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Title: Sea-Wolves of the Mediterranean: The grand period of the Moslem corsairs
Author: Currey, E. Hamilton (Edward Hamilton)
Language: English
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  “Ships are but boards, sailors but men:
   There be land rats and water rats, land thieves and water thieves,
   I mean pirates.”

   _Merchant of Venice._









When the ship is ready for launching there comes a moment of tense
excitement before the dogshores are knocked away and she slides down
the ways. In the case of a ship this excitement is shared by many
thousands, who have assembled to acclaim the birth of a perfected
product of the industry of man; the emotion is shared by all those
who are present. It is very different when a book has been completed.
The launching has been arranged for and completed by expert hands;
she like the ship gathers way and slides forth into an ocean: but,
unlike the ship which is certain to float, the waters may close over
and engulf her, or perchance she may be towed back to that haven of
obscurity from which she emerged, to rust there in silence and neglect.
There is excitement in the breast of one man alone—to wit, the author.
If his book possesses one supreme qualification she will escape the
fate mentioned, and this qualification is—interest. As the weeks
lengthened into months, and these multiplied themselves to the
tale of something like twenty-four, the conviction was strengthened
that that which had so profoundly interested the writer, would not
be altogether indifferent to others. For some inscrutable reason the
deeds of sea-robbers have always possessed a fascination denied to
those of their more numerous brethren of the land; and in the case
of the Sea-wolves of the sixteenth century we are dealing with the
very aristocrats of the profession. Circumstances over which they had
no control flung the Moslem population of Southern Spain on to the
shores of Northern Africa: to revenge themselves upon the Christian
foe by whom this expropriation had been accomplished was natural to
a warrior race; and those who heretofore had been land-folk pure and
simple took to piracy as a means of livelihood. It is of the deeds of
these men that this book treats; of their marvellous triumphs, of their
apparently hopeless defeats, of the manner in which they audaciously
maintained themselves against the principalities and the powers of
Christendom always hungering for their destruction.

The quality which Napoleon is said to have ascribed to the British
Infantry, “of never knowing when they were beaten,” seems to have also
characterised the Sea-wolves; as witness the marvellous recuperation
of Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa when expelled from Tunis by Charles V.;
and the escape of Dragut from the island of Jerba when apparently
hopelessly trapped by the Genoese admiral, Andrea Doria. All through
their history the leaders of the Sea-wolves show the resourcefulness
of the real seamen that they had become by force of circumstances, and
it was they who in the age in which they dwelt showed what sea power
really meant. Sailing through the Mediterranean on my way to Malta in
the spring of this year, as the good ship fared onwards I passed in
succession all those lurking-places from which the Moslem Corsairs were
wont to burst out upon their prey. Truly it seemed as if

  “The spirits of their fathers might start from every wave,”

and in imagination one pictured the rush of the pirate galley, with its
naked slaves straining at the oar of their taskmasters, its fierce,
reckless, beturbaned crew clustered on the “rambades” at the bow and
stern. It might be that they would capture some hapless “round-ship,”
a merchantman lumbering slowly along the coast; or again they might
meet with a galley of the terrible Knights of St. John or of the
ever-redoubtable Doria. In either case the Sea-wolves were equal to
their fortune, to plunder or to fight in the name of Allah and his

That which differentiated the Sea-wolves from other pirates was the
combination which they effected among themselves; the manner in which
these lawless men could subordinate themselves to the will of one whom
they recognised as a great leader. To obtain such recognition was no
easy matter, and the manner in which this was done, by those who rose
by sheer force of character to the summit of this remarkable hierarchy,
has here been set forth.

E. Hamilton Currey.


  INTRODUCTORY                                         1

  THE CRESCENT AND THE CROSS                          13

  THE COMING OF THE CORSAIRS                          28

  URUJ BARBAROSSA                                     43

  THE DEATH OF URUJ BARBAROSSA                        59

  KHEYR-ED-DIN BARBAROSSA                             75




    CHRISTIAN HOSTS                                  139




  THE BATTLE OF PREVESA                              205

    AND THE NEF                                      221

  DRAGUT-REIS                                        238

  DRAGUT-REIS                                        254

  DRAGUT-REIS                                        269

  THE KNIGHTS OF ST. JOHN                            286

  DRAGUT-REIS                                        306

  THE SIEGE OF MALTA                                 324

  ALI BASHA                                          344

  LEPANTO                                            362

  AUTHORITIES CONSULTED                              383

    MASTERS OF MALTA FROM 1492 TO 1580               385

    AFRICA                                           387

  INDEX                                              389


I wish to record my cordial recognition of the kindness shown to me at
Malta by Mr. Salvino Sant Manduca. The picture of the carrack opposite
to page 300 was a gift from him. The galley of the Knights of Malta is
a reproduction of a picture hanging in his house. I should also like to
thank him for the time and trouble which he took on my behalf during my
stay at Malta, and the keen interest he displayed in my subject.



                                                        FACING PAGE

  URUJ AND KHEYR-ED-DIN BARBAROSSA                               44


  SOLIMAN THE MAGNIFICENT                                       110

  THE EMPEROR CHARLES V                                         150

  MULEY HASSAN KING OF TUNIS                                    162

  GALEASSE UNDER SAIL                                           194

  GALLEY UNDER OARS                                             222

  BRIGANTINE CHASING FELUCCA                                    236




  DEATH OF DRAGUT AT THE SIEGE OF MALTA                         340

  A GALLEY OF THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA                              354

  DON JOHN OF AUSTRIA                                           362

  SEBASTIAN VENIERO                                             364



In all the ages of which we have any record there have been men who
gained a living by that practice of robbery on the high seas which
we know by the name of Piracy. Perhaps the pirates best known to
the English-speaking world are the buccaneers of the Spanish Main,
who flourished exceedingly in the seventeenth century, and of whom
many chronicles exist: principally owing to the labours of that John
Esquemelin, a pirate of a literary turn of mind, who added the crime
of authorship to the ill deeds of a sea-rover. The Sea-Wolves of the
Mediterranean in the preceding century did not raise up a chronicler
from among themselves: for not much tincture of learning seems to
have distinguished these desperate fighters and accomplished seamen,
descendants of those Spanish Moslems who had, during the Middle
Ages, lived in a land in which learning and culture had been held in
the highest estimation. Driven from their homes, their civilisation
crushed, their religion banned in that portion of Southern Spain in
which they had dwelt for over seven centuries, cast upon the shores
of Northern Africa, these men took to the sea and became the scourge
of the Mediterranean. That which they did, the deeds which they
accomplished, the terror which they inspired, the ruin and havoc which
they wrought, have been set forth in the pages of this book.

It was the age of the galley, the oar-propelled vessel which moved
independently of the wind in the fine-weather months of the great
inland sea. Therefore to the dwellers on the coast the Sea-wolves were
a perpetual menace; as, when booty was unobtainable at sea, they raided
the towns and villages of their Christian foes. During all the period
here dealt with no man’s life, no woman’s honour, was safe from these
pirates within the area of their nefarious activities. They held the
Mediterranean in fee, they levied toll on all who came within reach
of their galleys and their scimitars. Places unknown to the geography
of the sixteenth century became notorious in their day, and Christian
wives and mothers learned to tremble at the very names of Algiers and
Tunis. From these places the rovers issued to capture, to destroy, and
to enslave: in Oran and Tlemcen, in Tenes, Shershell, Bougie, Jigelli,
Bizerta, Sfax, Susa, Monastir, Jerbah, and Tripoli they lurked ready
for the raid and the foray. At one time all Northern Africa would
thrill to the triumph of the Moslem arms, at another there would go
up the wail of the utterly defeated; but in spite of alternations of
fortune the Sea-wolves abode in the localities of their choice, and
ended in establishing those pirate States which troubled the peace of
the Mediterranean practically until the introduction of steam.

The whole record of the sixteenth century is one of blood and fire,
of torture and massacre, of “punic faith” and shameless treason; the
deeds of the sea-rovers, appalling as they were, frequently found a
counterpart in the battles, the sieges, and the sacking of towns which
took place perpetually on the continent of Europe.

There was so much history made at this period, the stage of world
politics was occupied by so many great, striking, and dazzling
personalities, that the Sea-wolves and all they accomplished were to a
great extent overshadowed by happenings which the chroniclers of the
time considered to be of greater importance. In this no doubt they were
right in the main; but, in spite of this opinion which they held, we
find that time and again the main stream of events is ruffled by the
prows of the pirate galleys. Such men as the Barbarossas, as Dragut,
and Ali Basha could only have been suppressed and exterminated had the
whole might of Christendom been turned against them, for they held in
their hands two weapons, the keenest and most powerful with which to
attain the objects which they had in view.

The first and more powerful of these was the appeal in a rough and
warlike age to the cupidity of mankind. “Those who are content to
follow us,” they said in effect, “are certain to enrich themselves if
they are men stout of heart and strong of hand. All around us lie rich
and prosperous lands; we have but to organise ourselves, and to take
anything that we wish for; we can, if we like, gather a rich harvest at
comparatively small trouble.” Such counsels as these did not fall on
deaf ears. Driven from the land of plenty—from glorious Andalusia with
its fruitful soil, its magnificent cities, its vines and olives, its
fruit and grain, its noble rivers and wide-spreading _vegas_—the
Spanish Moslem of the day of the Sea-wolves was an outcast and a
beggar, ripe for adventure and burning for revenge on those by whom he
had been expropriated.

Great historians like William Hickling Prescott tell us that, in the
course of the seven centuries of the Moslem domination in Spain, the
Moors had become soft and effeminate, that “the canker of peace”
had sapped, if it had not destroyed, the virile qualities of the
race, that luxury and learning had dried up at their source those
primitive virtues of courage and hardihood which had been the leading
characteristics of those stark fighters who had borne the banner of
the Prophet from Mecca even to Cadiz. Tom by faction, by strife among
themselves, they had succumbed to the arms of the Northern chivalry; by
its warriors they had been driven out, never to return.

When this was accomplished, when the curtain fell on the final scene
of the tragedy, and the Moors, after the fall of Granada, were driven
across the sea into Africa, there came to pass a most remarkable change
in those who had been expropriated. The learning, the culture, the
civilisation, by which they had been so long distinguished, seemed to
drop away from them, cast away like a worn-out garment for which men
have no further use. In place of all these things there came a complete
and desperate valour, a bitter and headstrong fanaticism.

It was one of the attributes of the Moslem civilisation in Spain,
and one of the most enlightened thereof, that religious toleration
flourished in its midst. Jew and Christian were allowed to worship at
the altars of their fathers, no man hindering or saying them nay; one
rule, and one alone, had to be preserved: none must blaspheme against
Mahomet, the Prophet of God, as he was considered to be by the Moslems.
The penalty for infraction of this rule was death; otherwise, complete
liberty of conscience was accorded.

We have spoken of the two weapons held by the leaders of the
Sea-wolves. The first, as we have, said, was cupidity; the second
was fanaticism, the deadly religious hatred engendered, not only by
the wholesale expropriation of the Moslem population, but also by
the persecution to which the Moriscoes—as those Moslems were known
who remained in Spain—were subjected by their Christian masters. It
requires little imagination to see how these two weapons of avarice
and intolerance could be made to serve the purpose of those dominant
spirits who rose to the summit of the piratical hierarchy. Not only
did they dazzle the imaginations of those who followed in their train
by promises of wealth uncounted, but they added to this the specious
argument that, in slaying and robbing the Christian wheresoever he was
to be found, the faithful Moslem was performing the service of God and
the act most grateful to his holy Prophet.

Could any rule of life be at the same time more simple and more
attractive to the beggared Mohammedan cast on the sterile shores of
Northern Africa to starve?

With the main stream of history, to which we have before referred, we
have no concern in this book. He who would embark thereon must sail
a powerful vessel which must carry many guns. Also for the conduct
of this vessel many qualities are necessary: a commanding intellect,
acute perceptions, indefatigable industry, complete leisure, are among
those things necessary to the pilot. These must be supplemented by a
genius for research, a knowledge of ancient and modern languages, and
an unerring faculty for separating the few precious grains of wheat
from those mountains of chaff which he will have to sift with the
utmost care. There are, however, subsidiary rivulets which feed the
onward flow of events, and of such is the story of the Sea-wolves of
the Mediterranean. On these the adventurous mariner can sail his little
cockboat, discreetly retiring before he becomes involved and engulfed
in the main stream. That he cannot altogether avoid it is shown by
the fact that the men who are here chronicled took part in events of
first-class importance in the age in which they lived. Kheyr-ed-Din
Barbarossa fought the battle of Prevesa against his lifelong
antagonist, Andrea Doria. Dragut was killed at the siege of Malta, at
the moment almost of the fall of the castle of St. Elmo; had he lived
it is more than probable that Jean Parisot de la Valette and his heroic
garrison would have been defeated instead of being victorious. Ali
Basha was the one Moslem commander who increased his reputation at the
battle of Lepanto, because, as was usual in all maritime conflicts of
the time, the corsairs, who had the habit of the sea, were more than a
match for soldiers embarked to fight on an unfamiliar element.

We shall speak, later on, of the autocratic rule of these leaders who
possessed so absolute a domination over the men by whom they were
followed. The fact of this absolute supremacy on the part of the chiefs
is very curious, as theoretically in the confederacy of the Sea-wolves
all were equal; we are, in fact, confronted with pure democracy, where
every man was at liberty to do what seemed best in his own eyes. He
was a free agent, none coercing him or desiring him to place himself
under discipline or command. This, be it observed, was the theory. As
a matter of fact the corsairs, who were extraordinarily successful in
their abominable trade, abode beneath an iron and rigid discipline.
This was enforced by the lash, as we shall see later on when it is
related how Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa flogged one Hassan, a captain
who, he considered, had failed in his duty: or by the actual penalty
of death, which Uruj Barbarossa inflicted on one who had dared to act
independently of his authority.

The theory of equality obtained among the Mediterranean pirates; but
the Barbarossas, Dragut, and Ali believed that, in practice, the less
interference there was with their designs by those, whom Cardinal
Granvelle denominated in a letter to Philip II. as “that mischievous
animal the people,” the better it would be for all concerned. The
conception held of rights and duties of “the mischievous animal”
by these militant persons was, that it should behave as did those
others recorded of the Roman centurion in Holy Writ: if it did not,
and difficulties arose, the leaders were not troubled with an undue
tenderness either towards the individual or the theory. Of this we
shall see examples as we go on.

This period has been called “The Grand Period of the Moslem Corsairs”
cause it was in something less than a century, from the year of the
expulsion of the Moors from Granada in 1492 to the death of Ali Basha
in 1580, that the Sea-wolves were at the height of their power, that
the piratical States of the Mediterranean were in the making. That
subsequently they gave great cause of trouble to Christendom is
written in characters of blood and fire throughout the history of the
succeeding centuries; but the real interest in the careers of these
men resides in the fact that they established, by their extraordinary
aptitude for sea-adventure, the permanent place which was held by
their descendants. Time and again in the sixteenth century the effort
was made to destroy them root and branch: they were defeated, driven
out of their strongholds on shore, crushed apparently for ever. But
nothing short of actual extermination could have been successful in
this; as, no matter how severe had been the set-back, there was always
left a nucleus of the pirates which in a short time grew again into a
formidable force. The Ottoman Turk, magnificent fighter as he was on
land, seemed to lose his great qualities when the venue was changed
from the land to the sea. The Janissaries, that picked corps trained
as few soldiers were trained even in that age of iron, who never
recoiled before the foe but who fought only to conquer or die, seem to
have failed when embarked for sea-service. That which the hard teaching
of experience alone could show—that the man who fights best upon the
sea is he who has the habit of the sea—was at this time not generally
recognised, and this it was that rendered the corsairs so supreme on
the element which they had made their own. Some among the great ones of
the earth there were who appreciated this fact, who, like that great
statesman Ibrahim, Grand Vizier to Soliman the Magnificent, recognised
what it was to lay their hands upon “a veritable man of the sea”; but
the rule was to embark men from the shore and to entrust to them the
duty of fighting naval actions.

When “the Grand Period” came to an end, as it did about the date
already indicated, the corsairs had become a permanent institution;
they remained established at Algiers, Tunis, and other ports on
the littoral of Northern Africa as a recognised evil. Pirates they
remained to the end of the chapter, the scourge of the tideless sea;
but no longer did they array themselves in line of battle against
the mightiest potentates of the earth allied for their complete
destruction. It was the men of the sea who set up this empire; it was
they who defied Charles V., a whole succession of Popes, Andrea Doria
and his descendants, the might of Spain, Venice, Genoa, Catalonia, and
France. It was they who taught the so-called civilised world of the age
in which they lived that sea-power can only be met and checked by those
who dispose of navies manned by seamen; that against it the master of
the mightiest legions of the land is powerless.

This contention is by no means invalidated by the fact that frequently
the corsairs were defeated by land forces embarked on board ship.
Thus when Dragut was defending Tripoli against an expedition sent
against him in 1559 by the combined forces of Spain, Tuscany, Rome,
Naples, Sicily, and Genoa, of one hundred sail which embarked fourteen
thousand troops, he was relieved by Piali, the Admiral of Soliman
the Magnificent, who came to his assistance with eighty-six galleys,
each of which had on board one hundred Janissaries, and who gained
so striking a victory over the Christians that the Turkish Admiral
returned to Constantinople with no less than four thousand prisoners.
But in this case, as in so many others, the actual hostilities took
place on shore, where the troops had the opportunity of displaying
their sterling qualities.

There is very little doubt that critics will point out that the
corsairs were by no means universally successful; that, as in the
case of the attack by Hassem, the ruler of Algiers in 1563, on Oran
and Marzaquivir (a small port in the immediate vicinity of Oran), in
the end the Moslems were badly beaten. This undoubtedly was the case,
and there is no desire to magnify the deeds of the Sea-wolves or to
minimise the heroic defence of Marzaquivir by the Count of Alcaudete,
or that of Oran by his brother, Don Martin de Còrdoba, At the last
moment of their wonderful defence they were relieved by a fleet sent by
the King of Spain, and Hassem had to abandon his artillery, ammunition,
and stores and beat a hasty retreat to the place from whence he had

There was nothing remarkable in the fact that the corsairs were
frequently defeated; what is really strange is that they should have
achieved so great a success—success vouched for by the concrete
instance that they established those sinister dynasties on the coast of
Northern Africa which were the outcome of their piratical activities.

In speaking of them, historians of later date than that at which they
flourished are apt to hold them somewhat cheaply, to dismiss them as
mere barbarians of no particular importance in the scheme of mundane
affairs; as men who caused a certain amount of trouble to civilisation
by their inroads and their plunderings. That which is certain is that
they were for centuries a standing shame and disgrace to the whole of

To those who may perhaps be called the pioneers—that is to say, the men
treated of in this book—a certain amount of sympathy and understanding
may be conceded; for they had been driven from the land which had
been theirs, it was their countrymen and their co-religionists who
were being ground to powder beneath the fanatical cruelty of the
Spanish Inquisition. That which they did was doubtless abominable,
but it cannot be contended that they had not received the strongest
provocation both from the material and the religious points of view.

Once the “Grand Period” was passed, that period in which such men as
the Barbarossas, Dragut, and Ali flourished, the chronicle of the
Moslem States founded by them sinks to the degraded level of sheer
robbery and murder; of a history of a tyranny established within one
hundred miles of the shores of Europe, and of great kings and princes
bargaining with piratical ruffians who held in thrall thousands upon
thousands of their subjects. How it came about that the Christian
States tolerated such an abuse is one of those mysteries which can
never be explained; and if subsequent centuries displayed a greater
refinement of manners, a more apt appreciation of all that is softer
and kindlier in the human relationships of nation towards nation and
of people towards people, they have not perhaps so much to plume
themselves upon as had their rude forefathers of the sixteenth century,
who, seeing the evil and feeling the effects thereof, did their best to
extirpate those by whom this evil was caused.

The question may be asked, how can it be that the lives and actions of
such men as these are worth chronicling? It is because, not only that
they modified profoundly the course of history in the age in which they
lived, but also because that, hidden deep down, somewhere, in these men
stained by a thousand crimes, ruthless, lustful, bloodthirsty, cruel as
the grave, was the germ of true greatness, some dim spark of the divine
fire of genius. Contending against principalities and powers, they held
their own; in the welter of anarchy in which they lived they proved
that there existed no finer fighting men, which alone give them some
claim to consideration; but that which is most interesting to watch is
the absolute domination obtained by the leaders over their followers.
There is no other record of pirates who commanded on so large a scale;
there is none which shows men such as these bargaining on equal terms
with the great ones of the earth.



There is, in the deeds of men of action, an interest which is never
aroused by those persons of brains and capacity by whom the world
is really ruled. The statesman in his cabinet is the god within the
machine; it is he who directs the acts of nations, it is he who moves
the fleets and armies as if they were pieces on the chess-board; to
him, as a rule, is the man of action subordinate, obeying his behests.
Rule and governance are his, power both in the abstract and the
concrete. Seldom in the history of the world do we come across the men
who are at one and the same time statesmen and soldiers, who, taking
their destiny in their own hands, work it out to the appointed end
thereof. But, as we stray in the by-paths of history, we meet with
some who, in their day, have influenced not only the age in which they
lived themselves, but also the destinies of generations yet unborn. It
would seem incredible that mere pirates, such as the Moslem corsairs
of the Mediterranean, could be included in this category, and yet, as
their story is unfolded, we shall see how the Sea-wolves rose from
the humblest beginnings to trouble the peace of Europe, to found for
themselves dynasties which endured.

Uruj Barbarossa, Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa, Dragut Reis, and Occhiali, or
All Basha, were men who, in the sixteenth century, did much to change
the conditions of the times in which they lived: it was the time of
the Renaissance in Europe, a period of splendour in all the arts and
sciences. These men added nothing to the knowledge of the civilised
world as it then existed, save and except in one particular, which
was, as Kheyr-ed-Din explained to Soliman the Magnificent on a certain
memorable occasion, that he who rules on the sea will rule on the land
also. In the present day, when all the nations and languages sit at the
feet of Captain (now Rear-Admiral) Mahan, and acclaim his “Sea Power”
series of books, it is interesting to find that he was anticipated
in the most practical fashion possible by a corsair of the sixteenth

This period was one in which great men abounded. The Emperor Charles
V., Francis I. of France, and Henry VIII. of England, were on the
thrones of their respective countries; in Hungary was John Hunyadi, at
Constantinople Soliman the Magnificent held rule, while in Rome the
“fatal house of Medici” were the successors of Saint Peter. War was a
commonplace state of the times, but until the Crescent began to sweep
the seas it had its manifestation in the perpetual quarrels of the
nations of Christendom, which represented, as a rule, the insatiable
ambitions of its rulers. But now new men forced themselves to the
front, a new power arose which was very imperfectly understood, and
which practically held the sea at its mercy. Gone were the halcyon
days of peaceful trade which had been pursued for generations by
Venetian and Genoese, by Spaniard and Frenchman; gone also, apparently
never to return, was all sense of security for the wretched dwellers on
the littoral of the Mediterranean, who lived in daily, and particularly
in nightly, dread of the falcon swoop of the pirate galleys.

It is amusing to read the old chroniclers, sticklers as they were for
“the dignity of history,” continually having to turn aside from the
main stream of their narrative of emperors, popes, and kings to descend
to the level of the Sea-wolves, and to be constrained to set down the
nefarious doings of these rovers of the sea. Bell, book, and candle
were invoked against them in vain, and mighty monarchs had to meet them
in the stricken field not merely once or twice—to their utter undoing
and discomfiture—but many times, while victory inclined first to one
side and then to the other.

The Osmanli had ever been warriors since the times of the Prophet, of
Abu-Bekr, of Othman, and of Ali; but so far their warlike achievements
had been always on land, their only sea experience being confined to
the crossing of the Straits of Gibraltar, when in the eighth century,
under Tarik, they had swarmed into Andalusia, conquered Roderick the
Goth, and set up that Moslem domination in Southern Spain which lasted
until 1492, just before the events set forth in this book took place.
Piracy in all ages is a thing in which a curious shuddering interest
has been taken, and the deeds of the outlaws of the sea have never
lacked chroniclers. There is for this a reason apart from the record
of robbery and murder, which is the commonplace of piratical deeds:
it resides in the perennial interest which men take in individual
achievement, in the spectacle of absolute and complete domination by
one man over the lives and the fortunes of others. This intense form of
individualism is nowhere so well exhibited as in the story of piratical
enterprise, where a band of men, outside of the law and divorced from
all human kind by the atrocity of their deeds, has had to be welded
into one homogeneous mass for the purpose of preying upon the world
at large. Therefore he who would hold rule among such outlaws must
himself be a man of no common description, for in him must be that
quality which calls for instantaneous obedience among those with whom
he is associated; behind him is no constituted authority, discipline is
personal, enforced by the leader, and by him alone. Beneath him are men
of the rudest and roughest description, slaves to their lusts and their
passions, prone to mutiny, suspicious, and—worst of all—stupid.

It is with these constituent elements that the piratical leader had to
deal, trusting to the strength of his own arm, the subtlety of his own
unassisted brain. Some among these leaders have risen to eminence in
their evil lives, most of them have been the captains of single ships
preying on commerce in an indiscriminate manner; but this was not the
case with the Sea-wolves of the Mediterranean, Primarily sea-robbers
they were of course, but as time and opportunity developed their
characters they rose to meet occasion, to take fortune at the flood, in
a manner that, had they been pursuing any other career, would most
certainly have caused them to rise to eminence. Into the fierce and
blood-stained turmoil of their lives there entered something unknown
to any other pirates: this was religious fanaticism—a fanaticism so
engrained in character, a belief held to with such passionate tenacity,
that men stained with every conceivable crime held that their passage
to Paradise was absolutely secure because of the faith which they
professed. Tradition, sentiment, discipline, were summed up in one
trite formula; but though we, at this distance of time, may hold it
somewhat in derision, it was a vital force in the days of Soliman the
Magnificent; and there was an added zest to robbery and murder in the
fact that the pirates, as good Mohammedans, were obeying the behests of
the Prophet every time that they cut a Christian throat, plundered a
Christian argosy, or carried off shrieking women into a captivity far
worse than death.

That a pirate should be a warrior goes without saying, that a pirate
should be a statesman is a thing almost incredible; but those who
will read the story of the life of Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa will be
forced to admit that here, at least, was a pirate who achieved the
apparently impossible. Admiral Jurien de la Gravière has remarked that
the Moslem corsairs of the sixteenth century were great men, even when
measured by the standard of Henry VIII., of Charles V., of Soliman the
Magnificent, of Ibrahim, his Grand Vizier, or of Andrea Doria, greatest
among contemporary Christian mariners. To the seaman, of course, there
is much that is fascinating in the deeds of his forerunners, and
the ships of the corsairs had in them something distinctive in that
they were propelled by oars, and were in consequence, to a certain
extent, independent of the weather. Like the sailors of all ages, to
the Sea-wolves gales and storms of all sorts and descriptions were
abhorrent; and in consequence they had a well-marked piracy season,
which, as we shall see, covered the spring and summer, while they
carefully avoided the inclement months of autumn and winter.

In a later chapter an attempt has been made to place before the reader
pictures of the galley, the galeasse, and the nef, which were the names
attached to the ships then in use; the name brigantine, far from having
the significance attached to it by the sailor of the present day, seems
to have been a generic term to denote any craft not included in the
names already given.

Although the sixteenth century had outgrown the principle of the
general massacre of the enemy by the victors, still chivalry to the
fallen foe was far to seek, as all persons captured at sea were, no
matter what their rank and status, immediately stripped and chained to
the rowers’ bench, where they remained until ransom, good fortune, or
a kindly death, for which these unfortunates were wont to pray, should
come to their release. To a large extent this savagery may be traced
to the religious rancour which animated the combatants on both sides,
as the fanaticism of the Moslem, of which we have already spoken, was
fully matched on the side of the Christians by the bigotry of the
Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, otherwise known as the Knights of
Malta, who were vowed to the extermination of what they, on their
side, called “the infidel.” It was an age of iron, when men neither
gave nor expected grace for the misfortunes which might befall them in
the warrior life which they led. It was distinguished by many gallant
feats of arms on both sides, but pity formed no part of the equipment
of the fighting man bent on the death or capture of his enemy. Honestly
and sincerely each side believed that they were doing the service of
the Almighty in destroying the other party root and branch. The amount
of human misery and suffering caused by the rise and progress of the
Moslem corsairs was absolutely incalculable; the slavery of the rower
in the galley in the time of which we speak was an agony so dreadful
that in these days it is a thing which seems altogether incredible, a
nightmare of horror almost impossible even to imagine.

The life of the “gallerian” was so hard that his sufferings in many
cases were mercifully ended in death in a very short time, as none
save those of iron constitution could stand the strain imposed by the
desperate toil and wretched food. Yet there are cases on record of men
who had worked at the oar for actual decades, so unconquerable in their
strength that even such a life as this had not the power to break them

To the peaceful mariner who wished merely to trade, to the individual
whose business called him overseas, this epoch must have been one of
terror unspeakable. The ordinary perils of the deep were quite enough
to keep timid folk at home in those days of clumsy, ill-found sailing
ships, which could by no means work to windward, and did not sail
remarkably well even with the most favouring breezes; when to this we
add that every ship which started on a voyage in the Mediterranean had
before her the chance of being captured by the corsairs, it was no
wonder that he whose business led him oversea should make his last will
and testament and bid a fond farewell to all his relatives.

There is a record in the Mémoires of the Rev. Frère Pierre d’An,
Bachelier en Théologie de la Faculté de Paris, etc., who wrote in a
most heartfelt manner concerning the danger of the sea and the perils
to be expected from the Barbary corsairs. He says, date 1637:

  “An ancient writer, considering how little assurance
  can ordinarily be placed in the sea, and how hazardous
  it is to expose oneself and one’s goods to its mercy,
  has remarked, with much reason, that it is infinitely
  preferable to be poor on shore than to be rich at sea.
  In which saying he mocks indeed at those ambitious,
  avaricious, and mercenary men who, in order to gain false
  glory and the things of this world, expose themselves
  rashly to the manifest perils which are most of the time
  the inevitable lot of the seaman. This same consideration
  causes him also to utter these remarkable words: that
  he repents himself of but one thing, and that is ever
  to have travelled by sea when it was possible to have
  done so by land. And, to say truth, he has good reason
  to speak as he does, because it is impossible for the
  most hardy navigators not to tremble with fear when it is
  represented before their eyes that they must combat with
  the winds, the waves, and the foam every time that they
  adventure upon the deep.

  “Because it is indisputable that this is the very Theatre
  of the storms, and the place in the world most capable
  of all sorts of violence and tragic adventure. This,
  however, does not prevent those who covet the perishable
  goods of this world from straying upon the sea, even in
  unknown and untraversed regions, without ceasing and
  without rest.

  “If, however, they abandon the ocean for a time, it is
  but to return to it again to seek once more war with
  their ships, in order unjustly to make themselves masters
  of the bodies and of the riches of others.

  “Of such it may be remarked to-day are, in all the
  maritime coasts, the implacable Corsairs of Barbary. For,
  however great may be the dangers of which we have just
  spoken, and no matter now many examples they may see of
  the fury and inconstancy of Neptune, they cease not their
  irritating performances, kindling warfare in all the
  coasts of the Christian nations. It is there that they
  exercise their infamous piracies, and there also that
  they glory in the most shameful of all commerce—the trade
  of the brigand.

  “Which in all towns that are well policed have always met
  with a swift and just retribution, because the law is
  ordained against those who maintain such practices.

  “But such does not happen among these pirates.

  “On the contrary, it may truthfully be said that, while
  in towns in which good persons dwell good actions receive
  the palms and the crown, it is among the Corsairs but to
  the wicked to whom are given recompense and praise.

  “In effect the most determined among them—I mean the most
  unworthy robbers who are best versed in all the infamies
  of their trade and most accustomed to the practice of
  violence—are those who are covered with honours, and
  who pass in the estimation of their fellows for men of
  heart and courage.

  “Indeed experience has taught all Christian merchants
  that the infidels of the coast of Barbary are all

  “Among these those of Algiers carry off the prize for
  riches, for ships, for strength, and for villainy.”

The bachelor in theology is somewhat sweeping in his criticisms, and
his meaning is, perhaps, somewhat clearer than his grammar. One thing,
however, is perfectly plain, that, in the opinion of the reverend
brother, those who go to sea are to be divided into two categories,
rogues and fools, with a strong preponderance of the worse Element of
the two.

Of the corsairs dealt with in this record of their deeds the two
Barbarossas were the sons of a Mohammedan father and a Christian
mother. Dragut Reis was a pure Mohammedan, and Ali Basha was a
pure-blooded Italian. All these men, as will be seen, raised themselves
to eminence in the profession of piracy; in each and every separate
case starting at the very bottom rung of the ladder and rising, by
sheer stress of valour and character, to the very top. Each in turn
became Admiralissimo to the Grand Turk at Constantinople. Kheyr-ed-Din
Barbarossa commanded the Ottoman fleet at the great battle of Prevesa,
at which he met with his life-long competitor at sea, the famous
Genoese Admiral, Andrea Doria. Dragut Reis was killed at the siege
of Malta in 1565, and Ali Basha was the only Moslem commander who
increased his reputation at the battle of Lepanto in 1571, when Don
John of Austria shattered the power of the Moslem at sea for the time

Although the “renegado” was very much in evidence in the vessels of
the Moslem corsairs, still of course the bulk of the fighting men, by
which the galleys were manned, were Mohammedans, the descendants of the
warriors who had swept through Northern Africa like a living flame in
the early days of the Mohammedan conquest.

Cut adrift from the homes which had been theirs for over seven
centuries—as we shall see in the next chapter—there was nothing left
for the erstwhile dwellers in Andalusia but to gain their living by the
strong hand. The harvest of the sea was the one which they garnered—a
harvest of the goods of their mortal enemies strung out in lines of
hapless merchant-vessels throughout the length and breadth of the
tideless sea.

It booted not that the great Powers of Europe sent expedition after
expedition against them; these they fought to the death with varying
fortune, ready, when the storm had passed over their heads, to start
once more on the only career which promised them the chance of
acquiring riches. Their whole history is a study of warfare, waged as a
rule on the petty scale, but rising at times, as in the cases already
mentioned, into events of first-class historical importance.

The deeds of the buccaneers of the next century in the Spanish Main
sink into comparative insignificance when compared with what was
accomplished by such a man as Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa, who was known,
and rightly known, by his contemporaries, and for many generations
of Moslem seamen yet to come, as “the King of the Sea.” The capture of
Panama by Sir Henry Morgan in January 1671 was possibly as remarkable
a feat of arms as was ever accomplished, but it cannot rank in its
importance to civilised mankind on the same plane as those memorable
battles in the Mediterranean of which mention has been made as having
been fought by the Moslem corsairs.

Fighting for their own hand, the booty reaped by these men was
incredible in its richness. Sea-power was theirs, and they took the
fullest advantage of this fact, fearing none save the great community
of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, which, vowed to the
destruction of the infidel, neither gave nor accepted quarter.

We have said that the real interest in the lives of the corsairs arose
from the fact that it was personal ascendancy, and that alone, which
counted in the piratical hierarchy. Against Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa
plots arose again and again, only to be defeated by the address of the
man against whom they were directed.

It was one of the cruellest of ages, and rough cruelty was the
principal means adopted to ensure success; sheer terror was the weapon
of the leader. Thus when one Hassan, a subordinate of Kheyr-ed-Din,
failed to take a Spanish ship because she made too stout a resistance,
his chief caused him to be soundly flogged and then thrown into prison.
Such methods naturally raised up hosts of enemies in the wake of the
piratical commanders, ready at any time to do them a mortal injury, and
it is little short of miraculous that they should throughout a long
period of years have been able not only to maintain, but to increase,
their supremacy over the wild spirits of which their following was
composed. It was, however, the golden age of autocracy, when men
surrendered their judgment to some great leader, content to follow
where he led, to endorse his policy at the cost of their lives.

It is the autocrat who is made by the circumstances of his life who
ultimately becomes supreme. The leaders among the corsairs were tried
by every test of prosperity and of adverse fortune; they emerged from
the ruck in the first instance because it was in them to display a more
desperate valour than did their contemporaries, and it was only when
they emerged triumphant from this, the first test, that they could
begin to impose their will upon others. It was then that their real
trials began, as the undisciplined are ever prone to suspicion, much
given to murmuring against a leader who is not perpetually successful.

As a rule, however, there were but few to criticise, as the office of
critic was one fraught with far too much danger to be alluring. In
maintaining their authority the leaders stopped at nothing, and the
heads of the recalcitrant were apt to part with amazing suddenness from
their bodies if they repined overmuch. The Moslem leader was, it is
true, merely _primus inter pares_, and was distinguished by no outward
symbol of the power which he possessed; but life and death lay in his
hands, and life was cheap indeed.

We have spoken hitherto of the leaders, but what of the men of which
their following was composed? Rough, rude, and reckless, these latter
lived but to fight and to plunder; to them any other life would have
seemed impossible, and indeed this was practically the fact. In the
communities in which they lived the adult male had no other means of
gaining a livelihood. Since their expulsion from their ancient homes no
ordered and peaceful method of existence had been possible for them.
In the surroundings in which their forefathers had lived the arts of
peace had been carried on in a civilisation to which there had been
none comparable in the world as it then existed; on all this the Moslem
had now to turn his back, and to earn a precarious living by the strong
hand. War, sanguinary and incessant, was henceforward to be his lot,
and it must be said that he turned to this ancient avocation with a
zest which left but little to be desired from the point of view of
those by whom he was led. In the new life of bloodshed and adventure he
seemed to delight. Like the free-lance in all ages, he seems to have
squandered his booty as soon as it was acquired, and then to sea once
more, to face the desperate hazard of an encounter with the knights, to
raid defenceless villages, to lie _perdu_ behind some convenient cape,
dashing out from thence to plunder the argosy of the merchantman.
Intolerable conditions of heat and cold he endured, he suffered from
wounds, from fever, from hunger and thirst, from hope deferred, from
voyages when no plunder came his way.

His reward was the joy of the fight, the delight of the ambush
skilfully laid, to see the decks of the enemy a dreadful shambles, with
the Crescent flag of the Prophet above the detested emblem of the
Cross. Then the return to Algiers laden with spoil: to tow behind him
some luckless Christian ship, while aboard his own war-worn galley the
drums beat and the trumpets sounded, and the banners floated free to
the stainless Mediterranean sky. Then the procession of the captives
through the crowded streets laden with what a short time before
had been their own property—a mournful _cortège_ of men doomed to an
everlasting slavery and of women destined for the harems of the Bashas.

Thus was his life lived, and when death came it came as a rule from the
slash of a sabre or the ball from an arquebus or a bombard; and then
what matter, for had not Hassan Ali or Selim fallen in strife against
the enemies of his faith, and did not the portals of heaven open wide
to receive the man who had lost his life testifying to the fact that
there was but one God, and that Mahomet was the Prophet of God?

True in substance and in fact is that which was said by the Frère
Pierre d’An that “it is indisputable that the sea is the Theatre of
the storms and the place in the world most capable of all sorts of
violence and tragic adventure.” Those who “coveted the goods of others
straying on the sea,” called by the reverend brother “the implacable,
corsairs of Barbary,” were to make life intolerable on that element for
centuries to come, and if the Crescent did not supersede the banner of
the Cross in the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, it remained as a
portent and a dread symbol of human misery and unutterable suffering.



The rise and progress of the Moslem corsairs of the Mediterranean is a
most curious and interesting historical fact. The causes which led to
results so deplorable to commerce, civilisation, and Christianity are
set forth in this chapter in order that some idea may be formed of the
state of affairs in that region at the end of the fifteenth and the
beginning of the sixteenth centuries, and also that the reflex action
of the great triumph of the Christian armies in Spain may be more fully

The maritime Christian States of the Mediterranean at this epoch
were at the height of their power and prosperity, but were faced by
the might of the Ottoman Empire, against which they waged perpetual
warfare. Bitter and unceasing was the strife prosecuted by the Cross
against the Crescent, and by the Crescent against the Cross; and
riding, like eagles on the storm came the corsairs in their swift
galleys ready to strike down the luckless argosy of the merchantman
wheresoever she was to be met. But this was not all, as the shore as
well as the sea yielded up to them its tribute in the shape of slaves
and booty, and Christian mothers trembling in the insecurity of their
homes would hush their wailing children with the terror of the names
of Barbarossa, of Dragut, or of Ali Basha.

Popes and emperors, kings and princes, found themselves compelled to
form leagues against these Sea-wolves who devoured the substance of
their subjects, and great expeditions were fitted out to fight with and
destroy the corsairs. Had Christendom been united no doubt the object
would have been attained; but, as will be seen at the end of this
chapter, an “Alliance of Christian Princes against the Turks”—which
generic term included the corsairs—was not always used in the manner
best calculated to injure those common enemies.

When in 1492 Granada was yielded up to “Los Reyes Catolicos,” Ferdinand
of Aragon, and Isabella of Castile, by that luckless monarch known as
Boabdil el Chico (or “the little”), the last remnant of the power of
the Moors in Spain had gone never to return. On that small hill on the
way to the coast still known as “el ultimo suspiro del Moro” (the last
sigh of the Moor), Boabdil, as he looked for the last time on his lost
capital of Granada, is said to have burst into tears. His fierce mother
Ayesha had, however, no sympathy for her fallen son: “Thou doest well
to weep like a woman for that which thou daredst not defend as a man,”
was her biting—and totally unjust—comment, and the cavalcade pursued
its miserable journey to the coast, from whence it embarked for the
kingdom of Fez.

Great was the jubilation in Christendom; for more than seven centuries
the followers of the Prophet had dwelt in the land from which Tarik
had expelled Roderick the Goth in the eighth century. There they had
dwelt and held up a lamp of learning and comparative civilisation which
shone brightly through the miasmatic mists of cruelty and bloodshed
in the Middle Ages, and none can question that, under Moorish rule
in Spain in those centuries, the arts of peace had flourished, and
that science, agriculture, art, and learning had found generous and
discriminating patronage in the courts of Còrdoba and Granada.

And now all was over the iron chivalry of the North had broken in
pieces the Paynim hosts. They were expelled for ever from Christian
soil, or else were forced to live in a state of degrading servitude,
sore oppressed by an alien rule, in the land which their forbears had
won and kept by the sword.

There was jubilation, as has been said, in Christendom, but the knights
and nobles who flocked from all parts of Europe to join the standard of
the Catholic monarchs had no prevision of the consequences, no idea of
the legacy that they were leaving to their descendants.

It is of this legacy that we have to speak, and there has been none
more terrible, none fraught with more awful suffering for the human
race. The broken hosts of the Moslem chivalry became the corsairs of
the Mediterranean: ruthless pirates freed from all restraint of human
pity, living only to inflict the maximum of suffering upon their
Christian foes, who, having sown the wind at the taking of Granada,
reaped in the coming centuries a whirlwind of blood and agony which
continued down to the bombardment of Algiers by Lord Exmouth in 1816,
and even later than that date.

Warriors to a man, the hosts of Boabdil crossed the Straits of
Gibraltar into Africa; warriors but now broken men, from whom had been
reft not only their lands and houses but even the chance of remaining
in their native country. Religious toleration had been the rule of
the Moslem States in Spain. In the name of religion they had been
expropriated; therefore toleration was slain, and to exalt the Crescent
above the Cross became the duty of every fighting Mohammedan. Into
all the ports and harbours of the North African littoral the Moslems
intruded themselves, their one preoccupation to revenge themselves upon
the Christians, of no matter what race or nationality. There was at
this date but small opposition from the rulers of the Pagan States who
held in their weak and inefficient hands such strong places of arms as
Algiers and Tunis.

Very soon the Moslems acquired the habit of the sea, and very soon the
Christian States discovered how different was the Mohammedan dwelling
at peace in Andalusia, or at worst fighting with his co-religionists,
to the desperate corsairs created by their own act who now ravaged the
shores of the tideless sea.

In the years succeeding to the conquest of Granada the corsairs became
the scourge of the Mediterranean. France, Spain, Genoa, Venice, were
all at odds with them; as the trading vessels, which had hitherto
passed to and fro unmolested, were now captured, haled into North
African ports, their cargoes sold, and their hapless crews forced to
labour, naked and chained to the benches of the pirate galleys, until
death came and mercifully put an end to their sufferings.

From Reggio to Genoa, from Venice to Taranto, the cry of rage and
fear went up; it was re-echoed from the coasts of France and of the
Balearic Islands, while Southern Spain seethed with disaffection, and
the Moriscoes, as those Moors who remained in the country were known,
were ever on the lookout to assist their bold brethren, the rovers of
the sea. Christendom was completely bewildered: hitherto the relations
between the nations and the Kings of Tunis, Tlemcen, Fez, and others
of the North African potentates, had been of the most agreeable
description. Both parties had denounced piracy, and had as far as in
them lay done all in their power to discourage this form of robbery.
But now all was changed, and, as has been said in the previous chapter,
a situation arose analogous to that of the Spaniards in the West Indies
a century and a half later when Morgan and the buccaneers were at the
height of their maleficent prowess. The situation was analogous, but
whereas Morgan, Scott, L’Ollonais, and others terrorised only such
forces as Spain possessed in far-distant colonies, the corsairs were a
terror to all the great nations of the world.

Granada fell, as has been said, in 1492 amid the rejoicings of the
Christian States; but it had been well for Christendom as a whole if
the Caliphs of Còrdova and Granada had never been defeated, and they
and their subjects driven from their homes: to form the nucleus of
those piratical States which existed from this date until well into the
nineteenth century, as the scourge and the terror of all those who,
during those ages, desired to “pass upon the seas on their lawful
occasions.” The capture of Granada was separated from the fall of the
Byzantine Empire by a period of thirty-nine years, as it was in the
year 1453 that Constantinople was captured by the Caliph Mahomet II.
Byzantium fell, and perhaps nothing in the records of that Empire
became it so well as that last tremendous struggle; and when on May
29th, 1453, the Ottoman legions were victorious, the body of the last
Emperor of Byzantium was found beneath a mountain of the slain only
recognisable by his purple mantle sewn with golden bees. The Cross
which Constantine the Great had planted on the walls 1125 years before
was replaced by the Crescent, and the Christian Cathedral became that
Mosque of St. Sophia which still endures.

From the earliest days of the Moslem corsairs of the Mediterranean they
were in close communication with their co-religionists of the Ottoman
Empire; and this for a very good reason, which was that the Turk had
not the habit of the sea, but was essentially a land warrior, and, as
the story of the Sea-wolves progresses, we shall see how in a sense the
Grand Turk and the pirates became interdependent in the ceaseless wars
which were waged in the epoch of which we treat.

The fall of Constantinople resounded throughout Christendom as though
it had been the crack of doom, and all men held their breath wondering
what next might portend. So stunned were the maritime States that
they took no action, letting “I dare not wait upon I would.” Their
indecision was fatal. Had the Venetians, the Genoese, and the Catalans
at this juncture formed an alliance, they might have chased the
Turks from off the face of the waters; but to mutual jealousy and
indecision was added fear—fear of this new and mighty power which had
arisen and had swept away one of the landmarks of Europe. So it fell
out that Genoa entered into an arrangement with the Grand Turk, and
Venice concluded a treaty of commerce on April 18th, 1454. It was the
Caliph Mahomet who first fortified the Dardanelles, where he mounted
thirty heavy guns before which Jacques Loredano, the Venetian admiral,
recoiled, reporting to the Republic that henceforward none could pass
the Straits. We have, however, nothing to do with the Grand Turk in
these pages, save, and except in so far, as he had an effect on the
lives of the corsairs. This effect will develop itself as we proceed.

There is one body of men, however, concerning whom it may be as well
to treat of briefly in this place, as the lives which they led and
the deeds which they performed were inextricably entangled with those
of the corsairs. These men were the members of that association first
known as the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, later as the Knights
of Malta. Between them and the corsairs it was war to the death; and
not only with these robbers, but also with any ship which sailed
beneath the insignia of the Crescent.

In 1291 the Soldan of Egypt chased the Knights Hospitallers, as they
were also known, from the soil of the Holy Land; Philip IV. of France
welcomed them in the island of Cyprus, and gave them the town of
Limasol as an asylum. This for the time the knights were bound to
accept, but they were impatient of charity, resentful of tutelage,
proud and independent. Considering their own order as the greatest and
most stable bulwark of the Christian faith, they bowed before neither
King nor Kaiser; and the only boon they asked of great potentates, when
allied temporarily with them in their eternal warfare, was that on all
occasions theirs should be the post of the greatest danger.

This, indeed, they did not ask as a favour, but claimed as a right. It
is easily understood that such desperate warriors, who fought only to
conquer or die, were allies sought for eagerly by all professing the
same faith.

Fulke de Villaret, Grand Master of the order in 1310, seized upon
Rhodes, which, though nominally belonging to Greece, was at this time
a refuge for bad characters of all nationalities. This island was in
the most advantageous position, as it commanded the sea-route from
Constantinople to Egypt and the ports of Asia Minor, and was also
in close proximity to the coast of Caramania, from whence the order
could draw the necessary timber for the building of their galleys and
incidentally their motive power—in the shape of slaves—for the oars by
which they were propelled.

