general dell' Isola di Corfu, insieme col proveditor Zelsi alli quale impresa diedero principio addi 7 Giugno et hebbero la Fortezza alli 10 ditto 1570: da Nicolo Nelli.

  • Subject(s)

    Borsh, Vlorë, Albania (40°03ʹ45ʺN 19°51ʹ24ʺE)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    F.B. Salvadori, Carte, piante e stampe storiche delle raccolte Lafreriane della Bibliotea nazionale di Firenze, Indici e Cataloghi Nuova Serie XI, Rome 1980, p.68, no. 208

    M. McDonald, The Print Collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo. Part II, Architecture, Topography and Military Maps, 3 vols, London 2019, cat. no. 2700

    S. J. Shaw, The rise and decline of the Ottoman Empire 1280-1808, Cambridge 1976, p. 69

Page revisions

  • 25 May 2024