Skip to comments.Remember Lepanto
Posted on 10/07/2009 9:33:02 AM PDT by Pyro7480
On October 7, 1571 off the coast of Greece, near the Gulf of Lepanto, the greatest sea battle in history took place between the fleets of the Holy League and the Ottoman Turks. With the blessing of Pope Pius V the Christian armada under the command of Don John of Austria dealt a terrible blow to the massive Turkish flotilla preparing to invade the Italian peninsula. The armada consisted of ships from Spain (which, at the time included the viceroyalty of Naples and Sicily), the Papal States, Venice, Genoa, and the Knights of Malta.
Since the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 the Ottoman Empire was steadily advancing across the Mediterranean with few setbacks. Desperate to stem the tide of the seemingly invincible Turkish onslaught the European powers wisely set aside their differences and joined forces in a rare display of unity to save and avenge Christendom from the constant attacks by Moslem raiders. In fact, Venice was still stinging from its recent loss of Cyprus in 1570.
It should come as no surprise that this chapter in the long, sad story of Turkish occupied Cyprus (which continues today) would begin with an atrocity. After the island's capitulation the Venetian commander, Marcantonio Bragadino, had his nose and ears cut off and was forced to crawl mutilated before his tormentors. Bragadino was then flayed alive. His skin was stuffed and sent back to Constantinople as a ghoulish trophy. Thousands of others were raped, butchered or sold off as slaves for the galleys and harems across the Islamic world. All Europe faced a similar fate if the Moslem threat was not stopped.
Outnumbered, the men of the West met their foe at sea. The fate of their homelands lay in the balance. With great determination and ferocity they punished the Turkish fleet. The canons roared and sailors fought in hand-to-hand combat; the sea ran with blood. When it was over hundreds of Ottoman vessels were destroyed or taken, as many as 25,000 Saracens were slain or captured (to only 8,000 Christians) and 13,000 European slaves were freed. The Turkish admiral Ali Pasha was beheaded on the spot. The Moslem threat was smashed.
The Southern Italian contribution consisted of thirty ships and crews from Naples and ten from Sicily. One of the many heroes of the great battle was the Sicilian captain Giovanni Cardona da Palermo. His ship, Capitana di Sicilia engaged sixteen Turkish galleys alone and is credited with preventing the Christian fleet from being encircled by the Ottomans during a critical moment in the battle.
Europeans were pessimistic about their chances to defeat the Ottoman war machine. The Pope himself urged all Christians to say the rosary every day for our crews, on whose desperate actions the fate of Europe and Christianity rested. Some claim that their miraculous victory was due to intervention by Our Lady Queen of the Rosary, later called Our Lady Queen of Victory. Others, like myself, attribute our success to the understanding of the stakes involved combined with European spirit and indomitable will. Even so, I can now never look at the rosary without remembering Lepanto.
Islam's defeat at Lepanto spared Southern Europe the same cruel fate as the Balkans or a repeat of the horrific crimes committed at Otranto in 1480. We should never forget the sacrifice our forefathers made to defend our civilization, a sacrifice criminally neglected today by Europe's poor excuses for leaders, who out of greed and corruption are surrendering our birthright without a fight.
‘Our Lady Queen of the Rosary’ feast day ping.
King Phillips in his closet with fleece around his neck
Don Juan of Austia is armed upon yhe deck
The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke
Don Juan of Austria is hidden in the smoke
Don Juan of Austria
Has set his people free!
Here’s a bit of trivia which relates to Lepanto. Miguel de Cervantes, who wrote “Don Quixote de La Mancha”, was also known as “El Manco de Lepanto”, The Cripple of Lepanto. He was named thus because of a wound which maimed his left hand.
At Mass today, our venerable Monsignor Sheridan tried to dance around the meaning of this feast day. He was eloquent and thoughtful as always, but... it’s tough for Christians to “relate” to people dedicated to their destruction...
It’s not widely publicized but the Moslems long had a practice of taking white Christians as slaves well into the 18th century, and was particularly practiced by the Turks and Tatars in Ukraine. In fact, one of the complaints against the “Barbary Pirates” was that Americans were being seized and sold into slavery.
But I’m sure the Moslems have changed. /s/
Lepanto, Tours, Vienna...all were a long line of victories of Christendom over Islam. On the other hand, thanks to the Venetian Doge Dandolo most of that suffering could have been avoided. Dandolo was behind the sack of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade of 1204, from which Byzantium never recovered. In so doing, Christendom lost it’s best bulwark against the spread of this barbaric cult into Europe.
I would like to thank the Venetians for their participation at Lepanto, a battle which should not have been fought at all but which they made necessary almost four centuries earlier.
Yet Islam in it's explosive growth years took Christian lands and lives by the uncountable numbers. First was the attack west along the southern Mediterranean that conquered Spain and threatened France in the 700s. Then there was the era of the Moorish Sea where no coast line in ALL of Europe was immune from Islamic Pirates and slavery and Moorish enclaves existed on all the Mediterranean Coasts. Then came the great Ottoman Invasions of Eastern Europe culminating in the Sieges of Vienna in 1529 and 1683.
When you hear about Islamic claims to Spain as a formerly Islamic country that belongs to their religious world, you gain a sense of why Christian Serbs react so violently to surrendering their hard-earned freedom from Ottoman slavery. Indeed, should Christians mirror Islamic practice and claims, all of North Africa from the Atlantic through to Ethiopia and the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea through to the Black Sea would be claimed as Christian ancestral lands since, for the most part these lands were taken by the sword and by rape of enslaved Christians.
It is the efforts of these men, the Franks and later Spaniards in the West, these men of Lepanto mentioned here and the Eastern Europeans led by the Hapsburgs that have preserved our Christian and Western Civilization, to our very great advantage!
I agree but it was not just the Venetians and Dandolo was a man of his times and was reacting against Byzantine attacks. In the wonderful world of "What might have been", a Constantinople unimpaired by the ravages of the 4th Crusade (and continuous internal dissent) might have lasted stronger and years longer.
Ironically, the most successful commander on the Turkish side, Uluj Ali, was an Italian renegade who had been captured and served as a galley slave before "turning Turk" and eventually rising to high command.
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