The knights fortified the island until it was practically unassailable
in that age. In the meanwhile their navy grew so rapidly that, in
1436, they were actually in a position to fight the Turks in line of
battle. To Rhodes came the younger sons of noble families from every
nation in Europe, all aflame with ardour to fight for “the religion”;
and the great nobles themselves did not disdain to take service in so
chivalrous an order.

Their former enemy, the Soldan of Egypt, made a descent on the island
in 1440, and in 1444 besieged the place in form; but he was beaten off,
after forty-two days’ ceaseless fighting, with great slaughter.

“Soldier and sailor too” were the bold Knights of Saint John; for them
no toil was too arduous, no danger too great. In heat and cold, in
storm and tempest, they plied their trade of war, their holy crusade
to extirpate the infidel from off the face of the waters. They looked
for no material reward, and riches and honours they contemptuously
rejected. Strong in their marvellous faith that on their shoulders
rested the propagation of Christianity in these latter days, they
swept the seas with a calm assumption of victory which caused it to be
half assured before the fight began. And when the battle was joined,
where could be found such paladins as these men who claimed it as an
inalienable right to head the hurricane rush of the boarders from the
decks of their galleys, to be ever the leaders when the forlorn hope
should mount the breach? Life for the knights of this order was looked
at literally with a single purpose—the advancement of Christianity and
the downfall of that pestilent heresy which proclaimed that Mahomet
was the prophet of God. Against all who bowed the knee in the mosques
of the false prophet their lives were vowed, and it is but the barest
justice to them to record that on the altar of this their faith these
were ungrudgingly poured forth.

Naturally reprisals were the order of the day. Equally fanatical was he
who held to the Moslem faith; in consequence many were the attempts
to stamp out, once and for all, the prime enemies of the Ottoman
Empire. In 1480 a Turkish fleet of one hundred and forty ships issued
from the Dardanelles, an army awaited it on the coast of Caramania
which was rapidly embarked, and on May 23rd the fleet anchored a few
miles from the town of Rhodes. Here, then, was a trial of strength in
which the Hospitallers delighted. After repeated attacks in detail, on
July 28th a grand assault was made which the Turks considered would be
absolutely decisive: it was decisive, but not in the fashion which they

The standard of the Janissaries already floated on the first curtain
of the rampart when Pierre D’Aubusson rallied the knights for one last
desperate effort. “Shall it be said in days to come that ‘the Religion’
recoiled before a horde of Moslem savages; that the banner of Saint
John was soiled by their infamous touch? But this is no time for talk.
Ye have swords, Messires; use them!”

Thus the Grand Master; and then the knights, in their battered armour
and with their hacked and dinted swords, flung themselves once more
upon the foe. The Janissaries closed in around them; but these fine
troops were not what they had been two months before, and the close
contact with the Hospitallers, which had endured sixty-five days,
had been to them a lesson fraught with disaster: they had already
lost six thousand men, and their adversaries were still absolutely
undismayed. His helmet gone, his banner held aloft over his head,
Pierre D’Aubusson was ever in the thickest of the fray unconquered,
unconquerable; and pressing close behind him came the knights, each
jealous for the glory of his “Auberge.” French, Venetian, Catalan,
Genoese German, none can tell who fought best that day; but the
Janissaries were beaten, and three thousand of their corpses cumbered
the ditch into which they were hurled by their foes; there were besides
fifteen thousand wounded in the Turkish camp.

The heart was out of that great army which had embarked to the sound
of trumpets and the blessings of the Mullahs but ten weeks before,
and they sailed away a beaten force. Mahomet II. swore to avenge his
defeat, but his days were numbered, and he died at Scutari on May 3rd,
1481, at the age of fifty-two, and in the thirteenth year of his reign.

In the year 1499 Daoud Pasha, Admiralissimo to Bajazet, the successor
to Mahomet II., defeated Antonio Grimani the Venetian admiral in
that combat known to the Republic as “La deplorabile battaglia del
Zonchio.” The populace of Venice demanded that Grimani should be
instantly beheaded, but he not only escaped their vengeance but lived
to be nominated as Doge on June 6th, 1521, at the age of eighty-seven:
certainly a curious record for an unsuccessful admiral of that date.

In 1500 was formed the “Alliance of Christian Princes” at the
initiative of the Borgia Pope Alexander VII. Louis XII., King of
France, and Ferdinand V. of Spain announced their adherence to this
effort against the Turk, and Pierre D’Aubusson, the veteran Grand
Master of the Knights of Saint John, was nominated as Captain-General
of the Christian armies. For the purposes of this war the admiral
of the Papal galleys in the Mediterranean, Lodovico del Mosca,
purchased from Ferdinand, King of Naples, all his artillery, of which
a description is given by the Padre Alberto Guglielmotti, a Dominican
friar, author of a work entitled, “La Guerra dei Pirati e la Marina
Pontifica dal 1500 al 1560 A.D.” “There were thirty-six great bombards,
with eighty carts pertaining to them; some drawn by horses, some drawn
by buffaloes harnessed singly, or two, four, or even six together; two
waggons laden with arquebuses for ships’ boats; nine with about forty
smaller bombards (_bombardelles_) placed three, four, or even six on
each waggon; twelve with ordinary pieces of artillery; as many more
for the service of twelve big guns; thirty-seven carts of iron balls;
three with gunpowder; and finally five laden with nitre, darts, and
bullets. Splendid artillery of most excellent workmanship and great
power escorted by two thousand men under arms, without mentioning the
companies who marched before and after each waggon.”

The French king had prepared a fleet and army under Count Philip
of Ravenstein; the Spaniards were under the command of Gonsalvo de
Còrdoba, the “Great Captain.” The history of the “Alliance of Christian
Princes” is illustrative of the methods of those potentates at that
time. After one or two unimportant skirmishes with the Turks, in which
no great harm was done on either side, the French and Spaniards joined
together, and seized the Kingdom of Naples: the prudent king of this
territory, having sold his artillery to Lodovico del Mosca, did not
await the coming of his Christian brethren.

In the territory known to the Romans as Byzacena, which stretched
from Algiers to the confines of Tripoli, there was reigning at this
period one Abu-Abd-Allah-Mahomed, a Berber Moslem of the dynasty of
Hafsit. Between this dignitary and Genoa a treaty of commerce had been
arranged and signed. But treaties on the shores of the Mediterranean
were capable of very elastic interpretation; they never reckoned
with the corsairs, and these latter were in the habit of intruding
themselves everywhere, and upsetting the most carefully laid plans.
Curtogali, a corsair who had collected a great following, was now a
power with which to reckon, and high in the favour of the Grand Turk
at Constantinople. This robber presented himself at Bizerta—one of
the ports of Abd-Allah-Mahomed—with a squadron of thirty ships, and
demanded hospitality. As Curtogali disposed of thirty ships and some
six thousand fighting men it would probably have been impossible for
Abd-Allah to have refused his request in any case; but he was far from
wishing to do so, as, by a convenient interpretation of the Koran, the
pirate had to deliver up one-fifth part of all the booty which he reft
from the Christians to the ruler of the country in whose harbours he
sheltered. There was no place so convenient for the purposes of the
pirate as Bizerta: from here he could strike at Sicily, at the Balearic
Islands, at Rome, Naples, Tuscany, and Liguria, while at the same
time he held the trade slowly sailing along the North African littoral
at his mercy. Great were the depredations of Curtogali, and even Pope
Leo X. trembled on his throne, while Genoa, Venice, and Sicily seethed
with impotent fury.

In the meanwhile who so happy as Abu-Abd-Allah-Mahomed? We cannot do
better than to take the description of his position from the pages of
the good Padre Alberto Guglielmotti. The Franciscan says: “He [that is,
Abd-Allah] desired peace with all and prosperity for his own interests.
Friendly to the merchants in their commerce; friendly to the corsairs
in their spoils. Let all hold by the law: the former contentedly paying
customs dues, the latter cheerfully handing over a fifth part of their
robberies, and Abd-Allah—their common friend—would ever continue at
peace with them all. Outside his ports the merchants and the pirates
might fall by the ears if they would: that was no reason for him to
trouble his head. On the contrary, he would joyfully await them on
their return either with customs dues or tribute of the fifth as the
case might be.”

However well this state of affairs may have suited Abd-Allah, the
Genoese held that the situation was far from satisfactory. In
consequence they sent an army against Curtogali, and on August 4th,
1516, they captured Bizerta, set free a number of Christian captives,
and plundered the town. But they did not capture Curtogali, who,
only five weeks after, made a daring attempt to carry off the Pope
in person from the sea-shore in the neighbourhood of Rome. Curtogali
ended his days as the Governor of Rhodes, from which the Knights
of Saint John were finally expelled by Soliman the Magnificent on
December 22nd, 1522. This was the greatest blow which the fraternity
ever received. On December 24th the Turks made a triumphal entry into
the town, and it was said that “Sultan Soliman was not insensible to
the sorrowful position of his vanquished enemies, and when he saw the
Christian Commander, Prince Philippe Villiers L’Isle Adam, he remarked:
‘It weighs upon me somewhat that I should be coming hither to chase
this aged Christian warrior from his house.’” At the beginning of the
following year the knights left the island, never to return. On the
day of this desolate embarcation the herald blew upon his trumpet the
“Salute and Farewell” and the identical instrument upon which this call
was sounded is still preserved in the armoury at Malta, to which barren
island the knights were forced to retreat.



In the year 1457 an obscure Roumelian or Albanian renegado named
Mahomedi was banished from Constantinople by the Grand Turk; he
established himself in the island of Mitylene and there married a
Christian widow named Catalina, by whom he had two sons, Uruj and
Khizr. The father had been a sailor and both sons adopted the same
profession. It is from the pages of El Maestro Don Fray Prudencio
de Sandoval that we glean these bare facts concerning the birth and
parentage of these men who, in after-years, became known to all the
dwellers on the shores of the Mediterranean as the “Barbarossas,” from
their red beards. Sandoval, Bishop of Pampluna, published in the year
1614 his monumental history of the Emperor Charles V., and through his
splendid volumes the deeds of the Moslem corsairs run like the scarlet
thread which is twisted through a Government rope. It is evident that
the fact of having to deal with such rascals annoys the good Bishop
not a little, as his severe and caustic comments frequently display.
There was incident and accident enough in the life of the famous
“Carlos Quinto” without the historian having to turn aside to chronicle
the deeds of the pirates; but their exploits were so daring, the
consequences thereof were so far-reaching, that the ominous crimson
thread had to be woven into any narrative of the times in despite of
the annoyance of the man by whom the rope was twisted.

Of Mahomedi we possess no record save the remark concerning him to
the effect that “el qual fue gran marinero”: in what way he displayed
his gifts as a seaman we are not told. We have remarked before on the
curious fact of how the “renegado,” or Christian turned Mohammedan,
became the most implacable foe of his former co-religionists. We see in
the case of the two Barbarossas that they had no drop of Moslem blood
in them, as both parents came from Christian stock: and yet no greater
scourges ever afflicted the people from whom both their father and
mother originally sprang than did Uruj and Khizr Barbarossa.


The characters of the two brothers were widely different. The elder was
no doubt a “first-class fighting man,” a fine seaman, a born partisan
leader; but here his qualities came to an end. Rough, cruel, imperious,
brutal, he imposed himself upon those who became his followers; but
in him were to be found none of the statesmanlike qualities which
distinguished his far greater younger brother. His was the absolutely
finite intellect of the tactician as opposed to the strategist, who,
seeing his objective, was capable of dealing with circumstances as they
immediately arose; but, partly no doubt from defective education, but
principally from the lack of intellectual appreciation of the problems
of the time in which he lived, could never rise to the heights which
were scaled by Khizr, better known by the title conferred upon him
later on by the Grand Turk as “Kheyr-ed-Din,” or “The Protector of

The sons of Mahomed, that “gran marinero,” naturally took to the sea,
and as a young man Uruj became possessed of a ship—how we do not know,
and it were better perhaps not to inquire. In this small craft he
repaired to the coast of Caramania to make war upon the Christians; or,
in other words, to begin an independent piratical career. Uruj in these
days was young and inexperienced, or he would not have chosen this
locality for his first venture, as this coast was in close proximity to
the island of Rhodes, from whence the great galleys of the Knights of
Saint John of Jerusalem set forth to exterminate the enemies of their

So it came about that Uruj, sailing out in his little ship from under
the shadow of a wooded point, came in full sight of _Our Lady of the
Conception_. There was nothing for it but immediate flight, and Uruj
put his helm up and scudded before the breeze; but the great galley
“goose-winged” her two mighty lateen sails, and turned in pursuit. The
ship which carried Uruj and his fortunes was both fast and handy, and
for a time she held her own; but it was only for a time, as those on
board _Our Lady of the Conception_, finding that they were not gaining on
the chase, put forth their oars and soon changed the aspect of affairs.
The galley of the knights carried twenty-seven oars a-side, and each
of these oars was manned by nine Moslem slaves. The sea was smooth and
favourable for rowing, and soon the ravening pursuit closed in on
the doomed corsair. As the interval between chaser and chased became
less and less, those on board the pirate ship could see for themselves
the fate which was awaiting them, as on the central gang-plank, which
separated the rowers’ benches, the boatswain and his mates were
unmercifully flogging the bare backs of the straining oarsmen to urge
them to greater exertions. He who was captured at sea in those days was
set to row until he died, and the calculating mercy which causes a man
to feed and treat his beast well in order that it may do the better
work was not to be relied upon here, as life was cheap and slaves were
plentiful. Very soon the beak of the galley overhung the stern of the
little ship. Escape was impossible, to fight would have meant the
massacre of all on board; the choice was instant submission or a watery
grave. Uruj lowered his sail, and he and his little company were ironed
and flung into the depths of the galley until such time as they should
be wanted to take their turn at the oars. In this ignominious fashion
ended his first attempt at independent piracy.

But a storm was brewing, and a heavy sea got up. The sails of the
galley were lowered, her beak was put head-on to the wind, and she
made for the shore. In this noisome confinement Uruj could hear above
the crash of the seas and the whistling of the wind the shrieks of the
hapless slaves as the whips of their taskmasters bit through skin and
flesh: the galley-slave rowed stark naked chained to his bench. This
was to be his fate, and he was well aware of the fact.

At last, after nightfall, the galley anchored under the Isle of
Castel Rosso, at the entrance of the Gulf of Satalie. It still blew
hard, but, in the comparative peace of the anchorage, sounds hitherto
hidden by the war of the elements now made themselves manifest. There
were the snores of the sleepers, the clank of the leg-chains as the
wretched slaves shifted their positions in the attempt to gain an
easier place on the bench, there was also the sound of men carousing
with loud laughter in the stern of the vessel; but above them all rose
the hollow groaning as of one in mortal agony. This proceeded from a
slave who was quite close to Uruj. There came a spell in the laughter
and loud voices in the stern, and presently an imperious voice spoke:
“That noise disturbs me; see that it ceases at once.” An obsequious
answer came from out of the prevailing darkness: “It shall cease at
once, Excellency.” Then came men with lanterns, who unshackled the
wretch who groaned and—flung him overboard.

The night grew worse, the wind backed, and the galley began to drag her
anchors. The slaves were roused, and the oars got ready to shift her
from her dangerous position on what had now become a lee-shore. Uruj
had managed to slip his shackles, a defective bolt having given him
his liberty; for him it was now or never, and he was a bold swimmer.
He had seen enough and heard enough of _Our Lady of the Conception_,
and, as the great oars plunged once more into the sea, the corsair,
preferring the mercy of the elements to that of the knights, slipped
over the side unobserved and swam for the shore. He reached dry land by
a miracle, and from Satalie he found his way to Egypt, where he took
service as a mariner in a ship of the Soldan of Egypt which was bound
for the coast of Caramania, from which province the Egyptians, as well
as the knights, drew the timber which they required for shipbuilding.
But again this neighbourhood proved disastrous to Uruj, as the ship in
which he sailed was attacked by a Christian galley, and he once more
had to save himself by swimming on shore. There was no lack of incident
in the life of a corsair of the sixteenth century.

This time he presented himself to Khorkud, the Governor of Caramania,
brother to Sultan Selim, the Grand Turk. The Governor, recognising him
as an intrepid mariner, ordered the Basha of Smyrna to furnish him with
a ship fitted for that _guerre de course_, which he desired to pursue
against the Christians. The value of the corsair as an auxiliary was
beginning to be recognised among the high Turkish officials. For the
complaisance of Khorkud there were two reasons: in the first place,
he was acting in the interests of his brother in sending to sea any
really capable man to make head against his enemies, and the fact
that Uruj was a pirate pure and simple did not weigh for a feather in
the balance; in the second place, it was a decidedly good mercantile
speculation as he ordered his inferior, the Basha of Egypt, to bear
the expense of fitting out the necessary ship—which came to some 5,000
ducats—and doubtless received a handsome percentage on all captures
from his grateful protégé.

This latter, as may easily be imagined, had had quite enough of
the Caramanian coast, which had turned out a veritable nest of
hornets; also, he had no desire at present to cultivate the further
acquaintance of the knights, and therefore put the whole width of the
Ionian Sea between himself and them, and succeeded in taking several
rich prizes. He avoided Mitylene and returned to Egypt, wintering at
Alexandria. It may here be remarked that the corsairs, as a rule,
regarded the winter as a close season, as in those early days the
mariner did not, if he could avoid it, risk his ship by sailing her at
this period of storm and tempest. In consequence there was nothing to
tempt the pirates to range the seas during these months, and if they
had had a successful summer and autumn, as they generally did, they
could well afford to lay up and await the coming of spring.

But when storm and rain gave way to the smooth waters and balmy
breezes, the Sea-wolves were certain of their prey, as the whole length
and breadth of the tideless sea was sure to be filled with the ships of
the detested Christians trafficking in every direction. In the ethics
of the Moslem all ships which sailed under the banner of the Cross, no
matter to what nation they belonged, were fair game, even supposing
that her insignia were the Crescent—well, supposing the spot to be
sufficiently remote, dead men tell no tales, and the pirates were to be
trusted to see to it that none escaped.

But, however this might have been, it is quite certain that no
qualms of conscience troubled Uruj concerning those others: Genoese,
Neapolitans, Catalans, Andalusians, French, or the dwellers of the
Balearic Islands, were all fish sent by a bountiful Providence to be
enclosed in his net, and he seized upon them without distinction.
When in the full tide of his success there was but one thing which
preoccupied the mind of the corsair, which was to find a ready market
for his spoils and a convenient place in which to rid himself of
an embarrassing number of captives. This, however, did not present
an insuperable difficulty, as we have already seen in the case of
Curtogali, and a similar arrangement was carried out by Uruj Barbarossa
and his brother.

Uruj now established himself at the island of Jerba, on the east
coast of Tunis, which formed an admirable base from which to “work”
the Mediterranean from the piratical point of view. Jerba had
originally been conquered and occupied by the Spaniards in 1431, but
the occupation had been allowed to lapse, and the island was lying
derelict when the Barbarossas made it their headquarters. Here Uruj was
joined by his younger brother Khizr, destined to become so much the
more famous of the two; he had already made himself some reputation in
piratical circles, and now brought his cool judgment and wise counsel
to the assistance of that fiery fighting man his elder brother. The
first question to be decided was that which we have already mentioned,
namely, the disposal of spoil from prospective captures, and with this
end in view the corsairs approached the Sultan of Tunis. This potentate
made a gracious response to their overtures, and wished them all
success in their enterprises. He promised them succour and support on
the same terms which Curtogali had obtained, namely, one-fifth of all
the spoil landed in his dominions.

The price to be paid was a stiff one, and was so regarded by the active
partners in this arrangement; they were, however, young and unknown,
and had not the least intention of holding to their bargain when more
favourable circumstances presented themselves. Now they held fair
speech with the puppet princes of North Africa; the day was to come
when they should chase them from their insecure thrones. It was at this
time, shortly after the treaty with the Sultan of Tunis was concluded,
that the younger Barbarossa received from the Grand Turk the glorious
name of Kheyr-ed-Din, or “The Protector of Religion.” It was a somewhat
remarkable title for a pirate, but perhaps its bestower was slightly
deficient in a sense of humour.

Sailing from Tunis in the spring of the year 1512, the brothers, with
three galleys, fell in with _The Galley of Naples_, an enormous nef with
a crew of three hundred. They instantly attacked, but were repulsed,
night falling without either side having gained an advantage. This
audacious proceeding illustrates the hardihood of the Moslem corsairs
at this time. They were amply strong enough to range the Mediterranean
and to capture, with no risk to themselves, the weak and unprotected
argosies plying their trade in this sea; but this was not the method
of the Barbarossas. Villains they may have been according to modern
standards, pirates they were unquestionably; but they were grim,
hard-bitten, fighting men, who shrank from no dangers in the pursuit
of their prey, who reckoned that the humiliation and defeat of their
Christian antagonists was as sweet a morsel as the booty reft from
their hands. All night the three Moslem galleys and the great nef lay
becalmed awaiting the conflict which was to come with the break of day;
and it is easy to imagine that there was not much quiet sleep on board
of either the Moslem or the Christian ships, for both on the one side
and the other the issues loomed large. The corsairs had, so far, made
no such important capture as this, which, could it be accomplished,
would add enormously to their prestige, in addition to such spoils as
they might acquire; but the combatants were fairly evenly matched in
the matter of numbers, and the fight was one to a finish. The advantage
on the side of the corsairs lay in the fact of their being three to
one, and their being thus enabled to attack in three separate places at
the same time. Terrible must have been that night of waiting for the
unfortunates on board _The Galley of Naples_; there was no escape, and
on board of her among her passengers were many women, whose fate was
too terrible to contemplate should the day go against them. The first
assault had been beaten off, it is true, but the struggle had been
hard and bitter; would they be equally successful when the assault was

Even such a night as this, however, comes at last to an end, and the
prospect of action must have been welcomed by the men on both sides;
of the women with so horrible a fate impending one can hardly bear to
think. The ghostly fingers of the dawn touched the grey sea with a wan
yellow light, outlining the nef and the slender, wicked-looking galleys
with their banks of oars; over the surface of the deep a slight mist
hovered, as though some kindly spirit of the sea would hide, if such a
thing were possible, the deeds which were to come. The three galleys
lay close together, and Uruj and his brother held a few last words of

“It is agreed, then,” said the elder; “you, my brother, attack the
starboard side and I on the port side, while Hassan Ali [indicating
the captain of the third galley] will await the time when we are fully
engaged, and will then board over the stern.”

“It is agreed,” answered Kheyr-ed-Din, and Hassan Ali.

As the strong sun of a perfect May morning in the Mediterranean leapt
above the horizon, Uruj loosed his hounds upon their prey; the oars of
the galleys churned the clear blue waters into foam, and the air was
filled with the yells of the corsairs. “Allah! Allah!” and “Barbarossa!
Barbarossa!” they cried. It was a war-cry that was destined to re-echo
over many a conflict, both by land and sea, in the years that were to

In a simultaneous, and as we have seen a concerted attack, the beaks
of the galleys crushed into the broadsides of _The Galley of Naples_,
and, ever foremost in the fray, Uruj and Kheyr-ed-Din were the first
two men to board. Then, when men were hand to hand and foot to foot,
when Moslem scimitar rang on Christian sabre, and the air was filled
with the oaths and shouts of the combatants, the third remaining pirate
craft grappled _The Galley of Naples_ by the stern, and a tide of fresh,
unwounded men burst into the fray. This was the end; the Christians
were both outnumbered and outfought, for among them were many who
were not by profession warriors, whereas no man found a footing among
the Sea-wolves, or was taken to sea as a fighting man, unless he had
approved himself to the satisfaction of his captain that he was a
valiant man of his hands. We have no record or list of the dead and
wounded in this battle, but among the latter was Uruj, who was severely
hurt. Not so Kheyr-ed-Din, who escaped scatheless and took command now
that his brother was incapacitated. The dead were flung overboard with
scant ceremony, and the wounded patched up as best might be, and then
_The Galley of Naples_ was taken in tow, and the corsairs returned in
triumph to Tunis. Faithful to their treaty, so far, they laid one-fifth
of their spoils at the feet of the Sultan.

A great procession was formed of Christian captives marching two and
two. Four young Christian girls were mounted on mules, and two ladies
of noble birth followed on Arab horses sumptuously caparisoned. These
unfortunates were destined for the harems of their captors. The Sultan
was greatly pleased at the spectacle, and as the mournful procession
defiled before him cried out, “See how heaven recompenses the brave!”
Jurien de la Gravière remarks: “Such was the fortune of war in the
sixteenth century. A man leaving Naples to go to Spain might end his
days in a Moorish bagnio and see his wife and daughters fall a prey to
miscreants of the worse description.”

It was not till the following spring that Uruj was fit once more
to pursue his chosen calling, so severe had been his wounds; but
once he was whole and sound again he put to sea accompanied by
Kheyr-ed-Din, and this time he had conceived a singularly bold and
desperate enterprise. Two years before the famous Spanish captain,
Pedro de Navarro, had seized upon the coast town of Bougie, and had
unfortunately left it in the hands of a totally insufficient garrison.
This departure from the sound rules of warfare had already been
punished as it deserved, as the garrison was perpetually harassed and
annoyed by the surrounding Arab tribes. The idea of Uruj was to seize
upon Bougie by a _coup de main_. The corsair, however, was a far finer
fighter than he was a strategist, and was possessed of a most impatient
temper. All went well to begin with, as he managed to intercept and
to capture a convoy of Spanish ships sent to revictual the place,
and had he been content to wait he might have counted with certainty
on reducing the garrison by starvation, as it depended on this very
convoy for its supplies. In vain the wary and cool-headed Kheyr-ed-Din
counselled prudence and delay, but these words were not to be found in
the vocabulary of his elder brother. “What had to be done,” he replied,
“had better be done at once,” and at the head of only fifty men landed
and assaulted the still uncompleted ramparts of Bougie.

But if Uruj were rash and headstrong, so was not the commander of the
Spanish garrison, who, massing his men for the repulse of the assault,
waited till the last moment, and then received them with a volley of
arquebuses, which laid many of them low, and so badly wounded their
leader that he had to have his arm amputated on the spot: it says
much for his constitution that he survived the operation.

For the time being the brothers had had enough of shore enterprises,
and confined themselves strictly to their piratical business at sea,
which prospered so exceedingly that they became exceedingly rich and
their fame and power increased day by day. As time went on and the
wealth of the brothers and partners increased, there entered into
the calculating brain of Kheyr-ed-Din the idea that the payment of
one-fifth share to the Sultan of Tunis was but money thrown away.
Twenty per cent, was eating into the profits of the firm in an
unwarrantable manner, he considered, and now that the active partners
therein had established so good a business connection, they were quite
strong enough to dispense with a sleeping partner. Times had changed
for the better, and Kheyr-ed-Din was anxious to take full advantage of
the fact; if possible he determined to seize upon and hold some port,
in which, not only would they be exempt from tribute, but also in which
he and his brother Uruj should be the supreme arbiters of the fate of
all by whom it might be frequented.

Of Bougie and its stout Spanish garrison the brothers had had quite
enough for the present: they sought, in consequence, for some harbour
which presented equal advantages of situation, and their choice fell
upon Jigelli, then belonging to the Genoese, who occupied a strong
castle in this place.

Jigelli lies well outside the confines of the kingdom of Tunis, about
equi-distant from Bougie and Cape Bougaroni, some forty miles from
each. It would appear that on this occasion it was the younger of
the two brothers who took charge of the enterprise, and there were no
slap—dash, unconsidered methods employed. By this time the fame of
the Barbarossas had gone abroad from Valencia to Constantinople, from
Rome to the foot—hills of the Atlas Mountains, and, to circumvent the
Genoese garrison of Jigelli, Kheyr-ed-Din called to his aid the savage
Berber tribes of the hinterland of this part of Northern Africa.

Turbulent, rash, unstable as water, were these primitive dwellers of
the desert; but they were fighters and raiders to a man, and ready
for any desperate encounter if only it held out the promise of loot:
they were as veritably the pirates of the land as were the Barbarossas
pirates of the sea.

Small chance, indeed, had the five hundred Genoese soldiers by which
Jigelli was garrisoned when attacked from the sea by the Barbarossas
and by land by an innumerable horde of Berbers who were reckoned to
be as many as 20,000. Invested by land and sea, the garrison did all
that it was possible for men to do. Provisions and water ran short,
ammunition was failing, the ring of their enemies was encircling
them day by day closer and ever closer. From the land nothing could
be expected but an augmentation of their foes, and day by day the
commander of the garrison strained his eyes seaward to watch if haply
the proud Republic, to which he and his men belonged, would send
succour, or the redoubtable Knights of Saint John would come to his aid.

But the days lengthened into weeks, and the soldiers were gradually
becoming worn out by the perpetual strain imposed upon them. There
was one chance left, and one alone, which was to cut their way out
through the besieging lines. Massacre to a man was their fate in any
case, and thus it was that the commander, whose name has not come down
to us, mustered his men for the last supreme effort. At dead of night
the garrison, having destroyed as far as possible all that might be of
use to the enemy, sallied out to their doom. They fought as men fight
who know that the end has come; but valour could not avail against the
numbers arrayed on the side of the enemy, and they were wiped off the
face of the earth. The tribes looted the castle of everything portable,
and then retired from whence they had come. For this Kheyr-ed-Din cared
nothing; they were welcome to the poor possessions of some hundreds of
half-starved Italian soldiers—let them take the shell, for him remained
the kernel in the shape of a strong place of arms.

Hardly, however, had the brothers succeeded in this enterprise when
that tireless fighter Uruj again attempted the capture of Bougie;
but his second attempt was even more disastrous than his first, and
he lost half his flotilla. Then he asked for succour from Tunis; but
the Sultan, much offended at the idea of the brothers setting up in
a piratical business in which he was no longer a sleeping partner,
angrily refused.



The events recorded in the last chapter bring us down to the end of
the year 1515, and while every endeavour has been made to present
affairs in chronological sequence, it must be remembered that the dates
of piratical expeditions are often impossible to obtain: the wrath
of the chroniclers at the nefarious deeds of the corsairs greatly
exceeding their desire for a meticulous accuracy in the matter of
the exact time of their occurrence. Uruj, as has been seen, had by
his headstrong folly once again placed his brother and himself in a
decidedly awkward situation. By the losses which he had incurred in his
second ill-advised attempt on Bougie he had so weakened the piratical
confederation that the countenance of some potentate had again become
necessary for their continued existence, and the Sultan of Tunis had
now repudiated all connection with these ingrates.

But, if craft and subtlety were not to be found in Uruj there was one
who never failed to exhibit these qualities when they became necessary,
and Kheyr-ed-Din once more came to the front. The Russian peasantry
have a saying that “God is high and the Czar is far away.” In the
sixteenth century the Grand Turk was in every sense “far away” from
the struggling corsairs on the littoral of Northern Africa, and was a
sovereign of such great and mysterious might that any man with a less
fine instinct into the psychology of the times in which he lived than
Kheyr-ed-Din would have hesitated long and anxiously before addressing
him directly; would probably in the end not have done so at all. But
desperate diseases require desperate remedies, and the politic corsair
well knew that even the moral support of such an one as the Sultan of
Constantinople was worth more than even material aid from a Sultan of

Consequently, greatly daring, he sent an embassy to the Sublime Porte
with one of his most trusted captains at its head to lay the homage of
the corsairs at the feet of Selim I. Very naturally these ambassadors
did not go empty-handed, but took with them rich presents and numerous
slaves. Selim was much pleased at the attention, coming as it did from
such a distance—we have to remember that the coast of North Africa was
an immense journey from Constantinople in those days—and the insight of
Kheyr-ed-Din was triumphantly vindicated. Not only did the Sultan send
a gracious reply in return, but—what was far more to the purpose—he
sent a reinforcement of fourteen vessels to the corsairs bidding them
to go on and prosper in their efforts to spread the true faith among
the Christian heretics.

There is nothing more curious in the history of the corsairs than the
perpetual ups and downs of their lives. Thus in the present instance
the ill-advised attack of Uruj on Bougie had reduced them to terrible
straits; immediately afterwards the action of the Grand Turk once
more set them upon their feet and enabled them to pursue an unchecked
career of devastation. Aided by the reinforcements sent by Selim,
their depredations assumed ever larger proportions, and, had they
continued to receive this assistance, the course of history itself
might have been changed. Ground to powder beneath the iron heel of
their ruthless conquerors, the Moriscoes of Southern Spain were ever
waiting the chance to rise and shake off the yoke by which they were so
sore oppressed; from far and near reports were coming to hand of the
continued successes of the corsairs, and all Andalusia seethed with
passionate hope that the day of deliverance was at hand.

But, alas for the vanity of human wishes! in the opening months of the
year 1516 Selim recalled his ships and the chance was gone, never again
to arise.

It may have been that “the sorrowful sighing of the captives” never
reached the ears of the successor of Othman in his palace on the
shores of the Golden Horn; in any case, the Sultan was preparing for
the conquest of Egypt, and in consequence recalled the ships which he
had lent to assist the corsairs. The Moriscoes were thus left without
hope, but so far as the corsairs were concerned they were enabled to
strike another bargain with the Sultan of Tunis. This monarch had now
got over his fit of the sulks, and discovered that customs dues from
the peaceful trading mariners, although desirable enough, were not by
any means so lucrative a form of revenue as was the one-fifth share
of the booty of the pirates. Uruj and Kheyr-ed-Din for their part,
although they had captured Jigelli, were totally unable to hold it:
the capture had indeed been principally due to the assistance which
they had received from the Berber tribesmen, but these nomads had
disappeared into the deserts from whence they came, once the looting of
the town and fortress had been completed.

The corsair had to be armed at all points, in the moral as well as the
material sense, as he was the enemy of all men, and all were vowed
to his destruction. Every cruise which he took raised up against him
fresh hatred and a more bitter animus, and we must remember that it
was not only men individually, but Principalities and Powers that were
arrayed in line of battle for his destruction. At the present juncture
Spain was specially hostile, for not only had her possession of Bougie
been twice attacked by the Sea-wolves, but a valuable convoy had been
captured. An expedition, in consequence, was sent by the Spaniards
against the Barbarossas, but this effort did not result in much damage
being done to the offenders. The Spaniards destroyed four piratical
vessels which had been abandoned by their crews at Bizerta, and pushed
a strong reconnaissance into the Bay of Tunis itself. Here shots
were exchanged between the Spanish fleet and the forts—under which
Kheyr-ed-Din had drawn up his ships—and the Spaniards then abandoned
the enterprise and returned from whence they had come.

In the year 1510 the Spaniard, Count Pedro Navarre, had seized upon
Algiers, which town was at this time one of the principal refuges
of the Moorish fugitives, who had been driven from Granada, from
Còrdoba, and from Southern Spain generally by Ferdinand and Isabella
eighteen years previously. To say that the condition of these people
was desperate is to speak but the bare truth, for what could exceed the
misery of the situation in which they were left after the successful
incursion of their Christian foes? What we are apt to lose sight of in
the light of present-day circumstances is the fact that these Spanish
Moors were a most highly civilised people, far more so indeed than
their Christian contemporaries; that they had been driven with fire and
sword from the land in which they and their forefathers had dwelt for
over seven centuries, and that they now had been cast out literally
to starve on the inhospitable shores of Northern Africa. So it came
about that the common people exchanged the life of the peaceful and
prosperous artisan or husbandman for that of the hand-to-mouth pirate,
and the case of knight and noble among them was no better—perhaps
rather worse—than the meanest among those who had been expropriated.

Those who know the region in which these unhappy folk lived are aware
of the material monuments which still exist and testify to the glorious
past; and, seeing what they have seen, it is no great stretch of the
imagination to picture to themselves the comfort, the elegance, and
the luxury with which the inhabitants of Granada and Còrdoba lived
surrounded. Over there, away across some few leagues of shining blue
water, were the ruined homes of which many of the banished people
still possessed the keys, awaiting the day when Allah and the Prophet
should vouchsafe to them that return which they so naturally and
ardently desired. To this day the key of the great Mosque at Cordoba
is preserved at Rabat as a sacred relic of former dignity and power—a
symbol to the Moslem of his perpetual banishment. If Cordoba with its
mosque—still one of the wonders of the world, with its eleven hundred
marble columns—were the principal shrine and holy of holies to these
people, there were in addition hundreds of other temples of their
faith now for ever desecrated in their eyes by the misfortune which
had placed them in Christian hands. In Andalusia were the dishonoured
graves of their kinsfolk, and, last and worst of all, in this land
still dwelt thousands upon thousands of their co-religionists held in a
degrading bondage by their implacable enemies.

The capture of Algiers by Count Pedro Navarro was a crowning misfortune
for the exiles, and when this commander seized upon the place he
extracted from the inhabitants an oath of fidelity to the Spanish
crown; he further erected a strong tower to overawe the town, and to
keep its turbulent inhabitants in order. But such an oath as this,
extracted at the point of the sword, was writ in water; it meant, of
course, the suppression of piracy, and it also meant the starvation
of most of those persons who dwelt in the vicinity. How the Moslem
population existed for the six years after the incursion of Navarro
is a mystery; but they probably moved their galleys, of which they
possessed some twenty, further along the coast out of the range of
the guns from Navarro’s Tower, and secure from the observation of those
who held it for the Spanish king.

In the year in which Selim descended upon Egypt the King of Spain,
Ferdinand V., died, and grave troubles immediately broke out in Spain.
This was an opportunity too good to be missed, as no reinforcements
could possibly be expected for the garrison in Algiers as long as
these disturbances lasted, and the Algerines took counsel together as
to the best means of driving out their enemies. It is a commentary on
the detestation in which they held the Spaniards that they should have
allied themselves for this purpose with the savages of the hinterland.
This, however, was what they did. As in the case of Jigelli, these
people could always be relied upon to go anywhere in search of booty,
and one Selim Eutemi entered the town at the head of his tribe. But
sheer, stark, savage valour could make no impression on Navarro’s
Tower and the ordnance that was mounted on its walls. The result was a
stalemate, as the Spaniards could by no manner of means get out, and
neither could their enemies, who swarmed innumerable in the town and
the surrounding country, get in. In time, of course, they might hope
to bring the garrison to surrender by starvation; but time pressed,
and no man knew when the troubles in Spain might be adjusted and help
come to the beleaguered. In the meanwhile Selim Eutemi and his men, who
had been taught some rude lessons in the power of firearms, kept out
of range of the cannon, while the Algerines held yet another council
of war, the result of which was that they decided to ask help from
Uruj and Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa, and to them they appealed. By this
time their fame was known to all men, and they could supply that which
was lacking—namely ships, artillery, a first-class fighting force, and
last, and best of all, the moral support which would stiffen and put
heart into the motley horde which at present surged around the gates of
the fortress of Navarro.

The Algerines did not appeal in vain, and an instant promise of
succour was forthcoming. Kheyr—ed—Din was away at sea, but Uruj, that
indomitable fighter, started at once. From whence we are not told, but
he must have been somewhere in the neighbourhood, as he and his men
marched along the shore; while, keeping pace with them, came a fleet of
eighteen galleys and three barques laden with stores.

But before proceeding to the assistance of the Algerines Uruj had a
personal matter to which to attend, and he wished to combine pleasure
with serious business. One of his old companions had seceded from his
command and had established himself at Shershell, where he lived the
life of an independent corsair within easy striking distance of the
Balearic Islands and the coast of Spain, his following composed of a
horde of those broken men of whom mention has been made. Shershell was
an unfortified town, and surrendered unconditionally upon the arrival
of Uruj and his army. Kara-Hassan, for such was the name of this
independent corsair, came out to greet his old-time chief; he was met
with violent reproaches, and the altercation ended by Uruj having him
beheaded on the spot. It was ill to quarrel with the Barbarossas.

Freed from this rival, the Mitylene corsair had now uncontested
supremacy on the coast, a supremacy none was likely to contest in
the future, as he brooked no opposition, and had come to consider
that independent piracy in the Mediterranean was in some sort an
infringement of the rights of himself and his brother. One of the most
salient peculiarities of the corsairs at this time was the apparent
recklessness with which they assailed others who were participants in
their nefarious business. Self-interest and policy would seem, to the
observer in the present day, to have dictated quite a different course
of action; but we shall see, when we come to deal with the life-history
of Kheyr-ed-Din, that this infinitely wiser and more intellectual man
apparently allowed himself to be swayed by gusts of passion, in which
he savagely maltreated those with whom he was associated, and from whom
dangerous hostility was certainly to be feared if they escaped with
their lives. At this distance of time it is impossible to gauge the
motives by which men such as these were actuated, more particularly in
the case of Kheyr-ed-Din, whose character was a blend of the deepest
subtlety and calculated ferocity.

Having settled with Kara-Hassan, Uruj continued his march along the
coast. Arrived at Algiers, he opened in form a siege of Navarro’s
Tower; but, being unable to make any impression on its defences, he
abandoned the siege after twenty days’ fruitless fighting, during which
he lost a number of men in his assaults. Baffled and furious, he turned
on the Berber chieftain, the luckless Selim Eutemi, and caused him to
be assassinated, regarding him as being responsible for the failure.
The Spanish chroniclers relate, with some wealth of detail, how Uruj
personally fell upon Selim Eutemi, when that chieftain was in his bath,
and strangled him with his own hands. However this may have been, the
Spanish records of the deeds of the corsairs cannot well be taken _au
pied de la lettre_; there is no doubt that Selim was murdered, and from
that time the Berbers recognised that he who had come to help was now
remaining to plunder. Uruj now established himself in the town, and set
to work making raids into the adjoining country, carrying off sheep,
cattle, and slaves. For the Berbers this was a true awakening. He who
now oppressed them had come in the guise of a champion to assist them
in the sack and plunder of Navarro’s Tower; they had exchanged King
Log, who dwelt securely locked up, for a King Stork of the most active
description. Although we cannot sympathise with such people, it is
quite possible to understand their very natural annoyance at the turn
which things had taken, and it does not surprise us (in this age of
“punic faith”) that a conspiracy was set on foot between the dwellers
of the hinterland and the Spaniards of the fortress.

Uruj was informed of all that was going on through his own spies, and,
although he kept his finger on the pulse of the conspiracy, he acted as
though the tribesmen were still his very faithful friends and allies.
The corsair was more patient than his wont. In this affair he wished
for ample proof of delinquency, and also for a vengeance adequate to
the occasion when he should discover all the guilty parties; and so
some weeks went by while the plot was maturing, apparently, from the
point of view of the conspirators, to a successful conclusion. But Uruj
had bided his time with a subtlety and _finesse_ which would have done
credit to Kheyr-ed-Din himself.

It was the custom of the corsair and his chief adherents to attend the
principal mosque on Fridays; and therefore, when the conspirators were
cordially invited to attend on the following Friday, and, after the
service was over, to attend Uruj to his dwelling and there confer with
him, they went, nothing doubting, to their deaths. As the discourse of
the Mullah came to an end a crash resounded throughout the building:
six stalwart swordsmen had flung the great gates of the mosque
together, and barred all exit. Excepting the conspirators, twenty-two
in number, the remainder of the edifice was filled with the galley’s
crews of the corsair, men who, had he given the order, would have
cheerfully set alight to the sacred building itself and roasted the
Mullahs themselves in the flames.

To the corsairs, after they were seated in the mosque, the word had
been passed that the Berber tribesmen had meditated this treachery
against them, which, had it succeeded, would have meant the death or
enslavement of them all. It was therefore a trap of a singularly deadly
description into which the countrymen of Selim Eutemi walked on this
Friday morning.

The doors being closed, the conspirators were one by one dragged
before Uruj, who, bitterly reproaching them, gave order for their
instant death. They were haled out through rows of jeering pirates, and
beheaded in the street immediately in front of the principal entrance
of the mosque. When the slaughter of the twenty—two was accomplished
Uruj strode from the mosque over the weltering corpses of the traitors
amid the plaudits of his own men, ever ready to acclaim deeds of blood
and cruelty. After this there were no more plots against the corsair
in Algiers. News of all these desperate doings in Algiers had by this
time filtered across into Spain, and El Maestro Don Fray Prudencio de
Sandoval recounts how, when the tidings came to Fray Francisco Ximenes,
the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, that that prelate, much scandalised
that the might of Imperial Spain should be flouted by a mere pirate,
sent Don Diego de Vera with some fifteen thousand men to recapture the
town, and relieve the beleaguered garrison in the tower. This was in
the month of September 1516.

Don Diego landed “en el dia de San Hieronymo,” and threw up
entrenchments within gunshot of the town. Great things were expected
of this expedition, as Sandoval notes that in 1513 Don Diego de Vera,
in the war against the French, had gained the approval of Count Pedro
Navarro (“avia bien aprovado con el Conde Pedro Navarro”), and it was
not expected that a mere pirate rabble would ever make head against
the Spanish troops. De Vera opened fire on the walls of the town
from his entrenchments, but hardly had he done so when Uruj, leading
his corsairs, which formed the spearhead to an innumerable army of
Berbers and Arabs, made a sortie.

“Upon them one day did Barbarossa make an onslaught, and when he saw
that the Spanish soldiers were ill commanded, he flung his forces upon
them with loud cries. And so great was the fear inspired by Barbarossa
that they were routed almost without loss to the Moors; and with much
ease did these latter slay three thousand men and capture four hundred
on the day of San Hieronymo in this year.”

(“Salio un dia à el Barbarossa y como vio los soldados Españoles
desmandados diò en ellos con gran gritos. Y fue tan grande el miedo que
vieron que Barbarossa los desbaratò casi sin daño y con mucho facilidad
mato tres mil hombres y cautivo quatro cientos dia de San Hieronymo
deste año.”)

This quotation is given in full to set out the amazing fact that in
this battle over three thousand were killed while only four hundred
were captured, which shows that it must have been in the nature of an
indiscriminate massacre; the only captive of any note was the captain,
Juan del Rio. Diego de Vera had had enough of the corsairs, and sailed
away with the remainder of his force. Of what became of him or of them
there is no record, but he must have been a singularly incompetent
commander when he could not make head against a rabble of pirates and
Moors with the army at his disposition. Sandoval does not attempt to
minimise the defeat, which, of course, would have been impossible; he
contents himself with the following delightfully quaint reflection:
“But many, many times Homer nods; this disaster must have come upon
us for our sins, upon which it is most important that we should always
think and meditate.”

Who so triumphant now as Uruj Barbarossa? It is true that the fortress
of Pedro Navarro still remained in the hands of its splendid and
undaunted garrison, and was destined so to remain for some years to
come; but they were impotent for harm, and the conqueror of Don Diego
now turned his arms in another direction. Kheyr-ed-Din was at Jigelli
when he heard of the victory gained by his brother, and sailed at once
with six ships to his support. The town of Tenes fell into the hands of
the brothers, with an immense booty, and then Uruj marched on Tlemcen.
The Sultan of Tlemcen, the last of the royal race of the Beni-Zian, did
not await the coming of the corsair. All through the northern coasts
of Africa the name of Barbarossa was a synonym of terror; the sad fate
of Selim Eutemi, of Kara-Hassan, of the twenty-two conspirators of
the mosque, had been noised abroad, and the superstitious tribesmen
firmly believed that these red-bearded corsairs were the accomplices
of Shaitan, even if they did not represent him themselves in their
own persons. Who were these men, they asked one another tremblingly,
who feared neither God nor devil, and who caused even the redoubtable
Spaniards to fly before them like the leaves in front of an autumn gale?

When men begin to talk and to think like this there is not much fight
left in them, and so it came about that, after the most feeble of
resistances, the Sultan of Tlemcen fled to Fez. Thus, almost without
striking a blow, Uruj found himself master of a province from which
the Spaniards were accustomed to draw the necessary provisions for the
upkeep of the garrison of Oran. But Tlemcen is but some seventy miles
from Oran, and Oran is so close to Spain as to be easily reinforced; in
consequence Uruj was soon blockaded by the Spaniards, and remained so
for seven months. But no blockade could keep Uruj Barbarossa for long
within stone walls; sortie after sortie did the gallant corsair lead
against the foe, and it was in one of these that he characteristically
came by his death. Ever rash and impetuous, he allowed himself to be
drawn too far away from possible shelter or support; and, as there was
something dramatic in the whole life of this man, so also was there
in the manner of his death. They had him trapped at last, this grim
Sea-wolf, and he stood at bay in a stone corral used for the herding of

As the wolves in winter circle round the leaguer on the heath, So the
greedy foe glared upward panting still for blood and death.

By his side was his faithful lieutenant Venalcadi. In a breathless
mêlée Christian sword and Moslem sabre clashed and rang. His turban
gone, his great curved scimitar red to the hilt, the undaunted corsair
fought his last fight as became the terror of his name. Almost had
he succeeded in breaking through the ring of his foes when Garzia de
Tineo, _alferez_ (or lieutenant) to Captain Diego de Andrade, wounded
him severely with a pike. Uruj stumbled, was struck on the head with
another weapon; he reeled and fell. The fight was over, and one of the
Barbarossas bit the dust. Garzia de Tineo leaped upon the fallen man
and cut off his head. It is recorded that Garzia de Tineo was wounded
in the finger by Uruj in the course of the combat, and that for the
rest of his life he proudly exhibited the scar as a sign that it was
none other than he who had killed the famous corsair.

