Siege of Shkodra
The fourth Siege of Shkodra of 1478–79 was a confrontation between the Ottoman Empire and the Venetians together with the Albanians at Shkodra (Scutari in Italian) and its Rozafa Castle during the First Ottoman-Venetian War (1463–1479). Ottoman historian Franz Babinger called the siege "one of the most remarkable episodes in the struggle between the West and the Crescent".:363 A small force of approximately 1,600 Albanian and Italian men and a much smaller number of women:10–13 faced a massive Ottoman force containing artillery cast on site:134 and an army reported (though widely disputed) to have been as many as 350,000 in number.:160 The campaign was so important to Mehmed II "the Conqueror" that he came personally to ensure triumph. After nineteen days of bombarding the castle walls, the Ottomans launched five successive general attacks which all ended in victory for the besieged. With dwindling resources, Mehmed attacked and defeated the smaller surrounding fortresses of Žabljak Crnojevića, Drisht, and Lezha, left a siege force to starve Shkodra into surrender, and returned to Constantinople. On January 25, 1479, Venice and Constantinople signed a peace agreement that ceded Shkodra to the Ottoman Empire. The defenders of the citadel emigrated to Venice, whereas many Albanians from the region retreated into the mountains. Shkodra then became a seat of the newly established Ottoman sanjak, the Sanjak of Scutari. The Ottomans held the city until Montenegro captured it in April 1913, after a six-month siege.
Shkodra, also known as Shkodër, Skadar, and Scutari, was both a strategic town and an important region of Albania Veneta. After being held by the Balšić (Balsha) noble family since 1355, Shkodra was taken by the Ottomans in 1393, retaken by Đurađ II Balšić in 1395, then ceded (along with the nearby fortresses of Drivast, Dagnum and Šas) to the Republic of Venice in 1396.:305
Sultan Mehmed II had already conquered Constantinople in 1453, but now desired to dominate the Albanian coastline and be better poised to cross the Adriatic and march upon Rome.:134 Scanderbeg had thwarted Ottoman success in Albania for a quarter of a century; his League of Lezha, a united front of Albanian forces which was formed in 1444 to resist the Ottomans, had collapsed in 1450. Scanderbeg died in 1468; nevertheless, Kruja and some northern Albanian garrisons were still holding with Venetian support.
The Venetians and the Ottoman Empire had been at war since 1463, the Ottoman Empire seeking expansion and the Venetians seeking to secure their trading colonies. Venice held and was arming a number of Albanian towns, including Shkodra, which it had taken in 1396:68 and renamed Scutari. By 1466 Venice considered Shkodra the heart and capital of Albania Veneta.:531
Shkodra was so important to the Empire’s aims that, shortly after the siege, Ottoman chronicler Ashik Pashazade called it "the hope of passage to the lands of Italy". The Ottomans attempted to take Shkodra in the siege of 1474. Sultan Mehmed II's commander Suleiman Pasha failed; therefore the Ottomans retreated and the sultan planned a more powerful offensive.
Meanwhile, Mehmed II had demanded that Venice surrender Kruja, Shkodra, and other Albanian towns in exchange for peace, and added leverage to this demand by instructing Iskender Bey, the sanjak bey of Bosnia to invade Friuli. Count Carlo da Braccio repulsed the invaders, but before returning to Bosnia, "the Turkish bands nevertheless did enormous damage and carried away large numbers of men and cattle." Despite these losses, Venice refused to yield to Mehmed II's demands to surrender Shkodra, being its "last bastion in the East".:360–361 In 1477 the Ottomans captured most of the nearby territory of Zeta together with Žabljak and defeated the main army of Ivan Crnojević late in 1477 or early 1478. Crnojević soon recovered Žabljak but held it only briefly while the Ottomans concentrated on their attack on Shkodra. Among the population of Shkodra there were people who were suspected to be connected to the Ottomans and who supported the surrender of the city.
