Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Lepanto and Our Lady of Victory

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Victory, commemorating the decisive defeat of the Muslim navy at Lepanto, on October 7, 1571.

A massive Turkish fleet under the command of Ali Pasha had set sail on the Mediterranean with the intent of invading Italy and conquering Rome. However, in a rare example of European Christian unity, a combined Catholic fleet was raised and placed under the command of Don John of Austria. This fleet met the Turks off Lepanto and routed them, in what some have described as the largest naval engagement to that point since Actium.

Here's an excerpt from Chesterton's Lepanto:

The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.

The Christian victory is ascribed to the excellence of the Spanish marines, Don John's leadership and the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Victory.

We've forgotten Lepanto today, mostly. I'd argue that things would be rather different if the Jihad had landed in Italy in 1571.

I will celebrate this victory.



jenny said...

What amazing images.
Though horrid, of course, that it actually took place.

Mother Mary, pray for us!

LSP said...

Lepanto... what a victory.

LL said...

The Muslims are incapable of fielding much of a navy these days. They're really good at strapping bombs to young people and sending them into shopping malls for the sake of jihad.

LSP said...

Not much of sea power these days, the old Jihad.

Anonymous said...

They did land in Italy on several occasions

LSP said...

Not in force, being my point. A I'm sure you're aware.

Anonymous said...

Muslims ran Sicily for over 250 years, which is hardly a brief stop-over.

LSP said...

Adventurous crew, the Moslems.

Michael Peterson said...

Thanks for reminding me of that Chesterton poem, what a corker. They don't write 'em like that anymore.
The other Moslem high water mark was the Siege of Vienna, where they relied more on shoe leather than ships to get there. End result also bad for jihad. I've always liked the story, perhaps apocryphal, that the croissant was invented by Viennese bakers as a way to get back at the Moslem invaders by baking and eating the crescent holy symbol.

LSP said...

Gotta love Lepanto by GKC!

I like the croissant story too. True, I hope.