Uruj Barbarossa was undoubtedly a remarkable man. At a time when the
Mediterranean swarmed with warriors none was more feared, none was
more redoubtable than he. By sheer valour and tenacity he had fought
his way to the front, and the son of the obscure renegado of Mitylene
died a king. It is true that his sovereignty was precarious, that it
was maintained at the edge of the sword; none the less, in that welter
of anarchy in which he lived he had forced himself to the summit, and,
pirate, sea-wolf, and robber as he was, we cannot withhold from him a
meed of the most hearty admiration.



Uruj had arrogated to himself the title of King of Tlemcen, but with
his death this shadowy sovereignty came to an end, and the Spaniards
seized upon the province. This, however, did not avail them much, as
the Sultan of Fez sent against them an innumerable army, and they
in their turn were dispossessed. It was in the year 1518 that Uruj
fell beneath the pike of Garzia de Tineo, and now the first place in
the piratical hierarchy was taken by Kheyr-ed-Din. In this man the
genius of the statesman lay hidden beneath the outward semblance of
the bold and ruthless pirate; ever foremost in the fight, strong to
endure, swift to smite, he had by now long passed his novitiate, had
established an empire over the minds of men which was to endure until
the end of his unusually prolonged life. With a brain of ice and a
heart of fire, he looked out, serene and calm, upon the turbulent times
in which he lived, a monstrous egotist desiring nothing but his own
advancement, all his faculties bent upon securing more wealth and yet
more power.

He played a lone hand, for he brooked even less than did his truculent
brother any approach to an equality with himself among the men who
followed in his train. Absolute supremacy was his in the life which he
lived, but none knew better than he upon what an unstable basis his
power rested. He now called himself the King of Algiers, but still that
lean, sun-dried garrison held with desperate tenacity to the tower
of the redoubtable Navarro, and any moment a fresh Spanish relieving
force might be upon him and chase him forth even as Uruj had been
chased from Tlemcen. He saw that he must consolidate his power, must
for the present, at any rate, have some force at his back which would
provide that material and moral backing which was essential to his
schemes. Once before he had successfully approached the Grand Turk,
the Padishah, the head of the Mohammedan religion, and from him he had
received that which he had asked; on this former occasion, however, he
had not been in the same position as he now occupied.

The corsair must have meditated long and anxiously on the best way
in which to approach the autocrat of Constantinople; in the end he
probably hit upon the best solution of the problem by again sending
an ambassador with precise instructions as to the manner in which he
was to act. For this important service his choice fell upon one of his
captains, Hadj-Hossein by name, and to him he imparted all that he was
to say, and—what was almost as important—what he was not to say.

The duty of the ambassador was to magnify the importance of his master,
but to do so in such a manner that the Padishah was not to imagine
that a rival to his own greatness had arisen at Algiers. Selim was at
this time in Egypt, where he had just completed the conquest of the
Mamelukes, and thither did Hadj-Hossein repair. He laid at the feet of
the conqueror the respectful homage of the King of Algiers, who, he
assured Selim, desired nothing better than to become the vassal of the
Commander of the Faithful. Also, he informed him, that in the name of
Selim public prayer was offered in the mosques on Fridays, that his
image and superscription were struck on the coins, that in every manner
possible recognition was made of the fact that he, and he alone, was
the chosen of God upon earth. This manner of stating the situation was
both delicate and politic. A less wise man than Kheyr-ed-Din might have
assumed a note of equality from one Moslem potentate to another, but
the corsair was perfectly conscious of his limitations—he knew exactly
how the Grand Turk could be useful to him, and he was not going to mar
his chance by the display of an untimely arrogance.

Hadj-Hossein proved himself to be a tactful and successful ambassador.
The Sultan accepted the homage offered, and made many inquiries
concerning the war prosecuted by Hossein’s master against the enemies
of the true faith in the distant region of Algiers. His queries were
all answered with deep submission and the most subtle of flattery, much
of which latter was no doubt a perfectly honest expression of opinion.
As to the average Mohammedan of this period the Padishah was a being
set apart by Heaven to fulfil the decrees of the Prophet.

The ambassador, when he rejoined his master, must have been a proud
man, as so well had he fulfilled his mission that he carried back with
him to Algiers not only a gracious message, but the insignia of the
Sanjak, Scimitar Horse and Tambour, conferred upon that loyal Moslem
Kheyred-Din Barbarossa, who, in the words of the Padishah, “abandoning
a sterile independence, sought in all the bloody hazards of his life
nought but the glory of God and His Prophet” To us this hyperbole,
addressed to a pirate, seems merely ridiculous, but in those days
of fanaticism the beliefs of men, both Christians and Moslems, are
something which it is impossible for us to realise. On either side the
way of salvation was the path of conquest, and the man who was heretic
to the faith which you professed was rightly served if you could cut
him and his off from among the congregation.

It was well for the corsair to make as many friends as possible, as
among his enemies he counted all the kings of Christendom; and, looking
back on his career, it seems but little short of a miracle that he was
not crushed out of existence, not once but a hundred times. But, as has
been said already, the root of true statesmanship was in Kheyr-ed-Din.
He watched with eager eye the quarrels of the great kings on the
continent of Europe; he saw his life-long rival at sea, the greatest
of all Christian mariners, Andrea Doria, the Genoese admiral, transfer
his allegiance from the French King Francis I. to the Emperor Charles
V. He noted and took full advantage of the perpetual squabbles between
the Genoese and Venetian Republics, and all the time was in touch
with the Sea-wolves, who swarmed on the coasts of Africa, and lurked in
every creek and harbour of the Ionian Sea. “In all the bloody hazards
of his life,” to quote once again the words of the Grand Turk, “he
could, in the end, depend more or less on the corsairs, whether they
ostensibly sailed beneath his banner or whether they did not, as when
danger threatened what name was so potent as that of Barbarossa, which
his followers asserted to be worth ten thousand men, when shouted on
the day of battle!”

That which is most extraordinary in the life of Kheyr-ed-Din is the
perpetual danger and stress in which it was lived. Time and again the
heavy menacing clouds gathered around his head; strenuous and unceasing
were the efforts made by his enemies to destroy his power, to capture
the person of this militant robber who flung an insolent defiance to
the whole of Christendom. The storms gathered and broke with various
effects, which sometimes sent the corsair flying for his life a hunted
fugitive, as others saw him once more victorious. But no reverses had
the power to damp his ardour, or to render him less eager to arise,
like some ill-omened phoenix, from the ashes of defeat: to vex the
souls of those who held themselves to be the greatest men on earth.

It was shortly after the death of his brother Uruj that the storm arose
which bade fair to sweep, not only Kheyr-ed-Din but all the corsairs
of the North African coast, clean out of their strongholds, for the
Emperor Charles V., at this time young, eager, and enthusiastic,
gave orders for their destruction. These robbers troubled the peace
of Europe; they did more than this, they insulted the Majesty of the
Emperor, and Charles regarded their perpetual incursions in the light
of an affront to his personal dignity. The divinity which hedged such
a monarch as the grandson of “Los Reyes Cathòlicos,” Ferdinand and
Isabella, was a very real thing, and, if offended, was likely to find
concrete expression in the most vigorous form. Charles, much annoyed
at the necessity for chastising a band of robbers, determined that he
would make an end of them once and for all. To Don Hugo de Moncada, the
Viceroy of Sicily, to Don Perisan de Ribera at Bougie, to the Marquis
de Comares at Oran, orders were sent to prepare their forces for an
attack on Algiers.

There was no lack of good-will on the part of the Christian princes,
nobles, and governors. The Spanish veterans in Sicily were rusting
for want of employment, the levies on the African littoral welcomed
anything in the way of war as a distraction from the deadly monotony
of their lives. The soldier in these days who rested too long upon
his arms became in time practically useless for the purpose for which
he existed; but such rulers as Charles V. gave their fighting men but
small cause of complaint in the matter of want of employment. The Pope
sent his blessing and a contingent, and, to show how serious was the
purpose of the Emperor, who took the command in person, let us set
forth the total of the expedition which was to utterly destroy and
root out the corsairs and their leader:

             FLEET.                          SAILING SHIP TRANSPORT.

  Galleys of the Pope                   4  The Frigate of Malta           1
        ”      of Malta                 4  Division of Spezzia          100
        ”      of Sicily                4      ”    of Fernando Gonzaga 150
        ”      of Antony Doria          6      ”    of Spain            200
        ”      of Naples                5
        ”      of Monaco                2
        ”      of Marquis of Terra Nova 2
        ”      of Vicome de Cigala      2
        ”      of Fernando de Gonzaga   7
        ”      of Spain                15
        ”      of Andrea Doria         14
  Total Galleys                        65  Total Transports            451
  Add Transports                      451
  Total Fleet                         516

  We now come to the military side of the expedition, which consisted of:

  The Household of the Emperor     200
  Noblesse                         150
  Knights of Malta                 150
  Servants                         400
  German Corps                   6,000
  Italians                       5,000
  Spanish from Naples and Sicily 6,000
  Soldiers from Spain              400
  Adventurers                    3,000
  Italian Cavalry                1,000
  Spanish Cavalry from Sicily      400
  Light Cavalry                    700
  Total Army                    23,900

We next come to the Armament of the Fleet:

  Soldiers of the Galleys (50 in each)     3,250
  Galley Slaves (average 70 in each)       4,500
     ”     ”     The Frigate of Malta         80
  540 sailing ships of all sorts, mostly
      small (at an average of 10 each)     4,500
  Total _Personnel_ of the Fleet          12,330
  Add Army                                28,900
  Total _Personnel_ of the Expedition.    36,230 men.

It was late autumn when the expedition at last set sail, and the
imperious temper of Charles was such that he refused to be governed by
the advice of the seasoned mariners, such as Andrea and Antony Doria,
and others who dreaded the effect of the gales which the armada was
likely to encounter on the coast of Africa. The Emperor was not to be
gainsaid, and the fleet set sail. They arrived, says Sandoval, “en el
dia de San Hieronymo,” Saint Bartholomew’s day; and there then arose
such a storm as the Mediterranean seldom sees. Some of the army had
landed, some were still afloat, the corsairs accounted for the luckless
soldiers ashore, the elements destroyed many left in the ships: 26
ships and 4,000 men were lost.

Bitterly mortified, Charles, who had personally displayed valour and
conduct of unusual distinction in this disastrous expedition, returned
to Europe to turn his attention to his everlasting quarrels with the
King of France. Meanwhile Don Hugo de Moncada had escaped with a
remnant of his forces to Iviza, in the Balearics, where he wintered,
and where his men mutinied because he was unable to pay them.

As there was depression almost amounting to despair in the camps of
Christendom, so was there concurrently the widest rejoicing in the
tents and on board of the galleys which flew the Moslem flag. What
mattered it that it was the elements which had saved Kheyr-ed-Din
from annihilation? was it not a cause the more for jubilation, as had
not the Prophet of God himself come to the assistance of those who
were upholding his holy standard? Were not his favours made manifest
in that he had sent, to lead his votaries to victory, such an one as
Kbeyr-ed-Din Barbarossa?

Pope and Emperor, King, Duke, and Viceroy had tried conclusions with
the pirates, and their fleet and army had melted away as the mists melt
in the hot sunshine on the Mediterranean; truly were the descendants of
the dispossessed Moors of Còdoba and Granada taking a terrible revenge
on those by whom they had been expropriated.

Barbarossa was never one to let the grass grow under his feet; he had
the Christians on the run, and he intended to take full advantage
of this pleasing circumstance. Accordingly he despatched a trusted
lieutenant, one Hassan, with instructions to harass the coast of
Valentia, to ravage with fire and sword all those unfortunate towns and
villages which he could reach. This corsair entered the Rio de Ampasta
and destroyed all before him, the inhabitants fleeing as the news was
carried by escaped fugitives and by the red glare of the villages
flaming to heaven in the night. Satiated with blood, laden with spoil,
and burdened with many wretched captives, Hassan put to sea once more
in triumph.

It may here be mentioned how terrible was the damage wrought by the
piratical fraternity in the Mediterranean, and the manner in which
it has been brought to light in somewhat remarkable fashion quite
recently. Since the French occupation of Tunis it was charged against
them that they had taken away from the natives of the country those
fertile lands which lay upon the shores of the sea, and had given them
to French subjects. The facts of the case were that for centuries these
lands had been entirely out of cultivation, the reason being that,
until the complete suppression of piracy in the Mediterranean took
place, none dared to dwell within raiding distance of the sea for fear
of being carried off into slavery.

But to return to Hassan. That warrior, having cleared the Spanish
coast, got separated from three of his consorts during the night.
The next day, at dawn, he sighted a Spanish sailing-vessel, which he
thought to make an easy prize. The wind was light, and the galleys—that
is to say, the one on which Hassan was aboard and his remaining
consort—were soon churning up the waters in pursuit as fast as their
oars could carry them. Hassan reckoned on an easy capture, as he made
certain she was but a peaceful trader with some score or so of throats
to cut. He was, however, badly out of his reckoning, as on board of her
was a veteran company of Spanish infantry, stark fighters to a man, who
feared no odds, and who were skilfully commanded by Captain Robeira,
grown grey in the Moorish wars. With bloodcurdling yells the galleys
swept alongside with the fighting men massed on the high poops and
forecastles of their vessels. Behind the high bulwarks of the “round
ship” (as the sailing craft of the day were denominated to distinguish
them from the long ships, or galleys) crouched the Spaniards, their
muskets in their hands. Captain Robeira had them perfectly in hand, and
not a piece was discharged until the beaks of the galleys crashed into
her sides.

Robeira then gave the order to fire, and at the short range into packed
masses of men the volley did terrible execution. Completely surprised,
the corsairs attempted to board, but were repulsed and driven back
with more slaughter. His men becoming demoralised, Hassan withdrew
amidst the ferocious taunts of the Spaniards, who had escaped almost
unscathed. Sore and angry, the corsairs continued their voyage for
another three days, at the expiration of which they arrived at Algiers.
Hassan, who had acquired quite a considerable booty, expected a warm
reception; this he received, but hardly in the way that he expected.
He told his tale to Kheyr-ed-Din, which that commander received in
frowning silence; when he had finished the storm burst.

“O miserable coward! dost thou dare to stand in my presence and to
confess that thou hast been whipped like a dog by those sons of burnt
fathers, the Spaniards?”

The miserable Hassan attempted to justify himself by reference to the
booty which he had obtained and the number of captives with which he
had returned; but this, far from assuaging the wrath of Barbarossa,
only made it worse.

“Dastard and slave! thou boastest that, thou hast destroyed defenceless
villages and brought back many captives, but that shall avail thee
nothing. No profit shalt thou derive from that. Let the captives be
brought before me.”

This was done, and to the horror even of those hardened men of blood
who followed in the train of Barbarossa, they were all executed. Even
this wholesale massacre did not assuage the wrath of the corsair.
Standing and surveying the weltering shambles which tainted the air,
he pulled ferociously at his red beard, and commanded that they should
whip Hassan till the blood ran; when this was done thoroughly and
to the satisfaction of the despot, he gave orders that he should be
chained and thrust into the prison of the fortress.

Terror stalked abroad in Algiers. No man knew when his turn might
come after this awful example of what it meant to incur the wrath of
Barbarossa. The corsair gave orders for the execution of Venalcadi,
who, it will be remembered, was with Uruj when that warrior came by his
death; but Venalcadi was popular among the pirates, and they connived
at his escape.

For so cool and politic a man as Kheyr-ed-Din this outburst is wholly
inexplicable. Judged by our standards, the flogging of Hassan was not
only brutal but silly, as raising up to himself enemies of the most
bitter description in the midst of his own followers; and yet cruelty
was so engrained in this man that he never forewent his revenge. It is
a standing miracle that he escaped assassination in the age in which
he lived, and the only explanation would appear to be that men were too
much afraid of him to make the attempt.

The immediate result of the flogging of Hassan and the attempted murder
of Venalcadi was that the latter collected a following and made war
upon Kheyr-ed-Din, who, with incredible folly, then released Hassan,
and sent him with five hundred men to fight against Venalcadi. The
result was what might have been anticipated: Hassan joined forces with
Venalcadi, and together they attacked the tyrant and drove him out of
his stronghold.

Kheyr-ed-Din had the one supreme merit of never knowing when he was
beaten. Driven from the shore, there was for him always the sea to
which to retire; so on this occasion he embarked his family and such
of his riches as were portable, and took to the sea once more. “Yendo
a buscar nuevos asientos y nuevos amigos” (seeking a new home and new
friends), says Sandoval.

It was well for the corsairs that the Christians had selected the
previous year for their attack, as, had they fallen upon them when
Barbarossa was no longer in power at Algiers and the pirates were
fighting among themselves, the latter would have been wiped out of
existence. It was ill fighting with Kheyr-ed-Din, whether you professed
the religion of Christ or that of Mahomet, and this the revolting
corsairs were very soon to discover. Barbarossa sailed away from
Algiers a hunted fugitive, only to return again as a conqueror.

Eastward the dispossessed ruler of Algiers took his course, and
very soon discovered that which he sought—allies to assist him
against the revolted Venalcadi and the recalcitrant Hassan. Lurking
in the neighbourhood of Bizerta, he discovered El Judeo (the Jew),
Cachidiablo (Hunt the Devil), Salaerrez, Tabas, and other corsairs,
who collectively composed a formidable force. These were all old
acquaintances and some old followers of Kheyr-ed-Din, and to them did
he relate the piteous tale of the cowardice of Venalcadi, whom he
accused of having deserted his brother Uruj in his direst necessity,
thereby causing his death; the abominable conduct of Hassan, who had
turned and bitten the hand that fed him. With tears in his eyes did
this accomplished actor reluctantly reveal the base ingratitude of
which he had been the recipient; so much did he contrive to work upon
the feelings of his auditors that they one and all vowed to stand by
him, and to replace him as ruler of Algiers, from which he had been
thrust by men whose shameful treachery was only equalled by their

Forty sail in strength, they set out to avenge the wrongs of the gentle
and long-suffering Kheyr-ed-Din, that master of craft in every sense
of the word. Reaching Algiers, they disembarked artillery and stores
and began an attack in form; but Venalcadi, whose forces were equal,
in fact slightly superior, to those of his antagonists, made a sally,
and battle was joined in the open. A most sanguinary combat ensued,
in which the forces of Kheyr-ed-Din were decidedly worsted. For a
considerable period his fate hung in the balance. Then occurred one
of those singular and remarkable things only possible in such an age
of anarchy and bloodshed. Barbarossa had in his train sixty Spanish
soldiers captured by him from the force of Don Hugo de Moncada. Well
did the corsair know their value: there were no finer fighting men in
all the Christian armies. Hastily summoning them, he promised them
their freedom if they would now throw in their lot with him and assist
in the downfall of Venalcadi.

The offer was no sooner made than accepted, and the Spanish veterans,
fresh and unwearied, threw themselves into the heart of the fray.
Shoulder to shoulder and blade to blade in their disciplined valour,
they broke through all opposition; they fought for liberty as well as
life, to exchange the noisome confinement of the piratical galley for
the free air of their homes and their country. Soon the soldiers of
Venalcadi turned and fled back to the city; the day was once again with
Kheyr-ed-Din. For four days longer did Algiers hold out, and then a
traitor betrayed Venalcadi into the hands of his enemies. Instantly his
head was struck off, placed on a pole, and paraded in full sight of the
garrison, who were promised their lives on condition of surrender.

The city opened its gates once more, and Barbarossa entered in triumph.
The corsair was as good as his word to his Spanish captives, and
restored to them their liberty. He went even further, and was liberal
in his _largesse_ to those who had fought so well for him. If he can
be credited with such an emotion as gratitude, he must have felt it
for Moncada’s stout infantrymen, as, had it not been for them, it
would have been his head and not that of Venalcadi which would have
decorated the pole. The Spaniards departed to their own country—that is
to say, such of them as desired to do so; but one Hamet, a Biscayan,
declared that life was so intolerable for a common man such as he in
his own country that he desired to throw in his lot with Barbarossa.
Thirty-nine others followed his example, abjuring the Christian faith
and becoming renegadoes.

Those of the garrison left alive were glad enough to return once more
to their allegiance to their former master. The episode of the mutiny
of Venalcadi and Hassan was a lesson not only to them: the fame of it
spread far and wide throughout the Mediterranean. Who now could be
found to combat Barbarossa? and all along the coasts of the tideless
sea echo shudderingly answered—Who?

With the new accession to his strength Kheyred-Din had no difficulty in
making himself master of Tunis, and he sent Cachidiablo with seventeen
galleys to harry once more the coast of Spain.



Although Kheyr-ed-Din had made himself master of Algiers, there still
remained the fortress of Pedro Navarro in the hands of the Spaniards.
This strong place of arms had now been in their practically undisputed
occupation for twenty years; from out of its loopholed walls and
castellated battlements the undaunted garrison had looked forth while
the tide of war both by land and sea had swept by. They had been
unmolested so far, but now their day was to come.

In command of the Peñon d’Alger, as it was called by the Spaniards,
was a valiant and veteran cavalier, by name Martin de Vargas. For
twenty years, as we have said, the gold-and-crimson banner of Spain
had floated from its crenulated bastions; since the days of Pedro
Navarro it had held its own against all comers. It must have been with
a sinking heart that Martin de Vargas and his brave garrison beheld
the town fall once again into the hands of Kheyr-ed-Din; they knew, as
by this time did all the Mediterranean and the dwellers on the coasts
thereof, the implacable enmity of the corsair to the Christians, and
how short a shrift would be theirs should they fall into his hands.

On his side Kheyr-ed-Din looked with longing eyes on this remnant of
the power of Spain in Africa. Could he but dislodge Martin de Vargas,
he had the whole of Northern Africa practically at his disposal;
Algiers would then be really his, to fortify for all time against
the inroads of his foes. He was master by land and sea, the time was
propitious; the corsair decided that the hour had come. He had seen the
repulse of his brother Uruj, none knew better than did he the temper of
the men by whom the Peñon was held, or the valiance and the unswerving
fidelity of that caballero of Spain, Martin de Vargas. He tried to
induce that officer to surrender to him, offering every inducement
to the Spanish commander to come to terms. He was met with a haughty
refusal, couched in the most contemptuous language. He tried the most
blood-curdling threats, which were no empty menaces, as his adversary
well knew: these were received in silence.

One more embassy he tried, and to this he received the following answer:

  “I spring from the race of the De Vargas, but my house
  has never made it a practice to boast of the glory of
  their long descent: they professed merely to imitate
  the heroism of their ancestors. Spurred forward by this
  worthy desire, I await with calmness all your efforts,
  and will prove to you, with arms in my hands, that I am
  faithful to my God, my country, and my king.”


Barbarossa summoned to his palace his kinsman and trusted adherent
Celebi Rabadan, and they mutually decided that there was nothing
they could do save take up arms against this most insolent and
uncompromising warrior. In the meanwhile they would try what craft
would do; and accordingly two young Moors were introduced into the
Peñon, under the pretext that they had seen the error of their ways
and were anxious to embrace the Christian religion. Martin de Vargas,
like all Spanish caballeros, was an ardent proselytiser, and he ordered
the two young men to be taken into his own house and instructed by the
chaplain of the garrison. The next day was Easter Day, and the two
young Moors, while the entire garrison were at Mass, signalled to their
co-religionists a prearranged sign indicating that now was the time to
attack. Unfortunately for them, a woman in the employment of De Vargas
saw them, and they were immediately hanged from the battlements in full
view of Barbarossa. That potentate was filled with fury at what he
considered an insult to the Mohammedan religion, and again consulted
with Celebi as to the feasibility of another assault. It was true,
he said, that his messengers had been hanged, but they had made the
prearranged signal. Still, the walls were hardly sufficiently breached,
he thought, and his own men were singularly disheartened by the ill
success of their previous efforts. Did Celebi Rabadan think another
attempt desirable?

That person was in a quandary, because he could not gather what it was
that Barbarossa wished him to say. He knew that if he recommended an
assault, and that it proved once again unsuccessful, that the full
fury of the tyrant would fall upon his head; at the same time he was
almost equally afraid to broach the idea which had been prevalent in
Algiers for some time that Martin de Vargas must assuredly be in league
with Shaitan, or he could never have held out in the way that he had
done. In consequence he temporised and hesitated, while Barbarossa
pulled at his famous red beard and regarded him with scowling brows.

The situation was saved for Celebi Rabadan by an accident. There
swam off to the ship a traitor from the Spanish garrison, and this
man informed them that his whilom comrades were positively at their
last gasp, ammunition all but exhausted, and the food-supply barely
sufficient to last another two days.

“To such an end come those who deny the Prophet of God,” exclaimed
Barbarossa, and gave orders that this news be communicated to all
his men, who were to prepare for the final assault on the morrow. He
further offered a reward for the capture of Martin de Vargas alive.

On May 16th, 1530, the corsairs once again advanced to the assault. By
this time the walls had been battered until a practicable breach had
been formed, and over this swarmed thirteen hundred of the starkest
fighters of the Mediterranean, In the breach, bareheaded, his armour
hacked and dinted, stood the undaunted chieftain of the Spaniards: over
his head floated that proud banner which had never cast its shadow on
a worthier knight of Spain. The garrison, worn to a shadow by their
hardships and their hunger, most of them wounded, and all of them
sore spent, were in no case to resist this, the most formidable attack
to which they had been subjected. It was all over in a very short time,
and a dreadful massacre ensued.

Martin de Vargas, though sorely wounded, was taken alive and conducted
to the presence of Barbarossa. Wounded, shaken, bruised, his fortress
in the hands of his enemy, the dying shrieks of his murdered garrison
still ringing in his ears, the amazing spirit of the man was still
utterly unsubdued. “It is to the treason of a ruffian that you owe
your triumph,” he said to his captor, “and not to your valour: had I
received the smallest relief I could still have repulsed and kept you
at bay. You have my maimed and mutilated body in your possession, and I
hope that you are satisfied. But my body is accustomed to pain, and I
therefore defy you and your dastardly cruelty.”

To do Barbarossa justice he admired the undaunted spirit of his
prisoner, and he replied:

“Fear nothing, De Vargas, I will do all in my power to ease your hurts
if you will do that which I ask of you.”

De Vargas replied:

“As an earnest of your faith, I demand the punishment of the traitor
through whose information you were enabled to take the citadel.”

Barbarossa ordered the soldier to be brought before them, and, having
nearly flogged him to death, had him beheaded. He then presented the
head to De Vargas, saying:

“You observe my complaisance. I now ask you to embrace the Mohammedan
faith; then I will overwhelm you with benefits and honours, and make
you the Captain-General of my guards.”

De Vargas looked at him in indignation and replied:

“Dost thou believe that I, who but now demanded the just punishment of
a man who had forsworn himself, could stoop to such an act of baseness
as this? Keep your ill-gotten riches; confer your dignities on others;
insult not thus a caballero of Spain.”

There was a breathless pause. None had ever used such language to
Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa and lived to tell the tale. Nor was it to be so
in this case.

“You and yours have caused me too much trouble,” he answered
indifferently. He made a sign to the executioner who had beheaded the
soldier, and the next moment the head of De Vargas was swept from his

The gallant Spaniard, it is to be hoped, came by his end in the way
just narrated; but the chroniclers disagree among themselves, and
“El Señor Don Diego de Haedo, Arcobispo de Palermo y Capitan General
del Reyno de Sicilia por El Rey Felipe nuestro señor,” states that
Barbarossa kept De Vargas in confinement for three months and then had
him beaten to death. One can only sincerely hope that the first account
is the true one; but Haedo was nearer to the time of the occurrence,
and, as he wrote in the reign of Philip II., is more likely to have
known the facts. But however this may have been, there was an end for
all time of Spanish domination on the north coast of Africa, and from
this we may date the permanent establishment of those piratical States
in that part of the world.

The star of Kheyr-ed-Din was once more in the ascendant. Not only had
he crushed out the incipient mutiny of Venalcadi and taken his life,
but he had consolidated his power by the taking of the Peñon d’Alger.
He celebrated this occasion in the most practical manner possible: a
stop was put to the indiscriminate massacre of the garrison, and five
hundred of the Spaniards were captured alive; it was their dreary
fate to pull down entirely the tower of Pedro Navarro, which they had
defended so gallantly and to utilise the material in making a causeway
from the Peñon to the shore. Barbarossa was determined that on no
future occasion should his enemies have the chance of dominating his
town of Algiers. He was now a sovereign in fact and in deed, regarding
even so mighty a monarch as Charles V. with comparative equanimity.
Terrible was the wrath of the latter when the news of the fall of
the Peñon, the massacre of the garrison, and the death of his trusty
servant De Vargas, was brought to him. The Sea-wolves seemed to exist
but to exasperate him, and this latest news came just at one of the
most prosperous epochs of his career.

The titles of “Carlos Quinto,” as recorded by Sandoval, read like the
roll of some mighty drum. Nor were these titles mere vain and empty
boastings, as was so often the case at that time among the minor
rulers of the earth. On February 22nd, 1580, just before the fall of
the Peñon, he had placed on his own head the iron crown of Lombardy;
his viceroys ruled in Naples and Sicily, his dukes and feudatories
in Florence and Ferrara, in Mantua and in Milan; there was no more
Italy. All these recent acquisitions had been rendered possible by
the defection of Andrea Doria, the Genoese seaman, from Francis I. of
France to the side of the Emperor. From henceforward it was against
this modern Cæsar that Barbarossa had to contend; the monarch under
whose banner swarmed the terrible Schwartz-Reiters of Germany, for
whose honour marched the incomparable infantry of Spain, for whom the
fleets of the gallant Genoese sailed in battle-array under the orders
of the greatest admiral of the day, Andrea Doria. All these disciplined
legions of Christendom were arrayed against the corsair king; banded
together for the destruction of that daring pirate whose flag floated
in insolent triumph above the white walls of Algiers.

As from this time onwards we shall hear much concerning Andrea Doria,
it is fitting that some account should here be given of this great
patriot, great soldier, and still greater seaman. Andrea Doria, of
the family of the Princes of Oneglia, of Genoa, was born at Oneglia
on November 30th, 1468, and was the son of Andrea Coeva and Marie
Caracosa, both of the family of Doria. At the death of his mother the
young Andrea, then nineteen years of age, was sent to Rome, where his
kinsman Dominique Doria, of the elder branch of the family, was captain
of the Papal Guard of Pope Innocent VIII. Here he rose rapidly: owing
to his extraordinary address in all military exercises, he was marked
out for preferment, and would probably have succeeded his kinsman as
grand officer, had it not been for the death of Innocent VIII. The
successor to Innocent, Alexander VI., was not favourable to the claims
of the Dorias; so young Andrea, acting on the advice of Dominique,
repaired to the court of Duke Urbino, then regarded as the best school
for young nobles desirous of following a military career. After some
time spent at the court of Urbino, Dominique counselled that Andrea
should enter some other service, as there was no glory to be obtained
under a prince who was never at war. Accordingly Andrea passed into the
service of the King of Aragon, who, having invaded Naples, was giving
plenty of employment to all would-be warriors.

In the record of his early days we find that in the year 1495 he made
a journey to Jerusalem to visit the holy places, and that he then
returned to Italy, where Ferdinand of Aragon was attempting to recover
the kingdom of Naples. “The Great Captain,” Gonsalvo de Cordoba, was
warring against Doria’s kinsman, Juan Roverejo; this commander had
rendered a great service to the Dorias by rescuing David Doria from
imprisonment at Ancona, and Andrea decided to throw in his lot with
him. He accordingly armed twenty-five cavaliers at his own expense,
and joined Roverejo, who put him in charge of the fortress of Rocca
Guillelma. In this place Andrea was besieged by Gonsalvo de Cordoba,
the first warrior of the age; here he displayed such extraordinary
ability in defence that, on the occasion of a truce, Gonsalvo urged
upon Andrea to join the Spaniards. Andrea made answer that
honour bound him to Roverejo, but, could he be released from his
arrangement with him, he might then consider the proposition of “The
Great Captain.” Roverejo refused, but, as Charles VIII. immediately
afterwards evacuated Italy, Andrea was free to follow his own
inclinations, and took service with Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Milan.

From this time onward until 1503 Andrea was constantly employed in war,
and made for himself such a reputation that in this year the Republic
of Genoa requested him to take command of their navy. This offer he
refused, as he said that he knew nothing about the sea. They pressed
him, saying that to a man of his genius nothing was impossible, and
in the end he gave a somewhat reluctant consent. He soon proved his
competence in his new sphere of activity, as his first act was to
capture the Fort of the Lantern, in the neighbourhood of Genoa, which
was then held by the French for Louis XII. The Republic confirmed his
appointment as General of the Galleys with many compliments, and he
put to sea and captured three of the war-galleys of the corsairs, also
two Turkish ships laden with valuable merchandise. He fitted out the
galleys for his own service, sold the merchantmen, and made an immense
sum of money.

His next act was to defeat the corsair, Cadolin, who had eight galleys
to Doria’s six; these he added to his own fleet, which now consisted
of fourteen vessels, he having begun with three. As Cadolin was one
of the most famous corsairs of the day, this capture made an immense
sensation, and all men, Moslems as well as Christians, were asking
one another, “Who was this Doria?”

They had their answer, as time passed, in the career of this
astonishing warrior, who in his time played so many parts, who served
under so many flags, and yet who remained consistently a patriot all
the time. As this is not a history of Doria, we have no space to trace
out his life step by step as it was lived; suffice it to say that,
disapproving of the government of his native Republic under the family
of the Adorno, Andrea offered his sword and his fleet to the King of
France, Francis I. His offer was received with joy, and he was made
Captain-General of the Galleys of France. In his new capacity he sailed
for the coast of Provence, which was being devastated by the fleet of
Charles V. He sank several of the Spanish vessels, captured others, and
secured sufficient booty to pay his soldiers and sailors—a fact most
welcome to Francis, who was in desperate straits for money.

Eventually, however, a dispute arose between Francis and Doria, which
was to have disastrous effects for the King. At this time Charles V.
was suzerain of Genoa, which was held for him by the Adorno. Philippin
Doria, nephew of the admiral, met at sea with Hugo de Moncada outside
the Gulf of Salerno; a battle ensued, in which Philippin was victorious
and Moncada was slain. Amongst others who were captured was the Marquis
de Guasto and Camille Colonna; these high officers, together with three
of the captured galleys, were sent by Philippin to his uncle at Genoa.

In the meantime some malcontents reached the Court of France and
complained to the King that Andrea Doria had not captured Sicily, which
they averred he could easily have done. These men were backed up by
a certain number of the courtiers, who were bitterly jealous of the
fame of Doria and the esteem in which he had been held by Francis.
The monarch, easily swayed by any determined and persistent attack,
decided to levy a fine on the inhabitants of Genoa as a punishment for
the supineness of their countryman, who was his Captain-General of the
Galleys; his argument being that they must pay him for the plunder
Doria had missed by not taking Sicily when he should have done so.

This was worse than a crime—it was blunder of the very first magnitude,
and such a blunder as could only have been made by a very stupid as
well as a very arrogant man. Doria by this time was a warrior of
European celebrity, and one to whom even kings used the language of
persuasion; to attempt to browbeat him was to court disaster.

Francis sent the Vicomte de Tours to Genoa to levy the fine, but the
Vicomte did not prosper on his mission. Outside of Genoa he was met by
the outraged admiral on horseback at the head of some fifty Genoese
nobles and a numerous company of foot-soldiers. De Tours reported that
the name and authority of the King of France was held in derision
by the fierce old admiral, who so alarmed the envoy himself that he
thought it prudent to retire to Florence, from whence he wrote a long
letter to his master complaining of his reception by Doria.

This attempt to levy a fine on Genoa was not, however, the only
deadly blow which the King of France was aiming at her. The children of
Francis were at this time in Madrid, as hostages for the good behaviour
of their father, and that monarch was in treaty secretly with Charles
to restore Italy to the _status quo ante bellum_, which would have had
the effect of handing over Genoa to Antony Adorno. He also began the
fortification of Savona, in order that from there he might be in a
position to strike at the Genoese—from a military point of view, if
necessary—but in any event to cripple the trade of that city. Andrea
Doria, as soon as he became aware of this latter action on the part of
Francis, was thoroughly roused, and wrote him the letter quoted below,
which illustrates the fact that he was quite aware of his own great
importance in Europe. It was not a time in which men held such language
as did Doria on this occasion unless they were very sure of themselves
and their followers.


  “It is an ill use of power to reverse order in human
  affairs. Genoa has always been the capital of Liguria,
  and posterity will see with astonishment that your
  Majesty has deprived it of this advantage with no
  plausible pretext. The Genoese are well aware how
  inimical to their interests are your projects with regard
  to Savona. They beg of you that these may be abandoned,
  and that you will not sacrifice the general good to the
  views of a few courtiers. I take the liberty to add my
  prayers to theirs, and to ask of you this grace as the
  price of the services I have rendered to France. Should
  your Majesty have been put to expense, I shall join to
  my request the sum of forty thousand gold crowns.

  “With the humble duty of Andrea Doria,

  Captain-General of the Galleys of France.”

Theodore Trivulce, who held Savona for the King of France, was roundly
told by Doria that “the people of Genoa would never suffer the taking
of Savona by the King of France, as it had from time immemorial
belonged to them,” and added, “for myself I will sacrifice the
friendship of the King in the interests of my fatherland.”

The last straw came, however, when the Marshal de Lautrec demanded
from Andrea the prisoners taken by Philippin Doria at Salerno. To this
Doria returned a curt negative, whereupon Francis sent one Barbezieux
to supersede Doria and to seize upon the person of the veteran admiral.
But that seaman, now sixty years of age, was not to be taken by any
king or soldier. He moved his twelve galleys from Genoa to Lerici, on
the east coast of the Gulf of Spezzia, and when Barbezieux arrived
he sarcastically told him to take the galleys. Barbezieux had no
better fortune than his predecessor, the Vicomte de Tours, and retired
discomfited and boiling over with rage to report matters to the King.

It has been said that among the prisoners of Philippin Doria was the
Marquis de Guasto. This nobleman had been an interested spectator
of the quarrel, and now approached Doria suggesting that he should
throw in his lot with Charles. The admiral, who all through had been
acting in the interests of his native country, seeing its ruin
approaching from the ambitions of Francis, consented, and wrote to
his nephew Philippin telling him of his decision, and his reasons
for that which he proposed to do. Philippin therefore rejoined his
uncle at Lerici with his eight galleys. The negotiations were short,
sharp, and decisive, and were conducted through the medium of De
Guasto. Charles offered the admiral sixty thousand ducats a year;
this was accepted. The only other stipulation made by the Emperor was
natural enough, which was that all the Spanish galley-slaves in the
fleet of Andrea should be released and their places taken by men of
other nationalities. This was of course conceded, and the transaction
was complete. Henceforward the most formidable force at sea on the
Christian side was at the disposal of the Spanish King.

This transference took place in the year 1528, and it was in the same
year that the citizens of Genoa, in recognition of the unexampled
services of the admiral to the State, elected him perpetual Doge.

This honour Doria declined, declaring that it was more glorious to have
deserved than to possess the honour, and that he considered he could be
of more use to his fellow citizens by gaining for them the protection
of great princes than by remaining as chief judge in his own country.

The Senate of Genoa, astonished by his noble modesty, hailed him as
the father and liberator of his country, ordered that a statue of him
should be erected in the public square, that in the same place a palace
should be built for him at the public expense, and that it should be
called Plaza Doria; further, that he and his posterity should be
for ever exempted from taxation, and that a device should be engraved
on a plate of copper and attached to the walls of the palace, where it
could be seen of all men, announcing to posterity the services that
this great man had rendered to his fellow citizens, to be for ever a
memorial of their gratitude.

The chronicler of these events draws a parallel between Doria and
Themistocles, who, when discontented with the Athenians, passed into
Persia and offered his services to Xerxes, to the great joy of that
monarch, who cried aloud, “I have Themistocles, I have Themistocles.”



If Charles V. made no such outward manifestation of his joy as did the
Persian monarch, he possibly was no less pleased than Xerxes; this he
showed by his acts, and the value that he attached to the services of
Doria was instanced in the directions which he gave. He ordered the
Governors of all his possessions in Italy to do nothing without first
consulting the admiral; to lend him prompt aid, whether he demanded
it in his own name or in that of the Republic of Genoa. He made him
Admiralissimo of his navy, with power to act as he liked without even
consulting him, as his Emperor. It will be seen that Charles had in him
sufficient greatness to trust whole-heartedly when he trusted at all;
the faith which he reposed in the Genoese seaman was amply justified
by events, and no action of his during the whole of his singularly
dramatic reign was ever to result so entirely to his profit. When in
after-life Charles had received from the Pope the Imperial Crown, and
when, on his return, he put into Aigues-Mortes in Doria’s galley, he
there met with Francis, who, in a burst to confidence, advised the
Cæsar never to part with his admiral.

On that stage, which was the blue waters of the tideless sea, we
shall, from this time forward, watch the fortunes of those two great
sea-captains, Andrea Doria and Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa. With them the
ebb and flow of conquest and defeat alternated. Great as was the one,
it cannot be said that he was greater than the other; but when the
supreme arbitrament was within the grasp of both, as it was at the
naval battle of Prevesa, neither the Christian admiral nor the Moslem
corsair would reach out his hand and grasp the nettle of his fate.
Hesitation at this moment, when, in the fulness of time, the rivals
stood face to face with arms in their hands, was the last thing that
would have been expected of such dauntless warriors, such born leaders
of men! and the battle of Prevesa presents a psychological problem
of the most baffling and perplexing description. We are, however,
anticipating events which will fall into their proper sequence as we

Kheyr-ed-Din, now firmly established in Algiers, devoted his energies
to the undoing of his Christian foes by the systematic plunder of their
merchant-vessels. At this period he, personally, seems to have remained
ashore, and sent his young and aspiring captains to sea to increase his
wealth by plunder, his consequence by the hordes of slaves which they
swept into the awful bagnios of Algiers; and Sandoval, that quaint and
delightful historian, is moved to indignation and complains with much
acrimony of “las malas obras que este corsario hizo a la Christiandad”
(the evil deeds done to Christianity by this corsair). These were on
so considerable a scale at this time that he had to devote to them far
more space than he considered consonant with the dignity of history.

But if all were going on well on the coast of Africa for the Crescent,
such was far from being the case in the northern waters of the
Mediterranean; for Andrea Doria, serving His Most Catholic Majesty at
sea, had defeated the Turks at Patras and again in the Dardanelles,
which unpleasant fact caused no little annoyance to Soliman the
Magnificent. On land the Sultan was sweeping all before him; at sea
this pestilent Genoese was dragging into servitude all the best
mariners who sailed beneath the banner of the Prophet. There was
wrath and there was fear at Constantinople, and the captains of the
galleys which sailed from the Golden Horn felt that their heads and
their bodies might at any moment part company—the Grand Turk was in
an ill humour, which might at any moment call for the appeasement of
sacrifice; so it was that men trembled.

It was at this time, in 1533, that Soliman bethought himself of
Kheyr-ed-Din. There was no better seaman, there was no fiercer fighter,
there was no man whose name was so renowned throughout the length and
breadth of the Mediterranean, than was that of the corsair king who was
vassal to the Sublime Porte. Soliman was confronted with a new, and, to
him, an almost mysterious thing, for the onward conquering step of the
Moslem hosts was being checked by that sea-power so little understanded
of the Turk, and the imperious will of the Sultan seemed powerless to
prevent the disasters conjured from the deep.


Soliman the Magnificent, who was not inaptly described by this title,
for he was successful as both warrior and statesman, meditated both
long and anxiously on the new development of affairs before he made up
his mind to the step of calling to his assistance the corsair king. But
he possessed that truest attribute of greatness in a ruler, the faculty
of discerning the right man for any particular post. Brave and reckless
fighters he possessed in super-abundance, but somehow—somehow—none of
these fiery warriors had that habit of the sea which enabled them to
make head against such a past-master in the craft of the seaman as
Andrea Doria. The Genoese was chasing the Turkish galleys from off the
face of the waters. Constantinople itself was a sea-surrounded city; it
was necessary that a check should be administered to the arms of the
Christians on this element. It is easy to imagine the preoccupations
of the Turkish monarch. The despot rules by force, but he also holds
his power by the address with which it is wielded, and he can by no
means afford to disregard his personal popularity if he is to make the
best use of his fighting men in such a turbulent epoch as was the first
half of the sixteenth century. Soliman had the wit to know that he had
no mariner who was in any way comparable to Doria; he was also aware
that Kheyr-ed-Din had risen from nothing to his present position by his
sheer ability as a seaman. It would appear, therefore, a very natural
thing that he should invite the co-operation of the King of Algiers,
but that with which he had to reckon was the furious jealousy that such
an appointment must inevitably arouse among his own subjects.

It says much for the steadfast moral courage of the man that he
eventually decided to take the risk; it says even more for the absolute
correctness of his judgment that he never afterwards repented of the
step which he then took.

Once the mind of the Grand Turk was made up he hesitated no longer. The
Capitan de Rodas, one of his personal guard, was sent to Barbarossa to
request him to come to Constantinople and take command of the Ottoman
fleet. There were no conditions attached; the honour was supreme.
Barbarossa loaded the messenger with rich gifts, and overwhelmed him
with honours. For Kheyr-ed-Din this was in a sense the apotheosis of
his career. The Grand Turk, the head of the Mohammedan religion, had
not only recognised his kingship, but had conferred on him an honour
unprecedented, unlooked for, and one of the highest value to a man of
such an insatiable ambition. Into the cool and crafty brain of this
prince among schemers instantly sprang the thought that now at last his
kingdom was secure, that in future the whole of the Barbary coast would
own no other lord than he.

Preparations for the voyage were immediately begun, and, as an earnest
of the new importance which he derived from the advances of Soliman,
the corsair actually sent presents to the King of France and proffered
him his aid against his enemies. To such a pass as this had one of the
most powerful monarchs in Christendom been reduced by the defection of
Andrea Doria. Algiers he left in the keeping of his son Hassan, and
in charge of Hassan his kinsman Celebi Rabadan and a captain of the
name of Agi. In the middle of August, 1533, Barbarossa left Algiers,
his fleet consisting of seven galleys and eleven fustas. Sailing
northward, he fell in with a fleet which he at first feared was that
of Doria, but which, fortunately for him, was that of a corsair named
Delizuff from Los Gelues. Courtesies were interchanged between the two
leaders, and Barbarossa succeeded in persuading Delizuff to accompany
him to Sicily, where it was possible they might fall in with Doria, and
with their combined forces inflict defeat upon the Christian admiral.
Delizuff was nothing loath to join forces with so noted a commander as
Kheyr-ed-Din, as he had no desire to tackle Doria single-handed, and at
the same time wished to extend the sphere of his plunderings, which had
been cruelly restricted recently by the wholesome fear instilled into
the Sea-wolves by the new admiral of Charles V.

Accordingly, reinforced by the fifteen fustas and one galley of
Delizuff, the Algerian fleet once more proceeded on its voyage.
Although bound for Constantinople at the request of Soliman, at a time
when it would have been thought that delay was not only dangerous but
impolitic, and although the corsair was endeavouring to merge the
pirate in the king who dealt on terms of equality with those whom
he now regarded as his brother monarchs, still the old instinct of
robbery was too strong to be resisted; the lust of gain and the call
of adventure were still inherent in the man whose famous beard was now
far more white than red. Advancing age had not tamed the spirit nor
weakened the frame of this leader among the Moslems.

Sailing through the Straits of Bonifacio, they touched Monte Cristo,
a small island where they found a slave who had formerly belonged to
Delizuff. This man was base enough to betray his own native island
of Biba into the hands of the corsairs, who sacked it thoroughly and
carried off its inhabitants; they also captured thirteen large ships
going to Sicily for wheat, and burnt them, making slaves of their
crews. In the fight with these vessels Delizuff was killed. Shortly
after this, some disagreement arising between the crews of the ships
of Barbarossa and the men in Delizuff’s fleet, the Algerian commander
seized a man out of one of Delizuff’s galleys and had him summarily
shot. The death of Delizuff naturally caused some confusion in his
command, and the high-handed proceeding of Kheyr-ed-Din caused great
resentment, not unmixed with fear, as the terror inspired by the
Barbarossas was a very real sentiment. Under their command no man knew
when or at how short notice his life might not be required of him;
but the glamour of success was ever around them, and they never, in
consequence, lacked for followers. But the taking out and shooting of
one of their comrades was too much for the pirates from the islands of
Los Gelues, from whence Delizuff was in the habit of “operating.” In
the words of Sandoval, “they were not used to such tyranny and cruel
usage.” In consequence they concerted among themselves and one dark
night sailed off, leaving Kheyr-ed-Din to continue his voyage with
his original following.

