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Tema: War of the Waves: The Battle of Lepanto, 1571

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    War of the Waves: The Battle of Lepanto, 1571

    War of the Waves: The Battle of Lepanto, 1571

    Lepanto was a historically significant naval confrontation in 1571 between the Ottoman Turks and a combined European Christian fleet, the so-called “Holy League,” comprised chiefly of sailors from Spain and the various Italian states, and led by Don John of Austria. Not since the ancient Battle of Actium between Octavian and Marc Antony had the Mediterranean witnessed such a pivotal clash on the seas. The European fleet, with close to 30,000 soldiers, was underwritten substantially by King Philip II of Spain. The Turks had already conquered the formerly impenetrable citadel of Constantinople in 1453, and under their venerated ruler Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottomans had unsuccessfully besieged Vienna in 1529 to present Europe with its greatest invasion threat since the Battle of Poitiers in 732 A.D. Ottoman sultans then sought to gain effective control of the Mediterranean shipping routes and port traffic, as a possible prelude to an amphibious invasion of Europe from the south. More immediately, the Ottomans aimed to oversee Mediterranean trade and extract corresponding tribute revenues from the rich commerce of the region residing at the bridge of three continents. The Holy League and the Ottoman fleet faced off in the waters off of Lepanto, Greece, in October for supremacy of the Mediterranean. The battle was notable for being a clash of the galleys, replete with the sort of single-volley and siege-and-grapple tactics that Philip would have to modify against England in the 1590s. Don John’s cleverness and adept improvising enabled the European sailors to consistently gain positional advantage over their Turkish adversaries, with the result that the Turks lost nearly 75% of their galleys and thousands of their most experienced sailors. In fact, the Holy League in many calculations boasted negative casualties on the balance sheet, since its sailors managed to liberate nearly 10,000 galley slaves from the Ottoman fleet who were then able to participate in further assaults against the Turks. Ironically, in the wake of such a seemingly devastating reversal, the Ottomans appeared oddly undaunted. They rapidly rebuilt their fleet under Selim II and proceeded to conquer Cyprus, while making further headway against other European and North African targets in the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, their plan to seize control of the Mediterranean ports and trade routes had been decisively thwarted.

    n Wes Ulm


    War of the Waves: The Battle of Lepanto, 1571

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    Re: War of the Waves: The Battle of Lepanto, 1571

    How the Rosary saved Christendom


    The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

    Here is but a small fraction of the victories directly obtained from God through the Holy Rosary:

    • The Battle of Lepanto which saved Rome and Vienna, and thus the Pope and the Emperor, from Moslem subjugation
    • The deliverance of Vienna by Sobieski
    • The victory given to Prince Eugene of Peterwardein
    • The raising of the siege of Corfu
    • The taking of Belgrade
    • The withdrawal from Soviet Troops from Austria on Oct. 26, 1955
    • The deliverance of Brazil from Communism in 1964

    In this article, we will focus only on the first on the list, that of the Battle of Lepanto.
    The Battle of Lepanto, painting by Andries van Eertvelt

    When Saint Pius V ascended the throne of Saint Peter early in 1566, Christendom faced extreme peril. The Huguenots had been waging a particularly violent war in France since 1562; the Spanish Netherlands exploded in revolt later in the year; England, having gone from schism to heresy, was openly assisting all the anti-Catholic forces; but the greatest danger came from the constricting tentacles of Muslim aggression throughout Europe and the Mediterranean.
    Don Juan of Austria, the supreme commander of the Holy League against the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto.
    The defense of Malta understandably raised Christian spirits, but it was only a defensive action. The powerful Ottoman fleet, still intact, continued to raid Christian lands. The year after that strategic triumph, Ali Pasha, who commanded the naval forces in Malta, captured Chios, the last Genoese position in the Eastern Mediterranean and through treachery murdered the ruling Giustiniani family. Then for three days the Mohammedans roved over the island, massacred all the inhabitants and destroyed everything Catholic. Two boys in the Giustiniani family, aged ten and twelve, were martyred. The younger boy, almost cut to pieces, was told to hold up one finger if he wished to apostatize and live. He clenched his fists so tight that they could not be opened even after death.
    Some months later, Suleiman led another of those huge armies—always at his disposal—of 200,000 men and 300 cannons up the Danube River Valley toward Vienna. But instead of focusing on his main objective, he allowed himself to be distracted by a minor irritant in southwestern Hungary. The small, walled town of Szigetvar and its Croatian overlord, Count Zriny, who was cut from the same cloth as Skanderbeg, continued to resist occupation. Like most tyrants, Suleiman would not accept what he saw as insulting behavior and so deviated from his original plan. After losing several weeks just transporting his cumbersome equipment over difficult terrain, he was tied down another five weeks by the heroic resistance of the Hungarians. Zriny died leading a final charge with a sword in his hand and praise of Jesus on his lips. However, Suleiman could not enjoy any satisfaction from his misdirected effort, for he had died the night before. Vienna would have to wait for another day. Selim II, known as the Sot because of his drinking habits, took over the throne in Constantinople, having already eliminated all rivals in his family, and plotted the next attack on Christianity.
    The Pope of the Rosary

