Book Review-‘Empire and Holy War in the Mediterranean: The galley and maritime conflict between the Habsburgs and the Ottomans’ by P. Williams

By Candan Badem, published November 2020


Philip Williams’s book examines the maritime rivalry between the Ottomans and the Spanish Monarchy in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. As the author demonstrates, a remarkable part of this conflict was the use of the North African corsairs by the Ottomans, and the Hospitaller Knights of Malta by the Habsburgs of Spain, as state-sponsored pirates against the enemy. The book focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of the oared warships (galleys) and on the logistics of campaigns in the Mediterranean. The book demonstrates the impossibility of securing a final victory for both sides, given the qualities and hazards of the galley warfare, logistics, campaign timetable and the economic risks involved. The author also successfully argues that the inland sea was not abandoned by the two sides…

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Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers

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