That warrior, nothing disconcerted, pursued his way to the island of
Zante, where he fell in with a Turkish “flota,” under the command
of the Bashas Zay and Himeral. To these officers of the Grand Turk
Barbarossa used most injurious language, bitterly reproaching them with
not having sought out and destroyed Andrea Doria, which he declared
they ought to and should have done. This is yet another instance of
the extraordinary character of the man. These persons were the highest
officers in the fleet of the Ottoman Empire; it was more than possible
that they would be placed under the command of Barbarossa as soon as
his new position as Admiralissimo was adjusted at Constantinople; and
yet, in spite of these facts, the corsair had taken the very first
opportunity which presented itself grossly to insult these men. It is
true, as we shall see, that his injurious words came home to roost in
the future; but arrogant, conquering, contemptuous, Barbarossa seems to
have shouldered his way through life, fearing none and feared by all.

The fact of his known cruelty accounts for much of the dread which he
inspired, but it was something far more than this which caused the son
of the Albanian renegado to ride roughshod as he did over all with whom
he was brought into contact. Men felt, in dealing with Barbarossa,
that here was a rock against which they might dash themselves in vain.
In all his enterprises he spared not himself. He asked no man to do
that which he was not prepared to do, but if any failed him there
was no mercy for that man; and, although in deference to modern
susceptibility no mention is made of the tortures he so frequently
caused to be inflicted on his victims, they were none the less a daily
spectacle to those who lived under his rule. He possessed, it is true,
the rough geniality of the fighting man, a certain “Hail fellow, well
met!” manner in greeting old comrades, and yet none of these men there
were who did not tremble in an agony of fear when the bushy brows were
bent, when the famous red beard bristled in one of his uncontrollable
furies. The real secret of his success must have been that, no matter
how uncontrollable did his passions appear to be, the man was always
really master of himself. Further, he possessed a marvellous insight as
to where his own interests lay. He used as his tools the bodies and the
minds of the men who were subject to him, and he carried his designs to
an assured success by the aid of that penetrating, far-seeing mental
power with which, above all else, he must have been gifted. He could
drive men, he could lead them, he could invariably persuade when all
else failed him. In this we have had an instance when he was chased
from Algiers by the combined efforts of Venalcadi and Hassan, whom he
had flogged; for no sooner did he meet with other corsairs than he
persuaded them to take up his quarrel—which, it must be understood, was
none of theirs—and to replace him on that precarious throne from which
he had been so rudely thrust. We have already said that he was a man
who never knew when he was beaten, and in the years which we have yet
to chronicle this characteristic appears again and again; for age
had no effect apparently, either mentally or physically, on this man of
iron who had by this time reached the age of seventy-seven.

Leaving the high officers of his future master, the Grand Turk,
smarting under the opprobrium which he had heaped upon their heads,
Barbarossa fared onward with his fleet to Salonica, capturing a
Venetian galley on the voyage: from thence he made his way to the
Dardanelles, where he anchored and remained several days, to make ready
his fleet for the spectacular entry which he intended to make into

The city on the Golden Horn was all agog for the arrival of Barbarossa;
no matter what private opinions the inhabitants might have had
concerning him, of which we shall hear more presently, they were none
the less all curious to a degree to catch sight of this man, so famous
in his evil supremacy on that distant shore of Northern Africa.

Kheyr-ed-Din, among his other qualities, possessed in the highest
degree that of a successful stage-manager; no pageant which he
undertook was ever likely to fail from the want of the striking and
the dramatic. It was now his business to impress the citizens of
Constantinople with an idea of his greatness, and none knew better
than he that it is the outward and visible sign which counts among
the orientals, more perhaps than the inward and spiritual grace: he
may also possibly have felt that he did not possess the latter to any
overwhelming extent.

Even before he left Algiers this entry to the chief city of the
Ottoman Empire had been in the mind of Barbarossa, who had caused to
be embarked a quantity of flags and pennons for the decoration of
his grim war-galleys when they should stream into the Golden Horn.
There were also bands of music, which, it is to be presumed, utilised
the delay in the Dardanelles to attain to something like “a concord of
sweet sounds,” as the incidents of the voyage from Algiers, so far,
had hardly been conducive to much time to spare for band-practice. The
galleys were scrubbed and gaily painted; round the ship of Kheyr-ed-Din
ran a broad streak of gold on the outer planking to denote the presence
of a King of Algiers, and at last all was ready. The fleet weighed
anchor, and, with banners flying and bands playing, entered the
harbour. The shores were black with spectators; even the Sultan himself
deigned to look forth on the coming of the man from whom he expected
such great things.

Ceremonial was the order of the day. Soliman the Magnificent was too
wise a man not to know what was being said in his capital that day;
it was his part to accustom the minds of men to the fact that he,
Soliman, had chosen Barbarossa to command his fleet, and that there
could be no looking back. The decree had been signed, the invitation
had been sent, the man had arrived, there could be no possible retreat
from the situation. The anchors splashed into the placid waters close
to the shore, and the ships were soon so surrounded by boats as to be
almost unapproachable; then came official persons from the Sultan with
greetings to the famous seaman; also came Bashas and officers (“con
carga de guerra,” says Sandoval), to offer a welcome and to stare
in undisguised curiosity at the man chosen by their sovereign to
make head against the famous Andrea Doria. This preliminary courtesy
completed, there came the next act in the drama, which consisted in the
immemorial custom of the East in the offering of gifts from Barbarossa
to the Sultan, from the vassal to his suzerain. The Janissaries,
splendid in scarlet and gold, tall above the ordinary stature of man,
bristling with weapons inlaid in gold and silver, cleared the common
vulgar from the streets approaching the palace of the Sultan; they
formed the spearhead of the procession clearing a way for the King
of Algiers, who, mounted on a splendid bay stallion, the gift of the
Sultan on his arrival, headed the captives who bore the gifts. Of these
the exact number is not stated, but the procession was headed by two
hundred women and girls, each of whom carried in her hand a gift of
gold or silver; one hundred camels were loaded with silks and golden
ornaments, and other “curious riches” (“con otras mil cosas de que hizo
ostentacion”), says Sandoval. There were also lions and other animals,
brocades and rich garments.

All of this reads no doubt somewhat too like the tales in the “Arabian
Nights”; but we have to remember that, if you have led a long and
eminently successful life as a robber, you have necessarily accumulated
a store of riches. In the case of Barbarossa he had begun in extreme
youth, and was now an old man; he had been quite in the wholesale way
as a thief, and now desired to pay a good price for that which he
coveted, namely, the post of Admiralissimo to the Grand Turk. It may
be objected that he had already been offered and had already accepted
the post; this is quite true, but there were certain conventions to
be fulfilled on the side of the recipient of the bounty of the Sultan
quite understood on both sides, although no word had passed on the
subject. In those days the man who desired the favour of an Eastern
potentate never dreamed of approaching him empty-handed, and the more
liberal that he was in the matter of gifts the greater was the favour
with which he was regarded. Therefore the principle acted upon by
Kheyr-ed-Din on this occasion was both wise and politic; that is to
say, he placed certain of his riches in a perfectly sound investment,
certain to yield him an admirable percentage, not only in added
personal prestige, but also in the placing under his command of such a
force as he had never before commanded, with unlimited opportunities
of preying on the detested Christian on a far larger scale than it had
ever been his good fortune to do before.

The Sultan Soliman was not called “the Magnificent” without just cause;
his life was splendid in its social prodigality, as it was in war and
in statesmanship; yet even he was somewhat astonished at the amazing
richness of the gifts which were laid at his feet by a man whom he knew
to be, in spite of the kingly title which he had assumed, merely a
rover of the sea. Therefore, in spite of himself, he was impressed. To
him, it is true, in his splendour and magnificence, the intrinsic value
of that which was brought to him by Barbarossa mattered but little; but
the fact that the corsair was in a position to do so opened the eyes
of the Sultan to the manner of man with whom he had to deal. Hitherto
he had but known of him by hearsay, as the one Moslem seaman who
was likely to be capable of making a stand against the terrible Doria,
who had now become the plague of the Sultan’s existence. He now knew
that the man who disposed of such incredible riches must be, no matter
what his moral character, a man who stood a head and shoulders over any
commander in the Ottoman fleet sailing out of the Golden Horn.

Both materially and psychologically this man somewhat bewildered the
despot: and his _alter ego_, the Grand Vizier, happening to be away on a
mission to Aleppo, Soliman had no one with whom to confer in a strictly
confidential manner; for, after the manner of autocrats, he had but
few familiars, in fact it may be said none at all save the statesman
mentioned. His reception of the corsair lacked, however, nothing in
cordiality. He inquired after the incidents of the voyage, interested
himself graciously in all that he was told concerning Africa and the
conflicting claims of Christian and Moslem in that region, and was
generally courteous to his distinguished visitor. He placed at his
disposal a palace and attendants on a scale commensurate with the state
of a reigning sovereign, and sent his most distinguished generals to
confer with Kheyr-ed-Din. The latter, for the first time in his life,
was thoroughly out of his element. His had been the life of the seaman
and the soldier to begin with, and of later years that of a rude and
unquestioned despot on a savage coast, surrounded by myrmidons to whom
his voice had been as the voice of a god. Never had it been his lot
before to dwell within the limits of such a comparative civilisation
as that which obtained in Constantinople at this date; never before
had it been necessary for him to restrain that naturally fiery and
impetuous temper of his and to speak all men fairly.

The strain must have been great, the effort enormous, and he knew,
as he was bound to know, that his coming had unloosed jealousies and
heart-searchings innumerable, with which he could not deal in the usual
drastic fashion common to him. The winter was coming on, which was,
as we have before remarked, very much of a close season both for the
pirate and the honest merchant seaman. In consequence there was not
very much chance against the foes of Soliman for the present. When that
opportunity offered he promised himself that the courtiers and the
soldiers of the Grand Turk would very soon discover that the fame of
Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa was no empty matter, and that there existed no
seaman in all the Ottoman dominions with whom they could compare the
“African pirate,” as he had reason to believe that he was scornfully
called behind his back.

A weaker man would have been daunted by his surroundings, by the
manifestly unfriendly atmosphere in which he lived, and by the dread
that perhaps, after all, Soliman might go back upon his word. There
were no lack of counsellors, he knew very well, who would advise the
Sultan to his undoing, if that monarch gave them the opportunity;
and, as time passed, so his anxiety grew. Soliman also could not have
felt particularly comfortable at this juncture, with a sullen spirit
possessing his men “con carga de guerra,” bitterly resenting the
step which he had taken, and the appointment which he had made. For
the present, however, he made no sign, treating Kheyr-ed-Din with
distinguished courtesy, but making no reference to the future. Soliman
was revolving the problem in his acute mind, doubtless weighing the
unpopularity of the step which he had taken against the services likely
to be rendered to him by his strange guest. And thus several weeks
passed at Constantinople, probably amongst the most trying of all those
in the unusually prolonged life of Kheyr-ed-Din.



The Grand Turk had spoken, the appointment had been made, Barbarossa
had arrived; but though autocrats can cause their mandate to be obeyed,
they cannot constrain the inward workings of the minds of men. In
spite of the awe in which Soliman the Magnificent was held, there
were murmurs of discontent in the capital of Islam. The Sultan had
been advised to make Barbarossa his Admiralissimo by his Grand Vizier
Ibrahim, who was, as we have said, his alter ego. This great man had
risen from the humblest of all positions, that of a slave, to the giddy
eminence to which he had now attained by the sheer strength of his
intellect and personality. The Grand Vizier it was who had pointed out
to his master that which was lacking in the Ottoman navy: brave men
and desperate fighters he had in plenty, but the seaman who cleared
the Golden Horn and made his way through the archipelago into the open
sea beyond had forces with which to contend against which mere valour
was but of small avail. Out there, somewhere behind the blue line of
the horizon, did Andrea Doria lie in wait; and if the Moslem seaman
should escape the clutches of the admiral of the Christian Emperor,
were there not those others, the Knights of Malta, who, under the
leadership of Villiers de L’lsle Adam, swept the tideless sea in an
unceasing and relentless hostility to every nef, fusta, and galley
which flew the flag of the Prophet?

It had come to a pass when the Ottoman fighting man was by no means
anxious to go to sea. He was still as brave as those marvellous
fanatics of seven centuries before, who, in the name of God and of
His Prophet Mahomet, had swept all opposition aside from the path of
Islam, had conquered and proselytised in a manner never paralleled
in the world before. At the call of the Padishah, for the honour of
the Prophet, the sons of Islam were as ready to march and to fight as
had ever been the warriors of the earlier Caliphs. But they had ever
been soldiers; the habit of the sea was not theirs, and they found
that, time after time, such sea-enterprises as they did undertake were
shattered by the genius of Doria, or broken into fragments by the
reckless, calculating assaults of the knights. And so it came about
that there was but little heart in the navy of the Padishah, and those
who served therein had but slight confidence in those by whom they
were led. To use a metaphor from the cricket-field, it was time “to
stop the rot” by sending in a really strong player. He was not to be
found within the confines of orthodox Islam, and must be imported from

The man had been found; could he be forced on an unwilling and
discontented populace?

Who, it was asked in Constantinople, was this man who had been called
in to command the ships of the Ottomans at sea? They answered their own
question, and said that he was a lawless man, a corsair: were there not
good seamen and valiant men-at-arms like the Bashas Zay and Himeral,
who should be preferred before him; this man who had come from the ends
of the earth, and of whom nobody knew anything good? Again, could he be
trusted? Something of the history of the Barbarossas had penetrated to
the capital of Turkey, and it was known that scrupulous adherence to
their engagements had not always characterised the brothers: who should
say that he might not carry off the galleys of the Grand Turk on some
marauding expedition designed for his own aggrandisement? There was yet
more to be urged against him: not only was he infamous in character,
but he was no true Mussulman, for had not his father been a mere
renegado, and—worst of all—had not his mother been a Christian woman?

It was thus that the talk ran in that blazing autumn in Constantinople.
Naturally there were plenty of persons who carried reports to
Kheyr-ed-Din, and that astute individual soon made up his mind as
to the most advantageous course for him to pursue. With the full
concurrence of the Sultan, he left Constantinople and journeyed to
Aleppo to see Ibrahim. The latter was both cunning and tenacious.
Removed from the capital, the tide of gossip and discontent only
reached him at second-hand; but he was not to be deterred by popular
clamour even had he been in the midst of it. None knew better
than he who and what was Barbarossa; in fact, it may be confidently
asserted that none in Constantinople had anything like the same
knowledge of this man and all that concerned him. Ibrahim had not named
Barbarossa to his sovereign without weighing all the pros and cons of
the matter, and that which was now happening in the capital had been
fully anticipated by him. It pleased the Grand Vizier very much that
Kheyr-ed-Din should take this long journey to see him; not from any
ridiculous idea that this was an act of homage due to the dignity of
his position—Ibrahim was far too great a man for such pettiness—but
because it enabled him to see for himself what manner of man was this
redoubtable pirate on whom he was relying to defeat the enemies of the
Sublime Porte at sea. The corsair must have made the most favourable
impression possible on the Grand Vizier, as that statesman wrote to

  “We have put our hands on a veritable man of the sea.
  Name him without hesitation Basha, Member of the Divan,
  Captain-General of the Fleet.”

The Grand Turk had no intention of going back upon the appointment
already made, but he was none the less pleased to receive from his
Vizier so strong an endorsement of his policy; and now the time had
come to stop the mouths of the murmurers and scandal-mongers of
Constantinople. Accordingly he formally recalled Barbarossa from
Aleppo, gave him, with his own hand, a sword and a royal banner, and
invested him with plenary power over all the ports of his kingdoms,
over all the islands owning his jurisdiction, command of all ships,
vessels, and galleys, and of all soldiers, sailors, and slaves therein.
The die was cast, the erstwhile corsair, the son of the renegado of
Mitylene and his Christian wife was henceforward the supreme head of
the Ottoman fleet.

The following description of the famous corsair may be found
interesting at this juncture.

Barbarossa was at this time seventy-seven years of age. Courageous
and prudent, he was as far-seeing in war as he was subtle in peace.
A tireless worker, he was, above all things, constant in reverse of
fortune, for no difficulties dismayed him, no dangers had power to
daunt his spirit. His ruddy skin, his bushy eyebrows, his famous red
beard, now plentifully streaked with white, his square, powerful frame,
somewhat inclined to stoutness, above all, his penetrating and piercing
eyes, gave to his aspect a certain terror before which men trembled and
women shrank appalled.

All this harmonised well with his reputation as a chief so resolute,
so pitiless, that it was the boast of his followers that his very
name shouted in battle put to flight the Christian vessels. His smile
was fine and malicious, his speech facile, revealing beneath the rude
exterior of the corsair the subtle man of affairs, who, from nothing,
had made himself King of Algiers, and was now, by the invitation of
Soliman the Magnificent, Admiralissimo of the Ottoman navy.

Well may Jurien de la Gravière say that “in the sixteenth century
even the pirates were great men.”

It has been stated that in speech Barbarossa was facile. He was not
only so, but he possessed a power of addressing such a man as Soliman
in terms which, while delicately flattering that mighty monarch, gave
him also a lead which he might follow in the future disposition of such
power as he possessed at sea.

On his return from Aleppo Kheyr-ed-Din was received in audience by
the Sultan. We must be pardoned if we give the long speech which he
addressed to his new master in its entirety; and we have to remember
that the man who made it was now an old man who, all his life, had been
absolutely free and untrammelled, owing allegiance to no one, following
out his own caprices, and sweeping out of his path any whom he found
sufficiently daring as to disagree with him. That this ruthless despot
should have been able so to change the whole style and manner of his
address so late in life is only one proof the more of the marvellous
gifts which he possessed.

It was in the following words that the corsair addressed the Sultan:

  “Dread Sovereign, fortune itself has made it a law
  to second you in all your enterprises because that
  you are always ready to declare war upon the enemies
  of Mahomet the Prophet of God, on whom be peace. You
  have extended the limits of your vast possessions, you
  have vanquished and slain the King of Hungary, you
  have humiliated Charles V., this Emperor with whom the
  Christians dare hold you in comparison. These have been
  the recompenses received by you for the pure flame
  with which your zeal for the religion of Mahomet has ever

  “But these successes and these triumphs are not capable
  of contenting that thirst for glory with which your being
  is animated, and I am humbly desirous of indicating to
  you the means of culling fresh laurels. Experience has
  taught me the way, and I can assert, without fear of
  being accused of vanity, that in this matter I can be of
  great assistance to your Majesty.

  “That which fortune has done for me in the past that
  will it continue to do for me in the future. Age has
  not enfeebled me, continual exercise has but rendered
  me stronger; I can therefore promise to you the most
  ready service both by land and sea. The desire which has
  always been mine to persecute the Christians caused me to
  conceive the idea of serving in your sea-army.

  “If Heaven is favourable to my vows, the Spaniards will
  soon be chased from Africa; the Carthaginians, the Moors,
  will soon be your very submissive subjects; Sardinia,
  Corsica, Sicily, will obey your will. As for Italy, it
  will soon be desolated by famine when I attack it in
  formidable force, without fearing that the Christian
  Princes will come to its aid.

  “Mahomet II., your illustrious grandfather, formed
  the project of conquering this country; he would have
  succeeded had he not been carried off by death. If I
  counsel you, dread Sovereign, that you should carry war
  into Europe and Africa, it is not that I desire your arms
  should be turned back in Asia from against the Persians,
  the ancient enemies of the Ottomans. I require but your
  sea-army, which is no use against the Persians. While you
  shall be conquering Asia I shall be subduing Africa.
  The first enterprise which I shall undertake will be
  against Muley Hassan, the King of Tunis; he has all the
  vices and possesses not one single virtue. He is a man of
  sordid avarice, of unexampled cruelty; he has rendered
  himself odious to the entire human race.

  “He had twenty-two brothers, all of whom he has caused
  to be murdered. That which is a common failing among
  tyrants is his: he dare not place himself at the head of
  his troops. He prefers to endure the outrages which he
  suffers at the hands of the Moors to taking up arms and
  inflicting upon them a salutary vengeance. He had the
  baseness to enter into an alliance with the Spaniards,
  and to favour their conquests in Africa. It will be all
  the easier for me to exterminate this wild beast because
  I have with me his brother, who prayed me to save him
  from the cruelty of Muley Hassan.

  “When I besiege Tunis I shall present him to the
  inhabitants, who love him as much as they hate Muley
  Hassan. They will open their gates to me, and I shall
  gain the town without the loss of a single man: it will
  be then you who will be master. On my way thither I will
  do what harm I can to the Christians; I will endeavour
  to defeat Andrea Doria, who is my personal enemy and my
  rival in glory: should I succeed in defeating him your
  Majesty will possess the empire of the sea. Be then
  persuaded, great Prince, by me, and believe that he who
  is master of the sea will very shortly become master on

It is somewhat difficult to fathom the reasons which induced
Barbarossa to treat Soliman to his sanctimonious diatribe concerning
the King of Tunis; coming, as it did, from a pirate, it was merely
ludicrous, and could not for one instant have deceived the remarkably
shrewd person to whom it was addressed. The corsair stated the facts
correctly, but the reasons which led to an Eastern autocrat disposing
of his family in this manner were so obvious at the time that, if
Soliman felt any emotion at all concerning the event, it was probably
one of admiration! Regarded from the practical, apart from the
sentimental side, what the proposition amounted to was that Barbarossa
should attack a king with whom the Grand Turk had no sort of quarrel,
and that, once his territory had been reft from him, that it should be
handed over to the ruler of Constantinople for the greater glory of the
Sublime Porte. What mental reservations there were on the part of the
corsair we are not told, but had Soliman known him better he would have
been aware that never had Barbarossa pulled any chestnuts from the fire
of life which were not intended for his own eating; and that it was
extremely unlikely, at his time of life, that he was now going to alter
the habits of his long and strenuous career.

There was one thing, however, that Kheyr-ed-Din was not; he was no
bragger or boaster, and, whatever may have been his mental reservations
in his interview with the Sultan, that which he stated he would do,
that he did. And now the time had come when the grim old Sea-wolf had
done with intrigue and the unaccustomed atmosphere of a Court and went
back to his native element, the sea.

Soliman, it must be said to his credit, was no man to deal in
half-measures, and when once he had given his trust he gave it
whole-heartedly, generously. In consequence he gave Barbarossa
eighty galleys, eight hundred Janissaries, eight thousand Turkish
soldiers, and eight hundred thousand ducats for expenses (some three
hundred thousand pounds sterling of our money). All the necessary
preparations were carried out under the orders of Barbarossa, who
was given a roving commission to do what seemed best to him for the
advancement of the glory of his master and the discomfiture of his
Christian foes. The commission which he now received was practically
that which had been given by Charles V. to Doria, the most flattering
with which any man can be entrusted, as in his hands were left issues
of peace and war usually only vested in the sovereign.

All through the early summer of 1534 the dockyards and the arsenals
of Constantinople hummed with the note of preparation; Ibrahim had
returned from Aleppo and threw himself, heart and soul, into these
activities, which meant the sailing of the Ottoman fleet under the
command of “that veritable man of the sea,” Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa.
Stilled were the murmurs of the year before; the corsair, invested with
plenary powers by the Sultan himself, was now in a position to make his
authority felt; added to this, the more sensible of the malcontents had
been won round by the Grand Vizier to the view that as, so far, the
Ottoman navy had been conspicuously unsuccessful at sea, it was just as
well to make use of the most capable Moslem seaman upon whom they could
lay their hands. As to his moral character, that they could afford to
discount, and as to the question of his faithfulness or the reverse,
it was pointed out with irresistible logic by Ibrahim, that never
before had the Sea-wolf had such glorious opportunities of plunder as
now, when he could count ten ships for every one that had followed in
his wake before.

It was in July 1534 that the Ottoman fleet left Constantinople, and
Kheyr-ed-Din began operations by a descent upon Reggio, which he
sacked. On August 1st he arrived at the Pharos of Messina, where he
burnt some Christian ships and captured their crews; then he worked
north from Reggio to Naples, ravaging the coast and depopulating
the whole littoral, burning villages, destroying ships, enslaving
people. In this expedition he is said to have captured eleven thousand
Christian slaves. There is perhaps nothing more amazing in the whole
history of this epoch than the number of the slaves captured by the
corsairs, and the damnable cruelties exercised upon them; these were,
of course returned by the Christians with interest whenever possible.
As an instance of the treatment to which the slaves were subjected
it is only necessary to mention the course taken by Barbarossa when
he left Algiers in the previous year. There were at that time seven
thousand Christian captives in his power; immediately before starting
he had the entire number paraded before him, and, under the pretext
of having discovered a plot, which in no circumstances could possibly
have existed, owing to the supervision of the slaves, he caused twenty
of them to be beheaded on the spot in order to strike terror into the
remainder during his absence.

Back to the Golden Horn streamed ship after ship laden with plunder
and with slaves. “The veritable man of the sea” was proving the
correctness of the choice of the Sultan, the acumen of the Grand Vizier
who had recommended his appointment. Barbarossa was determined to leave
nothing undone to prove to Soliman that his choice had indeed been
a worthy one when he had selected him as admiral of his fleet: also
he had in his mind those others who spoke slightingly of him as “the
African pirate”; they should know as well as their master of what this
pirate was capable. Northward the devastating host of Barbarossa took
its way; the fair shores of Italy smoked to heaven as the torches of
the corsairs fired the villages. Blood and agony, torture and despair,
followed ever on the heels of the Sea-wolves of the Mediterranean. And
now a fresh pack had been loosed, as it was, of course, in enormously
increased strength that Barbarossa returned to the scene of so many of
his former triumphs.

Plunder and slaves were all very well in their way, and acceptable
enough on the shores of the Golden Horn; but Kheyr-ed-Din had a pet
project in view on this particular cruise, which was to capture Julia
Gonzaga and to present her to Soliman for his harem. The lady destined
by him for this pleasant fate was reported to be the loveliest woman
in Europe, a fitting gift for such an one as the Grand Turk. The fame
of her surpassing loveliness had reached even the corsairs. She was
the widow of Vespasian Colonna, Duchess of Trajetto, and Countess of
Fundi; she had now been a widow since 1528, and lived at Fundi, some
ninety miles north-east of Naples. Barbarossa laid his plans with
his accustomed acuteness, and it was only through an accident that they

There was one undeniable advantage in the system which swept off into
slavery the whole of the inhabitants of a country-side, and that was,
if at any time you required a guide at any particular point on the
coast, he was sure to be forthcoming from one of the vessels in the
fleet. Now Barbarossa did not exactly know where Julia Gonzaga was to
be found, so he set his captains to work to discover the necessary
slave. This was soon accomplished, and there was really no occasion for
a slave on this occasion, as a renegado of Naples knew the castle in
which Julia Gonzaga was residing at the time, and readily agreed to act
as guide to the expedition sent to accomplish her capture. Kheyr-ed-Din
had made a sudden dash along the coast with some of the swiftest of his
galleys for the purposes of this capture. In consequence the people in
Naples and the neighbourhood were not even aware that the piratical
squadron was on the coast before they anchored, as near as it was
practicable to do, to the residence of the Duchess of Trajetto. The
fleet actually arrived after dark, having kept out to sea and out of
sight during the day.

As soon as the anchors were down a party of two thousand picked men
were landed and marched silently and with all expedition to the castle
of Fundi. The escape of the Duchess was really providential. She had
already gone to bed, and the fierce marauders were actually within the
grounds of the castle before her distracted people became aware of
their presence. But fortunately some among them kept their heads,
and it also so happened that her bed-chamber was the opposite side
of the castle to that by which the pirates approached. A horse was
brought round under the window of the room, and, in her night-dress
with nothing but a shawl wrapped around her, was Julia Gonzaga lowered
out of her window on to the back of her horse. As she galloped for dear
life down the avenue of her home she heard the shrieks of her miserable
household murdered in cold blood by the furious pirates who had thus
been balked of their prey.

Dire was the vengeance taken by the corsairs. They sacked Fundi and
burned the town; they killed every man on whom they could lay their
hands, and carried off the women and girls to the fleet.

Kheyr-ed-Din was furious with anger and disappointment. “What is the
value of all this trash?” he demanded, with a thundering oath, of
the commander of the unsuccessful raiders, surveying as he spoke the
miserable, shivering women and girls. “I sent you out to bring back a
pearl without price, and you return with these cattle.”

Thus balked of his prey, Barbarossa swung his fleet round to the
southward and westward and sailed for Sardinia, where, from the Straits
of Bonifacio to Cape Spartivento, he left no house standing that would
burn, or man alive who was not swept in as a captive. The descent of
the corsairs in force, such as Kheyr-ed-Din now had at his disposal,
was one of the most awful calamities for a country that it is possible
to imagine. When Sardinia had ceased to yield up either booty or
slaves the fleet sailed for Tunis, where it arrived before Bizerta on
August 15th. The arrival of the corsairs was totally unexpected, and
caused the greatest consternation. The story which Barbarossa had told
to Sultan Soliman concerning the reigning King Muley Hassan was correct
in every detail, and there is no doubt that he was a bloody and cruel
tyrant of the worst description.

Therefore when the wily Barbarossa sent on shore and informed the
sheiks and ulemas of the place that he had come in the name of the head
of the Mohammedan religion to free them from this monster by whom they
were oppressed, and that he intended to place on the throne the brother
of Muley Hassan, Raschid, who had miraculously escaped from the fate
which had overtaken all the other members of his house, the townspeople
were inclined to listen to his advances and to admire the picture which
he drew of the peace and prosperity which would accrue to them should
Raschid, and not Muley Hassan, be on the throne of their country. That
which he inferred in all his dealings with these people was that he had
Raschid with him ready to step into the shoes of his unpopular brother
as soon as the latter should be deposed by a justly indignant populace.
The fact of the matter was that Kheyr-ed-Din had taken the fugitive
prince with him to Constantinople, thinking to make use of him, and
that, when he was sailing, Soliman had absolutely forbidden him to
remove Raschid from his capital.

Completely deceived, the townspeople allowed the landing of eight
hundred Janissaries. The tyrant, who was, as Barbarossa had told the
Sultan, a craven coward, waited for no further demonstration of force,
but incontinently fled into the interior with such valuables as he
could carry. As soon as this was reported to Barbarossa he landed in
force and entered the town, and then the townspeople noticed that the
soldiers were all shouting for Soliman and for Barbarossa. They then
demanded that Raschid should be produced according to promise, but
naturally he was not forthcoming. Those who had acclaimed the soldiers
of Soliman as liberators now began to arm against them, and they very
shortly discovered, from some Tunisians who had come in the fleet from
Constantinople, that Raschid had been left behind in that city.



Some idea of the terror inspired by the actions of the Sea-wolves at
this date is contained in the following extract from “The Golden Age of
the Renaissance,” by Lanciani:

  “The Bastione del Belvedere, which towers in frowning
  greatness at the north-east end of the Vatican Garden and
  commands the approach to the Borgo from the upper-end
  valley of the Tiber, was begun by Antonio de Sangullo
  the younger, and finished by Michel Angelo after the
  death of Antonio, which took place on September 30th,
  1546. This great piece of military engineering must not
  be considered by itself, but as a part of a great scheme
  of defence conceived by Paul III, to protect the city
  against a hostile invasion from the sea. The Pope could
  not forget that, in August 1534, the fleet of infidels
  commanded by Barbarossa had cast anchor at the mouth of
  the Tiber to renew its supply of water, and that if its
  leader had thought fit they could have stormed, sacked,
  and plundered the city, and carried off the Pope himself
  into slavery without any possibility of defence on the
  Christian side. This point has not been taken into due
  consideration by modern writers; the fortifications of
  Rome, designed or begun or finished at the time of
  Paul III., have nothing to do with the sack of 1527, with
  the Connétable de Bourbon, or with the Emperor Charles V.
  All the bastions, that of the Belvedere excepted, point
  towards the sea-coast, which was perpetually harried and
  terrified by Turkish or Barbary pirates. These would
  appear with lightning-like rapidity in more than one
  place at a time, and carry off as many unfortunate men,
  women, and children as they could collect.... To prevent
  the recurrence of such disasters the sea-coast was lined
  with watch-towers, the guns of which could warn the
  peasants of the approach of suspicious vessels.”

That Paul III. had good warrant for the precautions which he designed
to take is not only instanced by the fact of Barbarossa anchoring in
the mouth of the Tiber on the occasion of the raid with which we are
at present concerned, but from what had occurred to his predecessor on
the Papal throne in 1516. Pope Leo, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent,
was accustomed to leave Rome in the autumn for hunting, and fishing in
the sea, of which latter pastime he was particularly fond. One of his
favourite resorts was the castle of Magliana, five miles from Rome,
on the banks of the Tiber. On September 18th, 1516, he left Rome and
proceeded to Civita Lavinia, on the Laurentian coast. Here he was
waited for by the corsair Curtogali, who, with fifteen ships off the
coast and an ambush on shore, was ready to carry him off. Curtogali is
supposed to have derived his information as to the movements of the
Pope from some traitor about the Papal Court who desired the downfall
of “the fatal House of Medici.”

Some one, however, warned the Pope, who fled, accompanied by his
retinue, at a headlong gallop to Rome, never drawing bridle until he
reached the safe seclusion of the Vatican.

We must now return, however, to that eagle who fluttered so sorely the
dovecotes, both Christian and Moslem, and whose loudly proclaimed faith
in the Prophet never permitted his religion to stand inconveniently
in the way of his material advancement in the world. The soldiers
and sailors of the corsair entered Bizerta shouting for Soliman and
Barbarossa. There was no mention of Raschid, that Prince of the Hafsit
dynasty, whom Kheyr-ed-Din had declared to the townspeople he had
come to restore to the throne of his ancestors. Too late the town
sprang to arms, under a chief named Abdahar, and in the first instance
accomplished a considerable success. Barbarossa’s men were unprepared,
and a number of them were slain. Driven into a bastion of the walls,
a party of the corsairs were desperately defending themselves, when
one Baetio, a Spanish renegado, discovered that a cannon behind them
pointing seawards was loaded. He succeeded, with the assistance of
others, in slewing it round and discharged it at close quarters into
the packed masses of the enemy. This caused a frightful demoralisation
to set in; the corsairs rallied and soon swept all before them. The
massacre turned from the one side to the other, and it is said that no
less than three thousand of the unfortunate townspeople were slain.
Barbarossa only called off his men when they were wearied out by the

Kheyr-ed-Din now graciously accepted the submission of the
townsfolk; that is to say, such of them as were left, and took charge
of the entire kingdom as governor for the Sultan of Turkey. He sent
out ambassadors to the neighbouring Arab and Berber chieftains of
the hinterland, repaired fortifications, appointed magistrates—all
ostensibly in the name of that phantom prince whom the Tunisians were
destined never to see, and who never returned to his native country.

King of Algiers, _de facto_ King of Tunis, Admiralissimo to Soliman the
Magnificent, his name a portent in Christendom, his fame reaching from
Spartel to Tunis, and from the shores of France to the foothills of the
Atlas, Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa was at the height of his power. Never
before had a corsair risen to such eminence, never again was there
destined to be so magnificent a sea-robber. Thus it was that the year
1535 opened gloomily for all those Powers whose coasts were washed by
the tideless sea. Italy, torn and bleeding, her strong men slain, her
fairest matrons and maids carried off into the most odious captivity,
was lamenting the terrible fate to which she had been exposed by the
raids of the pirate admiral. In Catalonia, in Genoa, in Venice, along
what is now known as the Riviera, men trembled and women wept; for who
could say that it might not be upon them that the next thunderbolt
might fall? In Venice taxation was raised to the breaking strain
to provide galleys wherewith to combat the foe, while the Genoese
fortified their coasts and poured out money like water upon arms,
armaments, and ammunition. Says Sandoval:

“Desde el Estrecho de Meçina hasta el de Gibraltar ninguno de la parte
de Europa pudiera tomer comida ni sueño seguro de lo que viviera en las
riberas del mar.” (From the Straits of Messina to those of Gibraltar
none living in Europe on the shores of the sea were able to eat in
peace or to sleep with any sense of security.)

The Emperor Charles V. was roused to action, stung by the intolerable
humiliation of the position into which he had been placed by a mere

King of Sicily, Naples, and Spain, as well as Emperor of Germany, in
any direction he might turn he would find a trail of blood and fire
over the fair face of his dominions in the Mediterranean. Although it
might gall his pride to admit that his enemy was formidable, Charles
was too wise a man, too experienced a warrior to underrate his foe.
He repaired the fortifications of Naples and Sicily at great cost:
he wrote letters to the Pope, to Andrea Doria, to the Viceroys of
Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia, to the Marquis de Vasto, and Antonio de
Leyva to collect all the arms and munitions necessary for the attack
on Barbarossa. He sent orders to Don Luis Hurtado de Mendoza, Marquis
de Mondejar, Captain-General of the Kingdom of Granada, to collect
money and to have men ready in the ports of Andalusia. He gave orders
for eight thousand German soldiers to hold themselves in readiness;
these were to be joined by the veterans of Coron and Naples, which
body counted four thousand more; in Italy he also raised another eight
thousand men. All this was done under the seal of secrecy, which the
Emperor most peremptorily ordered was to be observed.

But news travelled in the first half of the sixteenth century, although
newspapers, war correspondents, and telegraphs were not; when all
the feudatories of the greatest king in Christendom were busy it was
impossible for the matter to remain hidden. Even had it been within
the range of possibility to conceal what was going on there was one
circumstance which would have rendered all effort to this end nugatory.
Charles had invited Francis of France to join in this holy war against
the scourge of Christendom: not only did Francis refuse to join, but
he had the incredible baseness to betray the scheme to Barbarossa.
It would be pleasanter to think that some mistake had been made in
this matter, but unfortunately it is beyond dispute, as the facts
have been placed on record by Sandoval, whose history, it must be
remembered, was published in 1614. In this matter he is quite precise,
as he states that a “Clerigo Francese,” one Monsieur de Floreta, was
sent with despatches from Francis to Barbarossa at Tunis, and that
this treacherous envoy from Christendom gave the corsair king all the
available information that he had been able to collect before starting.

This was typical of that “Golden Age of the Renaissance” in which it
took place; when real devotion to all arts, sciences, and amenities of
a higher civilisation went hand in hand with crime of the vilest and
treachery of the basest description. Well might Barbarossa, and such as
he, laugh to scorn the pretension that his Christian enemies were
one whit better than were they, when they could point to the fact that,
to serve a private revenge, a great Christian king could betray his
co-religionists to their Moslem foes. Shamelessly did the Sea-wolves
seek their prey wherever it was to be found; their methods were
villanous and seemingly without excuse, but, after all, there was some
colour, some shadow of right in what they did, for their argument was
that they were merely getting back from Christendom that which had been
reft from them in the near past in the kingdoms of Còrdova and Granada.
But who shall find excuse for the Christian kings, governors, and
princes at this epoch? They sought their prey no less ravenously than
did the pirates, and with just about the same amount of justification:
witness the sacking of Rome by Charles V. in 1527, and the unexampled
act of treachery just recorded of Francis of France.

Kheyr-ed-Din had lived all his turbulent life among wars and rumours
of wars: the head of the tiller, the hilt of the scimitar, the butt of
the arquebus, had been in his hand since early youth; bloodshed and
strife were the atmosphere in which he lived and breathed. Desperate
adventures by land and sea had been his ever since he could remember;
there was no hazard that he had not run, no peril which he had not
dared. But now even he, the veteran of far more than one hundred
fights, was grave and preoccupied when he considered the greatness,
the imminence of his peril. The “Clerigo Francese” had put him in
possession of the fact that Carlos Quinto was exerting all his strength
for the combat which was to come; and Barbarossa was far too old
a fighter, far too wise a warrior, to underrate by one soldier or by
one galley the forces that the Emperor could put into line against
him; from far and near his foes were gathering for his destruction,
and he did not deceive himself in the least as to what the fate of his
followers and himself would be should the Christian hosts be victorious.

But, nevertheless, such an emergency as this found the man at his
best: ready to take fortune at the flood when she smiled upon him,
he was perhaps at his very greatest in adversity; and when all
around him trembled and paid one of their infrequent visits to the
Mosque to implore the aid of the Prophet, the veteran corsair was
coolly reviewing the situation, seeking a way to weather the tempest
before which lesser men shrank appalled, declaring that the end had
come. The storm was coming in a squall of such violence as even he
had never before experienced, but, thanks to his friend the King of
France, he had been forewarned. He sent at once to his master, Soliman
the Magnificent, at Constantinople, to impart to him the direful
intelligence; then the bagnios were thrown open, and, under pitiless
lash and scourge, the Christian captives toiled from dawn till dark
to repair the fortifications of Tunis. Silent and unapproachable,
conferring with none, the grim old Sea-wolf sat in his palace
overlooking the bay and considered the question of whether he should
give battle by land or sea when the time came. If it were possible,
he came to the conclusion that it should be the latter; he had been
evicted from his kingdom on land once before, but he knew that in
the open ocean few cared to face Barbarossa, and he might fall on Doria
first and the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem second if matters
turned out favourably for him. In any case, he must summon all the aid
that was possible.

East and west flew the galleys of Kheyr-ed-Din, scudding before the
wind if that were favourable, or churning the surface of the sea with
straining, strenuous oars should the wind be foul or a calm prevail.

It was an appeal for aid to the Moslem corsairs from Algiers, from
Tlemcen, from Oran, from Los Gelues (or Jerbah), and from all the
countless islands of the Archipelago, where they lurked to seize
their prey—Tunis, which flew the Crescent flag of the Prophet, was in
danger—let them rally against the grandson of the man who expelled the
Moors from Spain.

Grim and sinister, the corsairs came flocking to the standard of
Barbarossa. Well they knew that, should he fall, it was but a matter
of time for them all to be chased from off the face of the waters. Of
cohesion there was but little among them, and, in spite of the bond
of a common religion and a common hatred of the Christian, they were
swayed far more by a lust for plunder than by such considerations as
these. In times of imminent danger, however, men naturally crave for
a leader, and in piratical circles all was now subordinated to the
instinct of self-preservation.

Meanwhile, in Christendom their great enemy was maturing his plans.
To the Marquis de Cañete, Viceroy and Captain-General of the Kingdom
of Navarre, Charles wrote, confiding to his care the charge of
the Empress, with instructions that her orders were to be implicitly
obeyed during his absence. Having done this he journeyed to Barcelona,
at which city he arrived on April 8th, 1535. Here he was immediately
joined by the armada of Portugal—twenty caravelas raised, armed, and
paid for by the King, Don Juan of Portugal. This fleet was commanded by
the Infante Don Luis, brother to the Empress, and carried on board the
vessels of which it was composed a whole host of nobles and gentlemen
of quality, who had come to fight under the approving eyes of the Cæsar
of the modern world.

On May 1st came Andrea Doria with twenty-two galleys, and those already
in the harbour crowded the sides of their vessels to watch the arrival
of the famous Genoese seaman.

Four abreast in stately procession the great galleys swept into
the harbour. With that love of “spectacle” so inherent in the
southern nature, everything was done to ensure the military pomp and
circumstance of the coming of the first sea-commander of the Emperor.
At first with furious haste, and then slowing down to make the approach
more stately, the fleet of Andrea moved on. From mast and yard and
jackstaff of the galleys of the admiral floated twenty-four great
banners of silk and gold embroidered with the arms of the Emperor,
with those of Spain, of Genoa, and of the Dorias, Princes of Oneglia.
The principal standard bore upon it a crucifix, broidered at the sides
with pictures of Saint John and the Virgin Mary; another represented
the Virgin with her Son in her arms. With the sound of trumpets,
clarions, chirimias, and atambours the fleet moved to within a short
distance of the Portuguese and saluted them; then, as the thunder of
the guns ceased and the light wind blew away the smoke, they circled
round and stopped abreast of the royal vessel on which Charles had
embarked. Once again the guns barked a royal salute, while knights and
nobles, seamen and soldiers hailed their Emperor with frenzied shouts
of “Imperio! Imperio!”

Then Andrea Doria stepped into his boat and was rowed across the
shining water to visit the Emperor, who received him, we are told,
“with great honour and many tokens of love.”

On May 12th arrived Don Alvaro de Bazan, General of the Galleys of
Spain. This magnificent caballero made an entrance in much the same
state and circumstance as did Doria, and during the remainder of the
stay of the armada in Barcelona there was much banqueting and feasting
and drinking of healths to the Emperor and confusion to the Moslem foe.
It was once again as it had been in those days in which Ferdinand and
Isabella had descended upon the doomed city of Granada, and had built,
in full sight of its defenders, the town which they called Santa Fe (or
the Holy Faith) as an earnest that they would never leave until that
symbol of their faith had triumphed. To witness this victory the best
blood of Europe had flocked, and now, forty-three years later, when
the audacious Moslem had raised his head once more, the descendant of
the warriors who had followed “Los Reyes Católicos” rallied to that
standard which Carlos Quinto, their grandson, had set up on the
shores of Catalonia. Sandoval devotes pages of his work to the names,
styles, and titles of the noble caballeros who joined the army for the
destruction of Barbarossa.

On May 16th Charles embarked in the _Galera Capitana_ of Andrea Doria,
accompanied by many grandees and caballeros of the Court, as well as
illustrious foreigners like Prince Luis of Portugal, and held a review
of the armada. There was much expenditure of powder in salutes to the
Emperor, and all vied with one another in shouting themselves hoarse
in honour of the great monarch who deigned to lead in person the hosts
of Christendom against the infidel, who had defied his might and dared
to offer him battle. On May 28th the Emperor travelled some leagues
inland, starting before dawn, to visit the Monastery of Nuestra Señora
de Monferrato, in which was kept a singularly holy image of the Virgin.
Here he confessed and received the sacrament, and then returned to

[Illustration: THE EMPEROR CHARLES V.]

On May 30th he embarked in the Royal Galley, the _Galera Bastarda_,
which had been prepared for him by Andrea Doria, his Captain-General
of the Galleys. This vessel seems to have somewhat resembled the barge
of Cleopatra in the magnificence of its appointments, as its interior
was gilded, and it was fitted up with all the luxury that could be
devised at this period. Silken carpets and golden drinking-vessels,
stores of the most delicate food and of the rarest wines, were embarked
to mitigate, as far as possible, the inevitable hardships of a
sea-passage, and there were not lacking instruments of music wherewith
to beguile the Cæesar with concord of sweet sounds. Perhaps that
which strikes the modern seaman most in this recital of all the useless
matters with which the vessels of the great were burdened at this
period is the extraordinary number of flags and banners with which they
went to sea.

The catalogue of those in the _Galera Bastarda_ makes one rather wonder
how there was room for anything else of more practical usefulness when
it came to fighting. There were in this galley twenty-four yellow
damask banners, inscribed with the imperial arms; a pennon at the
main of crimson taffeta of immense length and breadth, with a golden
crucifix embroidered thereon. Two similar ones bore shields with the
arms of the Emperor, and there was a huge flag of white damask sewn
with representations of keys, communion chalices, and the cross of
Saint Andrew, in crimson, with a Latin inscription. There were yet two
others of scarlet damask “of the same grandeur,” embroidered round the
edge with “Plus Ultra,” the device of Spain. Among a further varied
assortment was one which bore the inscription: “Send, O God, thine
angel to guard him in all his goings.”

The fleet under the command of Andrea Doria numbered sixty-two galleys
and one hundred and fifty nefs. There were also a miscellaneous
assortment of small craft, known in those days as “brigantines,”
employed in the carriage of stores and ammunition. We have seen, on a
former occasion, what terrible losses attended one of these armadas
when really bad weather was encountered, and therefore it is not
surprising that, on his second venture, Charles should have selected
the finest season of the year for his descent upon the coast of Africa.
They were brave men, these Mediterranean seamen, and the risks which
they ran in their strangely formed, unseaworthy craft were of course
much enhanced when they were loaded to the gunwale with stores,
provisions, horses, banners, and last, but by no means least, a mob of
seasick soldiery.

Into this armada were crowded twenty-five thousand infantry and six
hundred lancers with their horses.

Cagliari, in Sardinia, was the last rendezvous of the expedition, and
here it arrived in the early part of June, where a week was spent in
making the final preparations; and at last, on June 10th, a start was
made for the coast of Africa.

Meanwhile in Tunis Kheyr-ed-Din was working double tides. He was
kept well informed by his spies of all that was going on, and his
preparations for defence were as adequate as they could be made;
the corsairs, as we have said, had come flocking in at his call. He
had withdrawn as many of his fighting men from Algiers as he deemed
prudent. Knowing that the attack was directed against him personally,
he had not much fear that it would be diverted at the last moment.
It would have been true strategy on the part of Charles to have done
this, but the Emperor considered that his honour required that the
attack should be an absolutely direct one, and so Algiers was left on
one side, to the ultimate upsetting of his plans. We say this because,
although in this case he was to take Tunis and to restore to the
throne of that country the puppet King Muley Hassan, and although
he was to rescue some twenty thousand Christian captives, he did not
capture Barbarossa, who was to live for many years to continue and to
carry on his unceasing war against the Christians.

