Victory of the West: The Story of the Battle of Lepanto

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9781405045889: Victory of the West: The Story of the Battle of Lepanto

On 7 October 1571, on the gulf between mainland Greece and the Peloponnese, the fleets of the Ottoman Empire and the Christian Holy League met in a battle that would prove the crux of that century's war between Christianity and Islam. No naval battle until Jutland in 1916 - not even Trafalgar - involved such numerous forces, and in no previous encounter with the Ottomans had the Christians met with success. In this compelling piece of narrative history, Niccolo Capponi takes a fresh look at the last great, bloody, and crucial showdown between oared fighting galleys, which - like the legendary battles of Salamis, Waterloo and Stalingrad - halted the progress of a force that had hitherto seemed unstoppable.

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About the Author:

Niccolo Capponi is a fellow at the Medici Archive Project in Florence and an eminent Italian historian. He has published a number of articles and several books. This is his first book for the UK trade.

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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