The Republic of Venice was intent on defending Shkodra.:121 Expecting the new Ottoman attack, the Venetians prepared vigorously, sending their expert engineers to reinforce the fortifications according to the most modern techniques:614 and maintaining a garrison of about 800 mercenaries in the city. In late 1477, as the new Ottoman threat grew imminent, many Venetian mercenaries deserted Shkodra. Therefore the Venetian Senate finally approved the locals' requests for arms and gave permission for the recruitment of warriors from the surrounding villages.:612 The city of Shkodra would be defended by its strong walls and a mixed garrison of locals and the remaining Venetian mercenaries.
In the spring of 1478, Mehmed II dispatched both the beylerbey of Rumelia, Koca Davud Pasha, and the new beylerbey of Anatolia, Mustafa Bey, to Shkodra with the armies under their control. In his eyewitness testimony (book), The Siege of Shkodra, Shkodran historian Marin Barleti recorded that there may have been up to 350,000 Ottoman soldiers involved in the attack.:13 Ottoman chronicler Kivami wrote of 100,000 Ottoman soldiers in one attack alone. Venice wanted to aid the besieged and sent their galleys up the Bojana River from the Adriatic Sea, but they were prevented by an Ottoman blockade at Shirgj.:10
When the Ottomans approached Shkodra in May 1478,:362 Venetian commander Antonio da Lézze sent the women and children to the seaside villages,:41 but some women stayed behind to help the men. Approximately 2,000 people defended the castle from within,:10–13 whereas hundreds of Albanian men and youths from the region helped from without, making guerilla attacks on the Ottoman tent camps.:10:470–471 Forces of Ivan Crnojević, with Ragusan support, sailed over the lake and attacked Ottoman tents at night. Other notable figures in the defense of Shkodra were Friar Bartholomew of Epirus, who had fought alongside Scanderbeg before taking holy orders and gave rousing speeches to rally the defenders,:160:52–58 and Nicholas Moneta.:364
Rozafa Fortress and the Siege
The Rozafa Fortress was the focal point of the siege, the natural position and architectural reinforcements of which allowed the vastly outnumbered garrison to withstand bombardment and successive ground attacks by the besiegers. The castle (as it is sometimes called) was considered the central leg of a trivet (or tripod) including Zabljak, Drisht, and Lezhë. The city of Shkodra had been burned and rampaged by the Turks in 1467, so from that time the citizens had moved into the fortress for greater security.
The fortress was a natural bastion above Lake Shkodra, three rivers (Bojana, Drin, and Kir), and the Adriatic Sea; it was esteemed to have been "a kind of Thermopylae where the high mountains narrowed the passage between the lake and the sea". All faces of the fortress mount were recorded as being steep, but the northern face was least steep and more easily climbed. Ottoman chroniclers reported the difficulties of ascending the fortress mount.
Foreseeing siege warfare, in 1458, Venetian architects Andrea and Francesco Venier and Malchiore da Imola drew plans for the citadel’s reinforcements and a cistern system designed to collect rain water.:170 Additionally, the Venetians added a barbican and extra gate to reinforce what they (correctly) forecast to be the main point of conflict.:166 In the failed Ottoman siege of 1474, the outer walls were damaged significantly.:336 According to Barleti's firsthand account, the citizens rebuilt the walls, but when they sensed that the Ottomans were approaching again with an even stronger attack, they constructed secondary fortifications and redoubts made of wood and earth.:47
In the Spring of 1478, Mehmed II sent out advance scouts and then his commanders to march on Shkodra, inducing panic across the countryside. On May 14, the first soldiers arrived in Shkodra: 8,000 Ottoman akinci led by Ali Bey, 4,000 horsemen led by Iskender Bey, and 3,000 horsemen led by Malkoch (Malkoçoğlu). The citizens intensified their work to fortify the citadel, adding secondary defenses in anticipation of seeing the outer walls demolished by the Ottoman cannonade. The Ottomans set fire to surrounding villages and many citizens of the Shkodra region fled to safer haven.:361–362
Five days later, the pasha of Rumelia, Davud Pasha, arrived and set up camp on the hill due north of the castle, known as "Pasha’s Hill," where much of the Ottoman cannonade would be positioned (at approximately the same altitude as the fortress). The defenders were stationed on all sides but concentrated their resources on the main gate area where the Ottomans focused their attack.:54–56, 78
Around June 5, Davud Pasha climbed St. Mark's Mountain (today’s Mt. Tarabosh, opposite the castle to the west) to survey the positions and strategize. Several days later, the pasha of Anatolia (Mustafa Bey) arrived bringing approximately 46,000 cavalry. On June 15, about 5,000 of the sultan’s janissaries came to prepare for Mehmed II’s arrival on July 1. Mehmed was in Kruja to conclude a year-long siege. Those in Kruja, dying of hunger, were given the choice of staying and submitting to Ottoman rule or withdrawing safely with their possessions. They chose the latter, but instead were "mercilessly beheaded".:363 By June 16, 1478, Kruja was finally under Ottoman control.
