EC project "Review of Historical Seismicity in Europe" (RHISE) 1989-1993
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Premises and purposes
The research performed in the State Archives of Venice had the main goal of examining the potential of the documents produced by Venetian officers with respect to information on European earthquakes (Daltri e Albini, 1991), in the same perspective of the studies carried out at the Vatican Archives, Rome (Castelli, 1993), at the Archivo General de Simancas, Spain (Rodriguez de la Torre, 1993), at the Haus-, Hof-, und Staatsarchiv, Wien (Vocelka, 1993).
Samplings have been concentrated on the time-window 1680-1770, with the purpose of verifying if governors of the territory of the Republic of Venice as well as representatives abroad could be considered as a network of "observers" spread out Europe and the Mediterranean area, investigating the documents they produced, today stored in the State Archives of Venice to collect records useful to macroseismic investigation (Guidoboni and Margottini, 1988; Albini and Daltri, 1991).
The presence of Venetian "observers" in Europe and in the Mediterranean area, both in direct ruled territories and in extra dominion areas is shown in Fig. 1. Venice had consuls in localities strategically significant on the routes of European and Mediterranean trade, since 12th century (Luzzatto, 1961); first ambassadors were accredited at Costantinople and Rome courts in 13th and 14th centuries. Fig. 1a shows permanent and intermittent seats of consuls and ambassadors from the late 17th century to the end of 18th century.
Venetian governors ("rettori") were densely distributed in the Republic, divided into two main administrative regions since 15th century (Fig. 1b):
- "Stato di Terraferma" or only "Terraferma" (Mainland) approximately consisted of Northeastern Italy (today regions of Friuli, Veneto and part of Lombardy), mostly acquired in the mid-fifteenth century; borders of Venetian dominion of "Terraferma" did not vary significantly during three centuries (Cessi, 1944-46; Lane, 1978; Cozzi e Knapton, 1986);
- "Levante" (East), then "Stato" or "Dominio da Mar" (Dominion of the Sea) consisted in the possessions of Istria; Dalmazia, with the exception of Ragusa; part of Albania; some localities (or the whole between 1686 and 1718) of Morea; Eubea, Cipro and Creta, ceded to the Turks respectively in 1470, 1571 and 1669; the Ionian Islands and some minor Aegean islands (Lunzi, 1858; Dudan, 1938).
The Archive of the Republic of Venice
As Da Mosto (1937-40) says in his introduction to the inventory of the State Archives of Venice, the Serenissima's need for archives, to preserve acts and documents produced by Venetian offices, goes back to the 13th century. In 1266 the "Maggior Consiglio", the Venetian patriciate assembly with executive and legislative powers in that period, established that all the resolutions had to be transcribed and that a copy had to be kept. A "Cancelleria Ducale" (Ducal Record Office) was probably created in the same period; in 1402 a "Cancelleria Secreta" (Secret Record Office) was charged to keep private and confidential documentation. The two "Cancellerie" were placed inside the Ducal Palace until 1797.
Today, the State Archives of Venice, in the ex-monastery of "Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari", keep most of the survived documents of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, that ceased to exist in 1797. After the dismemberments done by the governments which followed the republican one, in 1815 the documents concerning the existence of the Republic were concentrated in a unique place, together with the notarial archives, the archives of the suppressed religious corporations and various familiar and individual archives.
Fires (about ten, among which that of 1577 was perhaps the most destructive), but also risings and intentional destructions are responsible for gaps in the funds. Part of the documents produced by officers of the Republic of Venice is not stored in the appropriated funds and series of the State Archives of Venice, but in miscellaneous funds or in other Venetian depositories, like the Library of the "Correr" Civic Museum and the "Marciana" National Library.
Documents are generally structured according to the original organization of magistracies and offices of the Republic of Venice. Political and administrative forms of the Serenissima attracted local and foreign scholars since the Renaissance, so that a rich bibliography on the subject is available (Cicogna, 1847; Soranzo, 1885; Morozzo della Rocca e Tiepolo, 1972). The following short account on the structure of each magistracy and contents of its archives, far from being exhaustive, has therefore to be considered by the reader only as a help for a "tour" inside an Archive that has been compared to a labyrinth by its most appreciated experts (Da Mosto, 1937-40; Morozzo della Rocca e Tiepolo, 1972). As they say in their works, their attempts to divide and structure the funds according to a logical and ordered sequence of magistracies, offices and respective attributions, had been hampered by the peculiarities of the Venetian system. This thesis was expressed also by Cessi (1944-46) who wrote that a systematic classification of Venetian magistracies is not possible according to today distinction among legislative, administrative and judicial powers; the reason is that each magistracy, either because it was charged or because it was delegated, participated in all the different powers.