    From the moment of his elevation, Saint Pius V, through his experience and extraordinary vision, not only recognized the grave peril to Christendom but also saw the solution; the Ottoman power could be broken solely by means of a crusade; and crusades are won not only on the battlefield but also in the spiritual life, that is, on the supernatural level. Spain and Venice, as we shall see, viewed the Turks as a threat to their material welfare—as indeed they were—but the holy Pope also saw them as a threat to the order that God Himself placed in the world and for that reason employed the weapons of spiritual warfare.
    Saint Pius V increasingly asked for more prayers from pious Catholics, especially from the monks and nuns in their cloisters. If he asked for more sacrifices from others, he certainly intended to carry his portion of the burden by doubling his accustomed exercises of piety and mortification. A devotion to which he gave special attention was the Rosary, so much so that he was called the “Pope of the Rosary.”(1)In fact, the great saint secured the uniformity of recitation of the Hail Mary through a Papal Bull published in 1568.
    Maps showing the positions of the Christians (red) and of the Turks (black) in the naval battle off the coast of Greece at 10:30 a.m. and noon.
    The Holy League

    While Saint Pius V was trying to organize an effective alliance against the increasing danger, another Muslim provocation illustrated the precarious situation. During the Christmas season of 1568, the pent-up hatred of the “converted” Moors, known as Moriscos, burst forth in all its massive cruelty. Savage tortures were employed against their victims before they were violently dispatched, especially against humble village priests and their altar boys. If they called on Jesus or His Blessed Mother for strength, their tongues were cut out or their mouths were loaded with gunpowder and ignited. These descendants of the invaders who had nearly destroyed Christian Spain during an occupation lasting eight centuries again drenched the country in blood.
    Ferdinand Braudel in his acclaimed work on the Mediterranean(2)remarked that there was no doubt about the links between the Spanish rebels and the corsairs of Algeria, the latter being staunch allies of the Turks. The Barbary pirates brought men, ammunition, and weapons to the southern Spanish coast and took Christian prisoners as payment, thus introducing another thread in the noose strangling Catholic Europe.
    Initial attempts to subdue the well-organized revolution met with failure until Don Juan of Austria was placed in overall command. A soldier who possessed all the extraordinary abilities of leadership, including judgment and courage, he vigorously and relentlessly pursued a campaign that destroyed the enemy strongholds and brought the survivors to their knees. Meanwhile, all the courts of Europe were informed that extensive preparations for greater aggression were visibly under way at Constantinople.
    Only a saint who lived daily in God’s presence and His benevolent power could have assessed the seemingly insurmountable difficulties of forming an anti-Turkish league and then going forward with such energy and tenacity.(3)Saint Pius V repeatedly sent out requests to the counts of Europe to join the crusade; yet, one treacherous or indifferent monarch after another excused himself. Spain, which could be motivated by Catholic considerations, and the Republic of Venice, whose territories were most vulnerable, did not refuse; nevertheless, they sent evasive replies.
    Spain, alone among the Europeans, was willing to contribute its resources in men and material, although it had difficulty in seeing beyond its narrow interests. On the other hand, Venice, basically unreliable in any idealistic cause, was willing to fight only when its commercial interests were threatened. Yet Saint Pius V was finally able to bring the greatest power in Europe and the possessor of the largest fleet in the Mediterranean to the bargaining table.
    Once there, the skillful and occasionally duplicitous negotiators, mutually distrustful and desirous of financial advantage, began to haggle over every possible issue. Throughout the long, agonizing months, the Pope’s overpowering personality swept aside all obstacles to force a decision. Although sick and in constant pain, the indomitable Pontiff finally concluded an agreement with the two shortsighted governments in March 1571.
    According to the treaty, the choice of its supreme commander was reserved for the Pope. Behind his sumptuous chapel adorned with gold cloth and silver vessels was a bare, miserable oratory where the Dominican monk would go in the early morning hours to pray unobserved. Prostrated on the cold stones before a crucifix and with deep groans, the holy monk appealed to God for guidance. The Pope then went into the rich chapel to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. When he reached the Gospel of Saint John, he began to read, “Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomem erat Joannes!” (“There was a man from God whose name was John!”).(4)Turning his face toward the Virgin, he paused and realized that the commander of the crusade was to be Don Juan of Austria. The choice of this truly great crusader was of inestimable value, for the lack of competent leadership caused several scandalous failures during previous decades.
    Naval battle of Lepanto by Andrea Micheli

