History of Giustiniani From Genova (Italy)
Nobilissima Ianuensi familia Justinianorum dynastarum olim Chij in mari Aegeo
(Noble genovese family, dinasty from Chios, Aegean sea )

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In the XVIIIth century the East India Companies of England, France and the Netherlands ruled over many coastal towns and their neighbouring territories in India, Indochina and Indonesia. An early example of such a mixture of trade and politics can be found in the Maona Giustiniani which ruled over the island of Scio (Chios), in the Aegean Sea for more than two centuries, from 1347 to 1566. The name "maona" is of uncertain origin, maybe from the genovese voice "mobba" equivalent to union, or also from the name of one ship or also a word most likely of Arab origin Maounach (=trading company). The origin therefore is tied more families combined in rising of partnership ("lodges"). Such "societies" were of the true ones and own Lordships with a lot of armies, soldiers and fiscal autonomy and too times their politics were in contrast with that one of the same Republic that had originated to them. The history of the island of Chios from the fourteenth century to sixteenth closely is tied to that one of the family Giustiniani, noble from Genoa that assumed the control of the island in that time. It is only a legend that one that sees the two lineages Genoa and Venice to come down from the progeny of Giustiniano, Roman emperor of east, Mark and Angelo lived on 720 d.C. Probably "Giustiniani", but the news is not sure, would derive from the Giustiniani Palace of Genoa the seat of the company was, already possessed from homonymous family from Venice, in that age, in good relationships trades with the Genovese Republic. This palace, dominate still in quarter Giustiniani in Genoa, adorned of the coat-of-arms of the family and from several trophies gained in the war of Chioggia (Venice). In the XIVth century the Genovese were competing with the Venetians for the control of the trading routes in the Levant and in the Black Sea. Venice had a firm hold on Negroponte and Candia and Genoa needed a secure trading post along the route to Constantinople (for a page on Genoese trading routes click here ). Therefore in 1346 the Republic decided to occupy the island of Scio and the nearby port of Focea (famous port of alum mineral) on the Asian mainland. Because the finances of the Republic were in very poor health some rich traders were asked for loans to be repaid after the completion of the expedition. On February 26, 1347 the Republic granted to these traders the revenues of Scio and Focea allowing them to directly manage the exploitation of the two territories for an initial period of 29 years. The traders founded the Maona Giustiniani and later on obtained an extension of the initial "lease". The noble family Giustiniani as a “Society” based on “actions”, the first stock exchange documented of the history in the world. Twelve Nobles, Genovese Patricians decided a union among us, to form a “society” and to form together a family. They even take away their former names to have a new one: “Giustiniani”: they made “A Campagna”, as if “they were born from the same father and the same mother” (“Compagniam de pecunia non faciam cum aliquo habitante ultra Vultabium et Savignonem et Montem altum, neque ultra Varaginem” from “Leges Genuenses” - year 1157). The first 12 partners were: Nicolò de Caneto de Lavagna, Giovanni Campi, Francesco Arangio, Nicolò di S.Teodoro, Gabriele Adorno, Paolo Banca, Tommaso Longo, Andriolo Campi, Raffaello de Forneto, Luchino Negro, Pietro Oliverio and Francesco Garibaldi. But others family enjoyed in (and others come out) during the centuries (in 1528 after Doria reform these are the family present in “albergo” Giustiniani: Arena, Argiroffo, Banca, Benvenuto, Bona (1561), Bonfante, Briandate, Cavatorta, Chiazza (1561), Corsi, Figallo, Figari (1561), Giustiniani, Leopardi, Massone (1561), Moneglia, Mongiardino, Morchio, Gavazzi, di Passano, Ponte, Prandi, Prato, Rebuffo, Rocca, Roccatagliata, Salvarrezza De Secto, Vallebona, Vallerai (1561), Vegetti). On june 8, 1363, the status of the island vis-à-vis Byzantium is finally settled when Emperor John V Paleologos concedes the island to the Genoese Giustiniani family in return for an annual payment of 500 gold hyperpera.
These Lords Giustiniani started a “collegiate” system of government. Each of the twelve partner having his own part of duty: equal was their fortune and equal were their titles. An example (probably the only) that a noble title pass one to the other not by blood, but to sell a “share” in a society. The island is famous for its scenery and good climate. Its chief export is mastic a gum exuding from the bark of a tree grown up in the southern part of the island. Unlike many other Greek towns, Chios was not built on high ground providing a natural defence; it did not have an acropolis, a citadel where the inhabitants could oppose an effective resistance to the assaults of the enemy. The Genoese found some Byzantine fortifications, but eventually decided to build a new set of walls, which would protect their new acquisition. Maona Giustiniani promoted farming in Scio and in particular in Kampos, a plain to the south of the town. Each farm was surrounded by walls, often rather high, having the