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Middle Eastern

Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World

Roger Crowley.
Publisher Random House  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
ISBN 9780812977646
Pages/Publication Date 334/2009
Daedalus Item Code 31268
This item is not available.
In 1521 Suleiman the Magnificent, ruling the Ottoman Empire at the height of its power, dispatched an invasion fleet to the Christian island of Rhodes—the opening shot in an epic struggle between rival empires and faiths for control of the Mediterranean and the center of the world, declares Roger Crowley in this gripping history. This struggle's climax came between 1565 and 1571 in a series of bloody set pieces: the epic siege of Malta, in which a tiny band of Christian defenders defied the might of the Ottoman army; the savage battle for Cyprus; and the apocalyptic last-ditch defense of southern Europe at Lepanto, which fixed the frontiers of the Mediterranean world that we know today. At the close of this cataclysmic naval encounter, the carnage was so great that the victors could barely sail away "because of the countless corpses floating in the sea."

"Is the West engaged in a 'clash of civilizations' with the Islamic peoples of the Middle East? According to Crowley, that clash occurred in the 16th century, when Islam, under the leadership of the Ottoman Turks, seemed poised to dominate most of Europe. The 'impregnable city' of Constantinople had been taken in 1453, and by the beginning of the 16th century, the Turks were ensconced in the Balkans. The key to the struggle between the Turks and the Christian West was control of the eastern rim of the Mediterranean Sea. The Turks had a formidable fleet, while the divided, quarreling Christian states seemed particularly vulnerable. Yet, through a combination of valor, military skill, and blind luck, the Christian West prevailed. Crowley's exciting saga shows this struggle as grim, heroic, and inspiring. At the siege of Malta, a few hundred knights, remnants of a crusading order, held off 30,000 invading Turks. At Lepanto, Christians and Turks engaged in a naval bloodbath that decisively stemmed the Islamic tide. A beautifully written chronicle of a great and seminal struggle."—Booklist

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