In 1521, Suleiman the Magnificent, Muslim ruler of the Ottoman Empire at the height of its power, dispatched an invasion fleet to the Christian island of Rhodes. This would prove to be the opening shot in an epic struggle between rival empires and faiths for control of the Mediterranean and the center of the world. In Empires of the Sea, acclaimed historian Roger Crowley has written his most mesmerizing work to date–a thrilling account of this brutal decades-long battle between Christendom and Islam for the soul of Europe, a fast-paced tale of spiraling intensity that ranges from Istanbul to the Gates of Gibraltar and features a cast of extraordinary characters: Barbarossa, “The King of Evil,” the pirate who terrified Europe; the risk-taking Emperor Charles V; the Knights of St. John, the last crusading order after the passing of the Templars; the messianic Pope Pius V; and the brilliant Christian admiral Don Juan of Austria. This struggle’s brutal climax came between 1565 and 1571, seven years that witnessed a fight to the finish decided in a series of bloody set pieces: the epic siege of Malta, in which a tiny band of Christian defenders defied the might of the Ottoman army; the savage battle for Cyprus; and the apocalyptic last-ditch defense of southern Europe at Lepanto–one of the single most shocking days in world history. At the close of this cataclysmic naval encounter, the carnage was so great that the victors could barely sail away “because of the countless corpses floating in the sea.” Lepanto fixed the frontiers of the Mediterranean world that we know today. Roger Crowley conjures up a wild cast of pirates, crusaders, and religious warriors struggling for supremacy and survival in a tale of slavery and galley warfare, desperate bravery and utter brutality, technology and Inca gold. Empires of the Sea is page-turning narrative history at its best–a story of extraordinary color and incident, rich in detail, full of surprises, and backed by a wealth of eyewitness accounts. It provides a crucial context for our own clash of civilizations.
empires of the sea
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Empires of the Sea brings together studies of maritime empires from the Bronze Age to the Eighteenth Century. The volume develops the category of maritime empire as a specific type of empire in both European and 'non-western' history.
“The rise and fall of Venice’s empire is an irresistible story and [Roger] Crowley, with his rousing descriptive gifts and scholarly attention to detail, is its perfect chronicler.”—The Financial Times The New York Times bestselling author of Empires of the Sea charts Venice’s astounding five-hundred-year voyage to the pinnacle of power in an epic story that stands unrivaled for drama, intrigue, and sheer opulent majesty. City of Fortune traces the full arc of the Venetian imperial saga, from the ill-fated Fourth Crusade, which culminates in the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, to the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1499–1503, which sees the Ottoman Turks supplant the Venetians as the preeminent naval power in the Mediterranean. In between are three centuries of Venetian maritime dominance, during which a tiny city of “lagoon dwellers” grow into the richest place on earth. Drawing on firsthand accounts of pitched sea battles, skillful negotiations, and diplomatic maneuvers, Crowley paints a vivid picture of this avaricious, enterprising people and the bountiful lands that came under their dominion. From the opening of the spice routes to the clash between Christianity and Islam, Venice played a leading role in the defining conflicts of its time—the reverberations of which are still being felt today. “[Crowley] writes with a racy briskness that lifts sea battles and sieges off the page.”—The New York Times “Crowley chronicles the peak of Venice’s past glory with Wordsworthian sympathy, supplemented by impressive learning and infectious enthusiasm.”—The Wall Street Journal
A romantic and adventurous journey to the hidden islands and lagoons beyond Papua New Guinea and north of Australia.
The year 1588 marked a turning point in our national story. Victory over the Spanish Armada transformed us into a seafaring nation and it sparked a myth that one day would become a reality – that the nation's new destiny, the source of her future wealth and power lay out on the oceans. This book tells the story of how the navy expanded from a tiny force to become the most complex industrial enterprise on earth; how the need to organise it laid the foundations of our civil service and our economy; and how it transformed our culture, our sense of national identity and our democracy. Re-issued in trade paperback format Brian Lavery's narrative explores the navy's rise over four centuries; a key factor in propelling Britain to its status as the most powerful nation on earth, and assesses the turning point of Jutland and the First World War. He creates a compelling read that is every bit as engaging as the TV series itself.
