Skip to comments.Battle of Lepanto
Posted on 10/07/2004 9:47:44 AM PDT by omega4412
Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571, in which a Christian navy under Don John of Austria defeated the Turks.
Commemorated in G K Chesterton's poem Lepanto. An excerpt...as Don John approaches, Mohammed ("Mahound") speaking to his demons...
"But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palacesfour hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth..."
Fans of the poem might like the book "Lepanto by G K Chesterton," edited by Dale Ahlquist, on the historical and literary background of the poem. Ahlquist writes,
"So the problem with the poem is that it is a defense of the Catholic Church, of the Crusades, and of war: three things not generally looked kindly upon in today's English literature classes. Of course, neither are rhyme and meter. The only 20th century poetry that is permitted to be studied is that which clashes with everything: with the ear, with history, and with common sense."
More on the history
This probably isn't even taught in schools anymore; with the mean Christians defeating the Religion of Peace and all.
Is'nt Austria land locked?
Well, my students have to write a paper on it because we use "Carnage and Culture" as our textbook!
I just bought that book last week & read it. Awesome.
In September of 1571, Don John moved the Catholic fleet east to intercept the Turks at Corfu, but the Turks had already landed, terrorized the population, and then moved on. While anchored off the coast of Cephalonia, news reached Don John that the Christian stronghold at Famagusta on Cyprus had fallen to the Turks, with all prisoners being tortured and then executed by the Moslems.
Over 12,000 Catholic galley slaves had also been rescued from the Moslems.
When news of the victory finally reached Europe, church bells rang out in cities all across the continent. The Battle of Lepanto was a decisive victory, with only 40 of the over 300 Moslem ships surviving the engagement. The Turkish force of some 75,000 men was in ruins.
Actually, it's "isn't". Basic history lesson. By "Austria" here is meant the Hapsburg Holy Roman Empire which embraced Spain, Austria, the Low Countries, and much of Germany and Italy. The world's first global superpower.
Austrian-ruled territory has only been landlocked since 1919.
In another related event, Oct. 7, 2001, America began bombing the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Christians need to understand their own history.
Tangential? Another skirmish in a war that began in 600-whatever A.D.
In a truly unrelated coincidence Oct. 7th is George Nethercutt's 60th birthday.
If you liked Carnage and Culture, you'll love The Soul of Battle, also by Victor Davis Hansen. I'm almost done with it now, and it is GOOD.
Lepanto is also a small town in Arkansas. I remember back when Rick Dees was a Memphis disk jockey, one of his many characters would often refer to "LePantyhose, Arkansas."
I'd love to have a "Lepanto" T-shirt.
Fundraiser idea for your students?
For battle details, a book with many maps and illustrations that I liked was:
Lepanto 1571, The greatest naval battle of the Renaissance: Angus Konstam. Pub: Osprey
The battle also merited a chapter of the Victor Davis Hanson book "Carnage and Culture".
The Battle of Lepanto (1571)
The Song of Roland is another one that has pretty much disappeared from literature classes, for the same reason. These poems show just how long this battle has gone on. Time to end it once and for all.
It is now, but it wasn't then. Then it was a part of the Holy Roman Empire, ruled by the Catholic Hapsburgs. The Empire had several ports on the Mediterranean. Lepanto was one of the two huge, significant battles that stopped the advance of Islam into Europe. The other was the battle of Vienna about a century later, where the Turkish (Islamic) siege of Vienna was broken.
Actually it was the Dale Ahlquist-edited book I bought, and read the poem & commentary. I'll try to get to Carnage & Culture sometime soon though.
"Also a tip of the hat to Battle of Lepanto veteran, Miguel de Cervantes."
After this battle, the sail powered galleon with broadside-firing cannon became the gold standard of naval power.
I won't spoil it for anyone...
You will get a bill for emergency services that resulted from my fainting!
Pray tell... what public school might this be?
yes, I am being sarcastic...
I have that book! It is really good!
It isn't taught in school. Bump for later read.
You caught me! I teach at a PRIVATE Catholic school, the University of Dayton.
Regarding the galley, a Christian edge at Lepanto was 70 of a prototype ship called the galleas which was an attempt to put galleon firepower on a galley.
Over the long run, the galleas, like the clipper ship, was a doomed concept.
Returning soon..I hope.
If I'm not mistake the Galleyas (sp?) was pretty much a galley with raised fighting platforms at the fo'csle & poop decks. Works fine for light guns & marines, but not for heavier guns that were on the horizon. Plus that must have made an oar powered vessel very unmanagable in the wind.
That is why I likened it to the clipper ship as a technological peak. It was the peak in terms of putting firepower on a galley. But of course ocean going vessels got bigger and stronger and there is a fixed maximum in terms of what can be rowed.
Yes, except they had exceptionally long ranged guns, and destroyed the Turkish fleet (20 ships, taken out by 4) before they even got in range.
You ain't kidding. In the late 70s/early 80s, I taught at a Catholic prep school in Phx. and could assign TWICE the workload that I can to my college students, with an equal amount of understanding/retention.
I admit a gap in my knowlege of naval tactics during Lepanto-era. I'm betting that the heavy-caliber cannon fire was directed pretty much in the forward direction, because the galley was strongest along its keel, and therefore gunfire was used as a prelude to ramming. Firing guns at any other angle would likely induce a destabilizing roll. Guns that were directed outward along the beams of a galleyas would probably be used to discourage ramming or to clear the decks of an opponent prior to boarding.
I do know that during the later period of the Spanish Armada, the guns of the Spanish galleons were basically impossible to reload -- so naval gunfire was basically a one-shot, or one salvo affair. Only the English had a compact gun carriage that would permit reloading, but this was still some years off. Also, ships of that later period were generally not sunk, they were more commonly boarded & captured. But with the less robust construction of galleys (relative to galleons, cogs, etc.) this may not have held true.
Like you, I'm certainly no expert on this, but Hanson says they were longer range guns. Much of this was achieved by the Genoese and Venetian practice of BRONZE casting of guns, which gave them the ability to maintain a slightly larger powder charge. I do think the Galleass' guns were re-loadable. They simply could not have achieved a five-fold kill ratio if they weren't.
Whatever the reasons for their success, the Galleas was a 'silver bullet' weapon at Lepanto. The Turks simply had no weapon or tactic to counter it.
Yep, and two of the six never saw action, along with 20 of the Christian galleys.
Reposted. Thanks for the reminder.
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