The Battle of Lepanto

12 Nov, 2015 940 History of Europe

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss The Battle of Lepanto, 1571, the last great sea battle between galleys, in which the Catholic fleet of the Holy League of principally Venice, Spain, the Papal States, Malta, Genoa, and Savoy defeated the Ottoman forces of Selim II. When much of Europe was divided over the Reformation, this was the first major victory of a Christian force over a Turkish fleet. The battle followed the Ottoman invasion of Venetian Cyprus and decades in which the Venetians had been trying to stop the broader westward expansion of the Ottomans into the Mediterranean. The outcome had a great impact on morale in Europe and Pope Pius V established a feast day of Our Lady of Victory. Some historians call it the most significant sea battle since Actium (31 BC). However, the Ottomans viewed the loss as less significant than their victory in Cyprus and, within two years, the Holy League had broken up.

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  • Diarmaid MacCulloch 11 episodes
    Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford
  • Kate Fleet 2 episodes
    Director of the Skilliter Centre for Ottoman Studies and Fellow of Newnham College, University of Cambridge
  • Noel Malcolm No other episodes
    A Senior Research Fellow in History at All Soul's College, University of Oxford

Reading list

  • Crescent and Cross: The Battle of Lepanto, 1571
    Hugh Bicheno (Cassell, 2003) Google Books →
  • Ottoman seapower and Levantine diplomacy in the age of discovery
    Palmira Brummett (State University of New York Press, 1993) Google Books →
  • Victory of the West: The Story of the Battle of Lepanto
    Niccolo Capponi (Macmillan, 2006) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge History of Turkey, vol. II: The Ottoman Empire as a World Power, 1453-1603
    Suraiya N. Faroqhi and Kate Fleet (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe
    Daniel Goffman (Cambridge University Press, 2002) Google Books →
  • Catholic Pirates and Greek Merchants: A Maritime History of the Mediterranean
    Molly Greene (Princeton University Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • Agents of Empire. Knights, Corsairs, Jesuits and Spies in the Sixteenth-Century Mediterranean World
    Noel Malcolm (Allen Lane, 2015) Google Books →
  • The Ottoman Turks: An Introductory History to 1923
    Justin McCarthy (Longman, 1997) Google Books →
  • Empire and Holy War in the Mediterranean: The Galley and Maritime Conflict between the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires
    Philip Williams (I. B. Tauris, 2014) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 940.2 (Early Modern Europe)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 1571, the fleets of the Holy League and the Ottomans went into battle at Lepanto in the Gulf of Patras on the western side of Greece.