November 12th, 2015
Episode 477 of 552 episodes
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss The Battle of Lepanto, 1571, the last great sea battle between galleys, in which the Catholic fleet of the Holy League of principally Venice, Spain, the Papal States, Malta, Genoa, and Savoy defeated the Ottoman forces of Selim II. When much of Europe was divided over the Reformation, this was the first major victory of a Christian force over a Turkish fleet. The battle followed the Ottoman invasion of Venetian Cyprus and decades in which the Venetians had been trying to stop the broader westward expansion of the Ottomans into the Mediterranean. The outcome had a great impact on morale in Europe and Pope Pius V established a feast day of Our Lady of Victory. Some historians call it the most significant sea battle since Actium (31 BC). However, the Ottomans viewed the loss as less significant than their victory in Cyprus and, within two years, the Holy League had broken up. With Diarmaid MacCulloch Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford Kate Fleet Director of the Skilliter Centre for Ottoman Studies and Fellow of Newnham College, University of Cambridge And Noel Malcolm A Senior Research Fellow in History at All Soul's College, University of Oxford Producer: Simon Tillotson.