Saturday, August 3, 2019

Contarini’s “From Cyprus to Lepanto” Published

We are happy to announce the publication of Giovanni Pietro Contarini’s From Cyprus to Lepanto, edited and translated by Kiril Petkov.

At Lepanto, on the morning of October 7, 1571, two massive fleets joined battle at the rocks of Curzolari at the entrance of the Gulf of Patras, off the coast of western Greece. The armada of the Holy League, a coalition of Venetian, Spanish, and papal vessels, augmented with squadrons from the duchies of Tuscany, Savoy, Parma, and Urbino, the Knights Hospitaller of Malta, the Republic of Genoa, and other Christian allies, confronted a comparable Ottoman naval force augmented with North African corsairs.

More than 450 heavily armed galleys with over 150,000 sailors, oarsmen, and soldiers clashed in a short but fierce fight. Little quarter was sought, or given, by either side. In terms of hardware, manpower, and logistics, it was the largest-ever encounter of oared vessels of the pre-modern world. The Battle of Lepanto was the peak of the war between the Ottomans and the Mediterranean Christian powers.

In the chorus of eyewitness and contemporary accounts of the battle and the events that led to it, Giovanni Pietro Contarini’s History of the Events, which occurred from the Beginning of the War Brought against the Venetians by Selim the Ottoman, to the Day of the Great and Victorious Battle against the Turks holds the pride of place. Published in 1572, a few months after Lepanto, the History is the first comprehensive account of the war, and the only one to attempt a concise but complete overview of its course and the Holy League’s triumph.

Kiril Petkov provides the first complete English translation of Contarini’s History. His introduction places it within its historical context of international diplomacy and war, ideological conflict, and individual agency.

188 pp., illustrated, introduction, annotated English translation, glossary, bibliography, index. History, Mediterranean Studies