Funds of the main magistracies of the Republic of Venice chosen for the samplings are shown in Fig. 2; they contain, more or less, the 50% of the documents stored in the archives. Availability of documents has been indicated for the whole time-span they embrace, while samplings have been carried out only inside the shaded time-window.
Senato. The fund "Senato" gathers most of the documents produced by Venetian officers in the period of interest: in fact, the "Maggior Consiglio", assembly of the Venetian patriciate and supreme organism with respect to administrative, legislative and executive powers at the beginning of the Republic, had yielded its privileges to the Senato at least since the 16th century (Lane, 1978; Cozzi e Knapton, 1986). The main series of this fund which are of interest for our research are:
- "Decreti": these are the resolutions taken by the Senato in its nearly daily meetings; in the beginning they were differentiated according to their pertinence to administrative affairs ("Misti") or to political ones ("Secreti"); after the conquers of the mid-fifteenth century, they were further divided into resolutions respectively concerning the "Terra" and the "da Mar" dominions; a further subdivision was then created in 1620, according to the addressee of the resolution ("Rettori", that is governors; "Corti", that is foreign countries);
- "Dispacci" and "Relazioni": these are documents sent to the Senato both by the Venetian governors and the representatives abroad. These two series are structured according to the sender office (governor; consul; ambassador and resident), then further subdivided according to the geographic pertinence of the document (sub-governments or single localities).
Decreti. A "Decreto" (resolution) of the Venetian Senato can be simply a deliberative act; or, for instance as in the case of interventions after an earthquake, it can appear as a letter specular to a document sent by a peripheral governor. The document which originated the resolution is very often annexed, or there is a clear reference to it in the resolution. This habit can be useful for the research because sometimes the peripheral document
cannot be found anymore inside the archive or the fund it belongs to. Or, the "answer" resolution can permit to indirectly know the contents of a lost document, as in the case of one dispatch of the Provveditore Estraordinario of the island of Santa Maura (Leukada) concerning the 1704 earthquake (ASVe, 1705). A "Decreto" can be addressed to another central magistracy, involved in expressing its opinion on the subject of the resolution. The insertion of the wording "E da mò" (and from here) in the final paragraph marks such handing on: the quoted wording permitted to retrieve information on 1767 Ionian Islands earthquakes in documents of the magistracy of "Deputati e Aggiunti alla Provvision del Denaro Pubblico" (ASVe, 1768a, b, c, d, 1769, 1770a, b, c).
Dispacci. The dispatch - and the letter which is very similar to it - is the typical module of communication between peripheral and central magistracies (Carbone, 1974). This peculiarity makes the series "Dispacci" particularly interesting for studying earthquakes. The more or less weekly periodicity of the dispatches and their production in the areas where the earthquake occurred makes them the documents which open the series of archivistic evidences on an earthquake. Moreover, dispatches written by the most important officers (like for instance the Provveditore Generale da Mar) very often contain "inserte" (annexed documents). The "inserte" are copies of documents sent to their "superiors" by minor officers of the area in which the earthquake took place. They can be very different in type: survey, letter, report, estimate of the necessities for the reconstruction, and so on. The annexed documents permit, in some cases, to shorten the temporal distance between the seismic event and the first written evidence on it, as well as to enlarge the spatial distribution of the information. This aspect is clear in the case of the 1690 Villach earthquake (see below) and it has been analyzed in details in a recent contribution on Venetian documents on the 1767 events in the Ionian Islands (Albini, 1991).
Relazioni. The most significant difference between the series "Dispacci" and "Relazioni" (reports) is the type of documents they contain. While a dispatch is inserted in a documentary flux, the relation is a document which stands alone, being the final report both of governors and diplomatic representatives at the end of their two (or three) year charge. Governors gave in their report to the Senato a comprehensive description of the ruled territory: demographic figures, economic life, and so on; diplomatic representatives summed up developments of politic and economic life of the country they lived in as well as a state-of-the-art of their diplomatic efforts.