objective to minimize the erosion of the soil due to the meltemi the strong wind which blows on the Aegean. The walls and the buildings were erected making use of Thymiana, a local stone with warm yellow and red tones. Each farm had a deep well to intercept the flow of abundant underground waters. Overall the texture of buildings, gates, boundary walls, etc. is still very consistent and the majority of the modern additions respect the old architectural patterns. The farms of Kampos could be easily protected from corsar raids by the Genoese ships in the harbour of Scio, but the southern tip of the island was exposed to this risk. For this reason the peasants lived in fortified villages, which have retained their peculiar layout. The villages did not have walls, but the external houses were lined up to form a barrier. They did not have doors or windows on this side (now they have been opened). At each corner of the village there was a tower and there was only one gate giving access to the village. This structure is still very well preserved in Mesta. The defence of Mesta was entrusted to the villagers themselves. The corsairs who had managed to penetrate inside the village found themselves in a maze of very narrow alleys covered by archways through which the villagers could easily move and repel the assailants. This layout is impressively similar, although the buildings of Mesta are not so high, to the carrugi, the very narrow streets of the medieval quarter of Genoa. The fortifications of the villages were completed by a large tower at the centre of the village. It could be reached only through very narrow streets and it did not have openings at the ground floor. The tower of Mesta has been pulled down to provide the village with at least one open space, but nearby Pirgi has retained much of its pirgos (tower). In the XIVth century several powers were competing with Genoa for the supremacy in the Aegean Sea (Venezia in the Aegean sea): first of all Venice with its many fortresses on the Greek mainland and on Crete, then the declining Byzantine Empire, weak from a military viewpoint and torn apart by dynastic quarrels, but rich in gold and diplomatic skills; it was usually at peace with the Genoese, but occasionally it made alliances with Venice against them. Franks, Catalans, Neapolitans, Florentines, all having some possessions, either on the Greek mainland or on the islands, were other players in the game. On the Asian side of the Aegean Sea in the meantime, the Ottomans were laying the foundations of their great empire. Genoa, Venice, the Byzantine Empire, all sought alliances with them as they provided a valiant military force, believing that their lack of naval skills would have always hindered their expansion. It was with the help of the Genoese fleet that they initially set foot in Europe in 1354. In 1431, a fleet of 30 Venice’s ships with to the head Andrea Mocenigo and Dolfino Venier tighten of besiege Chios. The Maona arranges in besieged fortress only 300 armed commands to you from Leonardo di Montaldo, but it resists stoically to the repeated attacks of the overwhelming enemy forces. In the day of Christmas on1431 attracting the enemy in the port only defended from cargo vessels, it goes around it, and opening the doors of the fortified castle it delivers to a powerful and victorious attack against the Venetians, picked of surprise. The besiege to Chios was removed the 17/1/1432. Andrea De Marini definitively defeats the Venetians in the Aegean sea on april 1432. Mocenigo and Venier of return to Venice are executed in order to have badly municipal besiege to the fortress of Chios. In the 1432 there was the definitive peace between Genoa and Venice, also because the Ottoman common enemy made itself more and more pressing in the possessions of the Republics in the Aegean. The island of Chios was governed from the Maona Giustiniani with two councils: "large Council" and a "small Council of the forty". Beyond the citadel there were 36 fortified castles. The fifteen castles of Chios beyond the Citadel were: Colla, Calomoti, Cardamile, Lamista, Late, Lecovere, Melanete, Pannuccelli, Perparea, Pigri, Pitio, Sant’Elena, S.Giuliano, Valisso (the most fortified) and Vigo. The island of Chios had just an independent bishop, the first one was Manfredo De Coronato in the 1363 successes was all or by the Pallavicini family or by the Giustiniani family until the 1879 (Ignazio Giustiniani). The island had numerous Churches, convents and hospitals. One of they was also to Rome for the Maonesi indigent, founded in the 1530 from the bishop Benedict Giustiniani. The population of Chios in XV the century oscillated between 90,000 and 120,000 inhabitants, having a constant increment with the Christians you escape yourself from the Ottomans enclosures or redeems by the Maona. The dominant rank, the first class, was the Giustiniani with their familiar ones. Then they came, like second class, the "Burgenses", of Latin blood, nearly all from Genoa, for the more traders or small large estate owners in order to conquer relief places I had like only road that one to become related with the Giustiniani (between they the families Paterio, Navone, Sanginbene, Campanaro, Ciprocci, Cavallini, Coresio). To the third level the "Greek archons", the population of Greek blood for the more dedication to small commerce.

