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Forum LockedThe Battle of Lepanto

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    Posted: 26-Mar-2006 at 16:58
This was a battle staged off the coast of Greece between the European states and the Ottomans. Was this a really important battle? Did this pave the way for western superiority?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Mar-2006 at 17:47
See also here for more on the Battle of Lepanto
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Mar-2006 at 09:38

Originally posted by Ponce de Leon Ponce de Leon wrote:

This was a battle staged off the coast of Greece between the European states and the Ottomans. Was this a really important battle? Did this pave the way for western superiority?

It lost the Ottomans' control of the Mediterranean, and they never managed to put together an effective navy again (they quickly rebuilt their fleet, but it was of notoriously poor quality).

Apart from that it is notable as being the largest sea battle in history in terms of people involved - both sides had over 200 galleys, the Christians with 43,000 rowers, some 13,000 sailors and 28,000 soldiers: the Ottomans probably slightly fewer than that. In contrast at Trafalgar Nelson had 17,000 men, the French and Spanish 30,000.

It was also the last major engagement fought between galleys. In terms of its effect on world history it probably ranks below Trafalgar and Midway - maybe about the same as Tsushima and Salamis.

As a curiosity in naval tactics and weaponry it's in the line of Lissa, Tsushima and Midway, perhaps Sluys.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Evrenosgazi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Mar-2006 at 11:07
It was a victory without any fruit. Yes the ottomans never managed a fine navy anymore. But captured Tunus in 1574. Which we can see that the Spanish empire was 10 fold near than Ottomans. This shows the effectiveness of ottomans. Gained Cyprus, Tunus and making Venetians to broke up the alliance(1573), is the winner of this battle is ottomans?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Mar-2006 at 17:37

Originally posted by Evrenosgazi Evrenosgazi wrote:

It was a victory without any fruit. Yes the ottomans never managed a fine navy anymore. But captured Tunus in 1574. Which we can see that the Spanish empire was 10 fold near than Ottomans. This shows the effectiveness of ottomans. Gained Cyprus, Tunus and making Venetians to broke up the alliance(1573), is the winner of this battle is ottomans?

Is the winner of the battle the Ottomans???

Admiral Ali Pasha's head on a lance, 30,000 Turkish dead and an unknown number drowned, 113 Turkish galleys wrecked or sunk and 117 captured, and 8,000 Turks taken prisoner. Only 35 Turkish ships out of an original complement of around 300 made it back to port! By contrast Don John lost only 20,000 soldiers and sailors, while freeing 15,000 Christian galley slaves, and taking 274 pieces of artillery. (O'Connell)

By the way, the Turks re-captured Tunis, it having been taken from them by Don John, the victor of Lepanto. This was accomplished because, with the disintegration of the Holy League, Phillip II was occupied in the Netherlands, trying in vain to manage the vast Habsburg territories bequeathed to him by his father.

The victory at Lepanto assured Western naval superiority in the Mediterranean, and frustrated Turkish efforts to maintain their possessions in North Africa. It is true that the West failed to immediately capitalize on the advantages gained at Lepanto, but to imply that Lepanto was an Ottoman victory?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Mar-2006 at 20:12

Lepanto was certainly no Ottoman victory.  It is more likely the decisive event, and the time from which dates the beginning of Ottoman decline, at least in regard to Europe.

In the later 16th century, the Barbary "states" of North Africa were less and less tributaries of the Sultan, and more rogue piratical enterprises.  Spain's interests were in north Europe in the Netherlands and England, and the Empire was soon consumed by the Counter-Reformation.  The Ottoman threat concerned all of them less.

A demonstrable reason for the result at Lepanto was the increasing development of Western military technology....primarily guns and ship design.

 

 



Edited by pikeshot1600
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2006 at 09:42
Originally posted by Evrenosgazi Evrenosgazi wrote:

It was a victory without any fruit. Yes the ottomans never managed a fine navy anymore. But captured Tunus in 1574. Which we can see that the Spanish empire was 10 fold near than Ottomans. This shows the effectiveness of ottomans. Gained Cyprus, Tunus and making Venetians to broke up the alliance(1573), is the winner of this battle is ottomans?


New Zealanders can claim more victory in that battle than the Ottomans. Ottoman successes in Tunis are owed to their professional army, success in Cyprus to its close proximity to Anatolia and vast distance from Venice.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ponce de Leon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2006 at 10:45
Who was the Admiral of the spanish fleet in Lepanto? And also, did the same sailors and marines that fought in Lepanto used during the Armada?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2006 at 10:49
Don Juan was seems to have been most supreme in command authority. The Armada engaged the English well over a decade later. The Armada may have had some veterans from the Battle of Lepanto, but I suspect (given early death rates and such) that most of the crew on the Armada would not have served at Lepanto.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2006 at 12:00
The Armada was built up for the occasion and commanded by a silverspoon of Valladolid: a city far away from any coast. If the Spaniards would have been less "aristocratic" they could surely have gathered the best sailors but you know... 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2006 at 12:07

Originally posted by Maju Maju wrote:

The Armada was built up for the occasion and commanded by a silverspoon of Valladolid: a city far away from any coast. If the Spaniards would have been less "aristocratic" they could surely have gathered the best sailors but you know... 

