Ginestra: «Archeology» Of The Name
The paper deals with the historical and cultural circumstances of the appearing of two anchorages: Ginestra (Greenweed) and Flordelise (Lily) in the place of today’s Odessa at the beginning of XIV century. These flowers were the heraldic emblems of the related royal houses of Plantagenet and Capetian, which the French king Louis X attempted to unite in 1234 by creating the Order of the Broom-cod (L’ordre de la Cosse de Genêts). The anchorages were founded by the Knight of the Order, one of the leaders of the Catalan Company of the East (1303-1311), knight and condottiere Bernat de Rocafort, as the outposts on the western frontiers of the Christian world against the Golden Horde.
Rocafort was the sword-bearer of the King of Naples Charles II the Lame, that time the Grand Master of the Order of the Broom-cod, and was knighted by him during the War of the Sicilian Vespers (1282-1303). After the end of the war, he, together with his Catalan and Aragon mercenaries (Almogavars), in 1304 joined the Catalan Company, which was hired by the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos II to combat the Turks and Bulgarians. Initial successes in that struggle did not last long, because gradually impoverishing empire could not pay for the services of the mercenaries. As a result, the Catalan Company swiftly turned into the unbridled robbery of the civilian Greek inhabitants, which it had to protect. Almogavars under the command of Rocafort became notorious for their exceptional cruelty, atrocities, robberies and looting.
Other mercenaries at the Byzantine service were the Black Sea Alans, who previously served tumen leader Nogai and his son Chaka. After the death of Nogai, they offered their services to the Byzantine Empire. And they feuded with the Catalan Almogavars. Those Alans asked the Bulgarian Tsar Theodore Svetoslav to protect them from Almogavars. In order to save the Alans, the tsar offered Rocafort to marry his sister Helena, who was the widow of Chaka, the son of tumen leader Nogai, and also the former domain of Nogai in the Northern Black Sea region. Rocafort accepted the offer and in the summer of 1306 he founded two maritime settlements to the east of the Dniester: Ginestra and Flordelise, giving them the names of the flowers of Greenweed and Lily, the heraldic emblems of his knightly order. However, Svetoslav reconciled with the Byzantines and canceled the engagement. Rocafort had to return to the Company, at the head of which he got to grips for the Duchy of Athens. But he was captured by his own almogavar mercenaries and sent to Robert the Wise, king of Naples, who starved him to death in his castle.