Book Review-‘Roger of Lauria (c. 1250–1305), Admiral of Admirals’ by C. D. Stanton

By Susan Rose, published January 2021


Roger of Lauria, the commander of the galley fleets of the Kingdom of Aragon in the last years of the thirteenth century, was portrayed as a great hero by many contemporary chroniclers of his exploits. He has also been much lauded by modern historians writing on the naval aspects of the War of the Sicilian Vespers. Both John Pryor and David Abulafia have praised his achievements. Pryor claimed that Lauria ‘had no rival in medieval history’ as a commander of galleys, ‘not even among the Genoese and the Venetians’. Abulafia compared him favourably to the most notable naval commander in Classical times, the Spartan Lysander who humbled the might of Athens in the Peloponnesian War. Stanton extends this praise even further pointing out that Lauria won ‘six signal victories while in command and was never beaten at sea’ while Nelson won only three pitched battles and suffered a defeat at the battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife…

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Filed under: Late Middle Ages | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Biography

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