    The Battle of Lepanto

    In the middle of September, the largest Christian fleet ever assembled sailed out from Messina in Sicily to seek out and destroy the Muslim fleet commanded by the Sultan’s brother-in-law, Ali Pasha. Saint Pius V granted all members of the expedition the indulgences of crusaders. Not one of the 81,000 soldiers and sailors had failed to confess and receive Holy Communion.
    Lepanto

    The immense fleet moved eastward across the Ionian Sea in a file stretching out for nearly ten miles. Ten days later it arrived at Corfu off the northwestern coast of Greece. The Turks had ravaged the place the month before and left their usual calling cards: burned-out churches, broken crucifixes, and mangled bodies of priests, women, and children.
    Here the animosity between the Italians and Spanish that festered just below the surface almost erupted when the Venetian commander, the crusty, battle-scarred old Sebastian Veniero, hung four argumentative Spaniards from his yardarm. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. Don Juan wondered if the Christians would annihilate one another before the enemy was even sighted.
    Then word arrived: “Ali Pasha is in Lepanto!” A long thin body of water, known as the Gulf of Corinth, separates central Greece from the Peloponnesus, the southern peninsula. About a quarter of the way into the inlet from the west sits Lepanto, the fortified headquarters of the Turkish fleet.
    From Corfu the fleet worked its way down the northwest coast of Greece. On October 5 came the infuriating news that Christendom had suffered another cruel indignity from the Ottomans. Cyprus, the jewel of Venice’s far-flung island possessions, had been attacked the year before. The besieged capital, Nicosia, had fallen quickly, and its twenty thousand survivors had been massacred. The fortified city of Famagusta held out for another year due to the courageous leadership of Marc Antonio Bragadino, its governor. With no hope of relief in sight and starvation and disease reducing the population, Bragadino agreed to what appeared to be honorable terms and surrendered. In an act of unbelievable treachery, the Turkish general, three days later, hacked the Venetian officers to death. For the next week, Bragadino was horribly mutilated and then flayed alive.
    At sunrise on Sunday morning, October 7, the chaplains on each ship were celebrating Mass as the vanguard of the fleet cruised south along the coast, turned the corner at the headlands, and entered the Gulf of Corinth. Since dawn the Turks had been moving in their direction from the east, with the advantage of having the wind at their back. While the ships of the League maneuvered from file to line abreast, Don Juan, with crucifix in hand, passed by each galley shouting encouragement and was met, as he made his way through the line, with tremendous applause and enthusiasm. By using tact and understanding, and forcefulness when necessary, he had welded many disparate elements into a united fleet.
    The young crusader divided his force into four squadrons. On the left, he placed the soft-spoken but fierce-fighting Venetian Agostino Barbarigo. Don Juan led the central squadron, ably supported by Veniero and the papal commander, Marc Antonio Colonna. The cautious Gian Andrea Doria controlled the fate of the right wing. Only the Christians displayed their forces in such a way as to create a reserve squadron, and they had the good fortune of having this under the command of the Marquis de Santa Cruz, the Holy League’s most respected admiral.