There was no artifice left untried by the despot of Tunis. To the
African princes, Moors as well as Arabs and Berbers, did Kheyr-ed-Din
send embassies. For these he chose cunning men well versed in the means
of exciting the furious passions of these primitive and ferocious
peoples, and it was their mission to represent Muley Hassan as an
infamous apostate who was prompted by ambition and revenge, not only
to become the vassal of a Christian king, but to conspire with him
to extirpate the Mohammedan faith. The subtle policy inflamed these
ignorant and bigoted Mohammedans to the point of madness, and from
far and near they threw in their lot with the man who represented
himself to be the rallying-point for all those in Africa who desired
not only to preserve their holy religion but also their personal
liberty. From Tripoli and Jerba, from Bougie and Bona, from the shores
of Shott-el-Jerid, through all the dim hinterland that stretches from
thence north-westwards to Algiers, the tribesmen came flocking in. The
wild riders of the desert had been rounded up, and it is said that
no less than twenty thousand horsemen, in addition to an innumerable
crowd of infantry, responded to the call of the master schemer who
was but using these guileless savages to further his own personal
ends. The land-pirates of the desert, those stormy petrels whose
lives only differed from those of the followers of Kheyr-ed-Din in
that they carried on their depredations on the land instead of on the
sea, camped in their thousands in the environs of Tunis and boasted of
the deeds which they were about to perform. Kheyr-ed-Din stimulated
their enthusiasm with presents of the most costly description. Ever
wise and politic, he knew when it was necessary to pay royally, and
on this occasion surpassed himself in prodigality. For all this he
himself cherished no illusions; he had the measure of the fighting
men of his foes at his fingers’ ends, and the most that he expected
from these wild irregulars was that they might, perchance, stay an
onset and worry the imperial army with dashing cavalry raids. But that
they should hold their own with the incomparable infantry of Spain,
or make head against the stolid valour of the German men-at-arms, was
not contemplated by Barbarossa. In his Janissaries, in his hard-bitten
fighting men from the galleys, he could expect much; but there were but
some few thousands of these, while the disciplined host against which
he was called upon to combat was at the least twenty-five thousand—the
flower of the imperial forces. The situation was unique, one on which
the world had never looked before—all the might of Christendom going
up against one who, no matter by what titles he might choose to
describe himself, was no more than a vulgar robber. He was, however, a
robber on such a scale as had never before been equalled—a force which
remained unsubdued during the whole of his extraordinary and unusually
protracted career.



Autocracy in the sixteenth century was a very real and concrete fact.
The orders of great kings were, as a rule, implicitly obeyed, and, when
they were not, there was likely to be trouble of the worst description
for those by whom they had been contravened. It is this that causes us
to regard as most extraordinary one of the happenings in the armada
which sailed from Barcelona for the coast of Africa. A most peremptory
order was issued that no women, no boys, no one, in fact, save fighting
men of approved worth, should find a place in the ships. Says Sandoval,
“No se consintiesen en la armada mugeres ni muchachos ni otra gente
inutil, mas de aquellos solos que eran para pelear.” (There were not
allowed in the armada women, boys, or useless persons, but only those
who were capable of fighting.) It appears, however, that the women
paid no sort of attention to this ordinance, and the historian gravely
relates that “it was no use turning them out of the ships as, as soon
as you sent them down one side they returned and climbed up the other,”
It seems almost incredible, but is none the less a fact, that four
thousand women accompanied the expedition and landed at Tunis. The
autocracy of the Emperor apparently stopped short where women were
concerned, or else he was indifferent whether they came or not.

On June 16th the armada arrived before Tunis, and the army disembarked
to attack the fortress known as La Goletta. Into this strong place of
arms Barbarossa had sent some six thousand of his best men, mostly
Turkish soldiers, under the command of Sinan-Reis, a renegado Jew, and
one of the fiercest and most faithful of his followers. To the camp of
the Emperor came the fugitive King, Muley Hassan, in whose cause the
armada had nominally been assembled—how nominal this was we shall see
later by the light of the treaty concluded between him and the Emperor.
Charles had complete command of the sea for the time being, and, in
consequence, the ex-Sultan was amazed at the profusion and luxury which
reigned in the camp of the Christians; and he concluded that these
indeed must be the lords of the earth, as luxury and profusion was
hardly the note of such courts as then existed in the northern portion
of the African continent.

Although the army was landed, and with it artillery for the bombardment
of the Goletta, there remained, of course, “the army of the sea,”
under the orders of the redoubtable Doria; and while the Marquis del
Guasto, who was in supreme command on shore, prepared to batter down
the defences of the fortress on the land side, the attack was carried
on simultaneously from the sea by the galleys. The actual presence of
the Emperor stimulated the various nationalities under his eyes
to vie with one another in deeds of daring, and they contended among
themselves for the posts of the most honour and danger. The attacks of
the African horsemen were brushed on one side by the disciplined valour
of the Andalusian cavalry, while the great guns thundered from land
and sea against the walls of the doomed Goletta. Sinan and his Ottoman
soldiers performed prodigies in the way of repairing breaches in the
walls as soon as they were made; but Kheyr-ed-Din from the city watched
the progress of the bombardment gloomily, as he saw and knew that the
fall of the Goletta was but a matter of days. All this time he was far
from idle; sortie after sortie did the dauntless old warrior lead in
person against those engaged in the task of bombardment. Time and again
he heartened the Arab and Berber levies to attack, but the sallies were
repulsed, and the lightly armed Africans were driven like chaff before
the wind when they swooped down on the lines of investment.

But the time came at last when Sinan and his gallant Turks could hold
the place no longer; the walls were breached in six or seven places,
and Spaniards, Germans, and Italians made a simultaneous attack. Sinan
fighting to the last, evacuated the fortress, and retired actually
through the water across a shallow part of the bay to the city, with
the remnant of his once magnificent force; and now Barbarossa knew that
the end was come, and that Tunis must pass from his hands to those of
the Christian Emperor. It was not only the fall of the Goletta that
troubled him, but the equally important fact that by this the fleet
of the enemy was enabled to lay hands upon his own fleet, consisting
of eighty-seven galleys and galliots, together with his arsenal, and
no less than three hundred cannon, mostly brass guns of excellent
construction, mounted on the walls and planted on the ramparts. The
surprising amount of this artillery gives a measure of the strength of
the fortress and the efforts it must have cost the besiegers with such
a man as Sinan in command.

That the end was near was known to all, and not the least of their
embarrassments was the presence within the city walls of some twenty
thousand Christian captives. The city was large, the defences were
spread out over a great area, it was abundantly evident that it could
not be held, and, in consequence, Barbarossa summoned his principal
officers and communicated to them his decision.

  “We will not remain here to be slain like rats in a trap
  by the accursed of God by whom we are attacked. No,
  rather will we perish, sword in hand, as our fathers
  have done before us; but first there is a danger against
  which we have to guard. Within these walls are twenty
  thousand prisoners who will rise against us at the first
  opportunity; let us, then, first put them to death, and
  then we will leave this place and show our enemies how
  the true Moslems can die.”

Even those hardened men of blood shrank before the horror which was
proposed to them by their chief, and Sinan-Reis took up his parable and
spoke the minds of all when he said that follow him to the death they
would cheerfully do, but stain themselves with so awful a massacre
was to place themselves outside the pale of humanity for ever. It was
seldom that they crossed his mood, and Barbarossa listened in frowning
silence, accepting as a partial excuse that time pressed, and to put
to death twenty thousand persons would occupy longer time than they
could spare. On the morrow a battle was fought which, as Kheyr-ed-Din
anticipated, ended in the complete rout of the Moslems. Everywhere the
Corsair King was in the forefront of the battle, and it is said that he
disposed of fifty thousand men on this occasion; but this is probably
an exaggeration, and in any case the bulk of his forces consisted
of those African levies which, in a pitched battle against European
troops, were practically useless owing to their want of discipline
and cohesion. Very soon the hosts of the Emperor had prevailed, and
the Arabs and Berbers had fled back into the wilderness from whence
they had come and whither it was useless to pursue. Barbarossa, at the
head of such of his corsairs and Turks as were left—a number estimated
at some three to four thousand—burst through all opposition and also
escaped, travelling so rapidly that pursuit was abandoned almost at
once. And then the event happened which the Moslem leader had foreseen:
some of the Christian captives managed to get free from their shackles
within the city and released others; they overpowered those left to
guard them, and threw open the gates to the soldiery of the Emperor.

Then occurred one of those awful horrors of which this time was so
prolific: before Charles or his generals could prevent them the
soldiery had swept into the town and commenced to slay, to plunder,
and to ravish, without distinction of age, sex, or nationality.
Ostensibly these Christian warriors had come to rescue the inhabitants
of Tunis from the oppression of Barbarossa, but while that chieftain
was in full flight across the mountains to Bona, those by whom he
had been defeated entered the town, which they had come to save,
and perpetrated a massacre so awful that it is said that no less
than thirty thousand people perished. It is a terrible blot on the
escutcheon of the Emperor; as, although he and his generals deprecated
the massacre—and indeed to do them justice tried to prevent it—this is
no excuse for allowing their men to get out of hand, when they must
have been aware of the inevitable result: as the Moslem corsairs at
their worst were equalled in their iniquities by the European soldiery,
once the strong hand of discipline had relaxed its grip.

It may have been that the Emperor was displeased with this excess of
zeal on the part of his army; but, if it were so, the chroniclers are
silent concerning the matter, being far too busy singing the praises
of the Cæsar to think of such a trifle as the massacre of most of
the persons whom he had come to deliver. The wretched inhabitants of
Tunis must have found it somewhat difficult to distinguish between the
corsair, who killed three thousand of their fellow townsmen, and the
Christian Emperor, who had massacred ten times that number. Charles,
however, reaped great glory from an expedition which had but one good
result, which was, that he succeeded in rescuing twenty thousand
captives; these men, very naturally, on their return to their homes
in every corner of Europe, magnified the wonderful deeds of that prince
who had been instrumental in securing their release, and the massacre
of the Tunisians was conveniently ignored. Charles had defeated
Barbarossa and expelled him from Tunis; he had now displayed his
magnanimity and altruism by the terms which he imposed on the miserable
Muley Hassan. As far as that individual was concerned, he certainly
deserved nothing better; but, as a _finale_ to an expedition blessed by
the Pope, and looked upon almost in the light of a modern crusade, it
certainly displays a remarkably keen eye for the main chance.

The preamble of the treaty runs as follows:

  “That the King of Tunis, recognising that he had been
  expelled from his kingdom by Barbarossa, and that the
  Emperor in person, with a powerful armada, had come
  and expelled this tyrant, taking from him the fortress
  and town of Tunis and restoring them to the King
  Muley Hassan: that this monarch is most grateful for
  so magnificent a service, and in recognition thereof
  contracts to liberate all Christian captives who may be
  in his realm, to give them a free passage to their homes,
  and from this time forward binds himself to extend to all
  Christians kind and generous treatment.”

There can be no exception taken to this, which was the least which the
Emperor had the right to expect; but this was only, as we have said,
the preamble.

Muley Hassan was further made to contract to hold his kingdom in fee to
the Spanish Crown, to covenant that no corsair should use his ports
for any purpose whatsoever, that the Emperor should not only retain
the Goletta but that all other fortified seaports should be put into
his hands, that the King of Tunis should in future pay twelve thousand
crowns per annum ‘for the subsistence of the Spanish garrison of the
Goletta, that he should enter into no alliance with the enemies of
the Emperor, and should annually present, as an acknowledgment of his
vassalage, six Moorish horses and six hawks.

Muley Hassan had exchanged the comparatively dignified position of a
prince in exile, who has been expropriated by the strong hand, for that
of the puppet of one of the greatest enemies of his religion. Neither
he nor his people were one whit the better for the change, and, as far
as vassalage was concerned, they would in all probability, in the state
of religious feeling at the time, have sooner been subordinate to the
Moslem corsair than to the Christian King.


Barbarossa, as we have seen, frankly acknowledged that he sought
his own advantage, and, when he possessed himself of Tunis, made no
pretence of any altruistic motive. The Emperor, on the other hand,
having come in the guise of a Christian reformer, simply stole the
kingdom from Barbarossa and kept it for himself. Incidentally he
released the captives, which enabled him to pose once more as the great
champion of the oppressed. But, however this may have been, there is
no doubt that he had performed a notable feat of arms, and even the
most mighty monarch then in Europe felt uplifted by the fact that he
had defeated the greatest of the corsairs: accordingly, on July 25th
Charles wrote to England, France, Portugal, Milan, Florence, Venice,
Genoa, Siena, Mantua, and Naples: “De manera que en pocas dias se supo
in toda Europa su buena fortuna.” (So it was in a few days the whole of
Europe was acquainted with his good fortune.)

Martin Nunez, “Caballero de Toledo,” was sent on a special embassy to
the Pope to acquaint the Pontiff at first hand of all that happened,
and the success which had attended the arms of the Emperor, and also to
thank his Holiness for the assistance which he had rendered by sending
the Papal galleys. Jorge de Melo, a Portuguese caballero, was sent to
his own country with despatches, and other nobles and high officials
were despatched to the Emperor’s Viceroys in the various parts of his
dominions. In the long circular letter which Charles addressed to all
these potentates—and which is reproduced in its entirety by Sandoval—he
says “that the Christian captives found in Tunis amounted to something
like eighteen to twenty thousand, that Barbarossa had escaped with some
five thousand Turks, corsairs, and renegadoes, of which three thousand
were on horseback and two thousand afoot; that, as they suffered from
great scarcity of provisions, and the almost total lack of water, many
were falling by the way, and many others were being murdered by their
quondam allies for such goods as they possessed, or for the value of
their arms and clothing.”

We must now return to Kheyr-ed-Din. What the sufferings of that
chieftain and the remnant of his gallant army must have been in their
flight to Bona they alone knew. It was the height of summer,
and burning tracks of desert and rugged mountain passes had to be
surmounted; naturally they could have carried but very little food,
and water they had to find on the way. In addition to this, as we have
seen in the despatch of Charles, the tribesmen turned against them,
cutting off stragglers and murdering and plundering as opportunity
offered. Barbarossa himself was an old man, so old that it seems
nothing short of a miracle that he should have survived the hardships
of this awful march. Not only did he do this, but apparently arrived
at Bona in condition to continue his journey by sea at once, had he
cared to do so. He had lost his newly acquired kingdom, he had lost
nearly his entire fleet, his arsenal and stores were in the hands of
his enemies; if ever a man was completely crushed it was he on this
memorable occasion. As we have said before, however, it was in times of
the greatest stress when the indomitable character of this man rose to
meet the occasion, and, while his foes were congratulating one another
that at last there was an end of the scourge of the Mediterranean and
the bugbear of Christendom, the hunted fugitive was merely preparing
himself for fresh acts of aggression.

The real fact of the matter was that he was above all and before all
a seaman. The defeat of Kheyr-ed-Din meant merely the transference of
his malign activities from one sphere to another—from the sea to the
land, or from the land to the sea. King he called himself, and king _de
facto_ he was both in Algiers and Tunis, reigning with unexampled
cruelty, a prototype of those other corsair kings by whom he was
succeeded. But the real source of his power lay, not in stone walls
and fortifications, nor in ill-trained levies of African tribes, but
in his own genius for command at sea, and the manner in which he was
able to inspire with his own dauntless and desperate spirit those hardy
mariners who followed in his train, the descendants of the “Moriscoes”
who hailed from the ancient Moorish kingdoms of Cordoba and Granada.

Thus it was in the present instance. He had been unable to withstand
the might of Cæsar and his legions, but Tunis was not the whole
of Northern Africa, nor had quite all his eggs been kept in that
one basket. He had kept fifteen galleys in reserve at Bona, and,
in consequence, on his arrival there, was able to embark at once.
This he did, and hardly had he done so when there appeared upon the
scene fifteen galleys commanded by Adan Centurion and John Doria.
Kheyr-ed-Din had had enough of fighting just for the present; his
men and he were wearied out by the hardships of their flight, and
accordingly he drew up his galleys under the fort at Bona and awaited
an attack, should the enemy care to deliver one. But Adan Centurion’s
heart failed him; to cut out the old Sea-wolf from under one of his
own batteries was more than he had the stomach for, and he accordingly
sailed away. “Fue sin duda la perdida grande” (this no doubt was a
great pity), is the comment of Sandoval, who goes on to say that, had
the Genoese been the men that they had been aforetime, this would never
have been, and that they would have gone in and burnt or disabled
the galleys of the corsair, slain their leader, or driven him ashore.
Hot on the tracks of Adan Centurion and his nephew John came the
veteran Andrea Doria with forty galleys, but he was too late, and the
bird had flown; had it been he who had arrived in the first instance,
then it is more than probable that matters would have turned out
differently, and Kheyr-ed-Din had then and there terminated his career.
It is true that Andrea possessed himself of Bona, and the Corsair King
was shorn of yet another of his land-stations, but for the time he had
cut himself adrift from the land, and had gone back to that element in
which he was particularly at home.

Doria left Bona in the charge of Alvar Gomez and a company of
Spanish troops and then sailed away, if possible to find and capture
Barbarossa, thus to set the seal of completeness on the victory which
had been won by his master the Emperor. Another stronghold of the
corsairs was now in most competent hands, as Alvar Gomez Zagal was
one of the most renowned caballeros of Spain, son of that Pero Lopez
de Horusco on whom the Moors themselves had bestowed the title of “Al
Zagal,” or “The Valiant,” on account of his extraordinary bravery.

On August 17th Charles re-embarked his army and evacuated the country,
leaving, however, one thousand Spanish veterans, under the command of
Bernard de Mendoza, in charge of the Goletta, as a permanent memorial
of the expedition, and as a guarantee that the wretched Muley Hassan
should fully comply with the treaty obligations which had been
imposed upon him. It is true that Barbarossa had not been captured,
but his city had been taken, his fleet had been destroyed, and he
himself was now a fugitive, unable any further to trouble the peace
of Christendom or the dignity of the Emperor by whom he had been so
soundly chastised. In consequence the Cæsar departed well pleased with
himself and with those who had been acting under his orders, to whom he
distributed orders and titles, as a memento of the occasion upon which
they had finally broken up the power of those by whom his peace had so
long been troubled.

One of the difficulties in dealing with the career of Kheyr-ed-Din
Barbarossa is that, in times when he was unsuccessful, or when, as on
the present occasion, he had received a severe setback, it is next
to impossible to find out what he was doing or where exactly he was
preparing for his next coup. In this case, in particular, the old-time
historians were thanking God that the Emperor had rid the world of a
particularly pestilent knave, and ceased to trouble themselves much
about him until he forced himself once more upon their notice. Had
Charles at this time recognised the greatness of the man whom he had
just so signally defeated he might have changed the course of history.
Had he, instead of sailing back to Europe, content with that which
he had accomplished in Tunis, pushed his attack home on Algiers, he
might have made himself master of the whole of Northern Africa, as,
in the disorganised state in which the corsairs now found themselves,
they could certainly have offered no effective resistance. But to
the Emperor these rovers of the sea presented themselves merely in
the light of robbers. Robbers, it is true, on a somewhat large scale,
but still not persons of sufficient importance to detain him from the
infinitely more pressing affairs which awaited him on the opposite
shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

In addition to the fifteen galleys which Kheyr-ed-Din picked up at Bona
he had in reserve at Algiers some fifty others. Escaping the attention
of Adan Centurion and John Doria, and the infinitely more formidable
squadron of Andrea, he headed once more for Algiers, and for a time
seems to have remained quiet, no doubt recuperating from the fatigues,
disappointments, and physical hardships which he had so recently
undergone. He was apparently undisturbed during the winter by his
Christian enemies, and was in consequence able to think out his future
plans of campaign and to collect and put heart into his scattered
followers, who, in ones and twos, were gradually, such of them as were
left, finding their way back to the headquarters of piracy and its
indomitable chieftain.

That cool calculator of the chances of life knew that this must be so;
the power of the corsairs generally had received the worst blow it had
ever encountered since the dispossessed Moriscoes had taken to the sea
for a living; those of them who remained alive were without ships—that
is to say, without their only means of making a livelihood—and that
they should gravitate towards Algiers and its master was as nearly a
certainty as anything human could be. And, as was anticipated by the
chief, so it came to pass. Into the city straggled broken, starving,
sullen men who had lost their all, for whom the future held nothing but
misery and despair unless they could get to sea once more.

It was on occasions such as this that the intellectual eminence of
Barbarossa was so marked. Rough and cruel as he was, he possessed
nevertheless a magnetic power over the minds of men, on which, when
it so pleased him, he could play with the most extraordinary effect.
And now, when the rank and file of the corsairs were ragged, hungry,
and smarting under defeat, he dealt with them tenderly and graciously;
and the sum of his teaching was to the effect that they had but to
follow him once more and all the evils from which they were suffering
would be presently remedied. So it came about that men who, before the
defeat, had commanded ships of their own, were glad enough to become
units on board the galleys of Kheyr-ed-Din, animated by the pleasing
hope that soon again, under the leadership of this man, they might
regain all, nay more, than they had lost. It must be remembered that
Barbarossa argued from sound premises when he held out such hopes as
these to the desperate remnant of the corsairs in Algiers in that sad
winter of 1535. He was the greatest of them all, and they, as well as
he, knew this to be a fact: if they had lost their all in the past
battles, they had been fighting in a common cause to preserve their own
lives and their liberty to plunder the Christian at sea. And now there
was work and there was bread to eat for those who once again would
throw in their lot with their old leader; and, although it may be
said that these men had no alternative, still they threw themselves
with heartiness into that which the master mind decreed should be their
work, and this was none other than the preparation of the galleys for
another campaign against the Christian.

“What matter, comrades?” said the veteran on one occasion when he was
superintending the fitting out of the galleys. “These dogs have gone
back from whence they came, and they have left that creature, Muley
Hassan, to do their will in Tunis. It is true that there is Mendoza and
his thousand Spaniards in the Goletta, but did not Martin de Vargas
hold the Peñon here? And where is De Vargas, and in whose hands is
the Peñon now? We know from whence the garrisons of Spain draw their
supplies, and believe me that there will be hungry men in the Goletta
in this coming year. Once we get to sea again, there will be more than
enough for every good man who believes in the Prophet, and who has the
sense to follow Barbarossa. For every ducat that you have lost see, in
the coming year, if you do not gain ten; the Christians are off their
guard now, and they think that they have done with me because they have
captured Tunis.” He laughed his great, jovial laugh. “By the beard of
the Prophet—upon whom be peace!—they have yet to find out the man with
whom they have to deal.”

It took a master mind to instil heart of grace into men who so recently
had had so bad a beating as these; but in the end they began to cheer
up, and to recollect how Barbarossa had sooner or later always risen
from defeat as strong or stronger than before; also they recalled the
fact that he was the chosen of the Padishah, and that that potentate,
the representative of the Prophet on earth, would assuredly come to his
assistance now that Tunis, which had been taken in his name, had been
reft from Barbarossa by the Christians. Gradually hope took the place
of despair, and when the corsairs took to the sea in the early part of
the following year it was with renewed confidence in both themselves
and their leader.



At the coming of spring Barbarossa was at sea again with thirty-two
ships ready for any eventuality, his crews aflame with ardour for
revenge against those by whom they had been so roughly handled. He
chose for the scene of operations a place on the coast of Majorca some
fifteen miles from Palma; from here he commanded the route of the
Spaniards from their country to the African coast, and it was against
this nation that he felt a great bitterness owing to recent events.
Eagerly did the corsair and his men watch for the Spanish ships, the
heavier vessels lying at anchor, but the light, swift galleys ranging
and questing afar so that none might be missed. Very soon the vigilance
of the Moslems was rewarded by the capture of a number of vessels,
sent by Bernard de Mendoza laden with Turkish and Moorish slaves,
destined to be utilised as rowers in the Spanish galleys. These men
were hailed as a welcome reinforcement, and joyfully joined the forces
of Kheyr-ed-Din when he moved on Minorca, captured the castle by a
surprise assault, raided the surrounding country, and captured five
thousand seven hundred Christians, amongst whom were eight hundred
men who had been wounded in the attack on Tunis—all these unfortunates
were sent to refill the bagnio of Algiers.

This private war of revenge was, however, destined soon to come to
an end, as Soliman the Magnificent in this year became involved in
disputes with the Venetian Republic, and recalled “that veritable
man of the sea,” as Barbarossa had been described by Ibrahim, to

In this city by the sea there had taken place a tragedy which,
although it only involved the death of a single man, was nevertheless
far-reaching in its consequences; for the man was none other than that
great statesman Ibrahim, Grand Vizier, and the only trusted counsellor
of the Padishah. He who had been originally a slave had risen step by
step in the favour of his master until he arrived at the giddy eminence
which he occupied at the time of his death. It is a somewhat curious
commentary on the essentially democratic status of an autocracy that a
man could thus rise to a position second only to that of the autocrat
himself; and, in all probability, wielding quite as much power.

Ibrahim had for years been treated by Soliman more as a brother than
as a dependent, which, in spite of his Grand Viziership, he was in
fact. They lived in the very closest communion, taking their meals
together, and even sleeping in the same room, Soliman, a man of high
intelligence himself, and a ruler who kept in touch with all the
happenings which arose in his immense dominions, desiring always to
have at hand the man whom he loved; from whom, with his amazing grip
of political problems and endless fertility of resource, he was certain
of sympathy and sound advice. But in an oriental despotism there are
other forces at work besides those of _la haute politique_, and Ibrahim
had one deadly enemy who was sworn to compass his destruction. The
Sultana Roxalana was the light of the harem of the Grand Turk. This
supremely beautiful woman, originally a Russian slave, was the object
of the most passionate devotion on the part of Soliman; but she was as
ambitious as she was lovely, and brooked no rival in the affections of
Soliman, be that person man, woman, or child. In her hands the master
of millions, the despot whose nod was death, became a submissive slave;
the undisciplined passions of this headstrong woman swept aside from
her path all those whom she suspected of sharing her influence, in no
matter how remote a fashion. At her dictation had Soliman caused to be
murdered his son Mustafa, a youth of the brightest promise, because, in
his intelligence and his winning ways he threatened to eclipse Selim,
the son of Roxalana herself.

This woman possessed a strong natural intelligence, albeit she was
totally uneducated; she saw and knew that Ibrahim was all-powerful with
her lover, and this roused her jealousy to fever-heat. She was not
possessed of a cool judgment, which would have told her that Ibrahim
was a statesman dealing with the external affairs of the Sublime Porte,
and that with her and with her affairs he neither desired, nor had he
the power, to interfere. What, however, the Sultana did know was
that in these same affairs of State her opinion was dust in the balance
when weighed against that of the Grand Vizier.

Soliman had that true attribute of supreme greatness, the unerring
aptitude for the choice of the right man. He had picked out Ibrahim
from among his immense entourage, and never once had he regretted his
choice. As time went on and the intellect and power of the man became
more and more revealed to his master, that sovereign left in his hands
even such matters as despots are apt to guard most jealously. We have
seen how, in spite of the murmurings of the whole of his capital, and
the almost insubordinate attitude of his navy, he had persevered in the
appointment of Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa, because the judgment of Ibrahim
was in favour of its being carried out. This, to Roxalana, was gall
and wormwood; well she knew that, as long as the Grand Vizier lived,
her sovereignty was at best but a divided one. There was a point at
which her blandishments stopped short; this was when she found that her
opinion did not coincide with that of the minister. She was, as we have
seen in the instance of her son, not a woman to stick at trifles, and
she decided that Ibrahim must die.

There could be no hole-and-corner business about this; he must die,
and when his murder had been accomplished she would boldly avow to her
lover what she had done and take the consequences, believing in her
power over him to come scatheless out of the adventure. In those days,
when human life was so cheap, she might have asked for the death of
almost any one, and her whim would have been gratified by a lover who
had not hesitated to put to death his own son at her dictation. But
with Ibrahim it was another matter; he was the familiar of the Sultan,
his _alter ego_ in fact. It says much for the nerve of the Sultana that
she dared so greatly on this memorable and lamentable occasion.

On March 5th, 1536, Ibrahim, went to the royal seraglio, and, following
his ancient custom, was admitted to the table of his master, sleeping
after the meal at his side. At least so it was supposed, but none knew
save those engaged in the murder what passed on that fatal night; the
next day his dead body lay in the house of the Sultan.

Across the floor of jasper, in that palace which was a fitting
residence for one rightly known as “The Magnificent,” the blood of
Ibrahim flowed to the feet of Roxalana. The disordered clothing, the
terrible expression of the face of the dead man, the gaping wounds
which he had received, bore witness that there had taken place a
grim struggle before that iron frame and splendid intellect had been
levelled with the dust. This much leaked out afterwards, as such things
will leak out, and then the Sultana took Soliman into her chamber
and gazed up into his eyes. The man was stunned by the immensity of
the calamity which had befallen him and his kingdom, but his manhood
availed him not against the wiles of this Circe. Ibrahim had been
foully done to death in his own palace, and this woman clinging so
lovingly around his neck now was the murderess. The heart’s blood of
his best friend was coagulating on the threshold of his own apartment
when he forgave her by whom his murder had been accomplished. This was
the vengeance of Roxalana, and who shall say that it was not complete?

The Ottoman Empire was the poorer by the loss of its greatest man, the
jealousy of the Sultana was assuaged, the despot who had permitted
this unavenged murder was still on the throne, thrall to the woman
who had first murdered his son and then his friend and minister. But
the deed carried with it the evil consequences which were only too
likely to occur when so capable a head of the State was removed at so
critical a time. Renewed strife was in the air, and endless squabbles
between Venice and the Porte were taking place. With these we have no
concern, but, in addition to other complaints, there were loud and
continuous ones concerning the corsairs. Venice, “The Bride of the
Sea,” had neither rest nor peace; the pirates swarmed in Corfu, in
Zante, in Candia, in Cephalonia, and the plunder and murder of the
subjects of the Republic was the theme of perpetual representations to
the Sultan. The balance of advantage in this guerilla warfare was with
the corsairs until Girolame Canale, a Venetian captain, seized one of
the Moslem leaders known as “The Young Moor of Alexandria,” The victory
of Canale was somewhat an important one as he captured the galley of
“The Young Moor” and four others; two more were sunk, and three hundred
Janissaries and one thousand slaves fell into the hands of the Venetian
commander. There being an absence of nice feeling on the part of the
Venetians, the Janissaries were at once beheaded to a man.

The whole story is an illustration of the extraordinary relations
existing among the Mediterranean States at this time. Soliman
the Magnificent, Sultan of Turkey, had lent three hundred of his
Janissaries, his own picked troops, to assist the corsairs in
their depredations on Venetian commerce. Having done this, and the
Janissaries having been caught and summarily and rightly put to death
as pirates, the Sultan, as soon as he heard of what had occurred,
sent an ambassador, one Yonis Bey, to Venice to demand satisfaction
for the insult passed upon him by the beheading of his own soldiers
turned pirates. The conclusion of the affair was that the Venetians
released “The Young Moor of Alexandria” as soon as he was cured of the
eight wounds which he had received in the conflict, and sent him back
to Africa with such of his galleys as were left. There was one rather
comical incident in connection with this affair, which was that when
Yonis Bey was on his way from Constantinople to Venice he was chased by
a Venetian fleet, under the command of the Count Grandenico, and driven
ashore. The Count was profuse in his apologies when he discovered
that he had been chasing a live ambassador; but the occurrence so
exasperated Soliman that he increased his demands in consequence.

Barbarossa, who had spent his time harrying the Spaniards at sea ever
since the fall of Tunis, was shortly to appear on the scene again. He
received orders from the Sultan, and came as fast as a favouring wind
would bring him. Kheyr-ed-Din had been doing well in the matter of
slaves and plunder, but he knew that, with the backing of the Grand
Turk, he would once again be in command of a fleet in which he might
repeat his triumph of past years, and prove himself once more the
indispensable “man of the sea.”

Soon after his arrival his ambitions were gratified, and he found
himself with a fleet of one hundred ships. Since the death of Ibrahim,
and the incident which terminated with the despatch of Yonis Bey to
Venice, the relations between the Grand Turk and the Venetian Republic
had become steadily worse, and at last the Sultan declared war. On May
17th, 1537, Soliman, accompanied by his two sons, Selim and Mohammed,
left Constantinople. With the campaign conducted by the Sultan we are
not concerned here; it was directed against the Ionian Islands, which
had been in the possession of Venice since 1401. On August 18th Soliman
laid siege to Corfu, and was disastrously beaten, re-embarking his men
on September 7th, after losing thousands in a fruitless attack on the
fortress. He returned to Constantinople utterly discomfited. It was
the seventh campaign which the Sultan had conducted in person, but the
first in which the ever-faithful Ibrahim had not been by his side.

This defeat at the hands of the Venetians was not, however, the only
humiliation which he was destined to experience in this disastrous
year; for once again Doria, that scourge of the Moslem, was loose
upon the seas, and was making his presence felt in the immediate
neighbourhood of Corfu, where the Turks had been defeated. On July
17th Andrea had left the port of Messina with twenty-five galleys,
had captured ten richly laden Turkish ships, gutted and burned
them. Kheyr-ed-Din was at sea at the time, but the great rivals
were not destined to meet on this occasion. Instead of Barbarossa,
Andrea fell in with Ali-Chabelli, the lieutenant of Sandjak Bey of
Gallipoli. On July 22nd the Genoese admiral and the Turkish commander
from the Dardanelles met to the southward of Corfu, off the small
island of Paxo, and a smart action ensued. It ended in the defeat of
Ali-Chabelli, whose galleys were captured and towed by Doria into Paxo.
That veteran fighter was himself in the thickest of the fray, and,
conspicuous in his crimson doublet, had been an object of attention
to the marksmen of Chabelli during the entire action. In spite of the
receipt of a severe wound in the knee, the admiral refused to go below
until victory was assured. He was surrounded at this time by a devoted
band of nobles sworn to defend the person of their admiral or to die
in his defence. His portrait has been sketched for us at this time by
the Dominican Friar, Padre Alberto Gugliel-motto, author of “La guerra
dei Pirati e la marina Pontifica dal 1500 al 1560.” The description
runs thus: “Andrea Doria was of lofty stature, his face oval in shape,
forehead broad and commanding, his neck was powerful, his hair short,
his beard long and fan-shaped, his lips were thin, his eyes bright and

Once again had he defeated an officer of the Grand Turk; and it may be
remarked that Ibrahim was probably quite right in the estimation, or
rather in the lack of estimation, in which he held the sea-officers of
his master, as they seem to have been deficient in every quality save
that of personal valour, and in their encounters with Doria and the
knights were almost invariably worsted. For the sake of Islam, for the
prestige of the Moslem arms at sea, it was time that Barbarossa should
take matters in hand once more.

The autumn of this year 1537 proved that the old Sea-wolf had lost
none of his cunning, that his followers were as terrible as ever.
What did it seem to matter that Venetian and Catalan, Genoese and
Frenchman, Andalusian and the dwellers in the Archipelago, were
all banded together in league against this common foe? Did not the
redoubtable Andrea range the seas in vain, and were not all the efforts
of the Knights of Saint John futile, when the son of the renegado from
Mitylene and his Christian wife put forth from the Golden Horn? What
was the magic of this man, it was asked despairingly, that none seemed
able to prevail against him? Had it not been currently reported that
Carlos Quinto, the great Emperor, had driven him forth from Tunis
a hunted fugitive, broken and penniless, with never a galley left,
without one ducat in his pocket? Was he so different, then, from all
the rest of mankind that his followers would stick to him in evil
report as well as in the height of his prosperity? Men swore and women
crossed themselves at the mention of his name.

“Terrible as an army with banners,” indeed, was Kheyr-ed-Din in this
eventful summer: things had gone badly with the crescent flag, the
Padishah was unapproachable in his palace, brooding perchance on that
“might have been” had he not sold his honour and the life of his only
friend to gratify the malice of a she-devil; those in attendance on the
Sultan trembled, for the humour of the despot was black indeed.

But “the veritable man of the sea” was in some sort to console him
for that which he had lost; as never in his own history—and there
was none else with which it could be compared—had the Corsair King
made so fruitful a raid. He ravaged the coasts of the Adriatic and
the islands of the Archipelago, sweeping in slaves by the thousand,
and by the end of the year he had collected eighteen thousand in the
arsenal at Stamboul. Great was the jubilation in Constantinople when
the Admiralissimo himself returned from his last expedition against
the infidel; stilled were the voices which hinted disaffection—who
among them all could bring back four hundred thousand pieces of gold?
What mariner could offer to the Grand Turk such varied and magnificent

Upon his arrival Barbarossa asked permission to kiss the threshold
of the palace of the Sultan, which boon being graciously accorded to
him, he made his triumphal entry. Two hundred captives clad in scarlet
robes carried cups of gold and flasks of silver behind them came thirty
others, each staggering under an enormous purse of sequins; yet another
two hundred brought collars of precious stones or bales of the choicest
goods; and a further two hundred were laden with sacks of small coin.
Certainly if Soliman the Magnificent had lost a Grand Vizier he had
succeeded in finding an admiral!

All through the earlier months of 1538 the dockyards of Constantinople
hummed with a furious activity, for Soliman had decreed that the
maritime campaign of this year was to begin with no less than one
hundred and fifty ships. His admiral, however, did not agree with this
decision; to the Viziers he raged and stormed. “Listen,” he said, “O
men of the land who understand naught of the happenings of the sea.
By this time Saleh-Reis must have quitted Alexandria convoying to the
Bosphorus twenty sail filled with the richest merchandise; should he
fall in with the accursed Genoese, Doria, where then will be Saleh-Reis
and his galleys and his convoy? I will tell you: the ships in Genoa,
the galleys burned, Saleh-Reis and all his mariners chained to the
rowers’ bench.”

The Viziers trembled, as men did when Barbarossa stormed and turned
upon them those terrible eyes which knew neither fear nor pity. “We be
but men,” they answered, “and our lord the Sultan has so ordained it.”

“I have forty galleys,” replied the corsair; “you have forty more. With
these I will take the sea; but, mark you,” he continued, softening
somewhat, “you do right to fear the displeasure of the Sultan, and I
also have no wish to encounter it; but vessels raised and equipped
in a hurry will be of small use to me. In the name of Allah the
compassionate and his holy Prophet give me my eighty galleys and let me

In Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa sound strategical instinct went hand in hand
with the desperate valour of the corsair. To dally in the Golden
Horn while so rich a prey was at sea to be picked up by his Christian
foes was altogether opposed to his instincts: never to throw away a
chance in the game of life had ever been his guiding principle.

Soliman, great man as he undoubtedly was, had not the adamantine
hardness of character which enabled his admiral to risk all on the
hazards of the moment; or possibly the Grand Turk was deficient in that
clearness of strategical instinct which never in any circumstances
forgoes a present advantage for something which may turn out well in
a problematical future. Soliman, sore, sullen, and unapproachable,
dwelt in his palace brooding over the misfortunes which had been his
lot since the death of Ibrahim. Barbarossa, who so recently had lost
practically all that he possessed, and who had reached an age at which
most men have no hopes for the future, was as clear in intellect, as
undaunted in spirit, as if he had been half a century younger: to be
even once more with those by whom he had been defeated and dispossessed
was the only thing now in his mind. The capture of Saleh-Reis and
his convoy would be a triumph of which he could not bear to think.
Further, it would add to the demoralisation of the sea forces of the
Sultan, which were sadly in need of some striking success after the
defeats which had so recently been their portion. The Sultan had
decided that one hundred and fifty ships were necessary; his admiral
thought otherwise. There was too much at stake for him to dally at
Constantinople; his fiery energy swept all before it, and in the
end he had his way. On June 7th, 1538, he finally triumphed over the
hesitations of the Viziers and put to sea with eighty sail.

The Sultan, from his kiosk, the windows of which opened on the
Bosphorus, counted the ships.

“Only eighty sail; is that all?” he asked.

The trembling Viziers prostrated themselves before him.

“O our Lord, the Padishah,” they cried, “Saleh-Reis comes from
Alexandria with a rich convoy; somewhere lurking is Andrea Doria, the
accursed; it was necessary, O Magnificent, to send succour.”

There was a pause, in which the hearts of men beat as do those who know
not but that the next moment may be their last on earth.

The Sultan stared from his window at the retreating ships in a silence
like the silence of the grave. At last he turned:

“So be it,” he answered briefly; “but see to it that reinforcements do
not lag upon the road.”

If there had been activity in the dockyards before it was as nothing to
the strenuous work that was to be done henceforward.

Before starting on this expedition Kheyr-ed-Din had made an innovation
in the manning of some of the most powerful of his galleys, which
was of the utmost importance, and which was to add enormously to the
success of his future maritime enterprises. The custom had always been
that the Ottoman galleys had been rowed by Christians, captured and
enslaved; of course the converse was true in the galleys of their foes.
There were, for the size of the vessels, an enormous number of men
carried in the galleys of the sixteenth century, and an average craft
of this description would have on board some four hundred men; of
these, however, the proportion would be two hundred and fifty slaves
to one hundred and fifty fighting men. That which Kheyr-ed-Din now
insisted upon was that a certain proportion of his most powerful units
should be rowed by Moslem fighting men, so that on the day of battle
the oarsmen could join in the fray instead of remaining chained to
their benches, as was the custom with the slaves. It is, however, an
extraordinary testimony to the influence which the corsair had attained
in Constantinople that he had been able to effect this change in the
composition of some of his crews; it must have been done with the
active co-operation of the Sultan, as no authority less potent than
that of the sovereign himself could have induced free men to undertake
the terrible toil of rower in a galley. This was reserved for the
unfortunate slave on either side owing to the intolerable hardship of
the life, and results, in the pace at which a galley proceeded through
the water, were usually obtained by an unsparing use of the lash on the
naked bodies of the rowers.

This human material was used up in the most prodigal manner possible,
as those in command had not the inducement of treating the rowers well,
from that economic standpoint which causes a man to so use his beast of
burden as to get the best work from him. In the galley, when a slave
could row no more he was flung overboard and another was put in his

The admiral, however, even when backed by the Padishah, could not
man a large fleet of galleys with Moslem rowers, and, as there was a
shortage in the matter of propelling power, his first business was to
collect slaves, and for this purpose he visited the islands of the
Archipelago. The lot of the unhappy inhabitants of these was indeed a
hard one. They were nearer to the seat of the Moslem power than any
other Christians; they were in those days totally unable to resist an
attack in force, and in consequence were swept off in their thousands.

Seven islands cover the entrance to the Gulf of Volo. The nearest
to the coast is Skiathos, which is also the most important; it was
defended by a castle built upon a rock. This castle was attacked by
Barbarossa, who bombarded it for six days, carried it by assault, and
massacred the garrison. He spared the lives of the inhabitants of the
island, and by this means secured three thousand four hundred rowers
for his galleys. He had to provide motor-power for the reinforcements
which he expected. In July he was reinforced from Constantinople by
ninety galleys, while from Egypt came Saleh-Reis, who had succeeded
in avoiding the terrible Doria, with twenty more; the fleet was thus

Barbarossa ravaged Skios, Andros, and other islands, putting them under
contribution, and in this manner raised some eight thousand ducats;
from a pen of guinea-fowl to a king’s ransom, nothing escaped the maw
of this most rapacious of corsairs. Candia and some other islands
yielded up some small spoil, but the sufferings of such insignificant
folk as the wretched islanders were soon lost to the sight of the
Christian world in the magnitude of the events which were now

Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa, Corsair, Admiral, and King, the scourge of
the Mediterranean, and Andrea Doria, Prince of Oneglia, Admiral of the
modern Cæsar, Charles V., Emperor and King, were at last to meet face
to face.



Some thirty-five miles to the south-eastward of Cape Bianco (the
southernmost point of the island of Corfu) lies Prevesa, at the
entrance of the Gulf of Arta, or, as it was known in classic times,
the Ambracian Gulf. In these seas, in the year 31 B.C., was fought
one of the most memorable battles of antiquity, for it was here that
Octavius, afterward Augustus Cæsar, defeated the forces of Antony and
Cleopatra. There have been many controversies of late years as to
whom the original idea of breaking the line in naval combats is due:
anyhow, it can claim a respectable antiquity, as it was practised at
the battle of Actium by Octavius, who by a skilful manoeuvre caused
Antony to lengthen his line, which he then cut through and attacked the
ships of Cleopatra, which were in support: this was too much for the
lady, who fled with her sixty ships, followed by Antony, to his eternal
disgrace. The remainder of his fleet fought bravely for a time, but
was eventually defeated, the land army also surrendering to Octavius.
The date of the actual battle of Actium was September 2nd, 31 B.C.:
it was in September 1538 that the battle of Prevesa between Andrea
Doria and Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa took place, and the conditions of the
battle were almost exactly similar.

To this very place came, 1569 years later, the Christian and the
Moslem, the Crescent and the Cross, each under its most renowned
leader, each side burning with an inextinguishable hate. It was one of
the peculiarities of this warfare that into it entered so much actual
personal feeling, each side hating the other for the love of God in
the most poisonous fashion. Save and except the battle of Lepanto in
1571 (with which we shall deal later in the story of Ali Basha, or
Occhiali as he was called by his Christian opponents) the contest
at Prevesa was far the most important ever fought by those strange
oar-propelled vessels known as galleys. It was memorable in many ways,
but particularly so for the ages of the men in chief command. Andrea
Doria was at this time seventy years of age; in fact, Guglielmotti
gives the date of his birth as 1466, thus making him two years older.
That amazing veteran Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa, who died in his bed at
Constantinople on July 4th, 1546, at the age of ninety, must have been
eighty-two. Vicenzo Capello was sixty-eight, as the epitaph on his
tomb at Venice in the church of Santa Maria Formosa says that he was
seventy-two in the year of his death, 1542.

Once again Christendom was nerving itself for a supreme effort against
the corsairs, and, during the time that Barbarossa was raiding and
ravaging among the islands of the Archipelago, the Christian fleet
was gradually assembling. At first it numbered some 150 galleys,
81 Venetian, 36 Pontifical, and 30 Spanish; Charles V. sent, at the
last moment, 50 ships on which were embarked 10,000 troops. The force
totalled altogether 59,000 to 60,000 men, 195 ships, and 2,594 cannons.
This was no doubt a most formidable armada, but the policy of those
by whom it was composed was not all directed to the same end. While
Charles desired, above all things, to exterminate the corsairs for
good and all, which was, in the circumstances, the only sound view
of the matter, the Venetians were for fighting defensive actions to
maintain their supremacy in the Ionian Islands, and were disposed to
let the future take care of itself. There was not, in consequence, that
absolute unanimity among the various commanders of the expedition as
was necessary for its complete success.

The concentration of the Christian fleet took place at Corfu. The
Venetians arrived first, with Vincenzo Capello in command; Marco
Grimani brought thither the Papal contingent; they anchored and waited,
but Andrea Doria did not appear. Days lengthened into weeks, and
Grimani and Capelli chafed and fumed; provisions were running low and
the dignity of Venice and of the Pope were flouted by this strange
remissness on the part of the Admiral of the Emperor. At last, furious
with impatience, Grimani made a raid into the Gulf of Arta, which was
defended at the entrance by the fortress of Prevesa. The only result
of this ill-timed attack was that two Papal captains and a number of
soldiers were killed. Grimani then returned to Corfu, to find Capello
irritated to the last extent by the non-appearance of Doria.

At last, on September 5th, the Imperial fleet hove in sight. It was
composed of forty-nine galleys, but these were supplemented by a great
number of sailing ships; the sailing craft, however, did not arrive
till September 22nd. These vessels were gradually making way among the
Spaniards since the discovery of the new world.

At this time the Venetians possessed fourteen nefs. Doria had augmented
these by twenty-two of his own, and the total number of thirty-six
was commanded by Franco Doria, a nephew of the admiral. The Venetian
nefs were commanded by Alessandro Condalmiero, captain of the _Galleon
of Venice_. This was the most formidable fighting vessel in the
Mediterranean; she was reckoned an excellent sailor, she was by far the
most heavily armed sailing ship then afloat; in fact, in the opinion of
contemporary seamen, she was “an invincible fortress.”

Doria, Grimani, and Capello had now nearly 200 ships carrying nearly
60,000 men. Such a force, in all ages, has been considered great.
William the Conqueror conquered Britain with a less number; it is
almost half the total of the personnel of the British fleet in the
present day which has to defend a country with 40,000,000 inhabitants,
and all this force had been raised, armed, and equipped to combat with
a Moslem corsair.

Barbarossa had succeeded in assembling 122 ships. He was accompanied
by all the most famous corsairs of the day, among whom was Dragut,
who fell at the siege of Malta, and of whom we shall have more to say
in due time. Far and wide ranged the swift galleys of the Ottoman
fleet, for the plan of the commander of the Moslems was to locate and
destroy his enemies in detail if possible. At last news came to him
that Grimani’s ships had been sighted in the Gulf of Arta. Not one
moment did he lose; he would fall upon the Papal contingent with his
whole force and destroy it utterly. Such, at least, was his plan when
he sailed for Prevesa; but, notwithstanding his haste, he was too late.
Happily for himself, Grimani had returned to Corfu before the arrival
of his enemy.

