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Dear Homo Sapiens, There is no need to continue reading this page. What follows is intended for search engine robots and spiders and not necessarily for human beings. Further information concerning yachts cruising Turkish and Greek crossroads in the eastern Mediterranean may be obtained by clicking on the maroon links immediately above. Thank You. You may be searching for information concerning Homer's Odyssey. If so, Google has you close to the mark as Troy was and is located just above ancient Mysia on the map at left, and the route Odysseus took led him southwest in the Aegean Sea from Troy past the island of Lesbos off the coast of Mysia, the same Lesbos entrepot to half a million Syrians in 2015. Odysseus's route continued past Chios off Lydia to Lipsi, ancient Ogygia, where he was shipwrecked by a tempest and seduced by the siren Calypso for seven years. There is more to the Odyssey, of course, but this web page is about neither Odysseus nor his Odyssey, but rather about the Sun Odyssey 54DS sailing yacht, DS signifying large cockpit or deck salon. This page in order to attract Google attention also deals with a chapter in eastern Mediterranean history from the 1267 birth at Brindisi on the heel of the Italian boot of one of the two pre-eminent seamen of his era until chapter-end with his 1305 death at Adrianople, now Edirne in European Turkey. At that time he was acclaimed throughout the Mediterranean as the pre-eminent general of his era. His name was Roger de Flor. Not coincidentally, Roger de Flor sailed our waters and marched our shores. He sailed the furthest extremities of the Odyssey's route coming and going, and he put in to or lurked off of every medieval port of consequence in the eastern Mediterranean. He also led the Grand Catalan Company on a triumphant march from one end of Anatolia to the other, from Thrace through Mysia, Lydia, Caria, Lycia, and Pamphylia to Cilicia and return. Roger de Flor was the son of a German soldier killed at the 1268 Battle of Tagliacozzo fighting against Charles I of Anjou and of the soldier's Italian wife from Brindisi made destitute at the same time. Brindisi and Marseille were then the major entrepots from which pilgrims and supplies were transported to the Holy Land. These ports were also sites of extensive properties belonging to both the Hospitaller Knights of St. John of Jerusalem and to The Order of the Temple, or Knights Templar, both mainstays of Christian might in the Crusader states of Outremer. At Brindisi one of many Templar oared-galleys took Roger de Flor on board as ship's boy at the age of 8. By the age of 15 he was said to be a master seaman versed in navigation and familiar with the sea and bordering land masses between Brindisi and Acre from Alexandria to Caffa on the Black Sea coast of what is now the Ukraine. At the age of 20 he took the Cistercian oath of poverty, chastity, and obedience as a Templar serving brother dedicating his life to protection of Christian poor and defenseless, and as a Templar friar sergeant accepted his brown mantle with red cross from Templar Grand Master Guillaume de Beaujeu. Demonstrative of both his marine and warrior credentials he was two years later given command of Il Falcone, the Order's largest galley, and with it engaged in holy war against Templar enemies and those doing business with Templar enemies. Consistent with his vow, though, he is said to have been merciful with Christian victims and to issue Templar IOU's in payment for Christian cargoes seized. In May of 1291 Il Falcone was one of several Templar vessels riding at anchor with many others in the harbor at Acre when the city was invested on the land side by Al Ashraf Khalil, Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. The city, headquarters of the Templars at the time, fell 43 days later. Resident Templars all lost their lives with the exception of the Order's treasurer and accompanying knights deputized to remove the Order's treasure to Sidon. Grand Master Guillaume de Beaujeu was among the dead. Roger de Flor, though, was not a resident Templar. He and all other ship captains, Templar and non-Templar alike, were in the end responsible for evacuation of non-combatants. During a temporary truce days before final collapse of the last redoubt, that of the Castle of the Templars, De Flor embarked hundreds of ladies and maidens standing on the beach begging for succor. From Acre he transported them to Chateau Pelerin less than 15 nautical miles down the coast, a Templar fortress to remain in Templar hands for another three months before its orderly evacuation. An accusation of apostasy already pending before the Order, De Flor was gone before the evacuation, having taken his Templar command to Limassol in Cyprus where