Jacob Zorzi (also Giacomo Giorgi) was the Marquess of Bodonitsa from 1388 to 1410. He was the last true ruler of Bodonitsa.

Jacob was the eldest son of Francis Zorzi, of Venetian origin, and Euphrosyne Sommaripa, of the Cyclades. He succeeded his father around 1388 on the latter's death and under the regency of his mother. Soon before his death, Francis had ceased to pay annual tribute to the Duchy of Athens, though he remained a peer of the Principality of Achaea. In 1393–1394, however, the Ottoman sultan Bayezid I invaded northern Greece and conquered the County of Salona, another Crusader state dating back to the Fourth Crusade. Lamia and Neopatria were captured and Pharsala and Domokos were abandoned by the Serbs, whose leader was Jacob's brother-in-law. For whatever reason,[1] Bodonitsa was spared and merely forced to pay annual tribute to the sultan. In 1403, 1408, and 1409, he was party to the treaties between Venice and the Ottoman prince Süleyman Çelebi and in the first of these succeeded in ridding himself of his obligations of payment of tribute. By a treaty of 1405 between Venice and Antonio I Acciaioli of Athens, he was included to secure his southern border and relieve him of worry there.

He moved many peasants and livestock to Karystos, the Euboean stronghold of his brother Nicholas, in an attempt to protect them from Turkish assaults, but he was content enough himself to remain in Bodonitsa and even bid for Tenos and Mykonos, two islands which Venice was auctioning off in 1406. His bid failed.

Süleyman Çelebi died in 1410 and his successor, Musa Çelebi, renewed the war on Bodonitsa almost immediately. In early spring, Bodonitsa was besieged, and Jacob resisted, for he "preferred, like the high-minded and true Christian that he was, to die rather than surrender the place."[2] Nevertheless, he was killed by traitors while "bravely defending the medieval Thermopylae against the new Persian invasion."[3] His sons, including his eldest and successor, Nicholas II, continued to hold the castle until Venice could send relief, but the relief was too late in coming and the citadel fell and Nicholas was captured.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Miller (1908), p. 243 surmises that it was the weather of February 1394, when Salona fell, that prevented Bayezid from attacking Bodonitsa, though it may have been the strength of her fortifications or perhaps the Venetian ties of her prince.
  2. ^ Miller (1908). From a Venetian document of his son's direction.
  3. ^ Miller (1908)

SourcesEdit

  • Miller, William (1908). "The Marquisate of Boudonitza (1204–1414)". Journal of Hellenic Studies. 28 (2): 234–249. doi:10.2307/624608. JSTOR 624608.
  • Setton, Kenneth M. Catalan Domination of Athens 1311–1380. Revised edition. Variorum: London, 1975.