At the end of the sixteenth century the Sultan of Turkey corresponded with Queen Elizabeth I of England. England had little interest in seeing the expansion of either Austrian or Russian interests at the expense of the Ottoman Empire and sought to further its own commercial interests by remaining in communication with the Sultan. In a letter from the Sultan to the Queen, the former wrote of how he expected the Queen to be “loyal and firm-footed in the path of vassalage and obedience …and to manifest loyalty and subservience” to the Ottoman throne. In its translation into Italian, the language through which the two powers communicated this was translated as “sincera amicizia.”
1422, June 5th, Verona. A single bead of perspiration slowly creeped down the nose of Paolo Bianco, a cartographer from Luca, as he drew dragons across vast undiscovered lands. Science had yet to discover that Matilda, his caged pet canary was the descendant of those prehistoric monsters. Paolo’s canary hated the name Matilda.