Ottoman soldiers continued to flow into Shkodra throughout the latter half of June.:39–51 Around June 18, a small delegation of Ottoman leaders demanded the Shkodrans surrender, offering peace and rewards if they chose to comply and threatening torture and execution if they chose to resist. On behalf of all the Shkodrans, Peter Pagnanus refused the offer with threats of his own.
On June 22, the first two Ottoman cannons were installed and began to fire on the city. By July 11, eleven cannons were being employed, as well as two mortars whose projectiles exploded upon impact. Babinger records artillery of enormous caliber and "incendiary rockets, balls of rags impregnated with wax, sulfur, oil, and other inflammable materials" being "used for the first time".:363–64 The besieged also had cannons of their own. The Shkodran priest Marin Barleti recorded a daily tally of incoming cannon fire, with the total reaching over 3,200 shots. Von Hammer gives a figure of 2,534 total shots.:565–66
On July 11, the sultan launched the first of five ground attacks. The climb proved difficult for the Ottoman soldiers, who were repulsed in every attack. On July 27, the Ottomans launched their fifth and final assault. Shkodran Jacob Moneta roused his ailing troops with a thrilling speech. The sultan climbed Pasha’s Hill to observe the battle. Determined to triumph, the sultan ordered heavy artillery fire simultaneous to the ground assault, resulting in at least three instances of devastating "friendly fire" upon the Ottomans. Incredibly, the Shkodran garrison held yet again. Barleti records that the arrows fired by the Ottoman archers were so copious that the Shkodrans used them for kindling to start fires—and needed no other kindling for an entire month. The Venetian historian Sabellicus reported anecdotal accounts from eyewitnesses inside the castle, such as: "a miserable cat, scared from her hiding place by the war-cries, fell pierced by eleven [arrow] shafts at once"
On July 30, the sultan gathered his general council desiring to plan a sixth ground attack, but was persuaded to halt attacks on the Shkodrans who, according to Ottoman historian Kivami, were fighting "like tigers on the mountaintops". The sultan accepted this counsel at the end of August and ordered his commanders to attack the smaller fortresses nearby who were aiding Shkodra. Žabljak, "where Ivan Crnojevic (1465–1490), 'lord of the Zeta,' had established his court, surrendered to the governor of Rumelia almost without a blow (not by Crnojević but by his cousin and small number of men). Drisht, however, ... resisted bravely,":365 but the Ottomans captured it easily on 1 September 1478, using their artillery. 300 captives from Drisht were taken to Shkodra and executed in the sight of the besieged.:165 Then the Ottomans marched on Lezhë but found it nearly completely abandoned; on the Drin River they captured two Venetian galleys with 200 sailors, who were taken near the walls of Shkodra and killed in front of the people of Shkodra. Mehmed II ordered bridges to be built on the Bojana River to prevent Venetian ships from coming to Shkodra’s aid via the Adriatic Sea. He ordered a siege force to remain in Shkodra—led by Gedik Ahmet Pasha and said to have contained between 10,000 and 40,000 soldiers:365—to starve the city into surrender.:135 Then, "disappointed at the outcome of his Albanian campaign, Mehmed started the return journey" to Constantinople, "with 40,000 men".:365
