The occasion of his first coming into Portugal, arose from his attachment to a famous man of his name and family, named Columbus, long renowned on the sea as commander of a fleet against the infidels; insomuch that even in his own country his name was used to frighten young children. This man, known by the name of Columbus the young, to distinguish him from another great sea captain of the same name, was a person of great prowess, and must have commanded a goodly fleet, as he captured at one time four Venetian galleys, of such size and strength as I could not have believed unless I had seen them fitted out. Of this Columbus junior, Marc Anthony Sabellicus, the Livy of our age, says, in the eighth book of his tenth decade, that he lived at the time when Maximilian the son of the Emperor Frederick III. was chosen king of the Romans; and that Jerom Donato was sent ambassador from Venice to return thanks to John II. king of Portugal, for having relieved and clothed the crews of their great galleys so as to enable them to return to Venice. These galleys were returning from Flanders, when they were encountered and taken by the famous corsair Columbus junior, who stripped their whole crews and turned them ashore on the coast of Portugal.
The authority of so grave an author as Sabellicus, sufficiently proves the malice of Justiniani who makes no mention whatever of this incident, evidently lest the family of Columbus might appear less obscure than he was disposed to hold it out to the world. If in this he erred through ignorance, he is not the less worthy of blame for having undertaken to write the history of his country without making himself acquainted with so signal a victory, of which even the enemies of Genoa make mention. Even Sabellicus in his eighth book, mentions the great discovery of the admiral, though less obliged to inquire into it, but without adding the twelve lies which Justiniani inserted.
To return to the matter in hand. While the admiral my father sailed along with Columbus junior, which he long did, they received intelligence of four large Venetian galleys being on their voyage from Flanders, and going in quest of them, came up with them near Cape St Vincent on the coast of Portugal. A furious contest took place, in which the hostile vessels grappled with each other, and the crews fought with the utmost rage, not only using their hand weapons but artificial fire-works. The fight continued with great fury from morning till night; when the vessel in which my father was took fire, as did likewise a great Venetian galley to which she was fast grappled by strong iron hooks and chains. In this dreadful situation neither of them could be relieved, on account of the confusion and terror of fire, which increased so rapidly that all who were able of both crews leapt into the water, preferring that death to the torture of fire. In this emergency, my father being an excellent swimmer, and having the good fortune to lay hold of an oar,