Zakynthians in the Morean War (1684–1699)

The Morean War (or Sixth Ottoman–Venetian War) was fought between 1684 and 1699. The war’s theatre was very large, stretching from Dalmatia to the Aegean Sea, but the major flashpoint was the Morea (Peloponnese) peninsula. The island of Zakynthos did not experience the war on its soil but like most of Venice’s wars, Zakynthians fought on the side of Venice and Zakynthians held a number of leadership positions.

In January 1684, when the Venetian commander-in-chief Francesco Morosini assembled his forces, around 2000 Ionian Islands soldiers were recruited. There were six galleys from the Ionian islands of which three were from Zakynthos, captained by Agiselaos Sigouros, Nikolaos Logothetis and Constantinos Minotos. Eustathios Logothetis financed his own body of 150 Zakynthian soldiers, and Angelo De Negris from Zakynthos offered his services to Venice. In the meantime, the Venetians had sent the Zakynthian leaders, Pavlos Makris and Panagiotis Doxaras to the Mani Peninsula to ferment revolt. During the Siege of Santa Maura in August 1684, Zakynthian troops under Nikolaos Komoutos, Angelos De Negri and Ioannis Koutouvelis participated. The latter had armed his own galley of 80 men. The Venetians then crossed onto mainland Greece and captured several towns.

The Zakynthian noble Pavlos Makris led a force of 230 Maniots during the Siege of Coron (1685), and became the nucleus of a larger force that captured the castles of Zarnata, Kelefa, and Passavas. In 1687, Morosini instituted a blockade of the northern coast of the Morea, in which the Zakynthians Francisco and Stathis Vlastos, as well as Agisilaos Sigouros, took part. Other Zakynthian volunteers joined the land campaign of 1687, and fought at the Battle of Patras and the Siege of the Acropolis. These included Nikolaos Foskardis, Spyridon and Konstantinos Naratzis and Anastasios and Antonios Kapsokefalos and Konstantinos Kapnisis.