The Siege of Bonifacio and the Tirant lo Blanc of Joanot Martorell
In Joanot Martorell’s Tirant lo Blanc, some Italian noblemen join the Christian army that fights for the Greek Empire, while others side with the Turkish army and are thus regarded as traitors. Constantine Marinesco’s Nouvelles recherches sur «Tirant lo Blanch» (Boletín de la Real Academia de Buenas Letras de Barcelona, 1959) shed light on this issue: the names of the Italian traitors closely match those of noblemen who rebelled against Ferrante at the death of his father King Alfonso the Magnanimous; conversely, the names of those who defended the Greek empire are found amongst the noblemen who remained loyal to King Ferrante. In Martorell’s fiction, the enemies of Ferrante were identified with the enemies of the Greek Emperor’s army commanded by Tirant. In this essay I intend to prove that, in a similar fashion, the fictional episode dealing with the siege of Rhodes (including the celebrated stratagem of the ‘shrewd seaman’) dwelled on the siege of Bonifacio (1420-21).