Many "Relazioni", internal (Tagliaferri, 1973-1979) as well as diplomatic ones (Alberi, 1839-1855; Barozzi e Berchet, 1857; Moscati, 1943), have been published. Many gaps can be found in the series "Relazioni", also because many Venetian representatives failed to write the final report. Gaps and the implicit chronological discontinuity of the series limit the use of this type of source in the research of historical seismology.
Collegio. This magistracy was formed of 16 "Savi" (Sages) appointed by the Senato, and they acted as State ministers (Tamba, 1977). At the beginning they formed three consultative commissions, which then became institutional and durable: the six "Savi del Consiglio" superintended all the current government affairs, while the five "Savi di Terraferma" devoted themselves especially to the military and financial aspects; the five "Savi agli Ordini" ruled the maritime and naval activities of the Republic. Together with the "Minor Consiglio" (magistracy that will not be considered here, made up of six officers) they formed the "Pien Collegio", who, among other offices, had to give audience to foreign ambassadors and to examine all dispatches and letters from governors in Venetian territories as well as in foreign countries.
Lettere. The series "Lettere" contains the answer of the Collegio to dispatches sent by Venetian diplomatic representative; dispatches were read in the Collegio and then sent to the Senato who had the charge of resolving about the subjects they were dealing with. Some samplings have been carried out in this series for the 1690, Villach, and 1755 Lisbon and Valais earthquakes: no information has been found.
Suppliche e risposte. The other four series, that are "Suppliche commesse ai Savi", "Suppliche presentate al Collegio", "Risposte di Dentro" and "Risposte di Fuori", consist of the supplications to the Collegio from communities, religious orders or single Venetian citizens. The petitions sent to the Savi are in the series "Suppliche commesse ai Savi" and "Suppliche presentate al Collegio"; those sent by the Collegio to other central magistracies or to the governors, to ask for more details on their admissibility, are respectively in the series "Risposte di Dentro" and "Risposte di Fuori". Since these documents might be applications for refund of expenses and tax relief, they are likely to contain information on damage to public, religious and private buildings.
Due to logistic difficulties, most of the documents of these series cannot be consulted. Samplings have been carried out only in the "Risposte di Fuori" series. Two petitions have been found: the former concerning the monastery of Santo Spirito in Zakynthos, damaged by the 1743 earthquake (ASVe, 1743) and the latter regarding a church in Zakynthos, presented by the family Gialina after the 1767 event (ASVe, 1768e). This information is not included in other Venetian sources examined for the two earthquakes.
Capi del Consiglio dei Dieci. Correspondence between governors and the "Capi del Consiglio dei Dieci" is today stored in the series "Dispacci dei rettori". These documents concern State security, keeping of public order, administration of justice. Even if in the 18th century many of the powers of the "Capi del Consiglio dei Dieci" were already yielded to the three "Inquisitori di Stato", the main interest of the fund consists in its about 4.500 archivistic units. The offices of the magistracy seem to make it difficult that macroseismic information can be found in such documents. Anyway, it can be hypothized that information on damage to jails or social disorders following an earthquake could be found in the dispatches.
Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia. The fund of the "Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia" gathers the documentation of the five officers who, since 1506, superintended trading activities, industry, navigation, artisanat, customs and duties. The structure of the fund is similar to that of "Senato". The most interesting documentary types for the study of seismic events are those of the series "Dispacci" and "Lettere". Anyway, it has to be stressed that, both in Da Mosto (1937-40) and in the handwritten and typewritten inventories available in the State Archives of Venice (nn. 224 bis and 225), the distinction between the two series sometimes is not very clear and definite. Both the series are alphabetically ordered, according to the seats of governors, consuls and ambassadors.
Lettere. This series contains the correspondence sent to the "Cinque Savi" by governors, ambassadors and residents on commercial aspects of the areas where they were living. Due to the many gaps in the files, it is not possible to make a reliable hypothesis on the frequence of the letters. For this reason, more attention has been paid to the series "Dispacci".