    Although the Christian galleys were outnumbered, 274 to 208, they had superior firepower in cannon and harquebuses, while the Turks relied mostly on bows and arrows. By nine o’clock the two lines were fifteen miles apart and closing fast. Just before contact was made, the wind that had been favoring the Turks shifted around from the east to the opposite direction. The Christians drew first blood when their huge, though unwieldy, galleys fired many rounds of cannon shot with devastating effect. But because of their lack of maneuverability, the floating batteries quickly passed out of action.
    Alvaro de Bazan, first Marquis de Santa Cruz, commander of the reserve squadron of the Holy League. Painting by Andrea F. Phillips
    Barbarigo’s counterpart, Mohammed Sirocco, made a quick dash between the Venetian commander’s left wing and the shore line, hoping to swing around and trap Don Juan’s squadron from behind. Barbarigo quickly slid over and intercepted the Turks, but several galleys had slipped by and attacked him from the rear. When his squadron closed in to help, Barbarigo, standing in the midst of fierce struggle, lifted the visor of his helmet to coordinate their attack. An arrow pierced his eye; mortally wounded, he was carried below. However, his quick, self-sacrificing action had prevented Sirocco’s flanking movement. The Christian left then trapped the Muslim wing of fifty-six galleys against the shore and methodically destroyed it.
    The center of both lines bore down heavily on each other without any thought of subterfuge or trickery. The Muslims were yelling, screaming, and banging anything that would make noise. The Christians were in an ominous silence, weapons in one hand, rosaries in the other. Usually, the flagships stand off from the heat of battle, but not this time; both supreme commanders set a hard course for each other. Ali Pasha’s Sultana gained the initial advantage by ramming into the Reale up to the fourth rower’s bench. Don Juan grappled the two ships together and boarded. Instantly, a dozen Turkish ships closed in behind Ali Pasha, supplying him with thousands of janissaries. Veniero and Colonna hugged the Reale from either side. Reinforcements arrived from other galleys. Some two dozen ships became interlocked, thus forming a floating battlefield. The battle raged back and forth over the blood-soaked, carnage-strewn decks.
    Many in the Christian fleet performed magnificent acts of valor. The ferocious old Veniero stood at his prow in full view, firing shot after shot while his young servant reloaded. A Sicilian sergeant, rather than die of disease, jumped out of his sickbed, went on deck, and killed four Turks before dying from nine arrow wounds. The duke of Parma, companion to Don Juan and future military genius, jumped aboard a Muslim galley and cut down the first twelve men he faced.
    Finally, Don Juan, huge broadsword in one hand and an axe in the other, led an attack across the Sultana that ended in the death of Ali Pasha. From that point on the spirit and fighting capacity of the Turks declined.
    One last hope for the Ottomans remained. Aluch Ali, the clever Barbary corsair, out-foxed Doria by dragging him too far to the Christian right. He then cut back and slipped through the opened hole. Cardona, with a handful of galleys, attempted to block him but was wiped out. Santa Cruz, who was giving valuable support to the center squadron, broke away to intercept Aluch Ali. The latter, seeing his opportunity for an unhindered attack on the Christian rear disappear, fled to the open sea with just a few of his ships. Most of his squadron was destroyed when Doria wheeled about and assisted Santa Cruz in finishing the weakened Ottoman fleet.
    The Holy League had achieved an overwhelming victory in the largest sea battle fought up to that time. The Ottoman Empire lost about 240 galleys and saw 30,000 killed. The League suffered a trifling 12 galleys sunk; 7,600 men were killed.
    Battle of Lepanto by Andrea Vicentino, Oil on canvas, Palazzo Ducale, Venice

