War and Peace: Shaping Politics in Reformation Germany after the Battle of Lepanto

17 Jan 2018

This article challenges and reconsiders one of the most popular narratives of the historiography of the Battle of Lepanto; that ever since the ‘Holy League’ of Spain, Venice, Rome and several smaller Catholic principalities defeated the Ottomans in the Ionian Sea in October 1571, historians assumed that the reason the Holy Roman Empire did not support the league was a direct consequence of the Reformation. Strong Protestant interests at court and in the territorial estates within the Empire, it has been argued, prevented the Catholic monarch from joining the military campaign against the Ottomans. However, I argue that this approach perpetuates an early modern Catholic interpretation that established the narrative of a Christian victory over ‘infidels’ by drawing parallels between Ottoman Muslims and German Lutherans.