Dispacci. This series gathers dispatches sent to the "Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia" by the consuls. Consuls' main charge was to let the central magistracy know the state of trading activities in the locality in which they were living. Fig. 3 shows the localities in which the Republic of Venice had a consul in the investigated period, the chronological extension of the documents today available in this series (according to nn. 224 bis and 225 inventories) and the carried out samplings. Special attention has been devoted to this fund on the supposition that the business stagnating could be placed among the indirect effects of an earthquake. Seats of consuls for which documents of this fund still exist are considerably more in number than those stored in the fund Senato (Fig. 2).
The consul and the diplomatic representative network offers a good number of observation points, fairly distributed from a geographical point of view (Fig. 1). Moreover, if an earthquake occurred in a country in which no accredited ambassador existed (like Portugal, for instance), consul's dispatches to the "Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia" could be the only available sources. Results of the samplings in the series "Lettere" and "Dispacci" are heavily conditioned by gaps in the documents. Evidences have been found on
the following earthquakes: Ancona, December 1690; Livorno, 1742;
Cephalonia, 1767. More information on the December 1690, Ancona earthquake
can be found in the next paragraph. A preliminary analysis of the information
on the 1742 events available in the dispatches of the Venetian consul in
Livorno has been proposed in a recent contribution (Albini and Daltri,
Information on consequences of the 1767 Cephalonia earthquake has been found in a dispatch written by the Venetian consul in Patras (ASVe, 1768f). The dispatch does not give direct information on the effects: the consul explains that after the earthquake an important migratory flux started, from the island of Cephalonia towards the Morea. This is the only, even if indirect, information on an earthquake found in the samplings in the dispatches from Venetian consuls inside the territory ruled by the Ottoman Empire. The negative results of these samplings could depend on the limited spatial horizon (the locality of residence) to which consuls normally refer in their dispatches to the "Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia".
The documentary ensemble presented before can be seen as the "primary conditioning imposed to historical research" (Cammarosano, 1991): unexpected gaps inside the inventories files and logistic difficulties can be considered as reasons for the fact that the following pages can appear not homogeneous either in the examined funds or in the sampling results.
November and December 1755
The sampling on the two earthquakes of 1755, November 1, Lisboa, and December 9, Valais, is here presented as an example of the method used in searching information on seismic events in documents written by Venetian representatives abroad. These are the examined funds:
- "Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia", series "Dispacci", sub-series "Consoli";
- "Senato", series "Dispacci", sub-series "Ambasciatori e Residenti" (see Morozzo della Rocca, 1959, for the peculiarity of the documentation of this sub-series), and series "Decreti", sub-series "Corti".
Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia, Dispacci, Consoli. N. 225 inventory of the fund "Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia", available only typewritten at the State Archives of Venice, indicates that consul dispatches are available from Lisbon within the time-window 1713-1773 (ASVe, 1713-1773) and from Cadiz within the time-window 1694-1780 (ASVe, 1694-1780). Direct examination of the files permitted to check the existence of documentary gaps: the time-span embraced by the documents is shown in Tab. 1.
At this stage of the research, there are no hints to explain the lack of consul dispatches from Cadiz in the period 1725-1761. The Republic of Venice had no ambassador accredited at the Portuguese court. Since no documents are available between 1752 and 1765, it can be supposed that no Venetian consul either was in Lisbon at the time the earthquake occurred, and that living in Lisbon after the earthquake was so "hard" to discourage the arrival of the new consul. The first consul after the earthquake was surely in Lisbon in 1765; in one letter of November 1766 (ASVe, 1766), he regretted that he had to support additional expenses to attend the audience of the court, since it was still residing out of the city because of the damage caused by the earthquake. Except for this indirect evidence, no information has been found in this fund for the localities of Lisbon and Cadiz, even if they are inside the damaged area of the November 1, 1755 earthquake.
Senato, Dispacci, Ambasciatori e Residenti. For the year 1755, typewritten inventory n. 315 indicates that dispatches are available from the localities of Costantinople, Paris, Vienna, London, Napoli, Torino, Madrid. Dispatches from all the localities, except Costantinople, contain information on November 1 and December 9, 1755 events (Fig. 4).