    At the time the battle was won, Saint Pius V was studying financial sheets with the papal treasurer. He rose, went to the window and looked toward the east. When he turned around his face was radiant with supernatural joy, and he exclaimed, “The Christian fleet is victorious!”(5)After human agencies verified the news two weeks later, Saint Pius V added the Feast of the Holy Rosary to the Church calendar and the invocation Auxilium Christianorum to the litany of Our Lady, since the victory was due to her intercession.
    Notes:
    1. C. M. Antony, Saint Pius V: Pope of the Rosary (New York: 1911), 77.
    2. Ferdinand Braudel, The Mediterranean (New York: 1973), 1061.
    3. For a complete and accurate account of the difficulties, see Ludwig von Pastor, History of the Popes (St. Louis, Mo.: 1929), vol. XVIII.
    4. Father Luis Coloma, Story of Don John of Austria (London: 1913), 215.
    5. Robin Anderson, Saint Pius V (Rockford, Ill.: 1978), 78. Several biographers use a longer quotation. See Antony, op. cit., 91.
    by Jeremias Wells, Crusade Magazine, July/August 2005

    Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 115

    Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites

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    Re: War of the Waves: The Battle of Lepanto, 1571

    Libros antiguos y de colección en IberLibro
    Lepanto: Turkish might buckles in the grandest naval battle of History


    Battle of Lepanto Painted by Tony Stafki Tony Stafki's Store : Home

    The Turkish fleet came on imposing and terrible, all sails set, impelled by a fair wind, and it was only half a mile from the line of galliasses and another mile from the line of the Christian ships.
    D. John waited no longer; he humbly crossed himself, and ordered that the cannon of challenge should be fired on the “Real,” and the blue flag of the League should be hoisted at the stern, which unfurled itself like a piece of the sky on which stood out an image of the Crucified. A moment later the galley of Ali replied, accepting the challenge by firing another cannon, and hoisting at the stern the standard of the Prophet, guarded in Mecca, white and of large size, with a wide green “cenefa,” and in the center verses from the Koran embroidered in gold.
    Battle of Lepanto in 1571, Don Juan of Austria and cardinals. Fresco in Ain Karim, Israel at the Franciscan church of the Visitation Photo by Abraham

    At the same moment a strange thing happened, a very simple one at any other time, but for good reason then considered a miracle: the wind fell suddenly to a calm, and then began to blow favorably for the Christians and against the Turks. It seemed as if the Voice had said to the sea, “Be calm,” and to the wind, “Be still.” The silence was profound, and nothing was heard but the waves breaking on the prows of the galleys, and the noise of the chains of the Christian galley slaves as they rowed.
    Fr. Miguel Servia blessed from the quarter-deck all those of the fleet, and gave them absolution in the hour of death. It was then a quarter to twelve.
    The Battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571 by Pieter Brünniche

    The first shot was fired by the galleass “Capitana,” commanded by Francisco Duodo, and it smashed the biggest of the five lanterns which crowned the stern of Ali Pasha’s galley; the second injured the castle of a neighboring galley; and the third sunk a small vessel which was hurrying to transmit orders. Then there was a retrograde movement through the Turkish fleet, which the bravery of Ali Pasha at once checked. He rushed to the tiller and made the “Sultana” pass between the galliasses with the rapidity of an arrow, without firing a shot; all the fleet followed him, their line already broken, but prepared to form up again when they had passed the obstacle, as the water of a river reunites after it has passed the posts of a bridge which has impeded and divided it. The left Christian wing and the Turkish right one were the first to engage. Mahomet Scirocco attacked with such force in front, and with such tumult of shouts and savage cries, according to the Turkish custom when fighting, that all attention was drawn to one point; meanwhile some of his light galleys slipped past on the land side and attacked the stern of Barbarigo’s flagship, who saw himself sorely pressed as the crew of Mahomet Scirocco’s galley had boarded his by the prow, and the Turks were already up to the mizzen mast.
    Agostino Barbarigo Photo by Bob Swain

    The Christians defended themselves like wild beasts, gathered in the stern, and Barbarigo himself was directing them and cheering them on from the castle. He had lifted the visor of his helmet, and was using his shield against the storm of arrows that flew through the air. To give an order, he uncovered himself for a moment, and an arrow entered by the right eye and pierced his brain. He died the next day. Then there was grave risk of the Turks overcoming the Venetian flagship, destroying the left wing, and then attacking the center division on the flank and from the rear, making victory easy. Barbarigo’s nephew Marino Contarini overcame the danger. He boarded his uncle’s ship on the larboard side with all his people, and fought on board perhaps the fiercest combat of all on that memorable day. All was madness, fury, carnage and terror, until Mahomet Scirocco was expelled from the Venetian flagship and penned, in his turn, in his own ship, where he at last succumbed to his wounds. Clinging to the side, they beheaded him there and threw him into the water. Terror then spread among the Turks, and the few galleys at liberty turned their prows towards the shore. There they ran aground, the decimated crews saving themselves by swimming.
    Battle of Lepanto by Tomasz Dolabella

