Cigala, Giovanni Michele
Claiming to be son of the (in)famous Genoese turned Ottoman Grand Admiral Čigala-Zade Yūsuf Sinān († 1605) and to have decided to become Christian, Mehmet Bey / Giovanni Michele Cigala is one of the most interesting early modern European adventurers. Accepted as genuine by the Italian branch of the Cigala family, he was well received all over Western Europe. However, in England, he was denounced as “monstruos imposter” and “perfect Renegado”: the Ottoman prince was in fact a “Valachian Counterfeit”, as John Evelyn has put it. The considerable impact of his story is suggestive for the attitude towards renegates in special and to Islam in general in early modern Europe. When Cigala / Mehmet toured the princely courts of Western Europe, the War of Candia (1645-1669) was far from being over.