his mistress and infant daughter dwelled, neither consistent with his Cistercian vow. He was soon accused before new Grand Master Thibaud Gaudin not only of apostasy but also of self-enrichment with monies and valuables wrung from his fleeting passengers, tried in secret in absentia at Nicosia, Cyprus, and convicted on both counts. An arrest-party was dispatched to the harbor at Limassol. Roger de Flor was gone, his mistress and child, too, warned by a friend privy to court proceedings. Having avoided arrest he left his command in Templar hands at Marseille and fled again with family to Genoa where he took service with Genovese acquaintances from Outremer. Genoa from 1270 to 1317 was dominated by anti-Vatican Ghibellines led by various Dorias and Spinolas, thus providing a haven for individuals fleeing Church or Temple. As a city of sea captains short on seamen, Roger de Flor disappeared into anonymity serving others. His decade at Genoa was a period when brothers Corrado and Lamba Doria were prominent in Genovese civil and naval affairs, and a period when Genoa was at war with Pisa and Venice while also exploiting the city's mercantile privileges with the Byzantine Empire, privileges obtained by supporting the Orthodox Empire in its 1261 recapture of Constantinople from a Venetian supported Latin Empire. At Constantinople the Genovese resided within a walled enclave and port at Pera, a city within a city similar to their lost enclave at Acre. Another Doria, Tedisio, was known to De Flor in consequence of that individual's merchant activity in Outremer and at Pera. Though Tedisio Doria was mostly a merchant and financier who had the year of De Flor's arrival financed the first recorded expedition seeking a sea route from Europe to India around the Cape of Good Hope, he was also a sea commander, an admiral, who in 1292 contributed 8 galleys to a 20-galley war flotilla which deployed to the eastern Mediterranean, and who again sailed to Cilicia and Cyprus in the period 1294-95 seeking mercantile and other opportunity. For nine years De Flor hired on with one or another Genovese galley hunting enemies of Genoa or laboring in the city's merchant marine. In this way he was re-introduced to the Byzantine court of Andronikos II Palaiologos which knew him from his Il Falcone and earlier years. He was later a part of the fleet of Lamba Doria which mustered every available Genovese merchant galley and employed five thousand mercenaries to destroy a larger Venetian fleet at the 1298 Battle of Curzola (Korcula), a battle which encompassed the capture of Korcula native Marco Polo commanding a Venetian galley. It was during Polo's imprisonment at Genoa that he dictated The Travels of Marco Polo. Two years after Curzola, De Flor obtained financing from Tedisio Doria and purchased the 130-foot two-masted merchant galley Oliveta with 25 oars to a side and equipped it for war with a crew of about 190 including oarsmen, sailors, marines, crossbowmen, and their commanders. In 1301 De Flor took his galley to Sicily and as had Corrado and Lamba Doria before him entered the service of ex-communicated Frederick II of Aragon, King of Sicily, at war with Charles II of Anjou, Vatican-backed King of Naples and offspring of the Anjou who had done in his father. His Templar and later reputation having preceded him, De Flor was immediately made a member of the king's household and soon made a vice admiral. That's him at left at about this time. During the ensuing year De Flor went from one successful naval engagement to the next, famously demonstrating his seamanship by taking ten galleys under reefed headsail through a Naples blockade of Messina during a violent storm when even the turn broadside to the wind through the Messina sea wall bordered on impossible. By this time eight of those galleys were his and the marines embarked were Almogavers from Aragon and Catalonia, the word Almogaver from al mughanir, Al-Andalus Arabic for raiders. Almogavers were unarmored and fleet-footed infantry carrying short javelins called dards, carrying as well a broad blade more like a cleaver and a fearsome reputation. De Flor at the time also employed a company of mounted Aragonese knights suggesting plans for a more ambitious undertaking and underlining his ability to recruit the high-born to serve under an individual of lesser pedigree. Peace came to Naples and Sicily a year after De Flor's arrival, and mindful of coming unemployment he dispatched ambassadors to the Byzantine court at Constantinople. He was ready to pass to the service of the emperor with his Almogavers and cavalry. And out of Latin Christendom where both incumbent Grand Master Jacques de Molay of the Templars and Pope Boniface VIII sought his arrest on the Acre convictions. He asked Andronikos II for the hand of royal