Following precise instructions, each officer sent a dispatch to the Senato every week: in his dispatch of November 4 the Venetian ambassador at the Spanish court, Girolamo Ascanio Giustinian, described with the following words the effects of the November 1 earthquake in Madrid (ASVe, 1755a):
[...] La dimora de' Sovrani all'Escuriale s'è abbreviata di molti giorni per un tremuoto, che si fece sentire Sabbato scorso [1 Nov.] in quella situazione eminente con maggior forza, che in altre parti. Poche ore dopo le prime scosse, uscì l'ordine pel ritorno a Madrid, e nella sera medesima le Loro Maestà vennero al Buon Ritiro, accompagnate solamente da' principali Uffiziali del Palazzo, non essendo stato possibile in così breve tempo di fare tutte le disposizioni necessarie pel trasporto di tutta la Corte. [...]
Madrid li 4 Novembre 1755
Girolamo Ascanio Giustinian Ambasciatore
Only in the November 11 dispatch (ASVe, 1755b), the ambassador is able to give information on damage in other localities:
[...] Le altre nuove, che vanno giungendo da tutta la costa dell'Occeano non sono meno funeste, benché la perdita della Capitale le renda meno osservabili; si parla di piccioli luoghi intieramente sommersi, e di molta gente perita dai Confini della Galizia sino allo Stretto di Gibraltar. Anche nell'Andaluzia il movimento della Terra, e l'accrescimento del Mare fecero danni notabilissimi: Cadice fu vicina ad esser sommersa, Siviglia, Cordova, ed altre Città patirono considerabilmente negli Edifizj: in somma cominciando dall'estremità de' Pirenei verso l'Occeano, e continuando diagonalmente per tutta la Spagna sino a Granata, non vi fu luogo, che a proporzione della distanza dal centro del flagello, che fu certamente in Lisbona, non ne abbia risentito i tristi effetti.
His sources are letters and reports, some of which annexed to his dispatches, reaching the court from Lisbon itself and from the southern areas of Spain.
Information on damage to localities in Morocco is given by a report annexed to the December 16 dispatch (ASVe, 1755c). The report is said to come from the court of "Mechinez" (Meknés) and it forwards information on effects in the localities of Fez, Sal, Tetuan, Larache, Tanchez (Tangeri), Arzila, Mamora, Safi, Santa Croce. The same report contains information also on another shock that took place on November 18, which is said to have produced heavy damage in the localities of Fez, Meknés and Tetuan.
News on the earthquake in Portugal and Spain spread throughout Europe by means of the diplomatic channels. This is the beginning of the description of the earthquake effects contained in the dispatch written on December 6 by Pietro Correr, ambassador at the Habsburg court in Schönbrunn (ASVe, 1755d):
Lunedì con un Corriere giunto da Parigi pervenne al Conte di Kaunitz la funesta, e lacrimevole notizia delli grandissimi danni prodotti dal Terremoto in Lisbona il primo del passato Mese [di novembre].
Giovanni Alvise Mocenigo, ambassador at Paris, mentions the earthquake for the first time in his November 23 dispatch (ASVe, 1755e); the resident in London, Giovan Francesco Zon, in the December 4 one (ASVe, 1755g); the resident in Torino, Giovanni Gobbi, in the December 6 one (ASVe, 1755h); the resident in Naples, Cesare Vignola, in the December 9 dispatch (ASVe, 1755m).
The December 13 dispatch of the resident in Torino (ASVe, 1755i) and the December 14 one of the ambassador at Paris (ASVe, 1755f) give information on the December 9, Valais, earthquake. While the latter reports information "heard" from other sources concerning the localities of Strasbourg and Genève, the resident in Torino says that the earthquake was felt in the town and particularly in the Royal Palace (ASVe, 1755i) and he adds second hand information on the Piemonte localities of Vercelli, Ivrea and Novara. A preliminary analysis of the information has been presented in a recent contribution (Albini and Daltri, 1991).
Senato, Decreti, Corti. Venetian Senato answered to the dispatches from its representatives with resolutions addressed to residents and ambassadors. Moreover, a "Lettera al re del Portogallo" (Letter to the King of Portugal) was written on December 27 (ASVe, 1755o): since no Venetian ambassador ever existed at the Portuguese court, as already recalled, the letter was sent to the Venetian ambassador in Madrid, who gave to the Spanish ambassador the charge to deliver it to the Portuguese court (ASVe, 1756).
