October 08, 2008

A Fateful Day!

...and I forgot to commemorate it! Oh well. Yesterday was the 437th anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto (and also the anniversary of Our Lady of the Rosary).

It was the turning point in the fight against Islam in Europe, a sea battle (the last major battle fought with oar-powered ships!), of the Ottoman-Hapsburg Wars. The victor, Don Juan of Austria, the bastard son of Charels V, was not the only character of note at the battle. Cervantes (author of Don Quixote) was also present in the Spanish forces.

This is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary because the pope at the time, Pius V, a Dominican, urged the church to pray the Rosary at this time, and seek the protection of Our Lady.

My favorite Chesterton Poem is his "Lepanto". I try to read it every year on the 7th of October, but this time the 8th will have to do.
WHITE founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
Read it all here.
(Map from the Vatican museum's Hall of Maps)

1 comment:

  1. "Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard" is one of those lines that has stuck with me forever.