    D. John had no time to reflect either on this danger, or that catastrophe, or that victory, for he was also hard pressed. Five minutes after Mahomet Scirocco had fallen on Barbarigo, Ali Pasha fell on him with all the weight of his hatred, fury and desire for glory. He could be seen proudly standing on the castle of the stern, a magnificent scimitar in his hand, dressed in a caftan of white brocade woven with silk and silver, with a helmet of dark steel under his turban, with inscriptions in gold and precious stones, turquoises, rubies, and diamonds, which flashed in the sunlight. Slowly the two divisions came on, unheeding what happened on the right or left, and in the midst were the galleys of the two Generalissimos, not firing a shot, and only moving forward silently.
    Müezzinzade Ali Paşa, Turkish commander at the Battle of Lepanto

    When the length of half a galley separated the two ships, the “Sultana” of Ali Pasha suddenly fired three guns; the first destroyed some of the ironwork of the “Real” and killed several rowers; the second traversed the boat; and the third passed over the cook’s galley without harming anyone. The “Real” replied by sweeping with her shots the stern and gangway of the “Sultana,” and a thick, black smoke at once enveloped Turks and Christians, ships and combatants. From this black cloud, which appeared to be vomited from Hell, could be heard a dreadful grinding noise, and horrible cries, and through the smoke of the powder could be seen splinters of wood and iron, broken oars, weapons, human limbs and dead bodies flying through the air and falling in the bloodstained sea. It was the galley of Ali which had struck that of D. John by the prow with such a tremendous shock that the peak of the “Sultana” entered the “Real” as far as the fourth bench of rowers; the violence of the shock had naturally made each ship recoil; but they could not draw apart.
    Flag of the Ottoman Navy

    The yards and rigging had become entangled, and they heaved first to one side and then to the other with dreadful grinding and movement, striving to get free without succeeding, like two gladiators, whose bodies are separated, who grasp each other tightly, and then seize each other by the hair. From the captain’s place where he was, at the foot of the standard of the League, D. John ordered grappling-irons to be thrown from the prow, holding the ships close together, and making them into one field of battle. Like lions the Christians flung themselves on board the ship, destroying all in their path, and twice they reached the mainmast of the “Sultana,” and as often had to retire, foot by foot and inch by inch, fighting over these frail boards, from which there was neither escape, nor help, nor hope of compassion, nor other outlet than death.
    Battle of Lepanto by Tomasz Dolabella

    The “Sultana” was reinforced with reserves from the galleys, and to encourage them, Ali, in his turn, threw himself on board the ship. The “Sultana” rode higher out of the water than the “Real,” and the men poured down into her like a cataract from on high; the shock was so tremendous that the Field-Marshals Figueroa and Moncada fell back with their men, and the Turks succeeded in reaching the foremast. All the men at the prow hastened there, and D. John jumped from the captain’s post, sword in hand, fighting like a soldier to make them retire. This was the critical moment of the battle. There was neither line, nor formation, nor right, nor left, nor center; only could be seen, as far as the eye could reach, fire, smoke and groups of galleys in the midst, fighting with each other, vomiting fire and death, with masts and hulls bristling with arrows, like an enormous porcupine, who puts out its quills to defend itself and to fight; wounding, killing, capturing, cheering, burning were seen and heard on all sides, and dead bodies and bodies of the living falling into the water, and spars, yards, rigging, torn-off heads, turbans, quivers, shields, swords, scimitars, arquebuses, cannon, arms, everything that was then within the grasp of barbarism or civilization for dealing death and destruction.
    Naval battle of Lepanto by Andrea Micheli

    At this critical moment, by a superhuman effort, a galley freed itself from that chaos of horrors, and threw itself, like a missile from a catapult, hurled by Titans, against the stern of Ali’s galley, forcing the peak as far as the third bench of rowers.
    Don John of Austria, Marc Antonio Colonna & Sebastiano Venier. Admirals of the allied Spanish and papal fleets against the Turks.