The analysis of the records supplied by Venetian documents on the November and December 1755 earthquakes shows that most part of the information is second hand one. Only in two dispatches, that from the ambassador in Madrid (ASVe, 1755a) and that from the resident in Torino (ASVe, 1755i), the Venetian officers appear in a double role: direct observers of the earthquake in the localities they were living, and collectors of information from other localities, both in the same country and from other country courts.
The December 4, 1690, Villach earthquake has been studied in the frame of the project by an Italian team (Cergol e Slejko, 1991; Barbano et al., 1993); collaboration has also been undertaken with an Austrian team (Eisinger, 1991; Eisinger and Gutdeutsch, 1993). The areas south of the Alps for which seismological compilations supply information are Friuli and Istria. Both the areas in that period were mostly under Venetian dominion (Fig. 1). This is the reason why a sampling has been carried out inside Venetian documents. The selected funds and series are mainly those which contain documents written by Venetian governors of the localities probably involved in the event.
According to the inventories, survived documents for the area and the period of interest have been examined at least for the time-window December 1690-March 1691. The direct study of the documents has evidenced the following problems. For the "Patria of Friuli", as Friuli was called during the Venetian domination, the series "Dispacci" of the fund "Senato" contains documents from the "Luogotenente" (Lieutenant) of Friuli, the most important Venetian governor, resident in Udine, and from those governors who were under his direct jurisdiction (ASVe, 1689-1692). From the Venetian departments near the Friuli area, documents are available only from the localities of Feltre (ASVe, 1689-1697a), Belluno (ASVe, 1689-1697b) and Palma, today Palmanova (ASVe, 1688-1691). The fund "Reggimenti", which also stores documents of the "Luogotenente" of Friuli, shows many gaps. Letters to the "Capi del Consiglio dei Dieci" from Udine and Cividale in Friuli, the only available ones according to the handwritten inventory at the State Archives of Venice (n. 95/3), are chronologically very discontinuous (ASVe, 1690-1699; 1681-1794).
For Istria, coeval gazettes ("Avvisi") report information of damage in Rovigno and Parenzo. Unfortunately, there are no files entitled to governors (podestà) of these two localities, while the documents contained in the files generically entitled "Istria" (ASVe, 1690-1692) and "Raspo e Capodistria" (ASVe, 1674-1699) show many gaps. According to the n. 95/3 handwritten inventory, only two letters written in the years 1690 and 1691 by the "podestà" of Parenzo to the "Capi del Consiglio dei Dieci" have survived (these two letters have not been examined due to logistic difficulties). According to n. 225 handwritten inventory, the letters of the Rovigno and Parenzo "podestà" (governors) to the "Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia" do not cover the period.
Fig. 5 shows the temporal scansion of the documents contained in the file intitled "Udine", from November 22, 1690 to January 13, 1691 (ASVe, 1678-1704). Bazochi, the governor of the Venetian fortress at Chiusa (today Chiusaforte), informed the "Luogotenente" of Friuli that the fortress had been damaged by an earthquake, without mentioning the date of the event (ASVe, 1690a). The date of the document is quite unreadable because of an ink spot right on it. The document was anyway written before December 14, 1690: in this date the "Luogotenente" of Friuli, Vincenzo Pisani, sent to the Senato a dispatch (ASVe, 1690b), and a copy of the Chiusa governor's letter was annexed to it. Vincenzo Pisani asked the Senato the permission to produce a survey. The Venetian Senato gave the permission with the December 23 resolution (ASVe, 1690c).
The "Luogotenente" Pisani sent three dispatches to the Senato between December 4 (date of the earthquake) and December 14, date of the dispatch in which he gives information about Chiusa: in none of them there is reference to earthquake effects in Udine or in other localities. In the December 14 dispatch (ASVe, 1690b), the "Luogotenente" refers to the earthquake as the one "fattosi ultimamente sentire in queste parti" (which has been recently felt in these places): this permits to hypothize that the earthquake was simply felt in Udine, or that damage was so slight that the governor did not consider necessary to let the Senato know that such an event had occurred.