In November 1478, as the siege wore on and as the besieged had resorted to eating mice and rats, Antonio Da Lézze (the proveditore of the city) continued to appeal for help to the Signoria of Venice, which decided to send forces to lift the siege; four days later, however, the decision was reversed.:365 On January 25, 1479,:88–89 the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire signed the Treaty of Constantinople which ceded Shkodra to Mehmed II on the condition that the citizens be spared.:136 Venice did not include its ally Ivan Crnojević in this peace treaty; therefore Crnojević was forced to leave Zeta and find a haven in Italy. The treaty was ratified in Venice on April 25, 1479.:15 The Shkodrans in the castle had to choose between emigrating to Venice or dwelling under the rule of their enemies. Marin Barleti records that every citizen chose emigration. Babinger records that, after the 1479 peace treaty, the old Albanian families "such as the Arianiti, the Dukagjins, the Castriotas, the Musachi, and the Topias were obliged to take refuge in Naples, Venice, or northern Italy".:372 Many Albanians, however, did remain in their fatherland. Some espoused Islam:372 and some retreated deeper into the mountains and organized occasional uprisings, maintaining a "rigorous resistance" against the Ottomans until well into the seventeenth century. Both the besieged and the besiegers acknowledged both victory and loss. The Shkodran garrison indeed withstood the military assault, but they eventually lost and left the city; whereas the Ottomans indeed gained the city, but only after failing to conquer it by military force and sustaining significant casualties.
Franz Babinger claims that the Ottomans lost "12,000 of their best troops" on the attack of July 22 alone, then describes a further one-third of the Ottoman army being lost on July 27; the Shkodran garrison is said to have lost 400 on July 22.:364 Ottoman historian Kemal Pashazade (1468–1534) recorded that "hundreds of the infidels and Muslims died each day and hundreds more escaped with wounded heads … swollen with lumps and craters like the surface of the moon.":213–215 Another Ottoman historian, Tursun (ca. 1426–1491), recorded "A great war unfolded and an unmerciful bloodshed that had never before been seen in history".:107 Marin Barleti recorded thousands of Ottoman casualties and hundreds of Shkodran casualties. Albanian historian Aleks Buda, in his analysis of Venetian chronicles of the event, concludes that of the approximately 1,600 Shkodran men and women who fought in the citadel, approximately 450 men and 150 women survived.:15
After the fall of Shkodra in 1479, the Ottomans effectively controlled the entire territory of Albania and could focus on advancing to Italy. Ottoman chronicler Ashik Pashazade (ca. 1400–1481) claimed "Shkodra has been conquered, a fortress near land and sea ... the hope of passage to Italy!":72 Indeed, the Ottomans would pass on to Italy in July, 1480, at the invasion of Otranto. So important was Albania to the Otranto invasion that Gedik Ahmet Pasha (the Ottoman army and navy commander) utilized it as a supply station and place of quick retreat. Goffman records a 1548 battle off the coast of Préveza in which an inferior Ottoman fleet led by Barbarossa routed Andrea Doria’s Catholic galleys largely because of the fresh reinforcements coming from the Ottoman-controlled Albanian shores. Thirty-six of Doria’s vessels were captured, whereas Barbarossa lost none.
In Shkodra and other parts of northern Albania, the Ottomans transformed churches into mosques and promoted conversion to Islam. According to the Albanologist Robert Elsie, an estimated thirty to fifty percent of the population of northern Albania eventually converted by the early seventeenth century. They "converted … not for theological reasons, but primarily to escape oppression and the harsh taxes". Franciscan missionary activity helped to stem this tide; nevertheless, conversions "continued unabated throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries".