At this juncture Barbarossa hesitated; had he not done so, and had
he followed Grimani to Corfu, he might have destroyed both him
and Vincenzo Capello in detail before the arrival of Doria. The
Prevesa campaign is a curious study of hesitation on both sides, and
the idea naturally occurs were not the corsair and the Christian
commanders-in-chief too old for the work on which they were engaged?
Men of over seventy are not impetuous, but grave and deliberate as
a rule; but there is no rule without its exceptions, and Doria and
Barbarossa were not as other leaders. Up to the present their dash and
initiative had been unimpaired. There was no question that Barbarossa
not only made a mistake in hesitating, but that by it he lost the
game. Instead of striking at once he did what he had never done before
in the whole of his career, which was to send to Constantinople for
instructions. Some of his galleys had captured a fishing-boat off
Corfu, the crew of which had seen Doria’s fleet. The Moslem leader
sent the fishermen themselves to report to Soliman exactly what they
had seen, and to ask for and bring back instructions from that
potentate. What Barbarossa had discovered was that the odds were very
much against him; so much, in fact, that he would have to act on the
defensive. In consequence, he steered for Prevesa and entered the Gulf
of Arta, which is approached by a long narrow strait, dominated by
the castle of Prevesa. Once inside he anchored his galleys in such a
position that they could fire direct out to sea, thus overwhelming with
their fire any vessel attempting to enter.

Barbarossa now occupied the same position as did Octavius in his
combat with Antony. The rôle of the latter general was now taken by
Doria. Antony, like Doria, had heavy ships which could not advance
to the attack owing to their too great draught. Octavius, with his
light-draught ships, could both attack and retreat into safety if

On September 22nd Doria, having collected all his ships, gave orders
to fill up with wood, water, and fresh provisions. On the 25th, to
the sound of the trumpet, the Commander-in-Chief, with his fleet of
two hundred sail, weighed anchor and sped before the wind rapidly
southwards. Grimani commanded the advance-guard, Doria was in the
centre, Vincenzo Capello, with his Venetians, brought up the rear.
Formed in two columns, the nefs followed the galleys; the _Galleon of
Venice_, commanded by Condalmiero, a squadron in herself, preceded them.

[Illustration: GALEASSE UNDER SAIL.]

From the anchorage at Corfu to the entrance of the Gulf of Arta is
about fifty-eight miles, and, traversing this distance during the hours
of daylight, the fleet anchored, as night fell, under Cape Prevesa.
The Galleon which acted as what we should now call the guide of the
fleet, anchored in sixteen feet of water, which was barely sufficient
to keep her afloat.

The Gulf of Arta, in which, as we have said, the fleet of the Moslems
were now anchored, presents very curious physical peculiarities: it
is twenty-two miles in length from east to west, and fifteen miles in
breadth from north to south. This sheet of water is formed into an
immense bay by the configuration of the land, and its depth, in places,
is from one hundred and thirty to two hundred feet. Inside it all the
navies in the world might ride at anchor, were it not for the fact that
the entrance is closed by a bar upon which the depth varies from six
and a half to thirteen feet. With his light-draught ships Barbarossa
occupied the interior position, while the heavy ships of Doria must in
any event remain outside. A strong sea-breeze was blowing on shore;
all night the nefs and the galleys were nearly rolling their gunwales
under. In these packed and crowded vessels the misery and discomfort of
their crews may be imagined. On the morning of the 26th, however, the
west wind dropped, and a light wind sprang up from the northward.

The position at this time was one of surpassing interest. Here at long
last the two most renowned sea-captains of the time were face to face.
Each was aware that his antagonist was worthy of his steel, also that
great issues, political and national, hung upon this conflict; which
was no mere affair of outposts, but a struggle to the death as to
whether the Crescent or the Cross was in time to come to be supreme
in the tideless sea. And yet—such is the irony of fate—this battle
proved indecisive, and it was not until thirty years later, at the
battle of Lepanto, that this momentous question was set at rest for a

Would Doria, greatly daring, go in and risk all in attacking a
fortified position; or would Barbarossa make a sally and fight it out
to the death on the element on which he was so supremely at home?

But Doria had no mind to attack a fleet anchored under the guns of
a fortress; Barbarossa would not risk all in an encounter with a
foe possessed of great numerical superiority without orders from
Constantinople. On Doria’s side nothing but a disembarkation and a
land-attack would offer a fair security for success, Kheyr-ed-Din,
who held, as we have said, the interior position, was well aware of
this fact, and in this supreme moment of his career was not disposed
to give away any advantage. The situation occupied by Kheyr-ed-Din
at the battle of Prevesa was, in a sense, different from any which
he had held before, as he was in this case hampered by his sense of
responsibility as Admiralissimo to the Grand Turk. What happened on the
distant shores of Africa mattered but little to that monarch, and he
had been content to allow his admiral an entirely free hand; here in
Europe, on the shores of Greece, so close relatively to his own capital
city, it was a very different matter, and Soliman was kept in touch
with the happenings of his fleet as far as was possible in those days.
But if the great corsair did not add to his reputation in this eventful
campaign he still displayed an aptitude in realising the situation
which, it is safe to say, was shown by none of those under his

Prevesa illustrates for us more than any other action the difficulties
with which the path of the partisan leader in these days must always
have been filled; and how it was that personal ascendancy was the only
force to which such a leader had to trust Sheer dominance of the minds,
the wills, and the bodies of others had placed Kheyr-ed-Din where he
was; all his life he had commanded undisciplined pirates, and yet now,
when he was the properly accredited officer of a mighty monarch, when
he might have expected far more discipline and subordination than had
ever been his lot in the past, he was met with a contumaciousness which
he was unable to quell, and was forced into taking steps which, in his
own unequalled knowledge of war, he knew to be doomed to disaster.

Around him the Reis, or captains of the Moslem galleys, clamorously
demanded that he should take precautions against a land-attack. It
was true that the raid which had been made by Grimani had been easily
repulsed, but in present circumstances there was no question of a mere
raid, as, should the Christian admiral so decide, he could land twenty
thousand men. Sinan Reis, an old Osmanli warrior, furious with jealousy
that the chief command should be in the hands of a corsair, sustained
his opinion in a manner which augured ill for the hearty co-operation
of all the Turkish forces. Sinan was just one of those blindly valiant
fighters from whom the politic Ibrahim had desired to deliver his
master when he had urged the appointment of Kheyr-ed-Din: brave as
a lion, keen as the edge of his own good scimitar, fanatical, as
became a Hodja who had visited the Holy Places, Sinan was a type of
the Turkish sea-officer: devoid of strategical instinct and tactical
training, his one idea was a headlong attack, then victory or the
houris of Paradise. It will be seen that Barbarossa had not only Doria
and the Christian fleet and army against which to contend on this

The peril conjured up by Sinan Reis on this occasion was not altogether
an imaginary one: the idea of a disembarkation had, in point of fact,
been seriously discussed that very morning by Andrea Doria and his
council of war, at which Hernando de Gonzaga, Generalissimo of the
troops embarked, had advised a landing. His argument, embodied in a
long and technical harangue, may be reduced to the following:

  “If we cannot go straight at the enemy and force our way
  through the entrance under his cannon why should we not
  reduce the fortress of Prevesa by a siege? Once masters
  of this height, we could close the strait by sinking
  in it vessels laden with stones, and we then have the
  Ottoman fleet at our mercy.”

But Doria the sailor was not to be led by Gonzaga the soldier. He said:

  “The advice seems sound, but in reality it would prove
  most dangerous if followed. Barbarossa must have
  landed some of his men, the cavalry which defeated
  Grimani’s raid will no doubt come again from the
  interior, if necessary. If we deprive our ships of their
  soldiers we expose ourselves to a sea-fight under most
  disadvantageous conditions. But most, important of
  all is the fact that time presses; the season is far
  advanced; at any time the fleet may be driven off these
  shores by a storm, in which case what would become of
  the troops left on shore? Again, if it comes on to blow
  a tempest from the westward we may lose not only our
  troops, but our ships, in fact the whole expedition.”

At the battle of Actium, Octavius occupied the shore upon which
Hernando Gonzaga wished to land and assault; but notwithstanding this
fact Octavius did not attempt the passage of the gulf but waited for
his enemy outside. Doria was therefore all the more justified in not
sacrificing ships and men in attempting to force an entrance now
that this same shore was in the hands of the enemy. He was asked, he
said, to thrust his head into the mouth of the wolf, and this he was
determined not to do.

In the meanwhile Barbarossa was using much the same language to his
captains as was Doria.

“My brothers,” said he, “you wish to transport cannon and raise
redoubts on this uncovered shore because you think that the Christians
will disembark and seize it: if you attempt this I tell you that the
guns of the enemy will annoy you terribly., Not only this, supposing
that Doria, profiting by the moment that our vessels are empty of
troops, should attack in force, we cannot with five thousand men
repulse twenty thousand. The fort of Prevesa will defend itself quite
sufficiently well with its own garrison; our business is to think
of the fleet and not to weaken in any way our means of attack and
defence, If the infidels force, or attempt to force, an entry into
the port, they will be most likely merely losing time and ammunition
in cannonading us. You know that it is principally in this that these
accursed dogs do trust, whereas we, O men of Islam, will place our
confidence in God, in Mahomet his Prophet, in the strength of our right
arms, in the keenness of our scimitars; we will carry them by boarding,
therefore we must keep our crews on board,”

But Barbarossa had not that absolute domination of the forces under
his command which should be the prescriptive right of any leader.
Sinan-Reis, the implacable be-turbaned old Osmanli, held him in bitter
scorn. “Your advice may be good,” he retorted, “but we think our plan
the better.”

The admiral suggested a reconnaissance of the site, which was merely
a ruse to gain time. This was carried out under his own supervision,
and confirmed him in the idea that disembarkation was folly; but
Sinan-Reis and the Janissaries held obstinately to their opinion, while
the “Joldaks,” or Turkish soldiers in the galleys, grumbled among
themselves that Kheyr-ed-Din must indeed be full of vanity to reject
the counsels of one like Sinan-Reis.

Both commanders-in-chief, Christian and Moslem, seem on this occasion
to have taken an absolutely correct view of the problem as it was
presented; but whereas Andrea Doria was a real commander-in-chief,
Barbarossa was forced to consider and to defer to the opinions of men
whom he knew to be in the wrong.

It was against his better judgment that Kheyr-ed-Din at last
yielded; the men were backing up their officers, a spirit of
disaffection was abroad in the armada: such a thing as this a wise
chief must gauge at its true value, and stop before it goes too far.
The Osmanli were murmuring against “the corsair”; it was time to let
them see whether they or their war-worn leader possessed the greater

According to Moslem chroniclers the valour of Kheyr-ed-Din was only
equalled by his piety; consequently he murmured a prayer into that
famous beard of his, which was now so much nearer to white than red,
and gave orders that the cannon shall be immediately disembarked. “Let
the will of God and of His Prophet be accomplished; that which is
written is that which will take place,” exclaimed this pious man as he
watched the preparations being carried out under the supervision of

That which “took place” was precisely and exactly what the
Commander-in-Chief had predicted from the first: no sooner had
Mourad-Reis landed upon the exposed beach, and attempted to open a
trench, than he was met by a furious and concentrated fire from the
galleys and nefs of the Christian fleet. To entrench themselves was
impossible in the circumstances, as they had been told by the Admiral
before they started on this harebrained adventure. There could be
only one result, which was that, after a cruel and perfectly useless
slaughter, the soldiers of Mourad-Reis had to retreat before the hail
of shot poured upon them, and to return ignominiously to their vessels.

It is not on record what Kheyr-ed-Din said to Sinan, Mourad, and
those other tacticians who had recommended the landing; which perhaps
is a pity.

Doria then made a tentative movement against the strait by a detachment
of galleys; Barbarossa told off an equal number to oppose them, and
they mutually cannonaded and skirmished during the day. There was much
noise and excitement, but practically no advantage was gained by either
side, as Doria’s men could not risk passing the guns of the fort, nor
could those of Barbarossa the chance of being cannonaded by the heavy
vessels lying in wait-for them outside. And so the day closed down with
no success on either side, but with a decisive demonstration to the
Moslems that, if they desired victory, to their admiral had better be
left the organisation by which it was to be obtained.

Whether Doria really desired a pitched battle can never be known; that
which is certain is that, during the whole time the fleets were in
touch, all his dispositions make it appear there was nothing of which
he was so much afraid. And yet it was the opportunity of his life; he
had superiority in numbers, he had valiant and experienced leaders,
and sixty thousand men thirsting for battle, under his command. Also
he had his opportunity, which, had he seized upon, must have ended
in victory, did those who were under his orders only fight as he had
every reason to believe that they would. As it was, he threw away
the gift of fortune, and left to the Osmanli the practical dominance
of the Mediterranean Sea until that great day in 1571 when Don John
of Austria, the natural son of Charles V., proved to the world at
Lepanto that the Turk was not invincible upon the waters.

It is true that Doria was awkwardly situated; Kheyr-ed-Din held the
interior position, and that leader was a great believer in the adage
that “if Brag is a good dog, Holdfast is a better.” He was well aware
of his numerical inferiority, and in consequence refused to listen
to the frenzied appeals of the excited Moslems to be led against the
Christian dogs. It may seem a contradiction in terms to speak of the
moral courage of a pirate; but if ever that quality were displayed
to its fullest extent it was exhibited by Barbarossa in the Prevesa
campaign. In his intellectual outlook on all that was passing, both
inside and outside of the Gulf of Arta, in this September of 1538, we
see Kheyr-ed-Din at his best. Ever a fighter, he knew when to give
battle and when to refrain, when to sweep headlong upon the foe, but
also when to hold back and to baffle by waiting till the psychological
moment should arrive. Around him Sinan-Reis, Mourad-Reis, and half a
hundred others of their kidney were clamouring; they hurled insults at
his head, they heaped opprobrium on “the corsair,” they practically
incited their troops to mutiny in their mad appeals to be led against
the foe.

But “the corsair” kept his head, and kept his temper, and saved the
Ottoman fleet for his master from his great rival, Doria. That noble
Genoese seaman was for once in his life “letting I dare not wait upon I
would”; he would not order the attack for which his men were waiting,
and no provocation, apparently, could tempt Barbarossa to play
Antony to the Octavius of Doria; the Christian admiral was tempting
Providence at that advanced season of the year in keeping the sea on an
hostile coast on which at any time he might be driven by a tempest. His
old and experienced antagonist was well aware that the winds and the
waves might save him the trouble of destroying the fleet of the enemy;
an equinoctial gale would do that far more effectually than could he.
If Doria had an uneasy consciousness that he might at any time see the
shore littered with oarless galleys and dismasted nefs, while the sea
was filled with drowning men, the same vision had been vouchsafed to
his imperturbable adversary. Had it been left to the entire initiative
of Barbarossa, his Fabian tactics would assuredly have prevailed in
the end; but as it was he was surrounded by a clamouring host of men,
soldiers by trade, who, understanding nothing of the happenings of the
sea, merely derided as cowardice any postponement of what they regarded
as the inevitable battle. The admiral of the Sultan held out as long as
it was possible, but at last, owing to a new factor in the case, was
forced, against his better judgment, to offer the battle which it was
in his power to have withheld.



  How Alessandro Condalmiero fought the _Galleon of Venice_—
  “The King of the Sea is dead.”

There is something almost pathetic in the spectacle of a really great
leader badgered and importuned by lesser men to adopt a course which
he, with a superior insight, knows to be unsound. In the matter of the
landing Barbarossa had demonstrated that it was he whose knowledge of
war was superior to those who were so ready to thrust upon him their
opinions; this, however, did not content them, and they now desired to
close with the foe waiting for them outside. If ever a commander was
justified in waiting on events it was Barbarossa at this juncture; the
business of a commander-in-chief is to ensure victory, and if he sees,
as did the Moslem admiral on this occasion, that more is to be gained
by delay than by fighting, then he is justified in refusing battle:
particularly is this the case when the enemy is in greatly superior
force blockading on an open and dangerous coast at an inclement
season of the year. Every day that Doria was kept at sea added to
his difficulties, as fresh water and provisions would be running
short, and the energies of the human engines by which his galleys
were propelled would be weakened; naked men chained to a bench were
suffering from the blazing heat of the days, the cold and drenching
dews of the nights. All these things had the veteran seaman weighed in
his mind, they all inclined him to wait still longer in that secure
anchorage where he could not be touched by his foe.

There was one counsellor, however, whom even Kheyr-ed-Din could not
resist, and who had hitherto kept silence; this was the eunuch Monuc,
legal counsellor to Soliman, who had accompanied the armada. He now
brought the weight of his influence to bear upon the side of Sinan-Reis
and his colleagues.

“Are you going,” he asked the admiral, “to allow the infidels to escape
without a battle? Soliman can find plenty of wood to build new fleets,
plenty of captains to command them; he will pardon you if this fleet
is destroyed: that which he will never pardon is that you should allow
Doria to escape without fighting. You have brave men in plenty; why not
lead them to the attack?”

The patience of the veteran gave way at last; none who knew Barbarossa
had ever seen him shrink from fighting—to this his whole career bore
witness. He had delayed the issue from the soundest of strategical
reasons, which those under his command were too stupid and too
prejudiced to understand: what cared they for reason in their blind
valour?—they wished only to do or die heedless of the fact that
their lives might be spent in vain. Truly it was no thanks to the
subordinates of Kheyr-ed-Din that this campaign did not end in disaster
to the arms of the Ottoman Porte. Such backing as the admiral had
came from among his own men, the corsairs whose lives had been spent
at sea, but their opinions were but dust in the balance once the
all-powerful Monuc ranged himself on the side of the malcontents.

“Let us then fight,” said the admiral to Saleh-Reis, “or this fine
talker who is neither man nor woman will accuse us before the Grand
Turk and we shall all probably be hanged.”

The Christian fleet during the night of September 26–7th had made some
thirty miles to the southward; just before daybreak the wind freshened
and drew right ahead; Doria approached the island of Santa Maura and
anchored under the small islet of Sessola.

Barbarossa had now decided to leave his anchorage, but the veteran
seaman did not disguise from himself the risks which he ran: a greater
sea captain than he once said “only numbers can annihilate,” and it was
at annihilation that both the Moslem and the Christian aimed: in this
case, however, he knew that he could but hope for a hard-won victory,
and only that if Allah and his Prophet were unusually favourable to
his cause. He assembled his captains, many of whom had served with him
during long periods of his career, and directed them to form line: he
said, “I have but one order to give, follow my movements attentively
and regulate your own accordingly.”

With fustas, brigantines, galleots, and galleys, the Ottoman fleet
amounted in all to one hundred and forty sail. With shouts of joy the
soldiers hailed the command to weigh the anchors, and in a very short
time all were slowly moving seaward.

The die was cast: Doria from his anchorage at Sessola saw the sea white
with the sails of the enemy, the blue water churning to foam beneath
the strokes of his oars; the Ottoman fleet was issuing from the Gulf
of Arta manoeuvring with precision and deploying into a single line
abreast; which line being slightly concave, either from accident or
design, resembled the form of a crescent. In advance came six great
fustas commanded by Dragut; the left wing hugged the shore as closely
as possible; the Ottoman commander-in-chief intended to commence
operations on the first principles of strategy by flinging his whole
force on a portion of that of the enemy.

Andrea Doria remained undecided: he was on a lee shore, and that shore
was the coast of the enemy; although his foes were advancing to the
attack it seemed as if he had no mind to fight: whether he had or
had not he displayed a most remarkable sluggishness, hesitating for
three hours before getting up his anchors; these he only weighed at
last under pressure from the bellicose Patriarch of Aquilea, Vincenzo
Capello, and the Papal captain, Antonio Grimani. Doria had counted on
the support of the _Galleon of Venice_ and the nefs; but the galleon was
becalmed four miles from the land and ten miles from Sessola, where
Doria was at the beginning of the action.

Condalmiero sent a light skiff from the _Galleon of Venice_ to the
commander-in-chief demanding orders and help from the galleys.

“Begin the fight,” answered the admiral, “you will be succoured.”

The position of Condalmiero was that of a modern battleship which is
disabled and surrounded by foes in full possession of their motive
power; the great galleon floated inert upon the waters while the
galleys could fight or fly as they wished. The captain of the galleon,
however, had no alternative save to surrender or fight; but there was
no hesitation on his part, for a more gallant officer never trod the
decks of a warship of the proud Republic to which he belonged.

The Moslem galleys were now close upon him, although as yet out of
gun-shot; around him they wheeled and circled like a flight of great
sea-birds, their ferocious crews shouting their war-cries calling
upon Allah and the Prophet to give them the victory for which they
craved; many a brave Venetian who heard for the first time the name of
Barbarossa shouted in battle must have braced himself for the coming
conflict, knowing all that was imported by that terrible name. The
sun shone in a cloudless sky, the galleon lay becalmed in the middle
of furious and ravening foes, the succour promised by Doria was ten
miles away; they saw no movement which indicated help, and the odds
against them were heavy indeed. But all the nervousness was not on
one side, for the _Galleon of Venice_ was something new in the naval
warfare of the time; she carried engines of destruction in the shape
of great guns which the corsairs could by no means equal. Of this they
were well aware, and the attack was delayed while the oarsmen in the
galleys rested on their oars out of range to allow them breathing time
before the supreme moment arrived. But the hounds were only held in
leash; there came a signal which was answered by a concentrated yell
of fury and of hate; then from right ahead, right astern, on the port
side and the starboard, the galleys were launched to the attack. But
all on board the great Venetian vessel was as still as that death which
awaited so many of the combatants in this supreme struggle.

Condalmiero had caused the crew of the galleon to lie down upon her
decks, and stood himself, a gallant solitary figure in his shining
armour, a mark for the hail of shot so soon to be discharged. It came,
and with it the mast of the galleon bearing the Lion Standard of St.
Mark crashed over the side into the water; renewed yells of triumph
came from the Moslems, but still that ominous silence reigned on board
the galleon. Untouched, unharmed, the Osmanlis came on firing as
rapidly as possible until they were absolutely within arquebuss range.
Closer they came and closer; then the sides of the galleon burst into
sheeted flame, and the guns levelled at point-blank range tore through
the attacking host. Condalmiero was throwing away no chances; he had
directed his gunners to allow their balls to ricochet before striking
rather than to throw them away by allowing them to fly over the heads
of the enemy.

The first broadside did terrible execution; a ball one hundred and
twenty pounds in weight, fired by the chief bombardier, Francisco
d’Arba in person, burst in the prow of a galley so effectually that
all her people flew aft to the poop to prevent the water rushing in;
but the vessel was practically split in twain, and sank in a few
moments. All around were dead and dying men, disabled galleys, floating
wreckage; the _Galleon of Venice_ had taken a terrible toll of the
Osmanli; the order to retreat out of range was given, and never was
order obeyed with greater alacrity.

With accuracy and precision the galleon played upon such vessels as
remained within range, doing great execution. But she was now to be
subjected to an even severer test than the first headlong attack. She
had demonstrated to the Moslem leaders that here was no vessel to be
carried by mere reckless valour; a disciplined and ordered offensive
was the only plan which promised success; the Osmanli must use their
brain as well as their courage if that tattered flag, rescued from the
water, and nailed to the stump of the mast of the galleon, was ever to
be torn down. There was something daunting in the very aspect of the
solid bulk of the huge Venetian, something weird in the manner in which
her crew never showed, save only the steadfast figure of her captain
immovable as a statue of bronze, where he stood on her shot-torn poop.

This Homeric conflict was a triumph of discipline and gunnery on the
part of the Venetians; alert, accurate, and cool, the gunners of the
galleon threw away none of their ammunition: inspired by the heroic
spirit of their captain, great was the honour which they did on this
stricken field to the noble traditions of their forbears and the
service to which they belonged.

The first attack had been most brilliantly repulsed, but this was
only preliminary to a conflict which was to last all through the
day; the Moslem galleys withdrew out of gunshot and re-formed; then a
squadron of twenty advanced, delivered their fire, and retired; their
place was then taken by a second squadron, which went through the same
performance, and then came on a third. In this manner the attack, which
began one hour after noon, and which was continued until sunset, was
conducted. The galleon had thirteen men killed, and forty wounded; no
doubt the slaughter would have been much greater had it not been for
the enormous thickness of her sides and for the fact that the guns
carried by the galleys were necessarily light. Notwithstanding, the
galleon suffered terribly, she was a mass of wreckage; twice fire had
broken out on board of her, she was cumbered by fallen masts, battered
almost out of recognition, but still Condalmiero and her gallant crew
fought on imperturbably with no thought of surrender. Covered with
blood, wounded in the face and the right leg by flying splinters, her
captain preserved his magnificent coolness, and his decimated crew
responded nobly to his call. At eventide the fire from the galleon
was almost as deadly as it had been at the first onslaught, and many
galleys of the Turks were only saved from sinking by the activity
and bravery of their carpenters, who, slung over their sides in
“boatswains’ chairs,” drove home huge plugs of wood with their mallets
into the shot-holes made by the Venetian guns.

At the hour when the sun dipped below the horizon all the Turkish fleet
seemed assembled to assault the colossus which so long had resisted
their attack; there was a pause in the combat, and the firing died
down. Condalmiero and his men braced themselves for the assault which
they felt to be inevitable: for now the darkness was swiftly coming, in
which they could no longer see to shoot, and under cover of which their
numerous foes could assail them by boarding in comparative safety. Now
the moment had come for the last act in this terrible drama of the sea.
They had held their own at long odds throughout the whole of a hot
September day, and as the level beams of the setting sun shone on their
shattered ship they were prepared to die, fighting to the last man for
the honour of Venice and the glory of St. Mark.

Stiff and worn, wearied almost to the breaking strain, there was no man
on board who even dreamt of surrender; all the guns were charged to the
muzzle with bullets and broken stone, the artillerists match in hand
stood grimly awaiting the order to fire, straining their eyes and their
ears in the gathering darkness; in a few minutes at most they knew that
the fate of the _Galleon of Venice_ must be decided.

On board his galley, decorated for this occasion with scarlet banners,
Barbarossa himself directed the assaulting line. Never before when the
battle was joined had the gallant corsair been known to draw back; and
yet on this occasion he not only hesitated but actually hauled off. The
Venetians saw to their amazement that the expected attack was not to
be pushed home; for Barbarossa and his captains fell upon some lesser
vessels: the _Galleon of Venice_ was victorious.

Meanwhile Doria was displaying his mastery of tactics when it was
hard fighting that was wanted; he pretended that he wished to draw
the Ottoman fleet into the high seas in order that he might destroy
their galleys by means of the broadsides of his nefs; consequently
he executed useless parade movements when he should by all the rules
of warfare have closed with his enemy who was in distinctly inferior
force; as he had a fair wind there is only one conclusion to be drawn,
and that is that he did not want to fight.

His manoeuvres certainly mystified the Turks, who viewed his tactics
with mistrust, thinking them the outset of some deeply laid scheme; it
never entered into their calculations for one moment that the great
Andrea Doria, the terror of the Mediterranean sea, and the victor in
scores of desperate engagements, was anxious to avoid a fight.

Grimani and Capello, docile to the orders of their admiral, followed
him full of uneasiness and distrust; they were fighting men of the most
fiery description; to them the issue seemed of the simplest: there was
the enemy in inferior force to themselves, they had the weather gauge,
why delay the attack?

“For much less than this,” says Admiral Jurien de la Gravière, “the
English shot Admiral Byng in 1756.” The conduct of Doria on this
occasion has certainly never been explained; the two other leaders went
on board and remonstrated with their commander-in-chief; they were
neither of them men who could be treated as negligible quantities on
the field of battle; both belonged to that brilliant Venetian nobility
so renowned in commerce and in war. Marco Grimani was in command of the
Papal galleys, in itself a mark of the highest esteem and confidence
from a potentate second to none in his influence in the civilised
world. To Vincenzo Capello, Henry the Seventh of England confided
his royal person and the command of his fleet when he crossed the
Channel to encounter Richard the Second at Bosworth field. Five times
had he filled the office of Providiteur in Venice, twice had he been
commander-in-chief of her fleet, he was in perpetuity Procureur of St.
Mark, to him Venice owed her naval discipline. He wore on this day the
mantle of crimson silk with which the Republic invested her generals.
Bitter was the rage in his heart, and bitterly must he have spoken
to Doria, who, in spite of all remonstrances, continued his futile

There was glory won on this day, but it was gained neither by Andrea
Doria nor Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa. The _Galleon of Venice_ with
Alessandro Condalmiero and his gallant crew had shown to all a splendid
example of disciplined valour unexcelled in sixteenth-century annals.

Barbarossa had captured a Venetian galley, a Papal galley, and five
Spanish nefs, but he had recoiled from the assault on Condalmiero
when the prize was actually within his grasp. For the rest it was a
day of manoeuvring and tactics; tactics when sixty thousand men had
been embarked on board two hundred ships for a specific and definite
object on the side of the Christians and under the command of their
most celebrated admiral; and yet the balance of advantage was actually
gained by the inferior force. No subsequent glories can ever wipe this
stain from the scutcheon of Doria, or can excuse the fact that at
the most supreme moment of his career he failed to fight the battle
that he was in honour, in conscience, and in duty bound to deliver.
Next day the wind came fair for Corfu, and Doria, his ships untouched,
unscathed, unharmed, put his helm up and sailed away followed by his

Sandoval records the fact that Barbarossa, roaring with laughter the
while, was accustomed to say that Doria had even put out his lanterns
in order that no one might see whither he had fled. This was an
allusion to the fact—or supposition—that Doria extinguished on that
night the great poop lantern carried by him as admiral.

When Soliman the Magnificent heard of the result of this battle
he caused the town of Yamboli, where he was at the time, to be
illuminated, and in the excess of his joy he added one hundred thousand
aspres to the revenues of the conqueror; there were processions to
the Grand Mosque, and all Islam rejoiced and sang the praises of
the invincible admiral who had humbled to the dust the pride of the
Christian and caused the dreaded Doria to fly from before the fleet of
the Sultan.

This, the most historical, if not the greatest feat in the life of
Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa, was for him a triumph indeed; with a vastly
inferior force he had driven from the field of battle his “rival
in glory,” as he himself had denominated Andrea Doria, and he had
accomplished this feat notwithstanding the almost mutinous condition
of his own forces. In spite of this it is with Condalmiero and with
him alone that the glory of this day must rest; alone, absolutely
unsupported as we have seen, he fought one of those fights which bring
the heart into the mouth when we read of them; the stern pride of the
Venetian noble, who despised as canaille the pirate hosts by whom
he was assailed, had its counterpart in the sturdy valour of Chief
Bombardier Francisco d’Arba and the other nameless heroes of which
that good company was composed; to them we render that homage which so
justly is their due.

The whole campaign of Prevesa, as we have said, is a curious study
in hesitation, in dilatoriness, in absolute lack of initiative and
virility on the part of the two chief actors in the drama: that Doria
should fly from the field of battle in an untouched ship is only one
degree less incredible than that Barbarossa should have relinquished
his attack on the _Galleon of Venice_. It would almost seem as if on this
occasion each of the great rivals was hypnotised by the presence of
the other; all their lives they had been seeking honour and riches on
the sea, they knew, of course, that all men in both the world of Islam
and that of Christendom looked upon them in the light of the special
champions of the opposing sects, that the eyes of the entire world
were fastened on this meeting of theirs in the classic waters of the
Ambracian Gulf. In consequence neither man was at his best; indeed,
we might go further than this, and say that on this occasion both
lamentably failed. There is no fault to be found with the strategic
preliminaries to the final conflict, each admiral acting with prudence
and wisdom in the situation in which he found himself placed. That the
perfectly correct idea of not giving battle to a superior force when he
held so strong an interior position was given up by Barbarossa, was, as
we have seen, not his fault; and when he issued from his anchorage, in
deference to a sentiment among those under his command which he could
no longer resist, his dispositions seem to have been made with his
usual skill. Where he failed, however, was where, from all his previous
history, we should least have expected failure, in his abandonment of
the attack on the _Galleon of Venice_; this, of course, was inexcusable,
and can only be set down to failure of nerve at the supreme moment. The
ship had been battered by artillery all day long, a huge percentage
of her company were dead and wounded, and the remainder worn out with
fatigue. On the Moslem side we have seen that there were squadrons of
galleys able to relieve one another with no interference from Doria,
who was persisting in his futile manoeuvring miles away. Had the
galleon been boarded, as she might and should have been, at nightfall,
nothing could have saved Condalmiero and his crew: so strenuous,
however, had been their resistance, that the Turkish seamen feared the
issue; in consequence the battle between them and the Venetians was a
drawn one, with all the honours on the Christian side.

It is here that we shall take leave of Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa, as
although he was yet to live another eight years before he died in his
bed at Constantinople in July, 1548, there are no further happenings of
any great importance in his career.

“Valorous, yet prudent, furious in attack, far-seeing in preparation,
he ranks as the first sea-captain of his time;”[1] as the story of his
life has unfolded itself in these pages we have seen what manner of
man it was who terrified Europe, who made for himself a reputation
which stands out clear and distinct among all the great men of which
this century was so prolific. One of the surest methods of estimating
a strenuous man of action is to seek for the names of those by whom
he was surrounded: the men selected by him to assist in the carrying
out of the work of his life; thus in reading of Napoleon Bonaparte
we interest ourselves in his marshals, in reading of Nelson we note
the captains by whom he was supported. In the case of Kheyr-ed-Din
Barbarossa, a great man of action if one ever lived, we find no trace
of devoted adherents on that high plane of command we have indicated
in the cases cited above. That he had devoted followers enough is
absolutely certain, but of high officers we very seldom find a trace,
and these he treated with contumely and offence on many occasions;
witness the treatment meted out to Hassan and to Venalcadi. There
is practically no trace of his domestic life to be found, we cannot
discover that he possessed any intimate friend. There is none other in
all history to whom he can be satisfactorily compared; there are few
who in their generation have wielded such enormous powers, who have
climbed so high from the sheer unassisted force of their own intellect
and their own character.

[1] Stanley Lane Poole.

Physical strength such as is vouchsafed to one man in a million, a
constitution nothing could impair, endurance incomparable, were his
bodily attributes: an intellect cold, clear, and penetrating was
his, joined to an imperturbability of temperament which enabled him
to accept with a cheerful philosophy blows by which weaker men were
absolutely prostrated; his outlook on life was not dimmed by any
affections, and pity was a sensation which to him was entirely alien.
In this record of his deeds the reader has been spared all mention of
the atrocious tortures he was in the habit of inflicting on his victims
for any or no provocation, and many of them are as incomprehensible as
they are sickening. That in which he was supreme was his craft as a
seaman in an age when real seamen were rare; on land he was frequently
defeated, at sea there seems to be no record of such an occurrence. To
sum up, he appears to us in the light of history as a body, a brain,
and an intellect, without any trace of a heart. His path through life
was one unending trail of blood and fire, moistened by the tears of his
countless victims, followed by the curses of those whom he despoiled.
Yet, in spite of this, it is impossible not to admire the man who, by
his own superhuman energy, ever swept all obstacles from his path,
and caused the whole of the civilised world to quail at the name of

He died peacefully in his bed at Constantinople in July, 1546, to the
grief of the world of Islam and the inexpressible joy of Christendom.
“The king of the sea is dead,” expressed in three Arabic words, gives
the numerical value 953, the year of the Hegira in which he died.

For many years after his death no Turkish ship ever left the Golden
Horn without her crew repeating a prayer and firing a salute over the
tomb of Beshiktsah, where lie the bones of the first and greatest of
Turkish admirals, the corsair who was at one and the same time admiral,
pirate, and king.



In the sixteenth century the vessel of war in the Mediterranean was
essentially that oar-propelled craft known to us as the galley. As time
went on she was gradually superseded by the sailing man-of-war which
was able to carry that heavy ordnance which the light scantling of the
galley did not permit of her mounting; but for the use of the corsairs
who lived by means of raids and surprise attacks, whose business it was
to lie perdu on the trade routes, the mobility of the galley was of
prime importance, and they could not afford to trust to the wind alone
as a motive power. The galley was analogous to the steam vessel in that
it was independent of the wind to a large extent: human bone and muscle
supplied the part of engines, and those who fought upon the sea caused
themselves to be moved over the face of the waters by the exertions
of their enemies. It is true that upon one occasion, as we have seen,
Kheyred-Din Barbarossa did possess a fleet of galleys the rowers of
which were all Moslems, which crew upon battle being joined dropped
their oars, seized their weapons and assisted in the conquest of the
foe. But this was an isolated instance, as it was almost impossible
at any time and in any circumstances to procure free men ready to
undertake a life of such intolerable suffering as that of a rower
on board a galley; in consequence these men were almost invariably
slaves, or else in later times condemned felons whose judges had sent
them to work out their sentences upon the rowers’ bench. The great
characteristic of the galley was her mobility, and in a comparative
degree her speed, as for a short burst, when her crew of rowers were
fresh, their trained muscles were capable of tremendous exertion; for
any length of time, however, it is obvious that her speed must have
declined as the rowers became exhausted. She was long, narrow, of
extremely low freeboard, and slight depth of hold; a galley of 125 feet
between perpendiculars would perhaps be 180 feet over all taking in
the poop and the prow. A galley of this length would only have a beam
of 19 feet and a depth of hold of 7 feet 6 inches. The sailing ship
of contemporary times would for the same length have had a beam of
about 40 feet and an extremely high freeboard; she was in consequence
necessarily slow and incapable of sailing on a wind.

So distinct at this time was the line drawn between the sailing vessel
and the galley that the actual terminology used was entirely different;
that is to say, the names of such things as masts, sails, rudder,
tiller, stern, stempost, cutwater, etc., were not the same words; the
sailor who used sails could not understand his brother mariner who used
oars, and _vice versa_.

[Illustration: GALLEY UNDER OARS.]

What was necessary of course in the galley was many oars and many
hands to use them; the vessel was most skilfully constructed for this
purpose so as to get the fullest power from her human engines; the
result was that men were crowded on board of her to such an extent that
there was scarcely room to breathe, such a craft as the one of which
the dimensions have been given having on board some four hundred men.

Barras de la Penne, a French officer who in 1713 first went on board a
galley, thus describes what he saw:

  “Those who see a galley for the first time are astonished
  to see so many persons; there are an infinite number of
  villages in Europe which do not contain an equal number
  of inhabitants; however, this is not the principal cause
  of one’s surprise, but that so many men can be assembled
  in so small a space. It is truth that many of them have
  not room to sleep at full length, for they put seven men
  on one bench; that is to say, on a space about ten feet
  long and four broad; at the bows one sees some thirty
  sailors who have for their lodging the floor space of the
  rambades (this is the platform at the prow of the galley)
  which consists of a rectangular space ten feet long by
  eight in width. The captain and officers who live on the
  poop are scarcely better lodged, and one is tempted to
  compare their grandeur with that of Diogenes in his tub.

  “When the unpitying Libyan Sea surprises these galleys
  upon the Roman coasts, when the Norther lashes to foam
  the Gulf of Lyons, when the humid east wind of Syria
  is driving them off shore, everything combines to make
  life on board a modern galley a hell of misery and
  discomfort. The creaking of the blocks and cordage, the
  loud cries of the sailors, the horrible maledictions
  of the galley slaves, the groaning of the timbers,
  mingled with the clank of chains and the bellowings of
  the tempest, produce sentiments of affright in the most
  intrepid breasts. The rain, the hail, the lightning,
  habitual accompaniments of these terrific storms, the
  waves which dash over the vessel, all add to the horror
  of the situation, and although devotion is not as a rule
  very strongly marked on board a galley, you will hear
  these folk praying to God, and others making vows to the
  Saints; these would do much better not to forget God and
  his Saints when the danger is past.

  “Calm itself has also its inconveniences, as the evil
  smells which arise from the galley are then so strong
  that one cannot get away from them in spite of the
  tobacco with which one is obliged to plug one’s nostrils
  from morning till night.”

The gallant officer here goes into further details concerning the
vermin on board which it will be as well to spare the reader.

Jean Marteille de Bergeraq, who died at Culenbourg in 1777, was
condemned to serve on board the galleys in 1707 “in his quality of
Protestant”; he must indeed have been a man of iron constitution as he
lived to the age of ninety-five. This is his description of the life of
a _forçat_:

  “They are chained six to a bench; the benches are four
  feet wide covered with sacking stuffed with wool over
  which are thrown sheepskins which reach to the floor.
  The officer who is master of the galley slaves remains
  aft with the captain to receive his orders; there are
  two under officers, one amidships and one at the prow;
  all of these are armed with whips, with which they flog
  the absolutely naked bodies of the slaves. When the
  captain gives the order to row, the officer gives the
  signal with a silver whistle which hangs on a cord round
  his neck; the signal is repeated by the under officers
  and very soon all the fifty oars strike the water as
  one. Imagine six men chained to a bench as naked as they
  were born, one foot on the stretcher the other raised
  and placed on the bench in front of them, holding in
  their hands an oar of enormous weight, stretching their
  bodies towards the after part of the galley with arms
  extended to push the loom of the oar clear of the backs
  of those in front of them who are in the same attitude.
  They plunge the blades of the oars into the water and
  throw themselves back, falling on to the seat which bends
  beneath their weight. Sometimes the galley slaves row
  thus ten, twelve, even twenty hours at a stretch, without
  the slightest relapse or rest, and on these occasions
  the officer will go round putting into the mouths of
  the wretched rowers pieces of bread soaked in wine to
  prevent them from fainting. Then the captain will call
  upon the officers to redouble their blows, and if one of
  the slaves falls fainting upon his oar, which is a common
  occurrence, he is flogged until he appears to be dead and
  is then flung overboard without ceremony.”

The Italian captain, Pantero Pantera, of the _Santa Lucia_ galley, in his
work on “L’Armata Navale” published in 1614, gives it as his opinion
that although soldiers and sailors could be obtained for service in the
galleys if good pay were given, still no money could tempt any free man
to adventure himself as a rower for any length of time owing to the
intolerable sufferings which the “gallerian” was called upon to endure.
As, however, in the opinion of the captain it was most necessary
that the galleys should be manned, he thought that all judges should
in future send criminals aboard; those who had committed murder as
“lifers,” those who had committed lesser crimes _pro rata_. Those who by
the nobility of their birth or their physical incompetence were unable
to handle the oar should be called upon to pay for substitutes to act
for them; these were called “Buone-Voglie.”

There was not much difference after all between the methods used by the
seventeenth-century Italian to those actually in force in England at a
much later date when the Press Gang swept the honest and the dishonest
into its net in its midnight raids.

“The galley slaves,” observes Pantera, “cherish repose and sincerely
wish to avoid fatigue; in order to incite them to do their duty it is
necessary to use the whip as well as the whistle; by using it with
severity the officers will find that they are better obeyed, and it
will in consequence be good for the service, for fear of the whip is
the principal cause of good behaviour among the gallerians.” Further on
he observes that it is well not to flog them too severely and without
reason, “for this irritates the gallerians, as I have frequently
observed: this may cause them to despair and to wish for death as the
only sure way out of their troubles.” The excellent Pantera a little
later on even says that he cannot agree that the attempt to cure a sick
gallerian “is all nonsense, as is maintained by some persons,” as sick
men are a source of danger on board. He apparently was not prepared to
throw them overboard alive, but urges that the best way to avoid such
pestilences among them as killed forty thousand Venetians at the
port of Zara in 1570 is to embark sound and good victuals.

It is interesting to have a contemporary view of the correct treatment
of the galley slave from those who had to do with him. In the case
of the corsairs and their adversaries the gallerians were as a rule
prisoners of war, but as time went on and wars became less frequent
than they were throughout the sixteenth century, another source of
supply was tapped by sending to the galleys the criminals of any
country which desired to fill up the rowers’ benches. In consequence
there was always one thing which was feared above all others on board a
galley, and that was a rising of the slaves.

If they were not your enemies officially, they were a set of desperate
criminals ripe for any mischief should they get loose, and chained,
starved, beaten, frozen with the cold, baked by the summer heats,
tortured, murdered, they had nothing earthly for which to hope except
escape. If in the heat of battle there should occur a rising of the
slaves, then their masters knew that victory would declare itself
surely on the side of the enemy. Therefore that they should be
securely chained was the first and most important thing to which the
boatswain of a galley and his mates had to see. If by a bold stroke
they once freed themselves from their shackles it was a fight to the
death for those who erstwhile had been in command, as the gallerians,
outnumbering them and caring nought for their lives in comparison to
their liberties, were far the most formidable foes that they could be
called upon to encounter. When men are so treated that their daily
life is one long martyrdom they become the most dangerous force
in existence, and on the occasions which sometimes happened that the
slaves got the upper hand, there were none left of the fighting men of
the galley to tell the tale of their discomfiture.

In time of battle the gallerians were of course equally exposed to
death and wounds from the projectiles of the enemy as were the orthodox
fighting men; but to them came no rejoicing at the sound of victory;
rather they prayed for the defeat of their masters, as it frequently
happened that those against whom they were arrayed were their own
countrymen and friends by whom they hoped for release. Thus at Lepanto,
the Christian slaves, seeing the right wing of the Turkish fleet thrown
into disorder by the galleys of the Allies, broke out into furious
mutiny, succeeded in shattering their fetters and chains, attacked
their masters the Turks in the rear with incredible energy with any
weapons upon which they could lay their hands, and thus contributed in
no small measure to the ultimate triumph of the Christian arms.

The Captain Pantero Pantera and Barras de la Peine have written
exhaustively on the galley, her crew, her armament, her manner of
provisioning, her masts, sails, rigging, etc., and Admiral Jurien de
la Gravière has given a most painstaking exposition concerning the
technicalities of these craft. But to enter into too much detail would
be to weary the reader unnecessarily, who, it is apprehended, merely
desires that a general idea should be given of the way in which these
vessels were handled and fought.

It would appear that during the whole time that oar-propelled vessels
were used as warships their form did not differ to any material
extent, as certain limitations of size were obviously imposed on them
by the mere fact that they had to be moved by so finite and feeble a
force as human muscles, hearts, and lungs. No cruelty, however ghastly,
could extract from the gallerians more than a certain amount of work,
and the Captain Pantero Pantera, as we have seen, even advocates that a
certain minimum of consideration should be shown to them in order that
better work might be obtained. It was probable, however, that in the
case of the Christian slaves captured by the corsairs even this minimum
was to seek, as the numbers swept off by them were so enormous that
they could be used up and replaced without inconveniencing these rovers
of the sea, to whom compassion for suffering was absolutely unknown.

The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, or the Knights of Malta as they
were also called, used the galley in their unceasing warfare with the
Moslem. The General of the Galleys was a Grand Cross of the Order; the
captains were knights, and the second officer, or first lieutenant, was
known as the Patron. The crew of a galley of the knights had twenty-six
rowing benches and carried two hundred and eighty rowers and two
hundred and eighty combatants; the armament consisted of one bow cannon
which discharged a forty-eight pound ball, four other small guns, eight
pounders, and fourteen others which discharged stones.

“The Religion,” as the Knights were in the habit of describing
themselves, had certain definite stations assigned to each knight,
seaman, or officer during action. It is to be imagined, however,
that these were merely for the preliminary stages of the fight,
as it was seldom that time allowed for more than one discharge, or
at the most two, of the artillery, before the opposing galleys met
in a hand-to-hand conflict which must have immediately become an
indiscriminate mêlée.

The manner in which the galley should engage is thus contained in an
answer to a question of Don John of Austria, the victor of Lepanto. He
wrote to Garcia de Toledo, fourth Marquis of Villafranca, and General
of the Galleys of Sicily, to ask his opinion as to what distance it was
most efficacious to open fire in a naval action. Toledo replied that
“one cannot fire more than twice before the galleys close. I should
therefore recommend that the arquebussiers should hold their fire
until they are so close to the enemy that his blood will leap into the
face of him who discharges his piece. I have always heard it said, and
this by captains who are well skilled in the art of war, that the last
discharge of the cannon should be coincident with the noise made by the
breaking of the spurs carried in the prows of the galleys; in fact that
the two noises should be as one; some propose to fire before the enemy
does: this is by no means my advice.”

Artillery, it will be seen from this, played a comparatively
unimportant part in the combats between galley and galley; that in
these craft men still relied on the strength of their right arm and the
edge of their swords; there was still a certain contempt for villainous
saltpetre, which was looked upon as a somewhat cowardly substance,
preventing the warrior from settling his disputes in the good old
fashion of his forbears. In any case, when you practically had to
push the muzzle of your gun against your enemy’s body in order to hit
him, it was not a weapon upon which much reliance was to be placed.

There were, in addition to the galley, the nef and the galeasse;
the former of these was a sailing vessel pure and simple like those
remarkable caravels in which Columbus discovered America.

What these caravels were exactly like it was the good fortune of
the writer to see in the year 1893. This was the date of the great
exhibition of Chicago, and the American Government were most anxious to
have, and to exhibit if possible, an exact replica of these historic
craft. They accordingly communicated with the Spanish Government and
inquired if by any chance they possessed the plans and specifications
of the caravels of Columbus? Search was made in the archives of Cadiz
Dockyard and these priceless documents were discovered. From them the
ships were built in every respect the same as the wonderful originals
and then towed across the Atlantic by the United States cruiser
_Lancaster_. On their way they were brought to Gibraltar, where the
writer’s ship was then stationed, and were anchored inside the New
Mole. The _Santa Maria_, the flagship of Columbus, was a three-masted
vessel with a very high “forecastle” and “sterncastle” and very deep in
the waist; she had three masts, the foremast carrying one square sail,
the mainmast having both mainsail and main-topsail, the mizzen was
rigged with a lateen sail, on the mainsail was painted the Maltese and
on the foresail the Papal cross, and on deck she carried a brick-built
cooking galley. A most beautiful model of this vessel is to be seen
in the Science and Art Department of the South Kensington Museum.

