In Forming the Holy League, St. Pius V Prepares for Victory at Lepanto

August 26, 2013

Photos by Philip Serracino Inglott & Vincent Ruf

Statue of Pope Pius V. Photos by Philip Serracino Inglott & Vincent Ruf

The Holy League agreement announced on 25 May had been solemnized five days earlier in the presence of [Saint] Pius V in his capacity as Pope, and signed by representatives of himself as ruler of the Papal State, King Philip of Spain, the republics of Venice and Genoa, Grand Duke Cosimo of Tuscany, Duke Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, Duke Francesco Maria (Della Roverre) of Urbino, Duke Ottavio (Farnese) of Parma, and the Knights of Malta. Its stated purposes was to wage war in perpetuity against the Ottomans and Muslims of Africa and the Middle East, it primary objective to recover Cyprus and the Holy Land, and to this end the parties would provide 200 galleys, 100 ships, 50,000 Italian, German and Spanish infantry, 4,500 light horse and an ‘adequate’ number of guns, ammunition and other necessities….

Estandarte_Liga_Santa Banner of the Holy League

Banner of the Holy League used in the Battle of Lepanto

Place was reserved in the League for the [Holy Roman] Empire, France and Portugal, and the Pope undertook to continue his efforts to persuade the Empire to break its truce, and France its alliance, with the Ottomans. King Sebastian of Portugal, whose own Moroccan Crusade was to lead to the extinction of his line at Alcázarquivir in 1578, at this time was constrained by commitments in the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, where his captains and the rebellions they encouraged were tying down sizeable Ottoman forces.


Hugh Bicheno, Crescent and Cross: The Battle of Lepanto 1571 (London, Cassell, 2003), 210-11.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 311


Also of interest:

Lepanto: Turkish might buckles in the grandest naval battle of History

Statue of the Blessed Virgin present at the battle of Lepanto has been found

D. John’s calm assessment as the Turkish Armada is sighted: “There’s no time for anything but fighting”

The martial and pious death of Don John of Austria: “A man sent by God”

Tunis was lost because Don John could not reach it in time

Don John called his lion Austria

Don John is offered the kingdoms of Albania and Morea

Fatima Cadem, daughter of Ali Pasha, asks Don John to release her captured brothers

Pope Saint Pius V has a vision announcing the victory of Lepanto

Don John of Austria used an ivory crucifix to inspire his men before Lepanto

Don John of Austria’s calm self-command seeing the power of the Turkish armada

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