An embassy to the Middle East

[Kazimierz IV Jagiellonczyk, King of Poland (1427-1492)]. Letter of safe conduct for an embassy to Persia.

Kolo, 20. V. 1474.

Latin ms. on vellum. 372 x 295 mm.


Secretarial letter of safe conduct for the merchant and diplomat Anselm Adornes (1424-83) for a Burgundian embassy to Persia, issued in the name of Casimir IV Jagiellon, King of Poland.

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.

Seal missing; a large tear touching the last lines of the text. Folded.

Cf. Nationaal biografisch woordenboek XII, 2/25. C. van Hoorebeeck, Livres et lectures des fonctionnaires bourguignons (Turnhout, 2014), passim.