The nef in its later manifestations became a much more seaworthy vessel
than this, with four masts, the two foremost ones square-rigged and
carrying courses and topsails, the two after ones carrying lateen
sails; the latter from their small size and their proximity to one
another could not have had much effect on the sailing qualities of the
ship. The nefs in the fleet of Don John of Austria in 1571 were rigged
in this fashion and comprised vessels of eight hundred, nine hundred,
and even one thousand tons, while a contemporary English vessel, the
_Great Harry_ or _Henri Grace à Dieu_, was as much as fifteen hundred
tons, and carried no less than one hundred and eighty-four pieces
of ordnance. It was from the nef and the galeasse that the sailing
man-of-war arrived by the process of evolution. The galley in the first
instance was the vessel of men who fought hand to hand, the men in
whom personal strength and desperate valour were blended, who desired
nothing so much as to come to close grips with their enemy. Such rude
engines of war as the pierriers, or short cannons which discharged
some forty or fifty pounds of broken stone upon the enemy, were first
mounted in the galley; these were followed by improved artillery as
time went on. But although the galleys eventually carried quite big
guns, as instanced by the forty-eight pounder in the galleys of the
Knights of St. John, still it soon became apparent that the limit was
reached by guns of this weight; the galley was essentially a light
vessel and was not built to withstand those rude shocks caused by
firing heavy charges of powder.

The galeasse was the connecting link between the navy of oars and the
navy of sails. The navy of oars was in its generation apt for warlike
purposes; but it was in its essence a force analogous to the light
cavalry of the land; useful for a raid, a sudden dash, but without that
great strength and solidity which came in later years to the building
of the sailing line of battleship.

The galeasse was really a magnified galley, one which used both sails
and oars, on board of which the rowers were under cover; she was built
with a forecastle and a sterncastle which were elevated some six feet
above the benches of the rowers, and her very long and immensely heavy
oars were of course proportionate to the size of the vessel. The
description of a galeasse of nearly one thousand tons burden is set
forth as follows by Jurien de la Gravière:

  “Her draught of water was about 18 feet 6 inches, she
  was propelled by 52 oars, 48 feet in length, each oar
  being worked by 9 men. Her crew consisted of 452 rowers,
  350 soldiers, 60 marines, 12 steersmen, 40 ordinary
  seamen, 86 cannoneers, 12 petty officers, 4 boatswains’
  mates, 3 pilots, 2 sub-pilots, 4 counsellors, 2 surgeons,
  4 writers, 2 sergeants, 2 carpenters, 2 caulkers, 2
  coopers, 2 bakers, 10 servants, a captain, a lieutenant,
  a purser. In all some thousand men, or about the same
  number as the crew of a three-decker of a later date.”

The fleet of the “Holy League” at the battle of Lepanto had in it
six galeasses from the arsenal of Venice; and whereas an average
galley carried 110 soldiers and 222 galley slaves, the crews of these
galeasses comprised 270 soldiers, 130 sailors, and 300 galley slaves.

The speed of the galley was calculated by the French engineer Forfait
to be in the most favourable circumstances, that is to say in a flat
calm, but four and a half knots for the first hour, and two and a
quarter to one and a half miles per hour for subsequent hours; the
exhaustion of the rowers consequent on their arduous toil would not
admit of a greater speed than this. The studies of Forfait were made
when the invasion of England by rowing boats was a topic of burning
interest. It is evident from this that long voyages, trusting to the
oar alone, could not be undertaken; but as we have seen, the galley was
also provided with motive power in the shape of two masts carrying the
lateen sail, which may be still seen in so many Mediterranean craft.

That the galley was no vessel in which to embark in bad weather is
instanced for us by the disasters which befell a Spanish fleet of
these craft in 1567 under the Grand Commander of Castile, Don Luiz
de Requesens. A revolt of the Moors in Granada had caused Philip the
Second to wish to withdraw a certain number of Spanish troops from
Italy. Requesens was sent to Genoa with twenty-four galleys to embark
a detachment of an army corps then stationed in Piedmont. Each galley
embarked one hundred and fifty soldiers; they then got under way and
reached the island of Hyères, where they anchored, the weather being
too bad to proceed. At the end of their eighth day in port a number
of vessels were seen flying to the eastward before the wind; it was
a squadron of Genoese.

Requesens, who was no seaman, was furious. Here were the Genoese at
sea, and he wasting his time in harbour; if they could keep the sea
why could not he, he demanded? He instantly ordered the anchors to be
weighed. The commander of the Tuscan galleys, of which there were ten
in the fleet, immediately went on board the galley in which Requesens
was embarked and represented that the wind was foul and that should
they leave their anchorage they could make no headway once they got
clear of the land. But Requesens was obstinate: “if others can go
on their way it is shameful that I should not proceed on mine,” he
protested. Alfonso d’Aragona argued with him in vain, representing
that his master, the Duke of Tuscany, would hold the Grand Commander
responsible for damage to his galleys. It was all in vain, as the Grand
Commander was too arrogant and stupid to listen to advice from anybody.
The fleet put to sea and struggled out a mile from the land; when they
got thus far Requesens discovered his mistake and regretted that he had
not taken the advice of the mariners; but it was now too late, they had
drifted to leeward of their anchorage and could not get back again.

One galley, a new vessel, ran into another which was an old one, and
sank her on the spot, carrying all her luckless crew to the bottom.
The remaining vessels scattered far and wide; Alfonso d’Aragona
found refuge in the Bay of Alghieri, two more of his galleys reached
an anchorage in the Isle of St. Pierre, another sheltered in the
Gulf of Oristano; three galleys were shipwrecked on the coast in
this neighbourhood and lost many of their men; yet another, called
the _Florence_, was twice nearly wrecked on the coast of Barbary, and
eventually reached the Bay of Cagliari. A Genoese captain found himself
as far afield as the Island of Pantellaria, two galleys were never
heard of again, and the Grand Commander himself anchored eventually in
the Bay of Palamos on the Spanish coast. Of the twenty-four galleys
which left their anchorage twelve were lost and the twelve which
remained were practically valueless until large sums had been spent in

It is small wonder in the light of these events that the seamen who
ranged the Mediterranean in vessels propelled by oars regarded the
winter as a close season and laid up their galleys in harbour. They
were seaworthy enough for ordinary weather, but could not withstand
such a tempest as the one in which Requesens put to sea. The whole
story is only a further proof of the folly of putting supreme command
of a sea-going venture in the hands of a man totally ignorant of the
hazards he was called upon to encounter. In the sixteenth and even in
the seventeenth centuries this was done perpetually, and if no disaster
occurred it was because no bad weather was encountered.


As time went on the sailing ship became larger and larger and was
able to mount more and more powerful ordnance; this had the effect of
discounting the value of the galley as a fighting ship; in consequence
she became practically obsolete, for the line of battle, after the
combat at Lepanto. In spite of this she was to linger on for many
long years to come as the weapon of the corsairs who had established
themselves on the coast of Africa. The “long ship” was still to be the
cause of many an awful sea tragedy, whether the actors therein were
the pirates who hailed from the Barbary coast or their most capable
imitators the notorious rovers of Sallee.



  How he became Lieutenant to Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa—His
  capture by Jannetin Doria—His four years as a galley
  slave—His ransom by his old chief.

In character, in capability, in strategic insight, in tactical
ability, not one of the predecessors or the successors of Kheyr-ed-Din
Barbarossa can be compared to him; he was the greatest and most
outstanding figure of all those corsairs of whose deeds we hear so
much during the sixteenth century, the man above all others who was
feared and hated by his contemporaries in Christendom. He lived, as we
have said, for another eight years after the battle of Prevesa, but
his great age prevented him from pursuing a very active career. There
were, however, other and younger men, trained in the terrible school
of hardship in which his life had been passed, who proved themselves
to be his very worthy successors, even if they did not display the
same genius in war and statecraft. The conditions of this period are
somewhat remarkable when we come to consider them; Europe, which had
been sunk in a rude and uncultured barbarism during the middle ages,
was emerging under the influence of the Renaissance into a somewhat
higher and nobler conception of life. It is true that the awakening
was slow, that morally the plane on which the peoples stood was far
from being an elevated one, that altruism was far from being the note
of the lives lived by the rulers of the so-called civilised nations.
For all this they had emerged from that cimmerian darkness in which
they had lived so long, and the dawn of better things, of more stable
government, of some elementary recognition of the rights of those
governed, was beginning to show above the murky horizon.

But if the sun of European progress was slowly and painfully struggling
through the clouds, the light which had shone brightly for over seven
centuries of Moslem advance was certainly and surely dying. Beneath the
mail-clad heel of the Christian warrior the torch of learning which
had burned so brightly in Cordova and Granada had been extinguished
and ground into the dust, and the descendants of the alumni of those
universities were seeking their bread in the Mediterranean Sea in the
guise of bloodthirsty and desperate pirates.

There were no longer among the Moors of Andalusia learned philosophers,
expert mathematicians, wise astronomers, and practical agriculturists;
there was among them but one art, one science, one means of gaining a
livelihood—the practice of war—and their very existence depended on the
spoils which could be reft from the hereditary enemy. The corsair who
grew to man’s estate, brought up in Algiers, Tunis, Tenes, Jerba, or
any other of the lurking places in which the sea-wolves congregated,
had as a rule no chance but to follow the sea, to exist as his father
had existed before him; he must fight or starve, and in a fighting
age no youngster was likely to be backward in taking to the life of
wild excitement led by his elders. Unless following in the train of
one of the leaders, such as Barbarossa, the Moslems were apt to take
to the sea in a private capacity; a certain number of them joining
together to man a small craft which was known as a brigantine. As has
been said in a previous chapter, this word must not be understood in
the light of the terminology of the modern seaman: the brigantines of
the Moslem corsairs were really large rowing boats, carrying fourteen
to twenty-six oars, and made as seaworthy as the small size of such
craft would allow. Should the venture of the crew of a brigantine prove
successful, then the reis, or captain, might blossom out into the
command of a galley, in which his oars would be manned by his slaves;
but, in the first instance, he would man his brigantine with a crew of
Moslem desperadoes working on the share system and dividing anything
that they could pick up; in this manner most of those corsairs who
became famous commenced their careers, and rose as we have seen from
the thwart of a brigantine to the unstable eminence of a throne in
Algiers, Tunis, or Tlemcen.

This life which they led made of them what they were, namely desperate
swordsmen, efficient men at arms, incomparably skilful in the
management of the craft in which they put to sea; but it did nothing
else for them in the way of education; in consequence he who would rise
to the top, who aspired to be a leader amongst them and not to remain a
mere swash-buckling swordsman all his life, was bound to acquire that
dominance necessary for control of the wild spirits of the age. Nor
was this ascendancy by any means easy to obtain, as the rank and file
led lives of incredible bitterness, almost inconceivable to modern
ideas. What they suffered they alone knew, but it was compounded of
hunger, thirst, heat, cold, sickness unrelieved by care or tending,
wounds which festered for lack of medicaments, death which ever stared
them in the face, and last, and worst of all, the risk of capture by
some Christian foe, by whom they would be chained to the rowers’ bench
and taste of a bitterness absolutely unimaginable. As a set-off to
this the man who aspired to lead must offer to his followers at least
a record of success in small things; also he had to be something of an
enthusiast, something of an orator, some one subtly persuasive. Against
all the disagreeables of the strenuous life of the corsair he had to
hold before the dazzled eyes of Selim, Ali, or Mahomet the promise of
fat captures of the merchant vessels of the foe; when they had but
to slit a few throats and to return with their brigantines laden to
the gunwale with desirable plunder. Again he had to hearten them for
possible encounters with Spaniards, with the terrible Doria, or worst
of all with the dreaded Knights of St. John themselves; to point out
that to die in conflict with the infidel was a sure passport to heaven
and its houris, and to invoke great names, such as that of Barbarossa
to show to what dizzy heights the fighting Moslem could climb. In such
an age and among such men as these it was no mean feat to become a
leader by whom men swore and to whom they yielded a ready obedience.

Fashioned by the hammer of misfortune on the anvil of racial
expropriation, such leaders arose among the Moslems, men of iron,
before whom all who worshipped at the altars of Islam bowed the knee.
These men, whose fame extended throughout all the length and breadth
of the Mediterranean, taught to European rulers something of the value
of that great force which is known to us under the modern name of “Sea

Next in importance to Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa himself and in many ways
his very worthy successor, was Dragut Reis. We have it on the authority
of Messire Pierre de Bourdeille, the Seigneur de Brantôme, that Dragut
was born at a small village in Asia Minor called Charabulac, opposite
to the island of Rhodes, and that his parents were Mahommedans. Being
born within sight and sound of the sea, the youthful Dragut naturally
graduated in the school of the brigantine and completed his education
on board of a galley. His training was that which makes the best of
fighting seamen, as from contemporary records he appears to have passed
all his life actively engaged on board ship. At a very early age he
entered the service of a master gunner who served on board the galleys
of the Grand Turk. Under his auspices the youngster became an expert
pilot in his own home waters, and likewise a most excellent gunner.
Dragut was evidently a youth of ability and determination, as almost
before he reached man’s estate he had succeeded in buying a share in
a cruising brigantine where his venture prospered so exceedingly that
he was soon able to become sole proprietor of a galeasse. Here again
fortune favoured the enterprising young man; his name began to be
known as a formidable corsair in the Levant, where he was remarkable
for his knowledge of that portion of the Mediterranean.

To better his condition he offered his services to Barbarossa at
Algiers, who accepted this new subordinate with joy, delighted to have
so valiant and capable a man under his orders.

“During some years,” says J. Morgan in his _Compleat History of Algiers_,
1728, “he was by that basha intrusted in the direction of sundry
momentous expeditions; in which he acquitted himself much to the
satisfaction of his principal: as having never once been unsuccessful.”
When we remember the treatment meted out by Barbarossa to some of his
unsuccessful lieutenants, Dragut must be esteemed a very fortunate
man. His master, we are told, advanced him to all the military offices
of the State—it would be interesting to know what these were in a
purely piratical confederation ruled by a pirate! In the end Dragut
was appointed to be kayia, or lieutenant, and given entire command of
twelve galleys.

“From thenceforward this redoubtable corsair passed not one summer
without ravaging the coasts of Naples and Sicily; nor durst any
Christian vessel attempt to pass between Spain and Italy; for if
they offered it he infallibly snapped them up, and when he missed
his prey at sea, he made himself amends by making descents along the
coasts plundering villages and towns and dragging away multitudes of
inhabitants into captivity.”

That “no vessel durst pass from Spain to Italy” is no doubt a
picturesque form of exaggeration on the part of the historian; at
the same time, when Dragut was at the height of his activities there is
no doubt that any one passing through those seas ran a great risk of
capture; so much so in fact that at this period, from 1538, the date
of the battle of Prevesa, until Lepanto in 1571, all maritime commerce
in the Mediterranean was greatly circumscribed. At the beginning of
this epoch, which saw the rise of the Moslem corsairs, these robbers
perforce confined themselves more to the North African coast than
was the case later on. The pioneers of the piratical movement, after
the fatal date 1492, which saw the wholesale expulsion of the Moors
from Spain, were comparatively speaking inexpert practitioners in the
art and mystery of piracy; they had not the habit of the sea, and in
consequence confined their depredations to the neighbourhood of their
own selected ports in Africa, which dominated that sea lane running
east and west through the Mediterranean, which then, as now, was one of
the greatest highways of commerce of the world. Gradually, as we have
seen, under the able guidance of the two Barbarossas, but particularly
that of the second and greater of the two, piracy became a commonplace
in the north, as well as in the south, of the tideless sea; the
corsairs, as time went on, even devoting more time and attention to
the coast of Italy and the islands of the archipelago than they did to
the recognised trade routes. These latter had become by 1540 similar
to an estate which has been shot over too frequently; birds had become
both wild and scarce, it was hardly worth while to go over the ground,
except now and again on the chance of picking up a straggler. Towns
and islands, on the other hand, even if they did not yield much in
the way of actual plunder, were always good cover to beat for slaves,
which had a certain value in the markets of Algiers and Tunis. Another
circumstance which had led to the now frequent raids on the littoral of
the European countries was the countenance and support accorded to the
corsairs by the Grand Turk: so admirably did they fit into the scheme
of his ambitions, that by the time Dragut arrived at a commanding
position they were, so to speak, officially recognised as a fighting
asset of the Sublime Porte; and, as we have seen, the Sultan did not
hesitate to lend his picked troops, the Janissaries, to the corsairs
when engaged in their ordinary piratical business. To the Grand Turk
the corsairs were Moslems who were prepared to fight on his side,
and who, taking it all in all, really cost him hardly anything; in
fact, at this date, owing to the magnificent gifts made to the Sultan
by Kheyr-ed-Din, the Padishah must have made something out of his
association with the sea-wolves.

By the year 1540 Dragut had distinctly “arrived”; that is to say, he
had succeeded in making himself so dreaded that Charles V. ordered
Andrea Doria to seek him out and destroy him at any cost. The Christian
admiral was “to endeavour by all possible means to purge the sea of so
insufferable a nuisance.”

Andrea got ready a fleet, which he entrusted, together with the care
and management of this affair, to his nephew Jannetin Doria. This was
the nephew who, in the disastrous attack by Charles on Hassan Aga
at Algiers in the following year, was so nearly lost in the storm
which destroyed the fleet of the emperor; and of whom Andrea Doria is
reported to have said, “It was decreed that Jannetin should be reduced
to such an extremity purposely to convince the world that it was not
impossible for Andrea Doria to shed a tear.” Certainly from what we
know of the celebrated Genoese admiral it is hard to imagine him in a
tearful mood. Jannetin Doria put to sea, and, after a long hunt, found
the object of his quest at Andior on the coast of Corsica; Dragut was
at anchor in the road of Goialatta, under a castle situated between
Cabri and Liazzo. The corsair knew nothing of his enemies being at sea,
and was in consequence keeping no particular look-out. Although we are
not told the composition of the fleet of Jannetin Doria, it must have
been a large one, as Dragut had under his orders thirteen galleys, and
was unable to withstand the attack to which he was subject. He was also
assailed from the shore, as well as the sea, as the castle under which
he was at anchor opened fire upon him as soon as it was discovered by
its garrison that the new arrivals were Christians. The fire was too
hot for the corsair to withstand, and, to add to his embarrassments,
the beach soon became lined by hundreds of the fierce Corsi, awaiting
the inevitable end when they should be able to fall upon the defeated
Moslems and wipe them from off the face of the earth; it was a warfare
in which there was no mercy, and if the pirates were to fall into the
hands of the islanders they knew well that they would be exterminated.

In all his venturesome life things had never gone so badly with Dragut
as upon this occasion. On the one side, should he and his men land
they would be massacred; on the other hand, his road to the open sea
was barred by an immensely superior force. Recognising the logic of
circumstances, and seeing no way of escape, the white flag was hung out
by the Moslem leader. The only terms, however, which he could obtain
were immediate surrender or instant death. It must have been a moment
of anguish to the man who hitherto had always ridden on the crest of
the wave of success and achievement to be thus trapped like a rat;
and to have the added bitterness of the thought that had he exercised
seamanlike care and precaution in keeping a good look-out he might
have escaped. As it was, he was allowed no time for reflection, but
had to decide on the instant: he did the only thing possible in the
circumstances, which was to haul down his flag and to become the thrall
of his lifelong foes.

The principal captives were made to pass before young Doria. When
Dragut beheld him he cried out in a fury: “What! Am I a slave to that
effeminate Caramite?” for Doria was but a beardless youth. These
opprobrious epithets being interpreted to the young nobleman, “highly
incensed he flew at Dragut, tore out his beard and moustaches, and
buffeted him most outrageously: nay his passion was so great it is said
that had he not been prevented, he certainly would have sheathed his
sword in the bowels of that assuming prisoner.”

For four long years Dragut rowed in Doria’s galley. No distinctions
were made in those days, and knight or noble, companion or grand
master, basha or boy, was, if caught, condemned to the rowers’ bench to
slave at the oar beneath the boatswain’s lash, perchance alongside some
degraded criminal, filthy and swarming with vermin. While Dragut was
employed as a galley slave there came on board the craft in which he
rowed Monsieur Parisot, Grand Master of the Knights of Malta. This high
officer, recognising his old enemy, called out to him in Spanish:

“Hola, Señor Dragut, usanza de guerra” (“The usage of war, Señor

To which the undaunted corsair merely replied with a laugh:

“Y mudanza de fortuna” (“And a change of luck”).

The Grand Master, who had known the chain and lash himself, smiled and
passed on—there was no pity in those days.

But Dragut was not destined to end his life as a galley slave, for,
when indeed hope must have died within him, after more than four years
of this veritable hell upon earth, there sailed one day into the
harbour of Genoa the great Kheyr-ed-Din himself. The Admiralissimo of
the Grand Turk, full of years, honours, and booty, was on his last
cruise, and one of the last acts of his active life was the rescue of
Dragut, the man who had served him so well, and for whom he had so high
a regard as a resourceful mariner, from the degrading servitude into
which he had fallen. The Spanish historian, Marmol, recounts that the
sum of three thousand ducats was paid by Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa for
the redemption of Dragut. As this history was published in 1573, we
must conclude that the author who wrote of these events so soon after
they had happened is correct; at the same time, Barbarossa was in
command of one hundred galleys of the Grand Turk, and it was never his
custom to pay for anything which he could take by force. However this
may have been, and the point is not one of very great importance, the
Genoese Senate was terrified lest their territory should be ravaged;
they wrote accordingly to their Grand Admiral, requesting that Dragut
might be released and sent on board of the galley of the admiral basha.
This was immediately done, and the man who for four years had tugged at
the Christian oar was once again in a position to make war on those who
had been for that period his masters.

Not only had he tugged at the Christian oar, but also he had tasted of
the Christian whip—and of very little else, as the food of the rower
was as scanty as it was disgusting; in consequence, if he had been an
implacable foe to Christendom before this event, he was not likely to
have become less so while toiling in the Genoese galley.

The practical retirement of Barbarossa from that sphere of activity in
which his life had been passed now left Dragut-Reis the most feared and
the most formidable of all the Moslem corsairs in the Mediterranean.
From the time of his release by Barbarossa until the day of his death
at the siege of Malta in 1565, he followed the example shown him by
that prince among pirates with so much assiduity as to render him only
second to Kheyr-ed-Din in the detestation in which he was held.
Says Morgan: “The ill-treatment he had met with during his four years’
captivity was no small addition to the Innate Rapaciousness of his

In the year 1546, Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa died, and to replace him the
Sultan Soliman ordered all the mariners in his dominions to acknowledge
Dragut-Reis as their admiral, and to obey him in the same manner as
they had obeyed his predecessor. From this date he was the foremost
corsair in the Mediterranean, and the feats which were performed by him
showed that the Padishah had not erred in his selection.

The ambition of Dragut increased with his power, and he determined,
following the example of the Barbarossas, to seize and hold some strong
place of arms possessed of a commodious port in which he might be the
supreme ruler. Accordingly, in the depth of winter in the year 1548, at
a time which was, as we have pointed out, a close season for piratical
enterprises, and during which attack from the sea was not expected,
he collected all the corsairs whom he could gather, and fell upon the
Spaniards on the coast of Tunis, at Susa, at Sfax, and at Monastir.
These places had been taken from the corsairs in the previous summer
by Andrea Doria; they formed a sort of regular battle-ground when the
combatants were in want of something to do, and were held alternately
by the King of Tunis, the Spaniards, and the corsairs.

Dragut was well aware that as soon as the spring arrived he would be
attacked; he also knew that the attack would come in sufficient force
to drive him out, as none of these towns was really strong or easily
defended; in consequence he concentrated his attention on the town of
“Africa,” otherwise known as Mehedia, and in the Roman histories as

This great city lay some leagues to the east of Tunis on a tongue of
land projecting into the sea; its fortifications were regular, its
walls of great thickness, height, and solidity, and were strengthened
by many towers and bulwarks; the guns were large, numerous, and in
good condition. At the back of the town, on an eminence, stood a large
fortress, the citadel of the place; the harbour was large and secure,
with an inner basin forming a port for galleys; the entrance to this
was closed by a strong chain. The sea washed the walls of the city;
indeed, it was entirely surrounded, except where by a narrow neck of
land it joined the shore.

The inhabitants, natives of the place, had shaken off the yoke of the
King of Tunis, and had formed themselves into a kind of independent
republic. They admitted neither Turk nor Christian within their walls,
trusting neither party, and fearing from them the fate which befell
Susa, Sfax, and Monastir.

“Africa” was the goal of the desires of Dragut-Reis: once in possession
of this, by far the strongest city on the littoral of Northern Africa,
he thought that he might abide secure against the attacks of Charles
and of Andrea Doria. He had seen the enormous expedition of 1541
against Algiers come to naught on account of the wholesale wrecking of
the fleet in which it had sailed by a tempest of unexampled violence.
But he was too level-headed a man to think that a miracle like this
would be likely to come to pass a second time for his own special
behoof, and preferred to act the part of the strong man armed who
keepeth his goods in peace. He had, however, first to gain over the
inhabitants of “Africa” to his views, and they proved anything but
anxious to listen to his blandishments. The more he tried to ingratiate
himself the less inclined did these people seem to listen.

“My ambition,” said the silver-tongued corsair, “is to become a
citizen of your great and beautiful city. If you will admit me to its
privileges it shall be my business to render you the richest people in
the whole Mediterranean, and your city the most dreaded place in the

The “Africans,” however, were obdurate; they knew a pirate when they
saw him quite as well as any one else, and they were quite aware that,
should they open their gates to Dragut, sooner or later they would have
to stand a siege from the Christian forces, which was a thing they by
no means desired.

But Dragut was not yet at the end of his resources; he was rich, and
he spent money freely in order to gain over to his side those men of
importance by whom such a question as this was bound to be decided.
By rich presents and other blandishments he succeeded in securing the
friendship of one Ibrahim Amburac, who was not only a leader among
the inhabitants, but also governor of one of the towers by which the
city was surrounded. Through him he approached the Council by which
the town was ruled, only to receive a very decided negative: the
Council observed the outward forms of politeness to this formidable
person who was speaking them so fair: in reality, they hated and feared
the corsairs only one degree less than they did Andrea Doria and his
Christians. To admit the one was to bring upon themselves the vengeance
of the other; therefore if they could keep them both out they intended
so to do. The ill-omened courtesy of the corsair filled their hearts
with apprehension, and they viewed his immediate departure, after the
refusal of the council had been conveyed to him, with undisguised
relief. Had they but known their man a little better, their uneasiness
would have been far greater than their joy at his temporary absence.
Those things desired by Dragut which he could not obtain by fair means
he usually seized by the strong hand; and when he left so hurriedly,
and at the same time so unostentatiously, he had already entered into a
plot with Ibrahim Amburac. This leader, furious at the rebuff which he
had received at the hands of his fellow councillors on the subject of
the admittance of Dragut to the citizenship of “Africa,” was now ready
to deliver that city into the hands of the corsairs by treachery.



  How the corsairs captured the town of “Africa”; of
  its recapture by Andrea Doria and its eventual total
  destruction by Charles V.

Dragut had made it a practice never to appear in the harbour of
“Africa” in any great force, as he had no desire to frighten the birds
whom he desired to snare; on the occasion of which we are now speaking
he had but two galleys, and their departure from the outer harbour
passed almost unnoticed, as the ruck of the population were accustomed
to visits from the corsairs, who came to fill up with provisions
and fresh water. Swiftly as hawks his vessels swept along the coast
collecting the garrisons of Susa, Sfax, and Monastir to aid him in
his latest design; they were all picked men and singularly apt for
the stern business which their leader destined them to undertake. In
this manner he soon collected five hundred of the stoutest and most
reckless fighters who sailed out of the ports of Northern Africa, and,
when it became noised abroad among them what the service was for which
they were required, there was universal joy and eagerness. True the
adventure was a formidable one: to capture “Africa” was no light task,
even for such men as these under so renowned a leader; there was
further the difficulty that the persons against whom they went up to
fight were no Christians but Moslems like themselves. But against this
was the declaration of Dragut, who represented to his following that
there was really no choice in the matter; that to these stiffnecked
and singularly ungrateful people he had offered the protection of the
corsairs, that they had refused in the most contumelious manner, and in
consequence there was nothing for it but the strong hand. They—that is
to say the corsairs—knew right well that some strong place of arms in
which to shelter themselves and their vessels was an absolute necessity
for their continued existence, as at any moment Doria or the Knights
of Malta might be on their track in superior force, and then what was
their fate likely to be if they had no harbour under their lee in which
to shelter? Further it was hinted that “Africa” would provide very
nice pickings in the way of loot, and when this came to be generally
understood the promptings of the Mahommedan conscience yielded easily
to the sophistries with which it was lulled.

The council of the town of “Africa” troubled themselves but little more
concerning Dragut, his ships, and his corsairs; he had departed, and
as the days wore on and no further tidings of him came to hand, these
simple folk thanked God that they were rid of a knave and went about
their usual avocations as unconcernedly as if no sea-wolves lurked
under the shadowed headlands of that continent in which their homes
were situated. They were a people essentially of the land; although
they dwelt on the confines of the ocean the ways and habits of those
who earned a precarious living on the waters were a sealed book to
them, and with the “Africans” it was a case of “out of sight out of
mind” so far as the corsairs were concerned. But that black-hearted
traitor Ibrahim Amburac and the few others who had been gained over by
the gold of Dragut watched and waited for the attack which they knew to
be impending.

The inhabitants of the doomed city never saw their assailants until
they were actually upon them, so well had the surprise attack been
planned by the leader of the corsairs. He had collected five hundred
men, and this was but a small number with which to assail so strong a
place; but Dragut knew exactly what he was doing and the effect likely
to be produced by the introduction of this number of highly trained
men-at-arms among a population which, although brave and warlike,
lacked the elements of organisation for the defence of their city.

So it was that, all preparations being completed, he stood along the
coast anchoring out of sight of his objective, but close enough to
reach it by midnight after darkness had fallen. He had every confidence
in himself, an absolute trust in the hardbitten fighters whom he was
about to lead; success or failure now rested in the hands of traitors
within the city.

“Faith unfaithful kept them falsely true,” for when Dragut and his
followers arrived at a certain rendezvous outside the walls which had
been agreed upon previously, there they found Ibrahim Amburac and
his men ready to assist them in scaling this obstacle. It will be
remembered that Ibrahim Amburac was personally in charge of one
of the towers with which the walls were guarded, and thus his task
of aiding those who came from without was a singularly easy one. But
even at midnight the passage of five hundred men could not remain long
undiscovered as they clambered in over the walls. Soon an alarm was
raised and the “Africans” rushed to arms and hurried to the quarter
from which danger threatened. The townsmen were well armed and brave,
also they were numerous; but it was the old story of the break-up of
undisciplined valour by highly organised attack.

In the choking heat of the African night townsmen and corsairs wrestled
in deadly conflict hand to hand and foot to foot; but these untrained
landsmen stood but a poor chance against the picked fighting men of the
Moslem galleys who had been inured to bloodshed from their earliest
youth and trained by such a master in the art of war as Dragut. That
warrior, his great curved scimitar red to the hilt, the blood dripping
from a gash in his cheek, his clothing torn and in disarray, followed
by a gigantic negro bearing a flaming torch, was ever in the thickest
of the fray. Behind him his lieutenants Othman and Selim strove to
emulate his prowess, while all around surged his devoted band of

“Allah! Allah!” and “Dragut! Dragut!” pealed the war-cry of the
corsairs; foot by foot and yard by yard that spearhead of dauntless
dare-devils pressed onwards into the packed masses of the “Africans,”
who, fighting stubbornly, nevertheless were borne back by the fury of
the terrible onslaught.

Torch-bearers among the pirates leaped into houses and set them ablaze,
the flames volleyed and crackled, the dense smoke rolled upwards to the
stainless sky, the night was a hell of blood and fire.

There was a sharp order repeated and passed on, the corsairs drew
back, and the “Africans” shouted that the triumph was theirs; but they
little knew Dragut, the sea-hawk who poised to strike anew. A blazing
beam dropped across the street, the townsfolk shouted in insult and
derision; but the joy which they had experienced at seeing their
adversaries recoil was but a short and fleeting emotion. Giving himself
and those who had hitherto been engaged time to breathe and recover
themselves, Dragut waited while the noise of the strife died down,
and nought was heard but the roar of the flames and the crash of the
burning buildings.

The leader turned to his followers, among whom dwelt an ominous
silence. “Dost remember Prevesa,” he cried, “when Andrea Doria and the
best of the Christian warriors fled before you like sheep before a dog:
are these miserable townsmen to stay your onward march?”

There remained for an appreciable period after he had spoken a tense
silence; the red light from the burning houses shone on the lean faces
alight with the fierce fire of fanaticism, with an inextinguishable
lust of slaughter. There came an answering frenetic roar, “Lead!
Lead! Dragut! Dragut! Dragut!” It was enough: the corsair had tried
the temper of the steel, he had now but to use the edge. There was an
ordered movement on the part of the pirates: a fresh hundred men,
who had hitherto taken no part in the combat, now pressed to the front
and formed the advance, those who had been before engaged now forming
the supports; that which had been the shaft of the spear now forming
its head. With Dragut leading, these fresh unwounded men swept forward
over the burning beam; irresistible as some mighty river in spate,
these disciplined ruffians, headed by this master spirit, burst through
the ill-organised resistance opposed to them, and slew and slew and

Behind them, alert and wary, came the supports, asking no quarter and
giving none, cutting up the wounded, trampling under foot friend and
foe alike who fell in the weltering shambles which marked the onward
path of their leader and the advanced party. Very soon the broken hosts
of the “Africans” cried piteously for mercy; the fight was over, and
Dragut-Reis, wounded, breathless, but victorious, stood master of the
strongest place of arms in all the continent of Africa. It is true that
treachery had given him his opportunity, but once that was obtained
the rest he had done for himself: the stealthy advance by sea, the
midnight march to the exact spot on the walls where he was awaited by
Ibrahim Amburac, the marshalling of his five hundred for the conflict,
and the actual conduct of the fight itself, were all to the credit of
this apt pupil of the great Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa, As warriors his
followers were worthy of their leader: defeated the corsairs frequently
were, but, in the combats in which they engaged, they were frequently,
as we have seen in the course of this story, largely dependent
upon auxiliaries in whom no trust could be placed; and at Prevesa, at
the siege of Malta, and later on at the battle of Lepanto, the spot
on which they fought, were it on the land or on the sea, was ever
the one which formed the nucleus of resistance. It was not only that
fighting was their particular trade; that, of course, might be said
also of any man who trailed a pike or carried an arquebus and marched
in the ranks of Spain, France, Genoa, or Venice. In the case of the
sea-wolves it was the perpetual practice in the art of war, as it was
then understood, that caused them to be the men that they were. Much of
their fighting could hardly be dignified by such a name, as in their
everlasting raids on villages and undefended places they seldom lost
many of their number: when, however, it came to the real thing, as it
did on the occasion we have just recounted, the long years of training
told, and opposition had to be strong indeed if it were not to be
beaten down by such a leader as Dragut, by such men as his picked five

What passed between Dragut and the council of “Africa,” who in so
unqualified a manner had refused that warrior as a citizen, is not on
record; all that we know is that the Moslem leader dispensed with their
services, and did not invite his new fellow-townsmen to share with him
the burden of government. There was hurry in the administration of the
corsair states, as the form of rule which they adopted was apt to irk
the rulers in Christendom. In this particular instance Dragut, having
expelled the Spaniards from the coast towns, knew that a reckoning with
the Emperor and his militant admiral, Andrea Doria, was but a matter
of time, and, in all probability, of a very short time.

Promptly, hurriedly, but efficiently, the corsair organised his
new possession: such laws as he decreed did not err on the side of
tenderness towards a people so ungrateful as to have refused his
protection in the first instance, and who had only accepted the gift
at the point of the sword. His nephew Aisa, a man young in years but a
past-graduate in the school of his terrible uncle, was left in charge,
while Dragut himself sailed once more with his fleet, for, as it is put
by the Spanish historian Marmol, “truly the sea was his element.”

Once again had a Moslem corsair bid defiance to that ruler whom
Sandoval and Marmol in their histories greet by the name of the “Modern
Cæsar.” It was told to Charles that Susa, Sfax, and Monastir had
fallen, that “Africa” was in the hands of the corsairs; “was he never
to be free from these pestilent knaves,” he demanded of his trembling
courtiers? Hot-foot came the couriers from Charles to Andrea Doria,
with orders to take Dragut dead or alive, but alive for choice; and up
and down the tideless sea in the summer of 1549 did the great Genoese
seaman range in search of the bold corsair. Doria was getting a very
old man now, but his eye was undimmed, his strength yet tireless, his
vigilance and zeal in the service of his master unabated.

Dead or alive, great was the reward offered for the capture of Dragut,
but the veteran admiral required no stimulus of this sort to urge
him to put forth his utmost endeavours, to strain every nerve and
sinew in the chase. All his life he had been fighting the corsairs,
mostly with conspicuous success; but what Andrea could never forget—and
what his enemies never allowed him to forget even had he been so
inclined—was the fact that, at the supreme crisis of his valiant life,
when he met with Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa at the battle of Prevesa, he
had come off so badly that his under officers of the Papal and Venetian
fleets had made representations, on their return to their respective
headquarters, which had detracted from his fame, and lowered him in the
estimation of Europe. Further than this, he knew that Barbarossa had
laughed at and made game of him among his wild followers: this to the
aristocrat, the Prince of Oneglia, the admiral who treated on almost
equal terms with such men as the Pope, Charles of Spain, and Francis of
France, was an insult hard to be borne; the next corsair with whom he
should meet should not escape so easily as had Kheyr-ed-Din, that the
admiral had sworn.

Personal pique and vanity, racial detestation, and religious fanaticism
were in his case all allied together to spur him on in the chase of
this the last of the Emperor’s foes; but, search as he might, during
that summer Doria could never get on to the track of Dragut. The
corsairs, as we have just remarked, were fine fighters on occasion when
it was necessary for the purposes of loot, or of escape from those
who, like Doria, interfered with their particular method of gaining a
livelihood; but, on the other hand, they were no fools, they did not
covet hard knocks and the possibility of defeat from such a one as
the admiral of the Emperor, when by the exercise of a little ingenuity
they could keep out of his way. Dragut was not going to fight a general
action at sea merely to please Doria; in this summer his luck stood to
him, and he never came across this man, who, with a sombre hatred in
his heart, was seeking him high and low. If the corsair were bold as a
lion when occasion offered, he was no less as slippery as an eel when
he desired to escape; to face twenty-two royal galleys with Doria in
command was no part of his programme. An occasion might arise when he
would be forced to action; should this happen Dragut had not forgotten
his four years in the galley of Jannetin Doria, the nephew of the
admiral, and next time he intended to fight to win. Just at present the
Christian admiral was in too great strength for him to do aught but
keep out of his way, and much to Andrea’s annoyance this was what he
succeeded in doing.

Doria got information that Dragut was at Monastir, information that was
perfectly correct; but by this time the corsair knew that not only had
he raised all Christendom, but that the admiral was on his track. In
consequence, he slipped out of Monastir, “for,” as it is pithily put by
Marmol, “our corsair cared not to be shut up in so defenceless a port;
he had good heels and loved sea-room.”

Dragut did not fear for his new possession, “Africa,” as he knew
that Doria had not sufficient force to attack so formidable a place;
therefore, leaving it to its destiny and the valour and conduct
of his nephew Aisa, on whom he knew that he could rely, “he went,”
according to the chronicler, “on his old trade making Horrid
Devastations on the coast of Spain and its islands.”

While Dragut was pursuing his “Horrid Devastations,” Doria was not
idle, but was ranging the northern coast of Africa in his fruitless
search; in the course of this he landed at Cape Bona, on which was the
castle of Calibia, held by the corsairs; these men, who were a portion
of Dragut’s following, made a most valiant defence; they were, however,
few in number, and when their captain was killed by the ball from an
arquebus they surrendered. Encouraged by this success, the Christian
fleet then stood along the coast to inspect “Africa.” Sailing quite
close to the shore they came within range of the guns of the garrison,
who, under the direction of Aisa, were very much on the alert. As the
admiral’s galley at the head of the line passed the walls of the town,
she was received with a hot fire, and one large cannonball struck
the stern of Doria’s ship, doing considerable structural damage, and
killing five of his men. This occurrence took place in broad daylight
in full view of all the garrison, who signalled their delight at the
discomfiture of their foes by the noise of cymbals and atambours, and
by wild and ferocious yells. Doria, who was in no position to land and
make reprisals, fell into the greatest paroxysm of fury, and we are
told that “he swore the destruction of that detested city.”

The season being now advanced, Doria returned home, where he found
orders awaiting him from Charles that preparation was to be made for
the capture of “Africa”. While the admiral was in harbour, Dragut,
finding the seas open to him once more, returned from his “Horrid
Devastations,” and employed his time profitably in throwing provisions
and men into the city, which he knew would be beleagured in the
following year.

During the ensuing winter Doria, in conjunction with the viceroys of
Naples and Sicily, prepared the expedition which was to accomplish not
only the capture of “Africa,” but what was, in his opinion, equally
important, the destruction of Dragut-Reis, Early in the spring of 1550,
all was in readiness, and the armada of Charles sailed from Palermo
to Trapani, where it met with the forces of Don Juan de Vega, Viceroy
of Sicily, those of Don Garcia de Toledo, the son of the Viceroy of
Naples, and likewise the Maltese squadron. The galleys, accompanied by
a fleet of transports, set sail early in June, and on the 20th of that
month landed an army a little to the east of Mehedia or “Africa”.

It must be remembered that the inhabitants of Mehedia were by no means
enamoured of Dragut-Reis and his piratical followers: King Stork had
succeeded to King Log, the part of the former monarch being taken by
that singularly capable and ferocious person, Aisa, whose rule was far
from being to the liking of the richer and more respectable portion of
the townsfolk.

When, therefore, Andrea Doria and his captains laid siege to the city,
they murmured against its defence, desiring ardently to enter into some
sort of treaty with the besiegers; they had had enough of war, they
said, and wished to end their days in peace if possible.

Aisa Reis, however, would hear no word of surrender, telling those who
murmured against the defence that “if he heard a word more of these
plots he would infallibly sacrifice every mother’s son amongst them,
and then lay the town in ashes.” Having already had a taste of the
quality of this redoubtable corsair, and feeling perfectly certain
that should the occasion arise he would be as good as his word, there
was no more disaffection among the inhabitants, who had to put up with
their native place being made a cockpit for Doria and Dragut to fight
out their quarrel. It is permissible to sympathise very sincerely with
these unfortunates, who, having been betrayed in the first instance,
were compelled to stand a siege in the second.

Aisa had a picked force of his uncle’s men, some seventeen hundred
foot and six hundred horse, all seasoned and formidable veterans,
inured to warfare by land and sea. On these of course he could rely to
the death. The common folk of the town were inclined to make common
cause with the corsairs in resistance to their hereditary enemy the
Christians; but the magistrates and members of the council, the grave
and reverend signiors, held so conspicuously aloof that Aisa was
constrained into forcing them to aid in the defence when he had time
to attend to the matter. As Dragut was not actually present at the
siege it falls outside the scope of this chronicle; he was without
the walls when the besiegers arrived, but all that he could do, that
he did. With a body of his own men reinforced by a rabble rout of
Berber tribesmen, he harassed the Christian army; they were, however,
in far too great numbers for him to make any impression, and after
several desperate skirmishes he recognised that the day was lost, and
re-embarking in his galleys sailed away. The town after a desperate and
prolonged resistance was at last taken by storm; and Doria captured
Aisa, a Turkish alcaid, and ten thousand prisoners of the baser sort.
Of these, however, there was scarce one who owed allegiance to Dragut;
the warriors of this chief neither gave nor accepted quarter, as they
feared the wrath of the terrible corsair even more than death itself.

Don Juan de Vega put his son Don Alvaro in command of the city and set
out in search of Dragut with twenty galleys, but the sea leaves no
traces by which a fugitive can be tracked, and his search proved as
fruitless as had been that of Doria in the previous year. The rage and
the disappointment of the admiral were beyond all bounds; what to him
was the value of the capture of Aisa, of the Turkish alcaid, of the ten
thousand of the baser sort; nay, what to him was the value of “Africa”
itself when once again like a mocking spirit Dragut had glided beyond
the sea horizon to devastate, to plunder, and to slay once more, the
scourge and the menace of Christendom.

It will be interesting to record briefly the fate of this city which we
have seen taken and retaken. Don Alvaro de Vega remained as governor
till the end of July, 1551, when his place was taken by Don Sancho de
Leyva; at which time there took place one of those curious military
mutinies so characteristic of the sixteenth century. The soldiers,
unpaid for months, possibly for years, mutinied, expelled the
governor and other officers, even the sergeants, from the city, and
placed themselves under the direction of a stout soldier called Antonio
de Aponte, to whom they gave the title of “Electo Mayor.”

Don Sancho repaired to Brussels to report matters to the Emperor,
and during his absence a circumstance which is also singularly
characteristic of this faithless epoch took place, for the Prior of
Capua, then general of the French galleys, entered into negotiations
with the mutineers for the surrender of the city to the French King.

Bluff Antonio de Aponte would have none of this treachery; he held
the city for the Emperor Charles and only wanted his pay. Eventually
a mutiny within a mutiny was fomented from without, and with the
mutineers divided the Emperor regained possession of the city; some of
the mutineers were hanged, and Aponte, who had been captured by the
Turks, died at Constantinople.

The Emperor offered “Africa” to the Knights of Malta with a yearly
allowance of twenty-four thousand ducats; the Knights refused, much to
the chagrin of Charles, who gave orders for its complete destruction.
This was accomplished by blowing up with gunpowder the walls, towers,
and fortifications which Al-Mehedi, after whom the city had been
named, “had erected with such art and strength, and had his mind so
fixed upon that work that he used to say, ‘If I thought building these
fortifications with iron and brass would render them more durable, I
would certainly do it.’”



  How Dragut was blockaded in the Island of Jerbah—How he
  left Andrea Dona “with the dog to hold”—His return to
  Constantinople, and how he sailed from thence with a
  great expedition against the Knights of Malta.

Charles V. had “smoked out the fox,” but his admiral in so doing had
not succeeded in capturing that remarkably wily animal; for Dragut was
not only still at liberty, but was burning for revenge on those by
whom he had been dispossessed. He had lost “his city,” as he called
“Africa”; he had lost two thousand five hundred men—among them some
of the fiercest and most experienced of his corsairs; he had lost ten
thousand slaves, representing a large sum of money, and much wealth
besides. The corsair, however, was not one of those who merely sit
down and repine; for him strenuous and continued action was the law
of his being, and he at once repaired to Constantinople. Here he was
well known as an adroit and skilful seaman and a most determined enemy
of the Christians, and, in consequence, was not only certain of a
welcome, but of substantial help as well, if he could but win over
the Grand Turk to take the same view of his grievances as he did
himself. In reality, the corsairs, as we have seen, played the game of
the Padishah, as a rule, at no expense to that potentate; when they
were in trouble he was therefore by no means indisposed to render them

Dragut, like all the sea-wolves, was fond of money, fonder still of
what money could buy; he now hankered after revenge as the sweetest
morsel that his hoarded ducats could procure for him. That the Sultan
was well disposed to him he had every reason to think; none the less
did he spend royally among the venal favourites of the Court in order
that nothing might be left undone to inflame the ardour of Soliman
against those whom he considered to be his hereditary foes.

With such skill and address did the corsair manage his suit that he
prevailed upon the Sultan to address a letter to Charles demanding the
immediate return of the towns of Susa, Sfax, Monastir, and “Africa.”
This, of course, meant war; as Charles immediately replied that these
places were dependencies of the King of Tunis, and that that ruler was
under his special protection; further that they were his by right of
conquest; finally that the matter was no concern whatever of the Sultan
of Constantinople. The stern and imperious Christian Emperor was in no
mood to brook interference, the more so that he discerned plainly that
though the demand was that of Soliman, the mover in the affair was none
other than Dragut. He therefore by way of a rider to his answer to the
Sultan informed that monarch that these places which he had taken on
the coast of Africa had been reft by him “from one Dragut, a corsair
odious to both God and man”; that without in any way departing from
the treaty which he had made with Soliman “he intended to pursue this
pirate whithersoever he might go.”

Whether or no this denunciation of Dragut had any influence on the
Sultan it is impossible to say; he was in the habit of employing
the corsairs, and apparently cared nothing about their piratical
reputation, so long as their depredations were confined to Christian
vessels. Shortly after the receipt of the answer of Charles, however,
the Sultan conferred upon Dragut the title of Sandjak or governor of
the island of Santa Maura, thus constituting him a Turkish official.

