Chiara Zorzi

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Chiara Zorzi or Giorgio, also Clara or Claire (died 1454), was the second wife and widow of Nerio II Acciaioli, Duke of Athens, and regent for their young son Francesco I after Nerio's death in 1451.

She was the daughter of Nicholas III Zorzi, the titular margrave of Bodonitsa, and renowned for her beauty. After Nerio's death, she fell in love with the Venetian Bartolomeo Contarini, who murdered his wife in order to stay with her and marry her in Athens (1453). However, Mehmet II of the Ottoman Empire intervened at the insistence of the people on the behalf of the young duke Francis and summoned Bartolomeo and Chiara to his court at Adrianople.

Another Acciaioli, Francesco II, was sent to Athens as a Turkish client duke and Chiara thus deprived of her power in the city. Evidently, the citizenry had mistrusted the two lovers influence over the young duke, for whose safety they may have feared. The new duke had Chiara murdered at Megara, and Bartolomeo appealed to the sultan for justice. Athens was taken into Turkish hands and Francis II deposed.

References[edit]

  • Setton, Kenneth M. (general editor) A History of the Crusades: Volume III — The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries. Harry W. Hazard, editor. University of Wisconsin Press: Madison, 1975.
  • Setton, Kenneth M. Catalan Domination of Athens 1311–1380. Revised edition. Variorum: London, 1975.