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Marino Sanudo the Elder, Secrets for Those Faithful to the Cross 3.11.3


Marino Sanudo the Elder of Torcello, from a wealthy and powerful Venetian family, was a statesman and geographer who spent much of his career from the late 13th century until his death in 1338 living and travelling abroad, particularly in the Peloponnese and Aegean islands, Cyprus and Cilicia, Constantinople, the Levant, and Egypt, but also in western and northern Europe. A learned and eloquent advocate for a new crusade to the Holy Land, he wrote the voluminous Secrets for Those Faithful to the Cross (Secreta fidelium Crucis), a strategic manual full of economic, military, and geographic detail as well as maps, and presented different versions of it to popes Clement V (in 1307) and John XXII (in 1321). This passage from Marino Sanudo’s account of the Holy Land relates how in 1208 a congress of leaders sought advice from Philip II of France on the marriage of the young Maria of Montferrat to secure the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Among the ambassadors was Aymar, the Lord of Caesarea.


Demum videntes barones regni Ierusalem Mariam puellam iam nubilem, convenientes cum Ierosolymitano Patriarcha ceterisque prelatis ac militibus, coeperunt de sponso perquirere qui sciret et posset regni iura tueri. Et tandem communiter deliberant ad Philippum regem Franciae transmittere, qui de homine apto provideat ad gubernandum ac defensandam residuum Terrae Sanctae quod remanserat Christianis. Nuntii quoque sollemnes ad hoc mittuntur episcopus Ptolomensis et Aymarus qui ratione uxoris dominus erat Caesareae MCCVIII. Per Massiliam igitur transeuntes in Franciam, legationis causam exponunt regi. Ille grate receptis nuntiis celeriter ait deliberatione praevia se nuntios expedire. 1

Textual Note

Ed. Bongars 1611

Corrigenda Note

Minor corr. (spelling, punctuation)


At last the barons of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, seeing that the girl Maria was now ready for marriage, meeting with the Patriarch of Jerusalem and other prelates and knights, began to search prudently for a husband with the knowledge and ability to safeguard the rule of the Kingdom. Finally they all agreed to send a message to Philip, King of France, who might provide a man suitable for governing and defending what was left of the Holy Land to the Christians. Sent for this purpose, besides official ambassadors, were the Bishop of Ptolomaÿs and Aymar, who was Lord of Caesarea by his wife, in 1208. Therefore, crossing into France through Massilia, they explained to the King the reason for their mission. When he had welcomed the ambassadors graciously, he quickly said that, according to earlier consultation, he would ready (his own) ambassadors. 2

Translation Note

Adapted from Lock 2011

Works Cited

  • 1 Marino Sanudo, Gesta Dei per Francos Sive Orientalium Expeditionum et Regni Francorum Hierosolimitani Historia 2: Liber Secretorum Fidelium Crucis Super Terrae Sanctae Recuperatione et Conservatione, ed. Jacques Bongars (Hanover: Wechelian, 1611), bk: 3.11.3, p: 205.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 Marino Sanudo, Marino Sanudo Torsello, The Book of the Secrets of the Faithful of the Cross: Liber Secretorum Fidelium Crucis, trans. Peter Lock, Crusade Texts in Translation 21 (London: Routledge, 2011), p: 325.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

How to Cite This Entry

Joseph L. Rife, “Marino Sanudo the Elder, Secrets for Those Faithful to the Cross 3.11.3,” in Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, entry published June 30, 2023,


Joseph L. Rife, “Marino Sanudo the Elder, Secrets for Those Faithful to the Cross 3.11.3.” In Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, edited by Joseph L. Rife., edited by Joseph L. Rife. Caesarea City and Port Exploration Project, 2023. Entry published June 30, 2023.

About this Entry

Entry Title: Marino Sanudo the Elder, Secrets for Those Faithful to the Cross 3.11.3

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Joseph L. Rife, general editor, Vanderbilt University
  • Joseph L. Rife, editor, Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia
  • David A. Michelson, Daniel L. Schwartz, and William L. Potter, technical editor, “Marino Sanudo the Elder, Secrets for Those Faithful to the Cross 3.11.3
  • Joseph L. Rife, entry contributor, “Marino Sanudo the Elder, Secrets for Those Faithful to the Cross 3.11.3

Additional Credit:

  • TEI encoding by William L. Potter
  • Electronic text added by Joseph L. Rife
  • Testimonia identified by Joseph L. Rife
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