Siege of Shkodra (1474)

For other uses, see Siege of Shkodër.
Siege of Shkodra
DateSpring 1474 — 8 August 1474
LocationShkodër, Albania Veneta
42°02′47″N 19°29′37″E / 42.0465°N 19.4935°E / 42.0465; 19.4935Coordinates: 42°02′47″N 19°29′37″E / 42.0465°N 19.4935°E / 42.0465; 19.4935
Result Victory of Venice and Zeta
Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire

 Republic of Venice
Albanian resistance forces

Lordship of Zeta
Commanders and leaders
Hadım Suleiman Pasha

Antonio Loredan
Pietro Mocenigo
Triadan Gritti
Leonardo Boldu

Ivan Crnojević
50,000 25.000
Casualties and losses
7,000–20,000 Ottoman soldiers killed[1] unknown number of soldiers and 3,000 civilians from Scutari (primary source)

The Siege of Shkodra of 1474 was an Ottoman attack upon Venetian-controlled Shkodra in Albania Veneta during the First Ottoman-Venetian War (1463–79).


Strong Ottoman forces besieged Shkodra in spring 1474.[2] Mehmed had dispatched the governor of Rumelia, Hadım Suleiman Pasha, with about 8,000 men, but were repulsed by commander Antonio Loredan and feared Venetian reinforcements.[3][4] According to some sources, when Scutari garrison complained for lack of food and water, Loredan told them "If you are hungry, here is my flesh; if you are thirsty, I give you my blood."[5]

The Venetian Senate ordered all available galleys to transport archers to Shkodra trough river Bojana. All Venetian governors were ordered to help besieged city. According to Venetian reports in July Shkodra was besieged by 50,000 Ottoman soldiers who were supported by heavy artillery.

At the beginning of 1474 the whole region around Shkodra, including the abandoned Baleč, came under Ottoman rule. According to some sources the Ottoman sultan had intentions to rebuild Podgorica and Baleč in 1474 and to settle them with 5,000 Turkish families in order to establish an additional obstacle for cooperation of Crnojević's Zeta and besieged Venetian Shkodra.[6][7]

During their 1474 campaign Ottomans damaged Alessio and razed Dagnum castle.[8]

Triadan Gritti was appointed as Venetian captain general instead of Pietro Mocenigo. Gritti led the Venetian fleet of six galleys which sailed early in May 1474 to protect the coast of Albania Veneta and especially the mouths of river Bojana.[9] When Venetian fleet entered Bojana the Ottoman forces attempted to block it by clogging the mouth of Bojana with a cut tree trunks, just like Serbian voivode Mazarek did during Second Scutari War. Gritti returned his fleet down the river and destroyed Ottoman forces on 15 June 1474.[10] Despite all of his efforts, Gritti was not able to deliver to Scutari all goods his fleet carried because many of his ships were trapped in the shallow waters of Bojana near Sveti Srđ.[11]

When Gritti joined Mocenigo in Shkodra and they both ordered to Leonardo Boldu to find Ivan Crnojević and to urge him to mobilize as many of his men as possible to help Venetians during the Siege of Shkodra. Boldu was also ordered to transport Crnojević's cavalry and infantry over the Skadar Lake.[12] Ivan Crnojević had important role in the defense of the Shkodra because he provided connection with Kotor and supplied the city trough Žabljak or Skadar Lake, fighting simultaneously against strong Ottoman forces.[13] He transported men and woods from Kotor over the hills into Žabljak where he built fustas which surprised Ottomans at Skadar lake.[14] During whole summer Ivan Crnojević participated in military actions. He controlled the Skadar lake with three fustas and 15 smaller ships, which was very important because Venetian fleet (composed of 34 larger ships and about 100 smaller) was unable to sail further than Sveti Srđ.[15] Boldu was able to reach the besieged city from Žabljak thanks to the ships of Ivan Crnojević.[16] The crew of Venetian ships together with stratioti from Greece joined the defenders in the besieged city and, according to some Venetian reports, their total number reached 25,000.[17]

After the discovery of the treason committed by Andreas Humoj, a member of Humoj family, during the Siege of Shkodra Gritti sentenced him to death and had him executed by a man from Tuzi.[18]

Between 7,000 and 20,000 Ottoman soldiers are reported to have been killed, and approximately 3,000 civilians from Scutari died of thirst and hunger.[1] In the siege, the outer walls were damaged significantly. The citizens rebuilt the walls in anticipation of a stronger Ottoman attack later. The Ottomans did return in 1478 to conquer Shkodra.