The Senato resolutions of the series "Terra" have been systematically examined until February 1693 (ASVe, 1690-1693), but they do not report more information on the earthquake. In order to find the survey requested for the fortress of Chiusa, an examination of the inventory of the fund "Provveditori alle Fortezze" (Proveditors of Fortresses), available typewritten at the State Archives of Venice, has been carried out too. This magistracy, created in 1542, was charged of the special duty to take care of Venetian military structures. No documents concerning the Chiusa fortress are listed in it.
Because of the chronological and geographical proximity to the December 4 event, a sampling has been dedicated also to the December 22, 1690, Ancona earthquake. Aim of the sampling was to verify if the December 4 earthquake was felt or even simply echoed outside the Venetian territory and the sensibility level of the Venetian representatives abroad with respect to seismic events. The sampling was carried out in the consul dispatches of the fund "Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia".
The effects of the December 22, 1690 event in Ancona are described by the Venetian consul in Ancona, Bartolomeo Toroglioni, as follows (ASVe, 1690d):
Per ubidire a ceni pregiatissimi di Vostre Eccellenze farò ogni possibile diligenza per portarli nell'ordinario prossimo le più distinte notitie che haverò potuto ritrarre nel particolare comessomi, mentre in questo mi sia reso impossibile, per esser tutta la Città in commotione, e divotione, per il terribile Terremoto che ha qui fato la note di 22 del cadente mese, a hora 8 1/2 in circa, con derocamento di qualche Chiesa, Campanile, e Casa, e con morte di circa otto Persone; tutte le altre Case però, et edeffici hanno sensibilmente patito, e li terremoti giornalmente si sentono, ma non con quel gran furore, onde ogn'uno implora la Divina Misericordia. [...]
Ancona 30 Decembre 1690
Di Vostre Eccellenze Humilissimo Devotissimo et Obligatissimo Servitore Vostro Bartolomeo Toroglioni
Fig. 5 shows that from November 22, 1690 to January 13, 1691, the Venetian consul in Ancona sent three dispatches to the "Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia". Principal duty of the consul was to send to the officers of the "Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia" in Venice precise details of the commercial activity of the Ancona harbour: names of the ships and of the owners, characteristics of their cargo, dates of arrival and departure, and so on.
In order to have a deeper knowledge of the periodicity of his dispatches, some years (1689-1692) of his correspondence have been examined. To accomplish his charge, he sent a dispatch every two weeks during the "good" seasons, spring and summer, but the frequency of the documents decreases during autumn and winter. This explains why he wrote only one dispatch per month in November and December 1690. In his dispatch of December 30 he regrets to be late in sending the information, due to the discomfort caused by the earthquake. An element to be considered is that he does not mention the earthquake and its effects in his successive dispatches: such an element allows to presume that the December 22, 1690 earthquake did not influence the normal life of the town of Ancona for a long time.
Venetian governors and representatives have been proved to be interested observers and earthquake reporters: original documents and information have been found on all the earthquakes about which priority research has been carried out. These results mainly suggest the effectiveness of the preliminary investigation on the archive structure and on the peculiar characteristics of each type of document.
The retrieved records cover a wide range of earthquake effects, from detailed descriptions of damage to precise information on earthquake perception. Rather obviously, documents produced by Venetian governors in charge of administering peripheral territories inform central magistracies of the consequence of destructive earthquakes: from emergency intervention to surveys on damage to public properties (churches, fortresses, governor residence, and so on). This aspect is documented by the case of Chiusa fortress in occasion of the 1690 earthquake, and in a more extended way by the Ionian Islands earthquakes. But the "good government" attitude of Venetian governors is such that, in occasion of very destructive earthquakes (e.g. Cephalonia, 1767), damage to private buildings is also reported, thus giving a more complete picture of the earthquake effects. It is instead less obvious that records of mere perception should be so precise: concerning Ionian Islands earthquakes, a good amount of records have been found both on foreshock and on aftershocks.
It is worth to stress that differences in the type of information seem also to depend on the type of document that supplies the information. The rich information above described is rather different from the essential and meagre details on earthquake effects, mostly referred to the localitywherethe Venetian officer resided, found in dispatches written by consuls and ambassadors. In these documents, information on damage (e.g. Ancona, 1690; Livorno, 1742) or mere perception (Livorno, 1742, Valais, 1755) are not treated differently.
