The town of Nafpaktos in western Greece marked on Saturday the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto with a spectacular display of battling ships and fireworks.
Thousands turned up at Venetian harbor to witness a re-enactment of the famous naval engagement that took place on 7 October 1571 where a fleet of the Holy League, led by the Venetian Republic and the Spanish Empire, inflicted a major defeat on the fleet of the Ottoman Empire in the Gulf of Patras.
The Ottoman forces were sailing westward from their naval station in Lepanto (the Venetian name Nafpaktos) when they met the fleet of the Holy League which was sailing east from Messina, Sicily.
In the history of naval warfare, Lepanto marks the last major engagement in the Western world to be fought almost entirely between rowing vessels, namely the galleys and galleasses which were the direct descendants of ancient trireme warships.
The battle was, in essence, an “infantry battle on floating platforms”. It was the largest naval battle in Western history since classical antiquity, involving more than 400 warships.