niece Maria Asenina, daughter of deposed Bulgarian King Ivan Asen III and Irene Palaiologina, sister to Andronikos. He also asked for the title of megadux or grand duke with authority over all Byzantine military and naval forces, to be quartered among the supreme dignitaries of the empire, to exercise immediate command of his own Aragon-flagged flotilla, and for his men pay in advance for four months at twice the going rate. The latter was an example of loyalty down returned with loyalty up. The year 1302 had seen an acceleration in the decline and fall of Byzantium. That year the emperor's son and co-emperor Michael IX suffered an humiliating reverse in Anatolia when his generals refused to engage Turks near Magnesia on the Meander and from where he was forced to flee after much of his force deserted. Months later a Venetian fleet raided Constantinople for the third time in seven years, entering the Golden Horn, torching various harbor facilities, and then occupying the island of Prinkipo in the Propontis (Sea of Marmara). From there the Venetians threatened to make slaves of thousands of Greek refugees forced from Anatolia by advancing Turks unless the emperor submitted to extortion. Finally, in July a Byzantine force largely comprised of mounted Alan mercenaries was defeated outside of Nicomedia, modern Izmit, by the ghazi tribe of Osman I, founder of an emirate that would become the Ottoman Empire. Andronikos accepted De Flor's terms. The ambassadors returned to Sicily in April 1303 and a call for volunteers was immediately issued. De Flor's force, the Grand Catalan Company, sailed in August with 18 galleys and 2 ships De Flor's personal property plus 16 vessels chartered mostly from the Genovese, the total carrying 1,500 hired cavalry without horses, 4,000 Almogavers and their captains, 1,000 hired seamen, existing squadron crews, plus families in the multitude including his daughter and, it is said, the love of his youth, his daughter's mother, the total approaching 10,000 persons. En route the oarsmen chanted a three-verse ditty the first verse of which goes: He can manage the steed, he can handle the sail, He can guide through the battle, and steer through the gale; He is fearless and peerless at sea and on shore, And he woos as he wars, does bold Roger de Flor. Huzzah for the Catalan, Roger de Flor! He was of course a Catalan only at heart but no Catalan seems to have minded. A book-length epic poem entitled Roger de Flor was later written by Juan Nepomuceno Justiniano y Arribas and is available in Spanish from Amazon. Simply click on the link. Along the way to Constantinople De Flor's force sacked the Greek island of Corfu then ruled by Neapolitan Anjous, his final evening of the Anjou-De Flor score. The Grand Catalan Company arrived at Constantinople in September where it was received by the co-emperors with all due honors as depicted at right. De Flor was wed to 16 year old Princess Maria at Blachernae Palace within a week. Within a month he had taken his 1,500 cavalry and 4,000 Almogavers across the Hellespont to Artaki on the Cyzicus Peninsula. A Greek national force was then besieged at Pegae 30 miles to the west by nomad Karesi Turks with nearby families and possessions. De Flor immediately took action, moving against the Turkish horsemen, his Almogavers striking with their short javelins. Seemingly unaccustomed to infantry on cavalry combat, the Turks suffered enormous losses fighting to protect their families. Five thousand lost their lives according to the lowest estimate, against insignificant Catalan losses. The winter was then passed with the Catalan Company quartered among resident Greeks on the Cyzicus Peninsula, including De Flor, his bride, his recently widowed mother-in-law, and his daughter then also about 16 years of age who had been promised in marriage to his Marshal and Seneschal Corberan d'Alet. His flotilla was dispersed among the Genovese controlled islands of Lemnos, Lesbos, and Chios. Accompanied by 500 Alans and by a larger number of Turcopoles (sons of mixed-race unions brought up as Christians) but with his family returned to Constantinople, De Flor set off the following Spring to the relief of Philadelphia, modern Alasehir. The largest Byzantine city in western Anatolia, Philadelphia was besieged by Turkish forces of the post-Seljuk, pre-Ottoman, tribe of Germiyan (Kutahya) numbering 8,000 horsemen and 12,000 others. Crossing Mysia De Flor paused at Biblical Assos to replace a governor who had fled before the Turks and at Pyrgos to levy taxes. Crossing Lydia he reached the River Cogamus where he was surprised and attacked at Germe, modern Yirce in Manisa Province. Surprise made little difference in the outcome. According to Spanish estimates, more than 18,000 Turks were left on the field. Losses among