The general observations here proposed concern the entire research carried out at the State Archives of Venice. However, it has to be stressed that such observations do not depend only on the results - presented in this paper - about Eastern and Central Alps earthquakes. A substantial part of the research has been devoted to earthquakes in the Ionian Islands from 1704 to 1769: because of the peculiarities of the materials retrieved on these earthquakes, it seemed more convenient to present the results in an another paper (Albini et al., 1993).
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ASVe, 1690d. Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia, Dispacci, Consoli, Ancona, b. 614 (1678-1704): Dispaccio del Console, Ancona, 30 dicembre.
ASVe, 1694-1780. Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia, Dispacci, Consoli, Cadice, b. 635.
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ASVe, 1713-1773. Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia, Dispacci, Consoli, Lisbona, b. 694.
ASVe, 1743. Collegio, Risposte di Fuori, f. 490 (marzo 1743-febbraio 1744): Risposta alla supplica del convento di San Francesco di Zante, Venezia, 25 maggio.
ASVe, 1755. Senato, Dispacci, Ambasciatori e Residenti, Spagna, f. 168 (agosto 1754-marzo 1757): a) Dispaccio n. 44 dell'Ambasciatore, Madrid, 4 novembre; b) Dispaccio n. 45 dell'Ambasciatore, Madrid, 11 novembre; c) Dispaccio n. 49 dell'Ambasciatore, Madrid, 16 dicembre.
ASVe, 1755d. Senato, Dispacci, Ambasciatori e Residenti, Germania, f. 261 (luglio 1754-dicembre 1755): Dispaccio n. 164 dell'Ambasciatore, Schönbrunn, 6 dicembre.
ASVe, 1755. Senato, Dispacci, Ambasciatori e Residenti, Francia, f. 244 (luglio 1755-maggio 1756): e) Dispaccio n. 236 dell'Ambasciatore in Francia, Parigi, 23 novembre; f) Dispaccio n. 239 dell'Ambasciatore, Parigi, 14 dicembre.
ASVe, 1755g. Senato, Dispacci, Ambasciatori e Residenti, Inghilterra, f. 112 (luglio 1754-luglio 1756): Dispaccio n. 64 del Residente, Londra, 4 dicembre.
ASVe, 1755. Senato, Dispacci, Ambasciatori e Residenti, Torino, f. 9 (gennaio 1755-giugno 1756): h) Dispaccio n. 151 del Residente, Torino, 6 dicembre; i) Dispaccio n. 152 del Residente, Torino, 13 dicembre.
ASVe, 1755m. Senato, Dispacci, Ambasciatori e Residenti, Napoli, f. 138 (luglio 1754-giugno 1756): Dispaccio n. 150 del Residente, Napoli, 9 dicembre.
ASVe, 1755o. Senato, Decreti, Corti, reg. 132 (marzo 1755-febbraio 1756), c. 289r: Lettera del Senato al Re di Portogallo, Venezia 27 dicembre.
ASVe, 1756. Senato, Dispacci, Ambasciatori e Residenti, Spagna, f. 168 (agosto 1754-marzo 1757): Dispaccio n. 54 dell'Ambasciatore, Madrid, 3 febbraio.
ASVe, 1766. Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia, Dispacci, Consoli, Lisbona, b. 694 (1713-1773): Dispaccio del Console, Lisbona, 11 novembre.
ASVe, 1768. Deputati ed aggiunti alla provvision del denaro pubblico, Scritture, reg. 119 (settembre 1766-aprile 1768): a) Scrittura, Venezia, 28 gennaio, cc. 144r-145v; b) Scrittura, Venezia, 12 aprile, cc. 183r-184r; c) Scrittura, Venezia, 28 aprile, c. 191v.
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ASVe, 1768f. Cinque Savi alla Mercanzia, Dispacci, Consoli, Patrasso, b. 729 (1765-1794): Dispaccio n. 6, Patrasso, 27 dicembre.
ASVe, 1769. Deputati ed aggiunti alla provvision del denaro pubblico, Scritture, reg. 121 (agosto 1769-dicembre 1770): Scrittura, Venezia, 29 dicembre, c. 70v.
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