To the fourth level all the given over persons of Greek origin to the jobs you serve them, in the hollow ones of mastic and agriculture. To the fifth level the Hebrew, given over for more to the usury, forced living in the “ghetto” (could only exit during the Saint week), and to carry a yellow hat, beyond making in sure moments of the year action of subjection and submission to the Giustiniani. To the sixth level the foreigns not resident in the island. In 1453 when the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II launched his attack against the walls of Constantinople, a Genoese contingent of volunteers from Chios went to Constantinople to join the limited forces of the Emperor. They were led by a gallant young soldier called Giovanni Giustiniani Longo, who played a crucial role in the siege of the city, until his being wounded during the final Ottoman assault signalled the forthcoming defeat. The Genoese fortifications of Scio included a very deep moat, now a dusty parking-lot, which isolated the town with the exception of one point of access. After the fall of Constantinople, Genoa had to come to terms with the Sultan. Because he rightly saw that only Venice could actually challenge his expansion aims, he preferred to establish a good relationship with Genoa and Scio was not threatened by the Ottomans. However, Maona Giustiniani had to agree to yearly pay the Sultan a large amount of gold and to grant him a supply of mastic, a gum exuding from the bark of a tree grown up in the southern part of the island. The Ottomans, at all costs tried to take the definitive control on the islands. On the pretext of militarily support the credit pretension of the Genovese nobleman Francisco Drapperio, in the comparisons of the Maona for one left of Alum, in the spring of 1455, one powerful Ottoman fleet berths to wide of Chios. Turkish admiral Hansabeg saw the good fortification of the island, estimated that it was not the case to risk an attack. The Genovese Republic engaged in the war with Alfonso of Aragon, very not being able to help its far colonies was limited to arm two Galee with 800 men to the commando with Peter Giustiniani (still major of Soverein of Malta during Lepanto battle against Turks october 1571) and invoke the aid of the Pope and the King of England Henry VI. In autumn 1455, 20 Turkish trireme commant from Junusberg, move towards Chios, although that a storm from there disperses the greater part, the Turks conquer without to fight New Focea on 24 December 1455 and the island of Lesbos. In the 1481 the Giustiniani abandons the island of Samo and leaves Nicaria the Knights of S.Giovanni, which already before they had left Cos. These islands lacking in ports and nearly desert, were already of insufficient interest are to the Giustiniani that to the Turks. Also Genoa begins to fear the power of the Giustiniani, 2 March 1558, to Costantinopoli a plenipotentiary one of the Doge, Francisco de Franchi Torturino negotiates in order to yield the rights of the exploitation of Chios to the Turks. Maona Giustiniani continued to rule Scio until 1566, when a delay in the payment of the yearly tax gave Sultan Suleyman the Great the pretext to make his last conquest. The 14 avril 1566 a fleet of 80 galley, commandant from Kapudanpascià Pialì arrive to the port of Chios that in short succeeds to occupy without to fight in spite of the intercession of the “podestà” Vincenzo Giustiniani. That did not prevent that the island endured a violent pillage, the Churches was all destroyed or converted in Mosques, very soon all that of beautiful, works them and useful to Chios it was depredated or had. Vincenzo Giustiniani with the others 12 governors and the other Giustiniani more in sight were made and capacities to Costantinopoli captive. 21 young Giustiniani between the 12 and 16 years they were separates to you from the parents, forced to abjure the catholic faith and to enlist themselves in the body of the janissarys 3 of they were folded to the Ottoman will, the others 18 were were slaughtered after atrocious tortures the 6 September 1566. in what was called the massacre of Scio. These last ones were canonized from the Church. A painting* about this martyrdom is in the palace of "dogi" to Genoa. The heads of the Maona were imprisoned in Crimea, where many died, to the survivors, for intercession of the French ambassador, in the 1567 it was granted to it to return to Genoa, with the vain hope to look at itself recognized an indemnification for the loss of the island. Most of them returned to Chios, their fatherland. There was still a bishop of Chios in the XIX century: Ignazio in a 1830 and other with the same name in 1879. Now there aren’t people with this surname in Chios. The old dominions of the Giustiniani