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Don Juan d'Austria

“ Gained a Complete Victory and put a Stop to Turkish Aggression ”

Don Juan d’Austria
Commander of the Christian Fleet
at Lepanto 7 Oct. 1571

Don Juan d’Austria. About 1572. The victor of the great galley battle of Lepanto of 1571, standing from front with baton. Colored wood engraving after Jean Lulvès (Mulhouse 1833 – Berlin 1889) at Jósef Walla (Budapest about 1844 – after 1907). (1887.) Inscribed: Jean Lulvès / X. A. v. Walla, otherwise in German as above. 7⅝ × 5¼ in (19.5 × 13.5 cm). – From Lipperheide Ad 46. – SHEETS FOR COSTUME KNOWLEDGE NEW SERIES 168. – Margin partly somewhat scratched.

“ The conquest of Cyprus by the Turks (1569), and their aggressions on the Christian powers, frightened the states of the Mediterranean into forming a holy league for their common defence. The main promoter of the league was Pope Pius V., but the bulk of the forces was supplied by the republic of Venice and Philip II. of Spain, who was peculiarly interested in checking the Turks … In compliment to King Philip, the general command of the league’s fleet was given to his natural brother, Don John of Austria … On the 7th of October (1571) the Christian fleet advanced to the neighbourhood of Cape Scropha. It was formed in the traditional order of the galleys — a long line abreast, subdivided into the centre or “battle” commanded by Don John in person, the left wing under the proveditore Barbarigo, and the right under Gianandrea Doria. But a reserve squadron was placed behind the centre under the marquess of Santa Cruz …

“ The battle of Lepanto was of immense political importance. It gave the naval power of the Turks a blow from which it never recovered, and put a stop to their aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean. Historically the battle is interesting because it was the last example of an encounter on a great scale between fleets of galleys and also because it was the last crusade. The Christian powers of the Mediterranean did really combine to avert the ruin of Christendom ”

(David Hannay, Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., vol. 16 [1911], p. 463).

The victory was a complete one with “(o)nly forty Turkish vessels (out of 273) effect(ing) their escape, and it was computed that 35,000 of their men were slain or captured while 15,000 Christian galley slaves were released.” However, “through divisions and jealousies between the allies,

the fruits of one of the most decisive naval victories in history

were to a great extent lost ”

(op. cit., vol. 15 [1911], p. 446).

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