Veronese, the Doges’ palace, Venezia
The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of southern European Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece. The Ottoman forces sailing westwards from their naval station in Lepanto met the Holy League forces, which had come from Messina.
The victory of the Holy League prevented the Ottoman Empire expanding further along the European side of the Mediterranean. Lepanto was the last major naval battle in the Mediterranean fought entirely between galleys. A Turkish victory could have led to Western Europe being overrun, as the Byzantine Empire had a little more than a century earlier.
Many Catholic writers at that time attributed the victory at Lepanto to the ora et labora of ordinary people praying Our Lady’s psalter throughout this period; even in the brutal police-state of Elizabethan England church bells were rung to celebrate the victory against this existential enemy of Christendom.