Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto

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9780306816185: Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto

When the heavily manned fleet of the Ottoman Empire met the ships of a fragile coalition of Christian European states in 1571, the waters off the coast of Greece, they say, ran red with blood.” It was a victory of the West-the first major victory of Europeans against the Ottoman Empire. In this compelling piece of narrative history, Niccolò Capponi describes the underlying clash of cultures and takes a fresh look at the bloody struggle between oared fighting galleys and determined men of faith. As a description of the age-old conflict between Christianity and Islam, it is a story which resonates today.

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About the Author:

Niccolò Capponi is an eminent military and Renaissance historian. He is a former fellow at the Medici Archive Project, and curator of the Capponi Archive. He lives in Florence, Italy.

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. Capponi, a highly regarded Italian Renaissance scholar with a focus on military history lives up to his reputation in his first major U.S. publication. The battle of Lepanto, fought in 1571, was both one of history's significant naval engagements and a watershed in the long war between Christians and Muslims. To pierce its penumbra of myths and legends, Capponi returns to the original archival and printed sources to construct this fresh, multilayered analysis. On one level Lepanto was a victory for the Western technology that would decide so many battles in the next four centuries. The Christian fleet made better use of gunpowder weapons and had a trump card in their galleasses—galleys converted into gunships, whose heavy artillery allowed Christian seamen to prevent the Ottomans from utilizing their superiority in boarding tactics. Lepanto was also a psychological victory: a ramshackle alliance of Christian states thrashed an Ottoman Empire at the peak of its power and confidence, preventing the Ottomans from dominating the Mediterranean as before. The unexpected outcome sharpened the still-enduring struggle between Christianity and Islam, making it correspondingly difficult for the Muslim world to accept the West taking an increasing lead in military, scientific and economic matters. (Apr.)
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