“[In 1171] Vitale Michiel [Doge of Venice]… took his fleet to Chios… Plague broke out in the overcrowded ships and spread with terrible speed. By early spring thousands were dead.
(Footnote: Among them, so the story goes, perished all the surviving male members of the Giustiniani family – except one, a young monk in the monastery of S. Nicolò di Lido. Rather than allow so distinguished a line to die out, the Pope granted him temporary release from his vows. He left the monastery, married the Doge’s daughter and did what was expected of him; then, his posterity assured, he returned to the monastery. His wife waited for the children to grow up; later she too took the veil.)”
(John Julius Norwich, A history of Venice, 1982)
(Abbey of St Wandrille, Normandy, from a letter of Patrick Leigh Fermor, 1948)