Bertrand d'Ornesan

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Le Voyage du Baron de Saint Blancard en Turquie, by Jean de la Vega, after 1538.

Bertrand d'Ornesan, also Bertrand d'Ornezan, Baron de Saint-Blancard (d. 1540), was a French admiral in the service of King Francis I of France. He was general of the galleys of the Mediterranean (Amiral de la Flotte du Levant).

Bertrand d'Ornesan tried to establish a French trading post at Pernambuco, Brazil in 1531.[1]

In 1533 Bertrand d'Ornesan joined the Ottoman embassy to France (1533) going to meet Francis I.[2]

For about twenty years, he was a business partner of the Marseilles banker Madeleine Lartessuti, who financed his fleet and was reportedly also his lover. [3]

In 1537, Ornesan began a two-year involvement in operations with the Ottoman Empire under terms of the Franco-Ottoman alliance between Francis I and Suleiman the Magnificent, he led a fleet of galleys to Corfu to join the fleet of Barbarossa at the siege of Corfu, but finally failed to convince the Ottomans to participate in a proposed major expedition against Italy.[4] Saint-Blancard had left Marseille on 15 August with 12 galleys and arrived at Corfu in early September 1537.[4][5] Eventually Suleiman, worried by a plague among his troops,[6] decided to return with his fleet to Istambul by mid-September without having captured Corfu.[4]

The fleet of Saint-Blancard wintered in Chios until 17 February 1538,[7] it was decided that three ships would go to Constantinople, while the rest of the fleet returned to France. In Constantinople, they were received by the French ambassador Charles de Marillac.[8] Hayreddin Barbarossa provided for the expenses, and the French galleys finally left on 11 April 1538 to return to Nice through Monastir.[9]

Jean de la Vega, a member of his staff, wrote the account of his travels.[10]


  1. ^ R. J. Knecht, Renaissance Warrior and Patron: The Reign of Francis I p.375 [1]
  2. ^ Garnier, pp.73-74
  3. ^ Béatrice Craig, Women and Business since 1500: Invisible Presences in Europe and North America?
  4. ^ a b c Kenneth M. Setton, The Papacy and the Levant (1204-1571) p.431
  5. ^ Garnier, p.134
  6. ^ Garnier, p.138
  7. ^ Garnier, p.149
  8. ^ Garnier, p.150
  9. ^ Garnier, p.151-153
  10. ^ Musée d'Ecouen exhibit


  • Garnier, Edith L'Alliance Impie Editions du Felin, 2008, Paris ISBN 978-2-86645-678-8 Interview