As a measure of how overstretched Spain was by the late 16th c., the command of the Armada was bestowed on the Duque de Medina Sidona (over his own misgivings) because he had money that could assist the outfitting of the fleet.  I think the first Royal decree of bankruptcy hab been in 1575(?).

 



Edited by pikeshot1600
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Beylerbeyi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2006 at 12:28

Lepanto was surely a devastating defeat for the Ottomans in terms of losses of men and equipment. But I wouldn't go so far to call it the beginning of the decline. As others pointed out Ottomans were expanding in the Med after Lepanto, and the peace agreement Venice signed after the war was not bad for the Ottomans. And on land they were besieging Vienna a century later... 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2006 at 12:36

Bey:

You make a good point.  Although after Lepanto there was very little Ottoman expansion on the European continent, the OE was not ready for the grave for over 300 years.  Quite a long time!  The decline was a gradual one at most.

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Evrenosgazi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2006 at 14:18
I was just joking, but all of you take it serious. I was talking about the consequences. In the 16th century ottoman navies fate was destruction, like venice. But ottomans lost nothing, they hold their gains and even enlarged their possesions. But the lost thing was their respect as unbeatable enemies. And it was honor for the victors to beat the ottomans
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Beylerbeyi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2006 at 15:43

Quote You make a good point.  Although after Lepanto there was very little Ottoman expansion on the European continent, the OE was not ready for the grave for over 300 years.  Quite a long time!  The decline was a gradual one at most.

Yes, starting point of Ottoman decline is a point of debate among historians. In fact if an Ottoman decline exists at all is debated itself.

Classical view holds that there is an expansion period and a plateu/stopping (I couldn't translate this term from Turkish) period, and then a decline/retreat period. According to this view death of Sokullu (around Lepanto) is the end of the expansion period, while the decline starts a century later, after second siege of Vienna, or Treaty of Karlowitz.

But the alternative view says, Ottomans hadn't really declined, the Western powers got more and more powerful. So it looks like decline in retrospect. 

Both sides have points, but in any case, I think Lepanto is too early to start Ottoman decline. Even after the death of Sokullu, Ottomans defeated the Austrians in 1596 in Hachova (cross-field in Turkish, don't know the name of this battle in English, but is was a big one).  

Ottoman retreat started a full century later after Lepanto, after the second siege of Vienna, and even then they were defeated by a coalition of Austria, Poland, Russia. In 1571, I don't think they were really threatened.

Btw, it wasn't the Ottoman army that re-took Tunis, it was the navy.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ponce de Leon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2006 at 16:13
Originally posted by Evrenosgazi Evrenosgazi wrote:

I was just joking, but all of you take it serious. I was talking about the consequences. In the 16th century ottoman navies fate was destruction, like venice. But ottomans lost nothing, they hold their gains and even enlarged their possesions. But the lost thing was their respect as unbeatable enemies. And it was honor for the victors to beat the ottomans


I think he has a point. At least in the sense the Europeans did celebrate like hell after a decisive defeat against a grand Ottoman navy.

--It was like a backhand salute to the Ottomans, and their old glory

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2006 at 16:50
Lepanto was a heavy punishment for Ottomans. While they rebuild their navy quite quickly, the expertise of the many commanders and sailors that were killed there was lost.

And Spain hadn't even tried hard there: it was mostly a Venetian project. Venice put almost as many ships as Spain and some were real sea monsters. For Ottomans it meant that they had major rivals and more or less the Med was parted in two influence areas after that.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ponce de Leon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2006 at 18:44
So Spain had almost nothing to do with the battle except watch?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2006 at 19:07
Spain put about half the ships but it was a campaign lead by Venice and the Pope. Venice put everything there and, while the command was to a member of the Imperial family, the Venetias ignored at times it and killed the Turk commander, placing his head on a pike, against the will of Juan of Austria. Yet that ruthless action caused the demoralization of the Ottoman side, being maybe decissive in the outcome of the battle.

Yet, Spain was uninterested in going farther and signed a peace with the Turks after that. It was more an operation of containment than a true counter-attack.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Mar-2006 at 19:55

Originally posted by Maju Maju wrote:

Spain put about half the ships but it was a campaign lead by Venice and the Pope. Venice put everything there and, while the command was to a member of the Imperial family, the Venetias ignored at times it and killed the Turk commander, placing his head on a pike, against the will of Juan of Austria. Yet that ruthless action caused the demoralization of the Ottoman side, being maybe decissive in the outcome of the battle.

Yet, Spain was uninterested in going farther and signed a peace with the Turks after that. It was more an operation of containment than a true counter-attack.

After the check of Ottoman power in the Mediterranean, Spain was more concerned with the situation in the Netherlands.  That had to come before any further undertaking in the Med.

 



Edited by pikeshot1600
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