My oldest letter

This entire letter was written by Zuane Marexini at Constantinople to Lorenzo Dolfin in Venice.

It is in Old Venetian (a forerunner of Italian) and dated 4 April 1438. The arrival date of 14 May 1438 is noted in the address panel. There are no postal markings as it was probably carried by hand.

oldest letter.jpg

The late Robson Lowe, from whom I purchased this in 1988, advised me that it had been

translated by one of the language specialists at the British Museum.

The interesting contents read:-

 

"We are all in great fear here, being anxious lest the Turk should lay siege to this land. He
has a great host by sea and land, and has great buildings amongst the woods that are
around this place, and has made peace with the Emperor of Hungary. Our one comfort is
that Venetians and Genoese who are in Adrianople write that it does not seem to be his
intention to come here...I pray God that it will turn out best for Christianity.”

Constantinople was conquered by the Turks in May 1453.

BRIAN ASQUITH

*The challenge is on! Do you have an older item in your collection? Let us know if you have!