Paper $19.95 ISBN: 9781512601169 Published June 2017

The Great Siege of Malta

The Epic Battle between the Ottoman Empire and the Knights of St. John

Bruce Ware Allen

The Great Siege of Malta

Bruce Ware Allen

Distributed for University Press of New England

344 pages | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Paper $19.95 ISBN: 9781512601169 Published June 2017
In the spring of 1565, a massive fleet of Ottoman ships descended on Malta, a small island centrally located between North Africa and Sicily, home and headquarters of the crusading Knights of St. John and their charismatic Grand Master, Jean de Valette. The Knights had been expelled from Rhodes by the Ottoman sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, and now stood as the last bastion against a Muslim invasion of Sicily, southern Italy, and beyond. The siege force of Turks, Arabs, and Barbary corsairs from across the Muslim world outnumbered the defenders of Malta many times over, and its arrival began a long hot summer of bloody combat, often hand to hand, embroiling knights and mercenaries, civilians and slaves, in a desperate struggle for this pivotal point in the Mediterranean. Bruce Ware Allen’s The Great Siege of Malta describes the siege’s geopolitical context, explains its strategies and tactics, and reveals how the all-too-human personalities of both Muslim and Christian leaders shaped the course of events. The siege of Malta was the Ottoman empire’s high-water mark in the war between the Christian West and the Muslim East for control of the Mediterranean. Drawing on copious research and new source material, Allen stirringly recreates the two factions’ heroism and chivalry, while simultaneously tracing the barbarism, severity, and indifference to suffering of sixteenth-century warfare. The Great Siege of Malta is a fresh, vivid retelling of one of the most famous battles of the early modern world—a battle whose echoes are still felt today.
Contents
List of Illustrations • Introduction • PART ONE: CORSAIRS AND RULERS • The Siege of Rhodes, 1521 • The Road to Malta, 1522–1530 • In Service to the Empire, 1531–1540 • War at Sea, 1541–1550 • Djerba, 1551–1560 • An Almost-Peaceful Interim, 1561–1564 • Dark Clouds in the East, 1565 • PART TWO: OBJECTIVE: ST. ELMO • First Blood • Sizing Up the Enemy • Preparations for a Siege • A Fatal Oversight • Thrust and Parry • Fresh Resolve • Bullets Wrapped in Smoke and Fire • A Plea to God • The End of the Battle • PART THREE: HONOR BOUGHT WITH BLOOD • Piccolo Soccorso • Relief into Birgu • Bravi d’Algieri • Endurance • Onslaught of the Ottomans • Two Gentlemen of Perugia • PART FOUR: A LINE DRAWN IN WATER • The Gran Soccorso at Sea • Mustapha’s Last Hazard • The Gran Soccorso at War • From the Ashes • Verdict • The Survivors • A Note on the Sources and Acknowledgments • Notes • Bibliography • Index
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