Record galley trip from Cyprus

In my “Smell of toast” post, I mentioned I was doing some research on galley journey times from Venice to Cyprus and vice versa. I discovered that the regular journey time for a war galley was eighteen days. On the 7th October 1571 at the Battle of Lepanto, the Christian Alliance fleet defeated the Ottoman fleet. On the 8th a galley was dispatched to Venice to take the good news and completed the trip in 10 days, almost halving the standard time.

It just goes to prove that good news travels faster than bad. The news that Famagusta their last foothold in Cyprus had fallen on the 8th August 1571, did not reach Venice until 17th October. Thus the Venetians went from despair to triumph in 24 hours.

Although the Ottoman fleet was decimated in the Battle of Lepanto, losing 30,000 men and having 12,000 Christian slaves released, they replaced the fleet in one year, cutting down a complete forest to do so. To this day, Cyprus has never been under Venetian rule again. Although the Ottoman’s retained control of the Eastern Mediterranean, with there new fleet, their expansion was stopped and they slowly declined from this time.

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