The Battle of Lepanto – Part 4


Battle_of_Lepanto_1595-1605_Andrea_VicentinoThe Battle of Lepanto by Andrea Vicentino (c. 1600, Doge’s Palace, Venice)

To complete the series on “The Battle of Lepanto”, I have to include this beautiful poem by G.K. Chesterton which provides a series of poetic visions of the major characters in the battle, particularly the leader of the Christian forces, Don Juan of Austria. It closes with verses linking Miguel de Cervantes, who fought in the battle, with the “lean and foolish knight” who he would later immortalize in Don Quixote. Miguel de Cervantes, a soldier for Habsburg Spain, was so severely wounded in the hand at Lepanto that he became a writer. He lost the use of an arm in this battle and henceforth he is known as el mano de Lepanto (the one-armed man of Lepanto) in the Hispanic world.

White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling…

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