Shkodra became an administrative and military center known as a sanjak, until 1867 when it merged with the sanjak of Skopje to form the Vilayet of Shkodra. In 1912, Albania declared independence from the Ottoman Empire, procuring the favor of the London Conference of Ambassadors.
Art and Literature
The siege of Shkodra is depicted in several works of European literature and art. The façade of the former School of the Albanians in Venice contains a relief created by an unknown sculptor and placed there in 1532 (it has been erroneously attributed to Vittore Carpaccio). Sultan Mehmed II is depicted with his Grand Vizier below a cliff on which the Rozafa Castle is perched. The hero commanders of both the 1474 and 1478 battles — Antonio Loredan and Antonio da Lézze—are honored by the inclusion of their coats-of-arms. The Latin inscription means: “The people of Shkodra put up this everlasting monument of their outstanding loyalty toward the Republic of Venice and of the Venetian Senate’s extraordinary beneficence.”
In 1503, Marin Becikemi wrote and published a panegyric about the siege, in praise of the Republic of Venice.
In 1504, Marin Barleti's The Siege of Shkodra (De obsidione Scodrensi) was published in Venice. It is a firsthand account the siege presented to the Venetian Senate. It was republished several times and translated into other European languages in the sixteenth century (and later into Albanian and English). In 2018 Venetian scholar Lucia Nadin discovered a manuscript of Marin Barleti, dated ca. 1500, presumed to be the original manuscript of De obsidione Scodrensi (scholars have begun to study this manuscript).
- Shpuza, Gazmend (1969), "Lufta per mbrojtjen e Shkodrës në vitet 1474 dhe 1478–1479" in Konferenca e Dytë e Studimeve Albanologjike, Instituti i Historisë dhe i Gjuhësisë, p. 214,
Porse interesimi dhe angazhimi i Venedikut për mbrojtjen e Shkodrës përcaktoheshin vetëm nga interesat e ngushta të Republikës. Të vetmit që ishin të interesuar për ta mbrojtur deri në fund Shkodrën qenë shqiptarët."
- Zamputi, Injac (1969), Dokumenta të sheullit XV për historinë e Shqipërisë, Instituti i Historisë dhe i Gjuhësisë, pp. 33–34,
El se rosono de soa libera volonta ne la cita de Scutari 350 Albanesi del contado de la dicta terra i qual romaxeno nel assedio, tra i qual ne sono rimasti solamente 110 vivi, la probita, gagliardia, constantia, virilita e fede de i qual non e necessario explicar, che la esperientia ne ha ben dechiarita e mostrata (from Venetian Archive Arch. St. Ven., Sen. Mar, R° 11, c. 22).
- Barletius, Marinus (1504). De Obsidione Scodrensi (in Latin). Venice: Bernardinus Venetus de Vitalibus. pp. 58–59.
Ex quo rerum periti, & qui alias cum ipso Meumethe militauerant, censuerunt ccc.[trecenta] & quinquaginta millia Barbarorum in castris fuisse. Quae tam innumera pene multitudo fidelissimos Christianos ad contemplationem & admirationem sui traxit.External link in
- Bešić 1970, pp. 314, 315
Говорећи о турским снагама, хроничари, по обичају, наводе огромне бројке, које достижу 150.000, па чак и 300.000 војника. Помињу и 10.000 камила. Може се претпоставити да је ту било неколико десетинахиљада бораца...Отприлике у исто вријеме султан је напустио бојиште. Повео је са собом већи дио војске, тако да је, према хроничарима, остало око 8.000 људи да чувају заузете положаје и наставе са опсадом
- Babinger, Franz. Mehmed the Conqueror and His Time. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1978.
- Buda, Aleks. "Hyrja" published in Barleti, Marin. Rrethimi i Shkodrës. Tiranë: Instituti i Historisë, 1967.