    It was Marco Antonio Colonna who had come to the assistance of D. John of Austria; at the same time the Marqués de Santa Cruz executed a similar maneuver on one of the flanks. The help was great and opportune; still, the Turks succeeded in retiring in good order to their galley; but here, pressed hardly by the followers of Colonna and Santa Cruz, they tumbled over the sides, dead and living, into the water, Turks and Christians fighting to the last with nails and teeth, and destroying each other until engulfed in the gory waves.
    Among this mass of desperate people Ali perished beside the tiller; some say that he cut his throat and threw himself into the sea; others that his head was cut off and put on a pike. Then D. John ordered the standard of the Prophet to be lowered, and amidst shouts of victory, the flag of the League was hoisted in its place.
    Marcantonio Colonna, Duke of Tagliacozzo & Paliano

    D. John had been wounded in the leg, but without limping at all he mounted the castle of the vanquished galley to survey from there the state of the battle. On the left wing the few galleys left to Mahomet Scirocco were flying towards the land, and could be seen running violently aground in the bays, the crews throwing themselves into the water to swim ashore.
    Alvaro de Bazan, first Marquis de Santa Cruz, commander of the reserve squadron of the Holy League.

    But, unluckily, the same was not happening on the right. Doria, deceived by the tactics of Aluch Ali, had followed him out to sea, making a wide space between the right wing and the center division; D. John’s orders to him to come back did not arrive in time. Meanwhile, Aluch Ali contented himself by watching Doria’s maneuvers, keeping up with him, but not attacking; until suddenly, judging no doubt, that the space was wide enough, he veered to the right with marvelous rapidity, and sent all his fleet through the dangerous breach, literally annihilating the two ends which remained uncovered; the disaster was terrible and the carnage awful; on the flagship of Malta only three men remained alive, the Prior of Messina, Fr. Pietro Giustiniani, pierced by five arrows, a Spanish gentleman with both legs broken, and an Italian with an arm cut off by a blow from an axe. In the flagship of Sicily D. Juan de Cardona lay wounded, and of his 500 men only fifty remained. The “Fierenza,” the Pope’s “San Giovanni,” and the “Piamontesa” of Savoy succumbed without yielding; ten galleys had gone to the bottom; one was on fire, and twelve drifted like buoys, without masts, full of corpses, waiting until the conqueror, Aluch Ali, should take them in tow as trophies and spoils of war. Doria, horrified at the disaster, in all haste returned to the scene of the catastrophe, but D. John was already there before him. Without waiting a moment, the Generalissimo ordered that the towing ropes which already attached twelve galleys to their conquerors should be cut, and although wounded, and without taking any rest after his own struggle, he flew to the assistance of those who were being overcome. “Ah! Brave Generalissimo,” exclaims Admiral Jurien de la Graviere, in his valuable study of the battle of Lepanto, “to him the armada owed its victory, to him the right wing its preservation.” The Marqués de Santa Cruz followed with his whole reserve, and seeing this help, the already victorious Aluch Ali understood that the prey would be torn from his claws.
    The Battle of Lepanto, painting by Andries van Eertvelt

    The cunning renegade then thought only of saving his life, which he did by a means that no one else would have employed; he placed his son in a galley, and followed by thirteen other ones, passed like a vapor in front of the prows of the enemy, before they could surround him, and fled incontinently to Santa Maura, all sails set, he at the tiller, the unfortunate rowers with a scimitar at their throats, so that they should not flag or draw breath for a second, and should die rather than give in.
    The first moment of astonishment over, the Marqués de Santa Cruz and D. John of Austria hastened in pursuit; but the advantage Aluch Ali had obtained increased each minute, night began to fall, and the storm which had threatened since two o’clock began to blow, and the first claps of thunder were heard. So the famous renegade escaped on the wings of the storm, as if the wrath of God were protecting him and preserving him to be the scourge of other people.

    This was the last act of the battle of Lepanto, the greatest day that the ages have seen
    It was five o’clock on the evening of the 7th of October, 1571.
    Rev. Fr. Luis Coloma, The Story of Don John of Austria, trans. Lady Moreton, (New York: John Lane Company, 1912), pp. 265-271.


    Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites

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