the Catalans amounted to 80 horsemen and 100 Almogavers. This outsize disparity while likely exaggerated was typical of all Catalan-Turk engagements and reflected De Flor's tactical use of high ground, retreat and turn, and judicious use of swift-footed infantry. The Emir of Germiyan then withdrew his remaining force from Philadelphia and De Flor re-garrisoned the city with Almogavers. During ensuing weeks De Flor did much the same at Sardis of Croesus fame, modern Sart in Manisa Province, and at Magnesia ad Sipylum, modern Manisa city. On the River Hermus like Sardis, Magnesia had prior to the recapture of Constantinople been the capital city of the Orthodox Byzantine Empire. From Magnesia he proceeded to Nymphaion, modern Kemalpasa in Izmir Province and like Magnesia ad Sipylum a principal administrative center of the Orthodox empire, and then to Tas Kule near modern Foca on the Gulf of Smyrna, and to Tire near Ephesus. At Tire he lost Corberan d'Alet in yet another lopsided victory over a Turkish contingent appearing in the vicinity. Ephesus itself was next and then Anaea, modern Kusadasi, where he made rendezvous with his fleet and stored the spoils of war. During a 15-day respite at Anaea De Flor appointed as his new Marshal and Seneschal the recently arrived Bernat de Rocafort who had joined the fleet at Chios with 200 cavalry and several hundred Almogavers coming from Sicily. From Tire to Anaea the Catalans had been intermittently harassed by tribal forces from Saruhan (Manisa) and Aydin augmented by Mentese Turks from the SW corner of Anatolia, and it was at Anaea that they attacked. On withdrawal the Turks left 3,000 dead against insignificant Catalan losses. Upon leaving Anaea De Flor took a route paralleling that of Alexander south to the heights above ancient Idyma and the Ceramic Gulf and thence to Lissa, an isolated and abandoned seaport in Mentese Turk territory between modern Dalaman and modern Gocek where he again made rendezvous with his fleet and there either embarked his entire force or took Alexander's path around Lycia to Side on the Gulf of Antalya. Side was then an abandoned city proximate to the Christian enclave at Antalya with long sandy strands ideal for beaching and servicing galleys. From Side, however, the going got tougher, a march of 250 torturous upland miles east to the Cilican Gates leading from the Anatolian Plateau through the Taurus Mountains into Cilician Armenia, the route of both Alexander and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa before him. There he was confronted by a host of Karaman and other Turks in August, a force again no match for the Catalans and a force again decimated. At this point Roger de Flor had military command of Anatolia. His victorious force in fact acclaimed him Liberator of Asia. Because of approaching winter, severe on the Anatolian Plateau at 3,000 feet and higher, De Flor turned back at the Cilican Gates rather than continuing into Christian Armenia. He had never intended entering Christian Armenia as his fleet awaited him where it had left him at Side. As his accompanying scribe Ramon Muntaner wrote, Roger de Flor was simply asserting his mastery of Anatolia. With one exception De Flor took the coastal route back whence he had come, each day his vessels close at hand. From Smyrna he detoured 40 miles inland to Magnesia ad Sipylum. It was there De Flor intended to establish the capital of his own fief in Anatolia, a fief within which he would be absolute ruler paying nominal deference to Constantinople. At Magnesia he received a summons from Andronikos. There had been fresh Bulgarian incursions into the empire by Tsar Totor Svetoslav resulting in the loss of Agathopolis on the Black Sea coast as well as a rout of co-Emperor Michael's Byzantines at the Battle of Skafida. De Flor returned to Constantinople. Svetoslav immediately came to terms; De Flor's fame had not for the first time preceded his arrival, an arrival from the only significant interruption in a tide of Turkish expansion into Anatolia since arrival of the Turks at Manzikert in 1071. Elevated to the rank of Caesar by an appreciative Andronikos and made Prince of Anatolia, Roger de Flor was murdered in May 1305 on the orders of an insecure Michael IX Palaiologos. Thus began eighty-four years of Catalan Revenge as in the Catalan on Greek depiction at left painted in 1856 by Catalan Mariano José María Bernardo Fortuny y Marsal during which the Greek nation paid time and again for co-Emperor Michael's treachery. Neither have the Greeks forgotten the terror sowed by a handful of Catalans throughout what is now Greece. The word catalan is a curse in Greek. Contact Charter Yachts Turkey today at firstname.lastname@example.org for a Sun Odyssey 54DS yacht cruising the crossroads of Turkish and Greek history.