- L. Nadin, Migrazioni e integrazione. Il caso degli Albanesi a Venezia (1479-1552), Bulzoni, Contesti Adriatici
- Archives of Venetian Senate, Sen. Mar, Rº 11, c. 22, 08 May 1479. Documented in Zamputi, Injac. Dokumenta të shekullit XV për historinë e Shqipërisë, vol. 4, pt. 1. Tirana: Akademia e Shkencave të Shqipërisë, 1967.
- Kemal Pashazade (ca. 1520) cited from Ibn Kemal, Tevarih-i al-i 'osman, def. VII (Ankara 1957), cited in Pulaha, Selami. Lufta shqiptaro turke në shekullin XV: burime osmane. Tirana: Universiteti Shtetëror i Tiranës, 1968. p. 207
- Kinross, John Patrick Douglas Balfour. The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire. New York: Harper Perennial, 2002.
- Von Hammer, Joseph. Geschichte des osmanischen Reiches, Grossentheils aus bisher unbenützten, Handschriften und Archiven. Pest: C.A. Hartlenben’s Verlage, 1828.
- Shpuza, Gazmend. “La Lutte pour la défense de Shkodër dans années 1474 et 1478–1479,” in Studia Albanica, VI, 1968, pp. 181–90.
- Elsie, Robert (2010). Historical Dictionary of Albania. The Scarecrow Press. pp. xxix. ISBN 978-0-8108-6188-6.
- Prifti, Kristaq, et. al. Historia e popullit shqiptar në katër vëllime, vol. 1. Tirana: Toena, 2002.
- Vickers, Miranda. The Albanians: A Modern History". pp. 8-9.
- Schmitt, Oliver (2009). Skanderbeg. Der neue Alexander auf dem Balkan. Verlag Friedrich Pustet. ISBN 978-3-7917-2229-0. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23.
- Pitcher, Donald Edward. An historical geography of the Ottoman empire from earliest times to the end of the sixteenth century. Leiden, Brill, 1972, .
- Schmitt, Oliver (translated by Ardian Klosi). Arbëria Venedike (1392-1479), Tirana: K&B, 2002.
- Ashik Pashazade (ca. 1480) cited in Pulaha, Selami. Lufta shqiptaro turke në shekullin XV: burime osmane. Tirana: Universiteti Shtetëror i Tiranës, 1968. p. 72
- Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994), The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest, University of Michigan Press, p. 600, ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5,
The second Ottoman wave of 1477 overran much of Zeta, taking Žabljak and the late in 1477 or early 1478 meeting and defeating John Crnojevićs main army.
- Ukrainian Quarterly Volumes 46-47, 1990, p. 72,
Ivan Crnojevic, a nephew of Scanderbeg, attacked Žabljak, which had fallen to the Ottomans in 1477, and recovered the fortress.
- Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994), The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest, University of Michigan Press, p. 600, ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5,
The Ottomans then concentrated their forces at Skadar.
- Bešić 1970, p. 313
Међу скадарским становништвом било је људи који су сматрали да град треба предати Турцима и на које се сумњало да с њима одржавају везе.
- Nadin, Lucia. Shqiptarët në Venedik: Mërgim e integrim 1479–1552. Tirana: Shtëpia Botuese "55", 2008.
- Srejović 1981, p. 409
Млечани су очекивали нов турски напад на своје градове у северној Албанији. У међувремену су поправљали зидине и набављали нове залихе хране, а у Скадар слали нове најамнике у жељи да их у сваком тренутку буде око осам стотина.
- Schmitt, Oliver (2010). Ben Andoni (ed.). "Skënderbeu duhet ri-interpretuar". Revista MAPO. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
Shkodra nuk ishte shembulli i një qyteti, që e ruante garnizoni venedikas, por është mbrojtur nga vetë popullsia lokale dhe nga mercenarët venedikas. (Shkodra was not an example of a city that was guarded by the Venetian garrison, but it was defended by the local population itself and by Venetian mercenaries).
