The skin of Marcantonio Bragadin in the church of Saints John and PaulUnknown places & works
The skin of Marcantonio Bragadin in the church of Saints John and Paul
When visiting the church of St John and Paul, one of the most beautiful churches in Venice, you will notice a monument dedicated to a hero from the history of Venice, Marcantonio Bragadin, who served as a captain in Cyprus during the war between the Ottoman Empire and Venice.
In 1570, The Ottomans landed in Cyprus and lay siege to the Venetian fortress in Famagost but Marcantonio Gragadin decided not to surrender to the Ottoman empire.
After months of resistance, the Turks succeeded in conquering the city and their commander decided to take revenge on the heroic captain. Bragadin's face was mutilated and he was imprisoned in a tiny cage exposed to sunlight, with very little water and food.
After four days the Turks offered to let him free in exchange for his conversion to Islam, but Bragadin refused. He was hoisted to the mast of his ship and flagellated, then dragged around the streets of Famagosta with a sack of sand and stones on his back. He was finally tied to a column in the square of the city and flayed alive starting from his head, albeit he died before the end of his torture. Bragadin's quartered body was then distributed among the army, and his skin was stuffed with straw and sewn, reinvested with his military insignia, and exhibited riding an ox in a mocking procession along the streets of Famagusta.
The macabre trophy was brought to Costantinople. But in 1577, during the Battle of Lepanto, Venetians succeeded in halting the progression of the Ottoman Army and soon after, in 1580, Bragadin's skin was purloined from the Constantinople's arsenal, brought to Venice and preserved in the church of St John and Paul, where it can still be seen today inside an urn.
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