'Engagingly fresh and vivid . . . The 21-year-old Mehmet [the Ottoman Sultan] emerges from this book as ruthless but innovative, irascible but versatile and, above all, indefatigable - a worthy successor to Alexander and the Roman emperors he admired as much as any Muslim hero.' Malise Ruthven, Sunday Times In the spring of 1453, the Ottoman Turks advanced on Constantinople in pursuit of an ancient Islamic dream: capturing the thousand-year-old capital of Christian Byzantium. During the siege that followed, a small band of defenders, outnumbered ten to one, confronted the might of the Ottoman army in an epic contest fought on land, sea and underground. 'In this account of the 1453 siege, written in crackling prose by former Istanbul resident Roger Crowley - his first book and not, I hope, his last - we are treated to narrative history at its most enthralling.' Christopher Silvester, Daily Express 'A vivid and readable account of the siege . . . [And] an excellent traveller's guide to how and why Istanbul became a Muslim city.' Philip Mansel Guardian
The Ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, ancient Iran Asia Minor and Armenian Highlands, the Levant, Cyprus and the Arabian Peninsula. This book covers the history of the entire region through the period of over three millennia. It brings political and cultural history of eight most important kingdoms and empires of the region: Egypt, Parthia, Chaldea, Assyria, Media, Babylon, Persia and Sasanian Empire. Content: Egypt Phoenicia Chaldea Assyria Media Babylon Persia Parthia Sasanian Empire The Kings of Israel and Judah The History of Herodotus: The Original Source
Comprehensive history of British conceptions of empire from the 1540s to the 1740s.
In Conquerors, New York Times bestselling author Roger Crowley gives us the epic story of the emergence of Portugal, a small, poor nation that enjoyed a century of maritime supremacy thanks to the daring and navigational skill of its explorers—a tactical advantage no other country could match. Portugal’s discovery of a sea route to India, campaign of imperial conquest over Muslim rulers, and domination of the spice trade would forever disrupt the Mediterranean and build the first global economy. Crowley relies on letters and eyewitness testimony to tell the story of tiny Portugal’s rapid and breathtaking rise to power. Conquerors reveals the Império Português in all of its splendor and ferocity, bringing to life the personalities of the enterprising and fanatical house of Aviz. Figures such as King Manuel “the Fortunate,” João II “the Perfect Prince,” marauding governor Afonso de Albuquerque, and explorer Vasco da Gama juggled their private ambitions and the public aims of the empire, often suffering astonishing losses in pursuit of a global fortune. Also central to the story of Portugal’s ascent was its drive to eradicate Islamic culture and establish a Christian empire in the Indian Ocean. Portuguese explorers pushed deep into the African continent in search of the mythical Christian king Prester John, and they ruthlessly besieged Indian port cities in their attempts to monopolize trade. The discovery of a route to India around the horn of Africa was not only a brilliant breakthrough in navigation but heralded a complete upset of the world order. For the next century, no European empire was more ambitious, no rulers more rapacious than the kings of Portugal. In the process they created the first long-range maritime empire and set in motion the forces of globalization that now shape our world. At Crowley’s hand, the complete story of the Portuguese empire and the human cost of its ambition can finally be told. Praise for Conquerors “Excellent . . . Crowley’s interpretations are nuanced and fair.”—The Christian Science Monitor “In a riveting narrative, Crowley chronicles Portugal's horrifically violent trajectory from ‘impoverished, marginal’ nation to European power, vying with Spain and Venice to dominate the spice trade.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “Brings to life the Portuguese explorers . . . perfect for anyone who likes a high seas tale.”—Publishers Weekly “Readers of Crowley’s previous books will not be disappointed by this exciting tale of sea battles, land campaigns and shipwrecks. . . . Crowley makes a good case for reclaiming Portugal’s significance as forger of the first global empire.”—The Daily Telegraph “Crowley has shown a rare gift for combining compelling narrative with lightly worn academic thoroughness as well as for balancing the human with the geopolitical—qualities on display here. The story he has to tell may be a thrilling one but not every historian could tell it so thrillingly.”—Michael Prodger, Financial Times “A fast-moving and highly readable narrative . . . [Crowley’s] detailed reconstruction of events is based on a close reading of the works of the chroniclers, notably Barros and Correa, whose accounts were written in the tradition of the chronicles of chivalry.”—History Today