THERE ARE CERTAIN moments in military history that seem to capture the popular imagination so intensely that they enter the realm of myth. In Britain, they obviously include the Armada, Trafalgar, and the heroic exploits of the ‘few’. Each is something more than a purely military success. Suitably mythologised, such victories come to exemplify the superiority, not just of a nation’s courage and virtue, but of its destiny as well: the reassuring certitude that ‘God is on our side’.
For early modern Europe, that moment was Lepanto. Fought in 1571