  1. 1 2 Merula, George. “The War of Shkodra” (1474). An English translation by Robert Elsie at
  2. Srejović 1981, p. 406
    Ништа се није могло остварити јер је снажна турска војска с пролећа 1474 притисла Скадар.
  3. Srejović 1981, p. 406
    Румелијски беглербег Сулејман је почео опсаду са око 8.000 људи.
  4. Jaques, Tony. Dictionary of Battles and Sieges. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007, p. 921
  5. C. Marshall Smith (1927). The Seven Ages of Venice: A Romantic Rendering of Venetian History. Blackie & son, limited. p. 134. If you are hungry, here is my flesh; if you are thirsty, I give you my blood.
  6. Božić, Ivan (1979), Nemirno pomorje XV veka (in Serbian), Beograd: Srpska književna zadruga, p. 295, OCLC 5845972, почетком 1474 ... о султановој намери да обнови Подгорицу и да је насели са пет хиљада турских домаћинстава, а исто тако да подигне из рушевина стари град Балеч
  7. Ćorović, Vladimir (2005). Istorija Srba (in Serbian). Zoograf. p. 357. Retrieved 21 January 2012. ...очвидно из разлога да спрече везе између Зећана и Албанаца
  8. Božić, Ivan (1979), Nemirno pomorje XV veka (in Serbian), Beograd: Srpska književna zadruga, p. 383, OCLC 5845972, Турци су предузели две одлучне офанзиве - 1474 и 1478. У првом походу порушили су Дањ, око кога су се толико отимали Дукађини, а онда га напустили. Многобројне поправке су биле потребне у Љешу.
  9. Babinger, Franz (1992), Mehmed the Conqueror and His Time, Princeton University Press, p. 334, ISBN 9780691010786
  10. Božić 1979, p. 380
    У близиниушћа покушали су да затворе реку, као што je 1422. годинечинио и деспотов командант Мазарек. Једноставно су насе-кли дрвеће и побацали га у реку да би затворили излаз. Три-јадан Грити није смео дозволити да му непријатељ блокирафлоту у реци
  11. Božić 1979, p. 380
    ни Тријадан Грити није могао опседнутом граду дапошаље помоћ којом су били натоварени бродови укотвљенипод Светим Срђом
  12. Imber, Colin (1990), The Ottoman Empire, 1300-1481, Istanbul: Isis Press, p. 219, ISBN 9789754280159, OCLC 22297448, When the commanders of the fleet — Triadan Gritti and his predecessor as Captain-General, Piero Moccnigo — met in Albania, they commissioned a certain Leonardo Boldu to find one of the lords of the country to the north of Lake Shkoder, John Chcrnojcvich, "a man of great following and authority," and exhort him to gather as many men as possible. They ordered Leonardo to transport these, with his own infantry and cavalry, across the lake to relieve Shkoder,...
  13. Maletić, Mihailo (1976), Crna Gora [Montenegro] (in Serbian), Belgrade: Književne novine, p. 172, OCLC 5090762, У одбрани Скадра важну улогу играо је Иван Црнојевић обезбијеђујући везу с Котором и дотурање помоћи преко Жабљака и Скадарског језера. Морао је да одбија нападе великих турских одреда.
  14. Srejović 1981, p. 406
    Преко Котора је брдским путевима пребацивао људе и грађу од које би се, кад стигне у Жабљак, изградиле фусте и изненадили Турци на Скадарском језеру.
  15. Srejović 1981, p. 407
    Иван Црнојевић је господарио Скадарским језером уз помоћ три фусте и 15 мањих бродова. То је било веома значајно, јер велика млетачка флота није могла да се пробија дал.е од Светог Срђа
  16. Dinko Franetović-Bûre (1960). Historija pomorstva i ribarstva Crne Gore do 1918 godine. s.n. p. 82. Retrieved 24 April 2013. Turci opsjedali Skadar 1474, Leonardo Boldu, Mleča- nin, je na burćima i lađama Ivana Crnojevića iz Zabljaka mogao s vojskom da dođe pod grad.
  17. Srejović 1981, p. 407
    мада су им се касније прикључили стратиоти из Грчке као и посаде свих бродова, млетачке снаге ни у једном тренутку нису премашиле 25.000 људи, како су Млечани извештавали своје савезнике
  18. Schmitt, Oliver Jens (2001), Das venezianische Albanien (1392-1479), München: R. Oldenbourg Verlag GmbH München, p. 492, ISBN 3-486-56569--9, Rätselhaft erscheint vor diesem Hintergrund das Schicksal Andreas Humojs: Er beging verrat und wurde von Generalkapitan Triadan Gritti zum tode verurteilt. Das urteil vollstreckte ein Tuzi.




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