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Lepanto 1571 (ePub)

The Madonna's Victory

Maritime > Naval P&S History > By Century > 16th Century

By Dr Nic Fields
Imprint: Pen & Sword Maritime
File Size: 20.7 MB (.epub)
Pages: 464
ISBN: 9781526716538
Published: 19th October 2020


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The Battle of Lepanto has long been considered one of the decisive naval battles of history. Yet, the savage fighting on Sunday, 7 October 1571 left the strategic map unchanged and the defeated Ottoman Turks were able to replace their losses and launch a new fleet the following year. Nic Fields re-examines the battle and concludes that, while it merely confirmed a strategic reality that had already emerged during the 16th century (i.e. that naval supremacy lay with the Sublime Porte in the eastern Mediterranean, and with Habsburg Spain and its Catholic allies in the western Mediterranean), it’s vital importance was psychological. It sank the perception of Ottoman dominance and the inevitability of Islam’s westward encroachment beyond the Balkans.

With over 200 ships per side, it was the largest naval battle in sixteen centuries and the last major fight between fleets composed entirely of the muscle-driven galley. These slender ships were the direct descendants of the Classical trireme but carried cannon and marines bearing firearms, although massed archery and cold steel still played a major rôle on the fateful day. Nic Fields gives an excellent account of this fascinating and spectacular battle.

The reader is given geo-political context, details on the weaponry, logistics and much else. What is clear is the sheer ferocity and brutality of the fighting in this historically significant battle. This very well produced volume gives an excellent and highly readable account of one of history’s turning points. A valuable addition to the library of all those with an interest in Ottoman, Holy League, Mediterranean and geo-political history of the middle renaissance.

Martin Willoughby, The Wessex Branch of the Western Front Association

Nic Fields’ book might provide archaeological investigators with a useful introductory summary of the battle of Lepanto and its wider political and military contexts.

International Journal of Nautical Archaeology

Nic Fields’ Lepanto 1571, remains a wonderfully researched account of the characters, tactics, and technology which collided in the Bay of Corinth on October 7, 1571. He considers all aspects of the battle and its build up, fairly portraying both Ottoman and Christian forces. His conclusion does a wonderful job of explaining how the Holy League victory took on a mythos of its own and was celebrated throughout Europe in Catholic and Protestant states alike. Fields’ crafts a narrative which appeals to the hardened naval history enthusiast who aims to fully understand the motivations and context of the Lepanto campaign.

Nautical Research Journal

The book is completed by three very interesting appendices.

Read the full review here

Omne Ignotum Pro Magnifico

This is a well-written, well-researched, authoritative and easy-to-read account of an important naval battle whose outcome changed perceptions of the likely future history of the eastern Mediterranean. Recommended.

World Ship Society - Marine News, March 2021

Featured on

Bru Ships Youtube Channel, Episode 28.

I like this approach to the battle. It gives us an idea of how wide an influence it had, and how long it remained a dominating feature of many people’s lives. We also get to learn a great deal about the naval warfare of the period, which differs greatly from that of more familiar periods.

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History of War

This is a book to get immersed in and we highly recommend it to everyone with any interest in the sixteenth century generally and the development of naval warfare in particular.

Read the full review here

Clash of Steel
Dr Nic Fields

About Dr Nic Fields

Nic Fields, is a former Royal Marine Commando turned classical scholar and now full-time military historian and tour guide. Among his many previous works are Warlords of Republican Rome: Caesar versus Pompey (2008), Roman Conquests: North Africa (2010), The Spartan Way (2012), AD 69: Armies, Emperors and Anarchy (2014), God's City: Byzantine Constantinople, and God's Victory: Lepanto 1571 (forthcoming 2020), all published by Pen & Sword.

Battle of Lepanto

7th October 1571

Holy League of southern European nations destroy Ottoman fleet in significant loss off Western Greece

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