- Pulaha, Selami (ed.). Lufta shqiptaro-turke në shekullin XV. Burime osmane. Tiranë: Universiteti Shtetëror i Tiranës, Instituti i Historisë dhe Gjuhësisë, 1968
- Barleti, Marin. Rrethimi i Shkodrës. Tiranë: Instituti i Historisë, 1967,
- Srejović 1981, p. 410
Уз помоћ Дубровчана људи Ивана Црнојевића су крстарили језером и ноћу нападали турске шаторе. Иванов син је у свом завештању из 1499. године навео како је његов отац "цара против себе разјаривао и храну му отимао"
- Kivami (Ottoman Chronicler, ca. 1426–1491), cited in Pulaha, Selami (ed.). Lufta shqiptaro-turke në shekullin XV. Burime osmane. Tiranë: Universiteti Shtetëror i Tiranës, Instituti i Historisë dhe Gjuhësisë, 1968
- Kamsi, Vili. "Shtrirja e qytetit të Shkodrës në kohën e lashtë dhe të mesme" in Monumentet: materialet e sesionit III të institutit të monumenteve të kulturës, 11. Tirana: Instituti i Monumenteve të Kulturës, 1967. p. 122.
- Ceka, Neritan. The Illyrians to the Albanians in the Dawn of Albanian History. Tiranë: Migjeni, 2006
- Barletius, Marinus (1967), Rrethimi i Shkodrës, Tirana: Instituti i Historisë, pp. 63, 140,
Dhe në të vërtetë kjo qytezë, për natyrë që ka, bie krejt thik nga të katër anët me pëijashtim të asaj ane që asht nga veriu, aty zbret si të thuesh me nji farë pjerrësie dhe aty afer, me distancë sa hjedh nji shigjetë, ndodhet nji kodër plot vneshta e ullishta ... Pastaj ne na mbron vetë pozicioni i vendit që vjen shumë nalt e thik. Atyne, tue u ngjitë përpjetë, do t'u dridhen e do t'u kputen kambët, do t'u dalë shpirti, do t'i kapë frika sikur të ishin fëmijë, do të heqin mundim të madh për të ardhë këtu nalt, sepse kodra asht mjaft e rrëpinët.
- Tursun (ca. 1426-1491), text cited in Pulaha, Selami. Lufta shqiptaro-turke në shekullin XV. Burime Osmane. Tirana: Universiteti Shtetëror, 1962, p. 105.
- Kamsi, Vili. “Kështjella e Shkodrës dhe Restaurimi i Saj” in Monumentet, 1 (ed. Gani Strazimiri). Tiranë: Ministria e Arsimit dhe e Kulturës, 1971
- Barleti, Marin (trans. Henrik Lacaj). Rrethimi i Shkodrës. Tirana: Instituti i Historisë, 1967.
- Barletius, Marinus (1504), De obsidione Scodrensi, Venice: Bernardino de Vitalibus, p. 122,
... prae sagittis infixis cernebantur: adeo, ut Scodrenses per integru mensem nullis aliis lignis ad conficiendos ignes usi sint...
- Smedley, Edward (1832), Sketches from Venetian History, New York: J. & J. Harper, pp. 134–135
- Bešić 1970, p. 315
Сулејман је повео чамцима преко језера јаничаре и азапе на Жабљак. Тамо нису ни затекли Ивана Црнојевића. Тврђаву је бранио неки његов рођак с малим бројем људи, који нису ни помишљали да се одупру турској сили.
- Bešić 1970, p. 315
Анадолски беглербег Мустафа кренуо је најприје на Дриваст,који је пред артиљеријском ватром 1. септембра 1478. год. лако пао.
- Bešić 1970, p. 315
Затим је узео Љеш, у коме више готово никога није ни било. На Дриму је заробио двије млетачке галије, покупио с њих двјеста морнара, довео их под скадарске зидине и наредио да се ту сасијеку пред очима уплашених Скадрана.
- Božić, Ivan (1979), Nemirno pomorje XV veka (in Serbian), Beograd: Srpska književna zadruga, p. 129, OCLC 5845972,
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