in the Dodecaneso, under the Turkish game, went very soon in ruin. Chios was reduced in a den of thieves and pirates. The few Latins remained were imprison by Ottomans. The greater part of the remained population was plebeians. All the Churches of the island were destroyed excepting the Dominican' s convent and the Chapel of Franciscans. The wealthiest Giustiniani families who chose to leave the island, also to Genoa, escaped to Rome, Ancona, Amatrice, Messina, Palermo, Caprarica of Lecce, Smirne, Alessandria, and generally all around the Mediterraneo area. One on these Giustiniani survived was Giuseppe Giustiniani that moved to Rome. where his brother in law Cardinal Vincenzo Giustiniani introduced him to the papal court. He married his three daughters to members of the Roman aristocracy and his son Benedetto became a cardinal in 1586. In 1590 he bought what today is known as Palazzo Giustiniani (now siege of Senate of the Italian Republic) and in 1595 the fief of Bassano Romano (the old name was “Bassano di Sutri”). He increased the fame and celebrity of Giustiniani’s family, being the patron of Caravaggio finest artist painter. The renowned prestigious and fabulous collections of Caravaggio master pieces are today scattered in museums and private collections around the world (Giustiniani collection of antiquities by Christina Strunck). When his highness the Prince of Bassano Romano, Marquees Vincenzo Giustiniani died, he decided (by testament to bequeath) and left a part of his riches to his descendants Giustiniani. It’s usual that in the testaments of lords Giustiniani a part of the riches went to all Giustiniani, also if their aren’t direct descendents. In particular in the Marquees Vincenzo Giustiniani’s testament, after a very long contentious lasted (along) 1631 to 1953, a judgement decided that who can prove to be a descendant of the first “twelve Giustiniani” and to have a ancestor in the gold book of the nobles of Genoa, it was heir and Genovese patrician and lords of Chios. At the end, there were 288 heirs and heiresses divided in 12 lines. But most of heirs did’nt participate in this contentious and probably don’t know still today to be heirs of this family. It’s import to emphasize that the genovese nobility is a republican nobility, nobles as persons who participated to the city government not as feudal nobility as like we are accustoms to mean. Now, I’m engaging in maintaining the attention lives on the history of this family. You can find a lot of information on my web site in Italian (www.giustiniani.info ). On April 17, 2004, I organized in Bassano Romano (Viterbo - Italy), with the patronage of Senate of the Italian Republic and The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, in collaboration with the Communal Administration and the Italian-Greek Alliance, a convention: "From Giustiniani to the Eurpean Union: a continuous dialogue". At this event has participated teachers and administrators of the Italians Municipalitys of: Mirano (Venice), Ortona (Chieti), Caprarica (Lecce), Amelia (Terni), Lari and Fauglia (Pisa), the French Municipality of Bastia (Corsica island), and the Greeks Municipalitys of Chios, Homiroupolis, Aghios Minas and Ionias. The various relations have analyzed the history of Giustiniani during the centuries, from republic of the sea during XIV century in the Levant until the arts collections on XVI century of the famous maecenas Vincenzo and Benedetto Giustiniani* (both born in Chios), and to the architectonic suggestions of the Giustiniani’s palaces around Mediterranean area. A long travel between history and a culture in order to re-establish, in the European spirit, the old ties among people of various cultures and society. The taken part administrators, in order to give followed to this initiative, also to the aim to realize a permanent organism, among several subjects, with the purpose to safeguard the historical-cultural assets, for the full valorisation of situated palaces, objects, memories of the Giustiniani family. This organism will be able to introduce proposed of integrated participations, financed by structural European founds, for twinning between the various communities and recovery of historical and artistic site, traditional villages in state of abandonment and degradation. This summer it started in Chios a new project about Giustiniani family, a coproduction Italian-French and Greece have started the movie (cultural documentary) about the long travel of Giustiniani family around Mediterranean area. On December 1, 2005, after 18 months of work, in the prestigious Giustiniani Palace in Roma, was proposed the book of the convention. Now I hope there will be others occasions to continue the “dialogue” about the history of Giustiniani

