An embassy to the Middle East

[Charles de Valois-Bourgogne, le Téméraire (the Bold), Duke of Burgundy (1433-1477)]. Letter of safe conduct for an embassy to Persia.

Mechelen, 11. II. 1474.

Latin ms. on vellum. 378 x 210 mm. Papered seal. Signed by Charles Soillot (1434-93?), secretary to Charles the Bold.

 12,500.00

Letter of "sauf conduit" (safe conduct) for the merchant and diplomat Anselm Adornes (1424-83) for a Burgundian embassy to Persia: "[...] Universis principibus baronibus militibus et plebeis quibus hec nostre littere fuerint ostense, benivolenciam nostram et salutem universitatem vestram et vestrum quemlibet. Rogamus quatenus dilectum et fidelem consiliarium, oratorem et cambellanum nostrum dominum Anselmum Adornes militem, dominum de Corthuy, harum latorem, quem ad nonnullas orientales partes impresentiarum mittimus cum penes vos venerit seu per terras et dominia vestra iter fecerit benevole recipere, amoreque nostri et contemplatione favorabiliter tractare et tractari mandare velitis eumdem unacum viginti personis et totidem equis seu aliis equitaturis aut inferius, permittendo transire sine pedagio, gabella, fundonavis, datia aut alia exactione quacunque [...]".

From March to June 1474, Adornes, Lord of Cortachy, led an embassy in the name of Charles the Bold to the Shah of Persia Uzun Hassan (1423-78), whom the Duke of Burgundy sought to persuade to engage in a new military expedition against the Ottomans, following a campaign in the previous year which had ended in Uzun Hassan's defeat by Mehmed II. Adornes was chosen for this mission due to his knowledge of Muslim territories; he had made a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in 1470/71 (the account of his journey written by his son Jan is still preserved).

One of the most illustrious members of the Adornes-Adorno family, of Genoese origin, and a wealthy patron, Anselm was closely involved in international trade (mainly in alum and cloth from Tournai and England). He maintained commercial relations with Genoa as well as Spain and played an important role in Burgundian diplomacy.

Some wrinkling as common; traces of folds. Well preserved.

Messager des sciences historiques ou Archives des arts et de la bibliographie de Belgique (1881), pp. 41-42. Cf. Nationaal biografisch woordenboek XII, 2/25. C. van Hoorebeeck, Livres et lectures des fonctionnaires bourguignons (Turnhout, 2014), passim.