The story of a noble Genoese family that formed a dynasty in the island of Chios in the Aegean by Enrico Giustiniani on Levantine Heritage The story of a community

Un a video-clip about Giustiniani family designed built and installed by P.Papacosta.

It’s recently done by the French transmission "Horizons" (May 2008), produced by Vision International and “France 3” directed by Andrè Waksman the movie "Les Giustiniani une saga Mediterranean" (one hour, in French language). The movie director start from the personal history of Fanny Giustiniani who lives in a little village in Corse, who tries to find its "roots", touching the places where the presence of Giustiniani was important : Chios, Genoa, Rome, Corse and Bassano Romano. In the documentary, various interventions of historians and university professors. In Chios island location in: Chios harbour, Korais library, Sklavia, Dotia, Vessa, Kampos, with some interviews in greek language with subtitles in French.

The film, is online and fully visible on the site of France 3 in this link:
"I Giustiniani, une saga méditerranéenne" (100508)

film giustiniani

Latin family from Chios to Costantinopoli and Smyrna

When the island of Chios was conquered from the Ottomans in 1566, many families moved to Constantinople and Smyrna. A new current of exchanges trades and relations begin between the Latins from Chios and Genoa and those of Constantinople. From the study of the Chios’ parochial registries, now conserved in the island of Tinos, and an unknown manuscript, dated between 1825 and 1830, of Giovanni Isidoro catholic vicarious of Chios, on the dispersion of documents after of the Turkish repression of 1822, we found the names of some old still present Latin families in the island: de Portu, Ferando, d’Andria, Castelli, Corpi, Marcopoli, Guglielmi, Giustiniani, Palassurò, Giuducci (Giudici), Reggio, Roustan.
Curious is that until XIX century, there wasn’t the problem of what kind of nationality had the Latins of Chios under the Ottoman government, because there wasn’t a particular capitulation signed after 1566, as it was made in Constantinople after 1453 between Mahomet II and Genovese colony. We suppose that these Latins conserved the own nationality, otherwise as we could explain that Latins from Chios, after migrated to Smyrna, still at the beginning of the past century (XIX century), were considered with a foreign nationality that, often, like in the case of the Giustiniani, was the nationality form their “origin” country in particular they come from Genoa, therefore: Italian.
After the Conquest of Constantinople on 1453, some Latin families that had found shelter in the Greek islands (Chios, Tinos, Syra, Naxos, Santorini), When in the city returned the calm and the order, decided to re-enter in Constantinople. These cases isolate to became most frequent from 1537, when these islands, one after the other, was conquered from the Turks. According to the registries of the deaths of Saint Maria Draperis, important parish of Constantinople, from 1800 to 1855, 33.09% of the deceased persons were constituted from immigrate from three islands (Tinos 17,48%; Syra 13,43%; Chios 2.18%). We notice that those already established to Constantinople represent only 9.92% of the deaths. The Latins was re-united under a civil and religious body called “Magnificent Community”. When this Community, about on 1840, was placed under the jurisdiction of the Turkish ministry of the Foreign countries, taken the name of “Ottoman Latin chancery” and its activity continued until 1927. According to the registries of the deaths of Saint Maria Draperis, we have found from 1800 to 1855, the names of the Latins family from Chios emigrated to Costantinopoli: Braggiotti, Bragiotti, Carco, Caro, Castelli, Charo, Cochino, Coresi, Coressi, Corpi, Doria, Gaidani, Gallizi, Giro, Giustiniani, Isidoro, Jobini, Jobiori, Justiniani, Magnifico, Marcopoli, Marcopolo, Massoni, Nomico, Petier, Piperi, Renaccio, Tubini, Vegeti, Xenopoulo, Zoratelli. The foreign Latin Community lived its golden age from 1839, given of the emanation of the reforms of modernization of the Ottoman Empire, until the abolition of the capitulations with the Peace treaty signed to Losanna the 24 July 1923. In each case, the new Republic of Turkey did not delay to apply a certain number of measures to liberalize the commerce from the foreign dominion to that exercising from the minorities.
The Giustiniani branch in the city of Smyrna, come from of the family Giustiniani-De' Fornetti (Conte Palatino on 1413), marquises, decree ministerial by Italian Rein on 22 February 1893, Noble and patricians Genovese recognized decree ministerial by Italian Rein on 20 June 1891) present also in Chios, Genoa, Spain and Sicily. The last descendent was Marquis Francisco-Brizio-Edmondo Giustiniani-De' Fornetti born in Smirne on 13 January 1840, son of Marquis Niccolò Giustiniani-De' Fornetti born in Chios on 1798, died in Smirne in 1872. Francisco-Brizio-Edmondo Giustiniani-De' Fornetti married Maria Giustiniani-De' Fornetti born in Smirne on 13 December 1842. They had nine sons: Maria (Smirne on 1842, married to Emilio Levante I.R. Vice Consul of Austria-Hungary Empire in Alessandretta), Emilia (married Ernesto Guillois), Edmondo (Smirne on 1869 married Maria Baroness Aliotti), Anna (Smirne on 1870, nun), Laura (married to Pietro Filippucci), Giovanna, Niccolò (Smirne on 1875), Margherita and Cristina.
The presence of the Giustiniani to Smyrna was confirmed from a lists (1786) of not Muslim merchants operating to Smyrna


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Bassano Romano, the old fief of Giustiniani homepage

some pictures of Palace Giustiniani Odescalchi

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