Once again was Andrea Doria ordered to put to sea to fight against
neither small nor great save Dragut alone; he was to take him dead or
alive, but alive for choice, in order that he might be made to answer
at the bar of Christian justice for all the atrocities committed by
him both by land and sea. The corsair had returned in the meanwhile
to Jerbah, an island on the east coast of Tunis much affected by the
sea-wolves, and which in contemporary histories is known as Jerbah, as
Los Gelues (by the Spanish writers), as Gelves, and various other names
which greatly confuse its identity.

Doria put to sea with twenty-two royal galleys before Dragut was aware
of the fact. The Genoese admiral heard that his prey was at Jerbah;
he repaired thither without losing a moment, found that he had been
correctly informed, and anchored at the mouth of the harbour, at a
place known as La Bocca de Cantara. Dragut was completely hemmed
in, Doria was in such strength that he could not, reckless as he
was, attempt to force the passage. But as the hour came the spirit
of the corsair rose to answer the challenge: it was one thing to get
Dragut-Reis into a trap, it was quite another to keep him there.
Accordingly, he assembled all his troops, dragged cannon to the mouth
of the harbour, and opened so brisk a foe on the Christian ships as to
compel them to haul out of range. These tactics left Doria unaffected;
there was but one way out of the harbour, and he felt quite convinced
that when Dragut had had enough of starvation he would either surrender
or else fight a hopeless action. The admiral surveyed his anchored
fleet with a contented mind; his enemy had been delivered into his
hand, he had nothing to do now but wait for that final triumph of
appearing before his master the Emperor with the famous corsair as his
prisoner. He saw a great fort rising before his very eyes at the mouth
of the harbour, and merely smiled serenely; he sent off to Sicily and
Naples for reinforcements in order that when the psychological moment
should arise he might crush the corsair stronghold so thoroughly that
it should never rise again. In the despatches which he sent he said
“the fox is trapped”—“which news rejoiced all parts of Christendom, and
most powerful succours came daily flocking to the seaports from every
quarter; so eager were the sufferers to revenge themselves on this so
much dreaded corsair.”

The history of what now happened is given by Don Luys de Marmol
Caravajal in his “Descripcion general de Affrica,” which was printed
in Granada, “en casa de Rene Rabat impresor de libros año de 1573,” or
only some twenty years or so after these occurrences; it is set forth
in his chapter entitled “Como Andrea Doria fue en buscar de these
occurrences; it is set forth in his chapter Dragut Arraez.” We have
also the authority of that eminent historian, M. L’Abbé de Vertot.

Captain Juan Vasquez Coronado journeyed to Naples carrying with him
letters from Andrea Doria to Don Pedro de Toledo, requesting that the
Viceroy would send him all the galleys in Naples, carrying as many
soldiers as possible, pointing out that he had Dragut in a trap, from
which he could not possibly escape, but that this time he wished to
make security doubly secure. Letters to the same purport were also sent
to Don Juan de Vega, the Viceroy of Sicily, and to Marco Centurion at
the admiral’s own city of Genoa. Doria was leaving nothing to chance
this time. Meanwhile, great earthworks had been thrown up at the Bocca
de Cantara at the entrance of the harbour by Dragut, and any ship which
approached within range was most furiously bombarded. This served
to amuse Andrea Doria, who, confident that the jaws of the trap had
closed, kept a sharp look-out for vessels issuing from the harbour, but
otherwise concerned himself not at all about the entrenchments. Was
not Naples humming with the note of preparation? Would not the Genoese
come in their thousands to the summons of their renowned chieftain?
Could not the Viceroy of Sicily be trusted to work his best to gain the
favour of his Imperial master?

“Time and I are two” was the favourite expression of King Philip
II. of Spain; the same idea might have crossed the mind of Doria on
this memorable occasion. He had only to wait; the longer he waited the
more secure he would be of success, the more certain would he be of
the complete undoing of his enemy. But even yet the admiral did not
know the man to whom he was opposed; in all the years in which he had
done battle against Dragut, he had never gauged the limitless resource
and calculated audacity of this lineal successor of Kheyr-ed-Din
Barbarossa. While the admiral had been sending his despatches, and
idly watching that which he considered to be the futile construction
of earthworks on the shore at the Bocca de Cantara, his enemy was
preparing for him that surprise which was shortly afterwards to make of
him the laughing-stock of the whole of Europe. Dragut was in a trap,
and he was quite aware of the fact; by way of the Bocca de Cantara
escape was impossible, and neither a tame surrender nor complete
annihilation was by any means to the taste of the pirate leader. Had
Doria gone in and attacked at once, the fate of the corsair had been
sealed; the policy of delay adopted by the Christian admiral was his

A man less able, less determined, than Dragut, might well have
despaired; but he brought to bear on the problem with which he was
confronted all the subtlety of his nature, all the resourcefulness
of the born seaman that he was. His mind had been made up from the
very beginning: the earthworks at the Bocca de Cantara, the movements
of troops, the furious cannonading, had all been nothing but a blind
to hide the real design which he had in view. In addition to his
fighting men he had at his command some two thousand islanders,
stout Mohammedans to a man, ready and willing to assist him in his
design of cheating the Christians of their prey. Day and night, with
ceaseless silent toil, had garrison and islanders been at work on the
scheme which the leader had devised. From the head of the harbour
Dragut had caused a road to be made right across the island to the
sea on the opposite side: on this road he caused planks to be laid,
bolted to sleepers and then thickly greased. The vessels of the day
were of course comparatively speaking light, and capable of being
manhandled, supposing that you had sufficient hands. At dead of night
Dragut assembled his forces, and before morning every galley, galeasse,
and brigantine had been dragged across the island and launched in the
sea on the opposite side. There was then nothing left to do but to
embark stores, guns, and ammunition and to sail quietly away, and this
was what happened. Once again Dragut faded away beyond the skyline,
“leaving Andrea Doria with the dog to hold,” in the quaint language of
the chronicler of these events, Don Luys de Marmol Caravajal.

Not only did the indefatigable corsair get clear away without any
suspicion on the part of the admiral, but his first act on gaining the
open sea was to capture the _Patrona_ galley sent from Sicily by Don Juan
de Vega to say that reinforcements were on the road. In this ill-fated
craft was Buguer, the son of Muley Hassan, King of Tunis, who was
sent as prize to Soliman at Constantinople, where the Sultan caused
him to be shut up in the “Torre del Mar Negro.” Here he remained
till he died, as a punishment for that he, a Mussulman, had aided the

Never again was Dragut to be in such sore straits as he was on this
occasion at the island of Jerbah, when, by sheer wit and cunning, he
escaped from the trap in which he had been held by Doria. What the
emotions of the admiral must have been when he found that once again
he had been fooled, it is not difficult to imagine, as by no possible
means could the story be hushed up; and, in spite of the annoyance
of Christendom generally at the escape of Dragut, no one could help
admiring his extraordinary cleverness, or roaring with laughter at the
discomfiture of Doria and the viceroys of Naples and Sicily.

Dragut now returned to Constantinople to receive congratulations
upon his escape, and to take part in a fresh design of stirring up
the Sultan against the Christians. All who professed this faith were
naturally obnoxious to the corsair; but his private and personal hatred
was entirely directed against the Knights of Malta, with whom he had
been at war all his life. The present preoccupation of the Sultan was
to regain the towns on the coast of Africa which had been taken by
the Spaniards; but it was represented to him by Dragut that “until he
had smoked out this nest of vipers he could do no good anywhere.” The
Bashaws and the Divan, heavily bribed by the corsair, held the same
language, until Soliman heard of nothing from morning till night but
the ill deeds of the Knights of Malta. They were represented to him as
corsairs who ruined his commerce and defeated his armadas, who let
slip no opportunity of harrying the Moslem wheresoever he was to be
found. In this there was more than a grain of truth, as we shall see
when we come to the next chapter, which will be devoted to a sketch of
this militant order. Suffice it to say here that the Knights fought for
what they termed “the Religion” (it was in this manner they designated
their confederacy), and to harry and enslave the Mussulman, to destroy
him as a noxious animal wherever he was to be found, was the reason for
which they existed. It is true that they plundered not for individual
gain, but many was the rich prize towed into Malta past St. Elmo and
the ominously named “Punta delle Forche” (the “Point of the Gallows,”
where all captured pirates were hanged), the proceeds of which went to
the enrichment of the Order; to buy themselves the wherewithal to fight
with the Mahommedan again.

The abuse of the Knights fell upon sympathetic ears; in his early days
Soliman the Magnificent had expelled the Knights from Rhodes; since
then Charles V. had given them the islands of Malta and Gozo, and the
town of Tripoli in Barbary as their abiding place; from Malta they
had never ceased their warfare against the corsairs, and incidentally
against the Sultan and his subjects. Therefore, in this year 1551,
Soliman ordained that an expedition should be prepared with the object
of crushing once and for all these troublers of the peace of Islam.
The preparations were on so large a scale that very soon it became
noised abroad in Europe that something really serious was in the wind:
in Constantinople, however, men kept their own counsel; it was ill
talking of the affairs of the Padishah, and, further than that, beyond
Dragut and the proposed leaders of the expedition, the Sultan took
no one into his confidence. Charles V., well served as he was by his
spies, was as much in the dark as to the destination of this new armada
as were humbler folk; in it he recognised the hand of Dragut again,
and Doria had standing orders to catch that mischievous person if he
could. At present, however, there was no chance of so desirable a thing
happening, as Dragut was superintending the fitting out of the new
expedition at Constantinople.

Anxious and suspicious of the designs of the Turks, Charles ordered a
concentration of his fleet at Messina.

The Grand Master of the Knights of Malta at this time was a Spaniard,
one Juan d’Omedes; he was, says de Vertot, “un Grand Maître Espagnol,”
meaning by this that he was completely under the domination of the
Emperor and ready at any time to place the galleys of “the Religion”
under the orders of that monarch. The Knights, like every one else,
had watched with anxiety the preparation of this great expedition in
Constantinople, and when the Grand Master proposed to send the galleys
of the Order to join forces with Doria at Messina, there was great
dissatisfaction at the Council Board. That which it behoved them to
do, the members informed the Grand Master, was not to help a great
potentate like Charles, but to make provision for their own security
by attending to their fortifications, which were in anything but a
satisfactory condition. D’Omedes maintained that this expedition was
destined to serve with the King of France against the Emperor, and
that Malta was not the objective. He accordingly sent away the galleys
of “the Religion” under the Chevalier “Iron-Foot,” the General of the
Galleys, to join the fleet which had its rendezvous at Messina. Hardly
had he done so when news came from the Levant that the fleet of the
Grand Turk was at sea heading for Sicily. The fleet was composed of
one hundred and twelve royal galleys, two great galeasses, and a host
of brigantines and transport vessels. Sinan-Reis was in command with
twelve thousand Janissaries, numerous pioneers and engineers, and all
the necessary appliances for a siege.

The embarkation of so large a number of Janissaries was the measure of
the serious purpose of the expedition, as the Sultan did not readily
part with the men of this _corps d’élite_ unless he was in person taking
the command. It may be as well to explain here exactly what the
Janissaries were, and it cannot be better done than by an extract from
the famous historian Prescott:

“The most remarkable of the Turkish institutions, the one which may
be said to have formed the keystone of the system, was that relating
to the Christian population of the Empire. Once in five years a
general conscription was made by means of which all the children of
Christian parents who had reached the age of seven and gave promise of
excellence in mind or body were taken from their homes and brought to
the capital. They were then removed to different quarters and placed
in seminaries where they might receive such instruction as would fit
them for the duties of life. Those giving greatest promise of
strength and endurance were sent to places prepared for them in Asia
Minor. Here they were subjected to a severe training, to abstinence,
to privations of every kind, and to the strict discipline which should
fit them for the profession of a soldier. From this body was formed the
famous corps of the Janissaries.... Their whole life may be said to
have been passed in war or in preparation for it. Forbidden to marry,
they had no families to engage their affections, which, as with the
monks and friars of Christian countries, were concentrated in their
own order, whose prosperity was inseparably connected with that of
the State. Proud of the privileges which distinguished them from the
rest of the army, they seemed desirous to prove their title to them
by their thorough discipline and by their promptness to execute the
most dangerous and difficult services. Clad in their flowing robes, so
little suited to war, armed with the arquebus and the scimitar—in their
hands more than a match for the pike or sword of the European—with
the heron’s plume waving above their head, their dense array might
ever be seen bearing down in the thickest of the fight; and more than
once when the fate of the Empire trembled in the balance it was this
invincible corps which turned the scale, and by their intrepid conduct
decided the fortune of the day. Gathering fresh reputation with age,
so long as their discipline remained unimpaired they were a match for
the best soldiers in Europe. But in time this admirable organisation
experienced a change. One Sultan allowed them to marry; another to
bring their sons into the corps; a third opened the ranks to Turks as
well as Christians; until, forfeiting their peculiar character, the
Janissaries became confounded with the militia of the Empire. These
changes occurred in the time of Philip the Second.”

But to resume: just before the sailing of the galleys of “the Religion”
from Malta there had arrived in that island from France the famous
Chevalier, the Commandeur de Villegagnon. This great noble told the
Grand Master to his face that he was neglecting his duty, that the
expedition of the Grand Turk was bound for Malta and Tripoli: further,
that he was charged by Anne de Montmorency, Constable and First
Minister of France, to advise the Grand Master that this armament was
directed against “the Religion.” The interview between the Grand Master
and de Villegagnon took place at a chapter of the Grand Crosses of the
Order; when the Commandeur had finished speaking, he was coldly thanked
by D’Omedes, who then bowed him out. Turning to the Knights Grand
Cross he said with a sneer, “Either this Frenchman is the dupe of the
Constable or he wishes to make us his.” He then proceeded to give at
length the reasons why Soliman would not direct so huge an expedition
against “the Religion.” Many of the Knights dissented vehemently from
his conclusions, but D’Omedes refused to listen to their arguments.
Even advices which arrived on July 13th, representing that the armada
was moving southwards devastating the Italian ports, did not move him
from his obstinate pre-occupation; till on July 16th the arrival of the
Ottoman fleet put an end to all speculation.

The armada which had sailed from Constantinople was under the command
of Sinan Basha: but he had explicit orders that he was to take no
important step without first consulting Dragut, who was nominally his
lieutenant. It was well for the Knights that on this occasion the
corsair was not in supreme command; had this been the case the islands
must have been taken, as no preparations had been made to repulse an
attack in force, and Juan D’Omedes was a Grand Master who excited
little enthusiasm either among the Knights or the inhabitants. The
choice of Sinan was not one which did great credit to the penetration
of the Sultan. Let us explain. We are all of us conscious at one time
or another of a desire to express some fact in the fewest possible
words; to place the transaction or the circumstance which we wish
to describe in the searchlight of truth in so undeniable a fashion
that the illumination consequent upon this mental effort of our own
shall throw up our meaning in immediate relief on the intelligences
of those whom we address. This attribute is possessed by but few even
among great writers—indeed, some historic sayings which have come
down to us have not emanated from the writing fraternity at all, but
from soldiers, sailors, statesmen, and other busy men of affairs.
The quality which distinguishes a man of action above all others is
fearlessness of responsibility; the possession of sufficient greatness
of soul and of moral fibre to seize upon an opportunity and to make
the most thereof when an occasion arises which has not been foreseen
by those in authority over him. But far more often in the history
of the world has it happened that brave and capable leaders have
failed for the lack of the indefinable quality that separated their
sterling merits from that absolute and real supremacy which marks the
first-class man.

How then is it possible to differentiate, to describe where and in
what manner this luck occurs?

Fortunately, this has been done for us in seven words by Seignelay, the
Minister of Marine to Louis Quatorze in 1692. Speaking of Admiral de
Tourville, who defeated the English and Dutch at the Battle of Beachy
Head, July 10th, 1690, Seignelay says of him that he was “poltron
de tête mais pas de coeur.” The judgment was just: de Tourville, as
recklessly gallant as any French noble of them all, failed to live up
to his responsibilities two years later at the Battle of La Hogue.
Mahan says: “The caution in his pursuit of the Allies after Beachy
Head, though so different in appearance, came from the same trait
which impelled him two years later to lead his fleet to almost certain
destruction at La Hogue because he had the King’s order in his pocket.
He was brave enough to do anything, but not strong enough to bear the
heaviest burdens.”

We see the application of this truth in the period which we are
considering; particularly is it borne in upon us in the case of the
leaders of the Ottoman Turks. Serving as they did a despot of unlimited
powers, failure in the success of his arms was apt to lead to the
immediate and violent death of the man in command. If, therefore,
precise instructions were issued, they were, as a rule, carried out
to the letter; as in case of defeat an effort could be made to shift
responsibility on to the shoulders of the Padishah. Failure owing to
initiative was certain of prompt retribution; success complete and
absolute would be the only justification for a departure from orders.

Far otherwise was it with the Sea-wolves, who were a law to themselves
and to themselves alone. Should they care “to place it on the hazard of
a die to win or lose it all,” there was none to say them nay, there was
no punishment save that of defeat. This it was that so often conduced
to their success. Despots as were such men as Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa
and Dragut, they were none the less dependent on the goodwill of their
followers. If, therefore, they decided on a desperate enterprise, they
appealed to the fighting instincts, the cupidity, and the fanaticism
of these men. Should they succeed in gaining their good will for the
attempt which they meditated, then all was well with them, and behind
them was no grim sinister figure whose word was death and whose breath
was destruction.

Freed from all the trammels which bound the ordinary warrior of the day
in which they lived, they were able, as we have seen, to go far; for
the man in whom supreme ability is united to absolute unscrupulousness
is the most dangerous foe of the human race. The despotism of the
leaders among the sea-wolves was not theirs by right divine, as men
considered it to be in the case of the Padishah; none the less in its
practical application it was but little inferior to that wielded by
the Sultan. For reasons of policy, the Sea-wolves allied themselves
to the Grand Turk; for reasons of policy that monarch employed them
and entrusted them with the conduct of important affairs. The bargain
was really a good one on both sides; as to the sea-wolves was extended
the ægis of one of the mightiest empires of the earth; while to
the Sultan came “veritable men of the sea,” hardened in conflict, as
fearless of responsibility as of aught else; capable in a sense that
hardly any man could be capable who had grown up in the atmosphere of
the court at Constantinople. To Kheyr-ed-Din the Sultan had extended
his fullest confidence; he had been rewarded by seeing the renowned
Doria forsake the field of battle at Prevesa, and by the perpetual
slights and insults put upon his Christian foes by that great corsair.
To Dragut he had now turned, and, as we have said, when Sinan Basha
sailed from the Golden Horn he had orders to attempt nothing important
without the advice of the corsair. It is impossible to say why the
command-in-chief had not been entrusted to him, as the Sultan had the
precedent of Kheyr-ed-Din upon which to go. It can only be conjectured
that Soliman, having discovered how unpopular that appointment had been
amongst his high officers, did not care to risk the experiment the
second time; and in consequence employed Sinan. To this officer the
aphorism of Seignelay applies in its fullest force. He was as brave a
man as ever drew a sword in the service of his master; he was, however,
a hesitating and incompetent leader, with one eye ever fixed on that
distant palace on the shores of the Golden Horn in which dwelt the
arbiter of his destiny and of all those who sailed beneath the banner
of the Crescent.



The Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, afterwards known as the Knights
of Rhodes, and eventually as the Knights of Malta—A brief sketch of the
Order, including the relation of how Gozon de Dieu-Donné, subsequently
Grand Master, slew the great Serpent of Rhodes; also some account of
Jean Parisot de la Valette, forty-eighth Grand Master, who commanded at
the Siege of Malta, in which the arms of Soliman the Magnificent were
defeated after a siege lasting one hundred and thirteen days.

Amongst all those principalities and powers against which Dragut
contended during the whole of his strenuous existence, there was no
one among them which he held in so much detestation as the famous
Knights of Saint John, known in the sixteenth century as the Knights
of Malta. This militant religious organisation had its origin in
Jerusalem in peculiar and interesting circumstances. After the death
of Mahomet, his followers, burning with zeal, put forward the tenets
of their religion by means of fire and sword; during the years which
followed the Hegira, 622 A.D., the arms of the Moslems were everywhere
successful, and amongst other places conquered by them was Palestine.
So great was the renown acquired by the Emperor Charlemagne that his
fame passed even into Asia, and Eginard states that the Caliph
Haroun Raschid permitted the French nation to maintain a house in
Jerusalem for the reception of pilgrims visiting the holy places, and
that, further, the Prince permitted the Patriarch of Jerusalem to send
to the Christian Emperor, on his behalf, the keys of the Holy Sepulchre
and those of the Church of Calvary, together with a standard which was
the sign of the power and authority delegated by the Moslem ruler to
his mighty contemporary. In the middle of the eleventh century Italian
merchants coming from Amalfi, who had experienced the hard lot of the
Christian pilgrims in reaching the Holy City, secured from the Caliph
Moustafa-Billah a concession of land, on which they built a chapel
known as St. Mary of the Latins, to distinguish it from the Greek
church already established at Jerusalem, and also constructed a hospice
in which to receive the pilgrims, whether in sickness or in health,
known as the Hospice of St. John.

In 1093 the untiring efforts of Peter the Hermit, with the support of
Pope Urbain II., brought about the first Crusade, and in 1099 we first
hear of Gerard, the founder of the Order of St. John. Gerard was a
French monk who, seeing the good work done by the Hospice of St. John,
had attached himself to it, and had at this time been working in the
cause of charity, and devoting himself to the pilgrims for many years.

Godfrey de Bouillon, having defeated the Saracens outside the walls
of Jerusalem, entered that city and visited the Hospice of St. John;
he there found many of the Crusaders who had been wounded during the
siege, and who had been carried thither after the taking of the
place: all of these men were loud in their praises of the loving
kindness with which they had been received and tended.

Great was the honour and reverence in which these simple monks were
held ever after by the Crusaders; for was it not common talk that these
holy men had themselves subsisted on the coarsest and most repulsive
fare in order that the food in the hospice should be both pure and
abundant? Fired by this fine example of Christian charity, several
noble gentlemen who had been tended in the hospice gave up the idea of
returning to their own countries, and consecrated themselves to the
Hospice of St. John, and to the service of the pilgrims, the poor, and
the sick. Among these was Raimond Dupuy.

The great Prince Godfrey de Bouillon fully approved of the steps taken
by these gentlemen, and for his own part contributed to the upkeep of
the hospice the seigneurie of Montbirre, with all its dependencies,
which formed a part of his domain in Brabant. His example was widely
copied by the Christian princes and great nobles among the Crusaders,
who enriched the hospice with many lands and seigneuries, both in
Palestine and in Europe. All these lands and properties were placed
unreservedly in the hands of the saintly Gerard to do with as he would
for the advancement of his work. In 1118 Gerard died in extreme old
age; “he died in the arms of the brothers, almost without sickness,
falling, as it may be said, like a fruit ripe for eternity.”

The choice of the Hospitallers as his successor was Raimond Dupuy,
a nobleman of illustrious descent from the Province of Dauphiny, and
it is he who first held rule under the title of Grand Master. In all
charity and loving kindness the life of Gerard had been passed, the
brethren of St. John occupying themselves merely in tending the sick,
in helping the poor and the pilgrims; but Raimond Dupuy was a soldier
of the Cross, and he laid before the Order a scheme by which, from
among the members thereof, a military corps should be formed, vowed
to a perpetual crusade against the Infidel. This, in full conclave,
was carried by acclamation, and the most remarkable body of religious
warriors that the world has ever seen then came existence.

This pact against the Infidel was in the first instance directed
against the barbarians who swarmed around the Holy City, and the
Hospitallers, who nearly all had been knights and soldiers of Godfrey
de Bouillon, joyfully took up their arms again to employ them in the
defence of this locality which they cherished, and in defence of
the pilgrims who were robbed, murdered, and maltreated in all the
surrounding country. In becoming warriors once more, they vowed to turn
their arms against the Infidel, and against him alone; to neither make
nor meddle with arms in their hands in any dispute between men of their
own faith. The composition of the Order as it was arranged by Raimond
Dupuy caused it to consist of three classes. In the first were placed
men of high birth and rank who, having been bred to arms, were capable
of taking command. In the second came priests and chaplains, who,
besides the ordinary duties attached to their religious profession,
were obliged, each in his turn, to accompany the fighting men in
their wars. Those who were neither of noble houses nor belonging to
the ecclesiastical profession were known as “serving brothers”: they
were employed indifferently in following the knights into battle or
in tending the sick in the hospital, and were distinguished by a
coat-of-arms of a different colour from that worn by the knights.

As the Order prospered amazingly, and as to it repaired numbers of the
young noblesse from all parts of Europe to enrol themselves under its
banner, it was accordingly divided into seven “Languages”; those of
Provence, Auvergne, France, Italy, Arragon, Germany, and England. To
the Language of Arragon was in later years allotted those of Castile
and of Portugal. The dress consisted of a black robe, with a mantle
of the same colour, the whole being called _manteau à bec_, having upon
the left side thereof a white cross in cloth, with light points. The
eight-pointed cross, or the Maltese Cross, as it came to be known in
subsequent centuries, will be seen upon the armour, engraven on the
breastplate, of all the pictures of the Grand Masters.

In the year 1259 the Pope, Alexander IV., finding that men of noble
birth objected to be habited as were the “serving brothers,” ordained
that the knights on a campaign should wear a “sopraveste” of scarlet
embroidered with the cross in white; further, that should any knight
abandon the ranks, and fly from the battle, he should be deprived
of his order and his habit. The form of government was purely
aristocratic, all authority being vested in the Council, of which
the Grand Master was the chief, the case of an equal division of
opinion being provided for by giving to the Grand Master the casting
vote. There were in the Order certain aged knights who were called
“Preceptors,” who, under authority delegated to them by the Council,
administered the estates and funds accruing, and also paid for the hire
of such soldiers or “seculars” whom the Knights took into their service.

Incidentally, it may be mentioned that the establishment of the
Knights of St. John led to the foundation of the famous Order of the
Knights Templars. In 1118 Hugues de Payens, Geoffrey de St. Aldemar,
and seven other French noblemen, whose hearts were touched by the
sufferings which the pilgrims underwent in their journey to Jerusalem,
formed themselves into a society with the object of the protection
of these inoffensive persons on their transit from the coast inland.
Hugues de Payens, received in audience by Pope Honoré II., was sent
by the Pontiff to the Peers of the Council, then assembled at Troyes
in Champagne; the Council approving of so charitable an enterprise,
the Order was formed, and Bernard, known as “Saint” Bernard, drew up
the code of regulations by which it was to be governed. The movement
spread, and many princes and nobles returned to the Holy Land in the
train of de Payens and his companions.

So famous did the Order of St. John become, that in 1133 Alfonzo, King
of Navarre and Arragon, who called himself Emperor of Spain, carried
his zeal so far as to bequeath to the knights his kingdoms of Navarre
and Arragon: this, however, was naturally and hotly contested in these
places, and Raimond Dupuy, who attended a Council to regulate the
matter, was content to compromise on certain lands and benefits being
allocated to those whom he represented.

On August 15th, 1310, the knights, under the Grand Master, Fulke de
Villaret, conquered the Island of Rhodes and established themselves
there, and from this time onward, while they held the island, were
known as the Knights of Rhodes. No sooner were the knights firmly
established in Rhodes and the fortifications placed in a proper
state of repair, than a tower was built on the highest point of the
island, of great height, from which a view could be obtained of the
sea and the surrounding islands, and from which information could be
signalled as to the movements of any vessels which were observed. It
was then decided to fortify the small island of Cos or Lango in the
vicinity, as it contained an excellent harbour; a fortress, planned
by the Grand Master himself, was erected on the island, a knight was
left in command, and we are told that under the successors of de
Villaret—himself twenty-fourth Grand Master—the island, which was very
fertile, flourished exceedingly, producing much fruit and some most
excellent wine.

There was reigning in Bithynia, at the time when the knights seized
upon Rhodes, that Ottoman whose name has come down to us when we speak
of the Ottoman Empire; it is a somewhat strange coincidence that
the Christian warriors, sworn foes of the Mussulman, should have so
established themselves just when the tide of the Mohammedan conquest
was about to rise and sweep away Byzantium; that they should arrive
upon the scene just as the curtain was about to rise on the tragedy
which, in its onward march, was to make of the church of St. Sophia a
mosque for the worship of the Ottoman Turks.

Ottoman—the descendant of one Soliman, the chief of a nomadic tribe
of Tartars who had been chased from the Empire of Persia in the year
1214—was not only a soldier and a conqueror, but also a great and
beneficent ruler in those regions in which he held sway. Approached
by those of his co-religionists who had been driven out of Rhodes by
the Knights, Ottoman embarked an army and attacked the place, assuring
himself of an easy conquest. In spite, however, of the fortifications
having been hastily constructed, his troops were defeated with great
loss, and he was obliged to raise the siege. In this manner did the
indomitable champions of Christendom begin that long and bloodthirsty
war between the Cross and the Crescent in the Mediterranean which
was to endure for nearly another five centuries. GOZON DE DIEU-DONNÉ


In the long, chequered, and glorious history of the Knights there are
many strange and semi-miraculous deeds recounted of them in the wars
and adventures in which they took so prominent a part; the following,
which is gravely set out by the historians of the time, may be left to
the judgment of the reader. In 1324 Fulke de Villaret was succeeded in
the Grand Mastership by Helion de Villeneuve, a knight of exemplary
piety and a strict disciplinarian. Under his rule the Order regained
those habits of severe simplicity from which they had been allowed to
lapse by his predecessor. In 1329 Rhodes was greatly agitated by the
fact that a crocodile or serpent—as it is indifferently described—had
taken up its abode in the marshes at the foot of Mount St. Etienne,
some two miles from the town. This ferocious creature devoured sheep
and cattle; also several of the inhabitants had lost their lives by
approaching the neighbourhood in which it dwelt. Several attacks
were made upon it, but, as there were no firearms, all the missiles
projected against it rebounded harmlessly from the scales with which it
was covered. So dangerous had it become, that the Grand Master thought
it his duty to forbid any of the knights to attempt its destruction;
an order which was obeyed with a right good will. There was, however,
a knight of the Language of Provence called Gozon de Dieu-Donné, who
secretly determined that he would slay the serpent, and he accordingly
made it his occupation to observe as closely as possible the habits
of the monster. Having satisfied himself on certain points, he then
returned to his chateau of Gozon in the province of Languedoc. The
point which Gozon had wished to determine was in what portion of its
body was the serpent vulnerable; and he had convinced himself that
the belly of the creature was unprotected by scales. He accordingly
modelled in wood as exact a representation of the serpent as he could
accomplish, colouring it the same as the original; the belly of the
model was constructed of leather. He then trained some large and
ferocious hounds, at a certain signal, to dash in under the model
and fix their teeth in its leathern underpart. For months did the
ingenious knight persevere with the training of his dogs, himself on
horseback in full armour cheering them to the assault. At last he
considered them to be perfect in their parts, and, taking two servants
and the hounds with him, returned to Rhodes. Avoiding everybody, he
caused his arms to be carried to a small church in the neighbourhood
of Mount St. Etienne by his servants. The knight went into the church,
where he passed some time in prayer, recommending his soul to God in
the enterprise which he was about to undertake.

He then donned his armour and mounted his horse, ordering his servants,
if he were killed, to return to France but if he succeeded in
killing the serpent to come at once to him, or to aid him if he were
wounded. He then rode off in the direction of the marsh accompanied
by his hounds. No sooner did the serpent hear the ring of bit and
stirrup-iron, the trampling of the charger and the baying of the
hounds, than it issued forth with wide-open slavering jaws and terrible
burning eyes to slay and to devour. Gozon, recommending his soul to
his Maker, put spurs to his horse and charged. But his lance shivered
on the hide of the serpent as though it had struck a stone wall. His
horse, mad with terror at the sight and the foul odour of the serpent,
plunged so furiously as to unseat him. He fell to the ground, uttering
as he did so his call to the hounds; had it not been for these faithful
auxiliaries he would instantly have been slain, but they rushed in and,
fastening their teeth in the belly of the serpent, caused it to writhe
and twist in its anguish. Instantly Gozon was upon his feet again,
and, watching his opportunity, plunged his sword into the exposed
vitals of his enemy. Mortally wounded, the serpent flung itself high
in the air with a convulsive effort, and falling backwards pinned the
knight to the ground beneath its enormous bulk. The servants, who had
been the horrified spectators of this terrific conflict, now rushed to
the assistance of their master, and succeeded in freeing him from his
unpleasant predicament. Gozon, they thought, was dead, but upon dashing
some water in his face he opened his eyes, to behold the pleasing
spectacle of his monstrous enemy lying by his side a corpse.

Naturally elated, he returned to Rhodes, where he became on the instant
the popular hero; for who could say or do enough for the man who had
slain the serpent. He was conducted in triumph to the palace of the
Grand Master by his fellow knights, but here a remarkably unpleasant
surprise was in store for him. Very austerely did Helion de Villeneuve
regard the triumphant warrior, and stern and uncompromising was the
voice in which he asked him how he had dared to contravene the express
order of his Grand Master by going forth to combat with the serpent?
Calling a Council immediately the implacable de Villeneuve, in spite of
all entreaties, deprived Gozon de Dieu-Donné of the habit of a knight.
“What,” said this just and severe disciplinarian, “is the death of this
monster, what indeed do the deaths of the islanders matter, compared
with the maintenance of the discipline of this Order of which I am the
unworthy chief?”

But Helion de Villeneuve was of too wise and kindly a nature to
make his decree absolute, and having thus vindicated his authority he
shortly afterwards released Gozon and made him happy by his praises and
more material benefits.

The Abbé de Vertot tells us that the learned Bochart argues that the
Phoenicians gave to this island the name of Gefirath-Rod (from whence
the name “Rhodes”), or the Isle of the Serpents, and that when the
Romans were at war with the Carthaginians Attilius Regulus slew a
monster in the island of Rhodes the skin of which measured one hundred
feet. Thevenot, in his Travels published in 1637, states that he saw
the head of Gozon’s serpent still attached to one of the gates of the
town of Rhodes, and that it was as large as the head of a horse.

Upon the death of Helion de Villeneuve in 1346, a Chapter of the Order
was held as usual to elect his successor. When it came to the turn of
the Commander Gozon de Dieu-Donné to speak, he said:

“In entering this conclave I made a solemn vow not to propose any
knight whom I did not consider to be most worthy of this exalted
office, and animated by the best intentions for the glory and
well-being of the Order. After considering carefully the state of
the Christian world, of the wars which we are perpetually obliged to
wage against the infidel, the firmness and vigour necessary for the
maintenance of discipline, I declare that I find no person so capable
of governing our ‘Religion’ as myself.”

He then proceeded to speak in a purely impersonal tone of the
magnificent services which he had rendered, not forgetting the
famous episode of the serpent, and drew their attention to the fact
that the late Grand Master had constituted him, Gozon, his principal
lieutenant. He ended: “You have already tried my government, you know
well that which you may hope to expect. I believe that in all justice I
shall receive your suffrages.”

Naturally the assemblage was stupefied at hearing a man thus recommend
himself; on reflection, however, they decided that he had spoken
no less than the truth, and Gozon de Dieu-Donné, “the hero of the
serpent,” became twenty-sixth Grand Master of the Order. He died in
1353, when he was succeeded by Pierre de Cornillan, and upon his tomb
were graven these words: “Cy Gist le Vainqueur du Dragon.”

In the years 1480 and 1485 under the Grand Master Pierre D’Aubusson,
Rhodes withstood two great sieges from the Turks. The first of these is
described at length by the knight Merri Dupuis “temoin oculaire” who
sets down: “Je, Mary Dupuis gros et rude de sens et de entendement je
veuille parler et desscrire au plus bref que je pourray et au plus pres
de la verite selon que je pen voir a lueil.” The description of that of
1485 is written by another eye-witness, the Commandeur de Bourbon, to
whom “ma semble bon et condecent a raison declairer premierement les
causes qui out incite mon poure et petit entendement a faire cest petit

But we have no space to follow these gallant Knights, and it must
suffice to say that on both occasions, after incredible exertions
and terrible slaughter on both sides, the attacks of the Turks were
eventually repulsed.

It was reserved for Soliman the Magnificent to finally vanquish the
Knights and to expel them from Rhodes; from July 1522 until January
1523 the Knights under the heroic Villiers de L’Isle Adam maintained an
all unequal struggle against the vast hosts of the Crescent, which were
perpetually reinforced. At last, on January 1st, 1523, the Knights,
by virtue of a treaty with Soliman, which was honourably observed on
both sides, evacuated the island in which they had been established for
nearly two hundred and twenty years.

By favour of Charles V. the Knights on October 26th, 1530, took charge
of the islands of Malta and Gozo, and established themselves therein;
still under the Grand Mastership of L’Isle Adam, whose sword and helmet
are still religiously kept in a small church in Vittoriosa, just at the
back of the Admiral Superintendent’s house in the present dockyard.

The knights fortified the islands and there abode, until in 1565 the
Ottoman returned once more to the attack.

It may be said that heroism is a relative term, that it has many uses
and applications all equally truthful. On the side of mere physical
courage almost every man who took part in that memorable siege of
Malta in the year 1565 may have been said to have earned the title of
hero. No man’s foot went back; no man’s courage quailed; no man’s face
blanched when called upon to face perils so appalling that they meant
an almost inevitable and speedy death; this was true or Christian
and Moslem alike. The death-roll on either side was so tremendous as to
prove this contention up to the hilt. From May 18th to September 8th,
1565—that is to say, in one hundred and thirteen days—thirty thousand
Moslems and eight thousand Christians perished—an average of some three
hundred and thirty-six persons per day. In that blazing torrid heat
the sufferings of those who survived from day to day must have been
accentuated beyond bearing by the myriads of unburied corpses by which
they lived surrounded; and that the contending forces were not swept
away by pestilence is an extraordinary marvel.


In many, nay, in most campaigns, personal feeling enters but little
into the contest. Nationality strikes against nationality, army against
army, or navy against navy; but no burning hatred of his adversary
animates the breast of the combatant on either side; it may even be
said that frequently some pity for the vanquished is felt, when all is
over, by the side which has conquered. At Malta the element of actual
personal individual hatred was the mainspring by which the combatants
on both sides were moved; each regarded the other as an infidel, the
slaying of whom was the sacrifice most acceptable to the God they
worshipped. “Infidel” was the term which each hurled at the other; to
destroy the infidel, root and branch, was the act imposed upon those
whose faith was the one only passport to a blessed eternity, and those
who fell in the strife, whether Christian or Moslem, felt assured that
for them the gates of heaven stood wide open.

Great as were those others who perished, faithful to the death as
were those noble knights who died to a man in the culminating agony
of St. Elmo, adroit, resourceful, master of himself and others as was
the famous Dragut, there is one name and one alone that shines like
a beacon light upon a hill-top when we think of the siege of Malta.
Jean Parisot de la Valette, whose name is enshrined for ever in that
noble city which crowns Mount Sceberass at the present day, was the
forty-eighth Grand Master of the Noble Order of the Knights of Saint
John of Jerusalem the charter for which, contained in the original Bull
of Pope Paschal II., dated 1113 (in which the Holy Father took the
Order under his special protection), may be seen to this day in the
armoury of the palace at Valetta. At the time when the supreme honour
was conferred upon him, in the year 1557, he had passed through every
grade of the Order: as soldier, captain, general, Counsellor, Grand
Cross: in all of them displaying a valour, a piety, a self-abnegation
beyond all praise, A man of somewhat austere manner, he exacted from
others that which he gave himself—a whole-hearted devotion to the Order
to which he had consecrated his life. Fearing no man in the Council
Chamber, even as he feared no foe in the field, he ever spoke his
mind in defence of that which he deemed to be right. Proud, with the
dignity becoming a man of his ancient lineage, he merged all personal
haughtiness in the zeal he felt in upholding the rights and privileges
of that splendid confederation of knights of the best blood in Europe
over which he had been called upon to preside at the mature age of
sixty-three. There is no instance in history of any man more absolutely
single-minded than La Valette; that in which he believed he cherished
with an ardour almost incredible in these days, and that the sword of
the Lord had been confided into his hand for the utter extermination
and extirpation of the Moslem heresy was the leading feature in his
creed. That he had been advanced to a dignity but little less than
royal in achieving the Grand Mastership was but as dust in the balance
to him compared with the opportunities which it gave him to harry his
life-long foes; and he who had known so well how to obey throughout all
his youth and manhood was now to prove, in the most emphatic manner,
that he had learned how to command. In all those terrible hundred
and thirteen days during which the siege lasted there was none to be
compared to him. As occasion occurred this man’s soul rose higher and
ever higher; beseeching, imploring, commanding, by sheer force of
example did he point out the way to the weaker spirits by whom he was

To speak of weaker spirits in connection with the siege of Malta seems
almost an insult; these gallant knights and soldiers were only so in
comparison with their leader. Twice during the siege of St, Elmo did
the garrison send to La Valette and represent that the place was no
longer tenable; but Garcia de Toledo, Viceroy of Sicily for Philip of
Spain, was writing specious letters instead of sending reinforcements,
and every moment gained was of importance. Coldly did La Valette remind
the Knights of their vows to the Order, and when renewed assurances
came that it was only a matter of a few hours before they should be
overwhelmed he replied that others could be found to take their places,
that he, as Grand Master, would come in person to show them how to die.
A passion of remorse overcame these noble gentlemen, who, thus nerved
by the indomitable spirit of their chief, died to the last man in the
tumbled ruins of that charnel-house which had once been a fortress.

La Valette was ready to die; there was no man in all that garrison so
ready. With pike and sword this veteran of seventy-one years of age
was ever at the post of the greatest danger, repelling the assaults
of Janissaries and corsairs, fighting with the spirit of the youngest
among the Knights in the breaches rent in the walls of Il Borgo. In
vain did his comrades try to prevent him from this perpetual exposure;
in vain did they point out that the value of his life outnumbered that
of an army. He was very gentle with these remonstrances, but quite
firm. There were plenty as good as he to take his place should he fall,
he insisted; till that time came it was his duty to inspire all by his
example, to show to the simplest soldier that he was cared for by his
Grand Master.

As things went from bad to worse, when Il Borgo became in little better
case than had St. Elmo before it, La Valette never hesitated, never
looked back, never ceased to hope that the sluggard Garcia de Toledo
might send relief; and, if he did not, then would they all perish with
arms in their hands, as had their brethren across that narrow strip of
water who had held St. Elmo to the last man. What man or woman can read
without something of a lump coming in their throat of those noble
words of the Grand Master in the last few days of the siege when all
had utterly abandoned hope?

Grimed, emaciated, covered with sweat and blood and dust, did La
Valette move from post to post exhorting and encouraging his soldiers.
So few had the gallant company of the Knights become that command was
necessarily delegated to the under-officers; yet who among them did not
find fresh courage and renewed strength when that great noble, the head
of the Order, stood by their sides and spoke thus to them as man to

“My brothers, we are all servants of Jesus Christ; and I feel assured
that if I and all these in command should fall you will still fight on
for the honour of the Order and the love of our Holy Church.”

We have to think of what it all meant, we have dimly to try and realise
the burden which was laid upon this man, before we come to a right
conception, not only of what he endured but the terrible sacrifices
he was called upon to make. Here was no man of iron lusting for blood
and greedy of conquest for the sake of the vain applause of men; but
one full of human love and affection for those among whom he had lived
all the days of his life. Upon him was laid the charge of upholding
the honour of the Order, the majesty of the God whom he served. To
this end he doomed to certain death those brethren of his in St. Elmo,
his own familiar friends, reminding them that it was their duty so to
die, while his heart was breaking with the agony of this terrible
decision, which no weaker man could have given. When his beloved nephew
was slain, together with another gallant youth, he smiled sadly and
said that they had only travelled the road which they all had to tread
in a few days; that he grieved as much for the one as for the other. In
speaking of this man, it may truly be said that there is no character
in history more elevated; there is none which shows us the picture of a
more perfect, gentle, and valiant knight.



  How Sinan Basha and Dragut raided the islands of
  Malta and Cozo and captured the town of Tripoli. How
  the Knights of Malta captured “the puissant galleon”
  belonging to the Kustir-Aga and the Odalisques of the
  harem of the Grand Turk. The despair of the ladies and
  the advice of the Imaum to Soliman the Magnificent.
  A great armada is fitted out in Constantinople. The
  preparations for defence on the part of La Valette and
  the Knights. The expedition sails from Constantinople and
  lands in Malta.

Great must have been the consternation of the Knights when the armada,
commanded by Sinan Basha, appeared off their coasts, and bitter must
have been the reflections of Juan d’Omedes, the Grand Master, who had
all along contended that so formidable an expedition could not possibly
be directed against Malta. The inhabitants of that island were,
however, not left long in doubt, as Sinan, immediately on his arrival,
entered the Grand Harbour, or “the Great Port,” as it was called in
those days. Sinan, in his royal galley, led the way in, contemptuously
assured of an easy victory over so insignificant a place of arms. He
had his first rude awakening before he had traversed some quarter of a
mile of the placid waters of the Great Port. The harbour, as is well
known, though long, is very narrow, and, on the starboard hand of the
Turkish galleys as they entered, the Commandeur de Guimeran, a
Spanish Knight, had ambushed three hundred arquebusiers. As the galley
of Sinan came abreast of the ambush, the Commandeur gave the order to
fire. The volley at so close a range had a terrible effect, especially
among the “chiourme,” or the slaves who rowed the galley, some hundred
of whom were placed _hors de combat_. Sinan, in a furious rage, ordered
an immediate disembarkment; but when his men landed and scaled the
heights of Mount Sceberras (the elevated land on which the city of
Valetta now stands) there was no one to be found, the Commandeur and
the men who had formed the ambush having disappeared. Gazing from the
heights at Il Borgo, the fortress on the opposite side of the harbour
where the Knights then dwelt, Sinan demanded of Dragut, “If that,”
pointing to the fortress, “was the place which he had told the Sultan
could easily be taken?”

Dragut, whom no peril ever daunted, coolly replied:

“Certainly, no eagle ever built his nest on a rock more easy of access.”

A corsair, who had been slave to the Knights, now approached Sinan, and
told him that he had assisted at the building of the fortress; which,
he averred, was so strong that if the admiral delayed until he had
taken it that the winter would be upon them, although it was then only
the month of July. Sinan, as we have said, was a hesitating commander.
He had the ever-present fear of the Grand Turk before his eyes, and was
not inclined for so difficult and dangerous an enterprise as this was
represented to be. Leaving the fortress in his rear, he marched off
to the high land in the centre of the island, on which was situated the
Città Notabile, the capital of Malta, some seven miles distant from
the sea. On their march through the island the Turks committed their
usual atrocities, murdering the wretched inhabitants, firing their
dwellings, destroying their crops, and carrying off their women. Had
the siege of Notabile been pressed, the city must have fallen; but
Sinan declared to Dragut that the principal object of the expedition
was the reduction of Tripoli, and, in consequence, he had not the time
to devote to its reduction. Dragut, furious at this temporising policy,
urged an immediate assault, and, while the contention was waxing
sharp between the two leaders, a letter was brought to Sinan which
had been captured in a Sicilian galley. It was from the “Receiver” of
the Order, who dwelt at Messina, to the Grand Master, informing him
that he had expressly sent this ship to inform him that Andrea Doria
had just returned from Spain and was hastening with a large fleet to
attack the Turks. The letter was a ruse on the part of the “Receiver,”
and contained not a particle of truth. It was, however, quite enough
for Sinan, who immediately called a council of war and imparted this
alarming news to its members. The council, after the invariable fashion
of such bodies, decided to take the safest and easiest course: the
name of the terrible Andrea was one of evil omen to the Ottomans, and,
as one man, they voted for prosecuting their voyage to Tripoli before
the Genoese seaman should put in an appearance. In vain was the fury
of Dragut, who had counted on a full revenge on his ancient enemies
the Knights. The armada sailed to the adjacent island of Gozo, which
was thoroughly sacked with every refinement of cruelty. Every house
on the island was burned, and six thousand of its inhabitants carried
off to slavery. One incident is deserving of record. In Gozo dwelt a
certain Sicilian with his wife and two daughters: sooner than that they
should fall into the hands of the Turks this man stabbed his wife and
daughters and then threw himself, sword in hand, into the ranks of his
enemies, where he slew two of them, wounded several others, and was
then hacked to pieces. The fleet then proceeded to Tripoli, which was
taken almost without opposition, as it was defended by a mere handful
of the Knights and some utterly unreliable Calabrian infantry, who
had never before seen a shot fired: these men very soon mutinied and
refused to fight any longer. Dragut became the autocrat of Tripoli, as
his great predecessor Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa had been of Algiers: from
hence, in the years that were to come before his death, he carried on
his sleepless and unending warfare with his Christian foes, on whom he
was destined to inflict another terrible defeat when they attacked this
stronghold which he had made his own.

Claude de la Sangle dying on August 18th, 1557, Jean Parisot de la
Valette was chosen Grand Master of the Knights of Malta in his stead
on August 21st of the same year. He was, as we have said before, in
succession, soldier, captain, councillor, general, and Grand Cross; he
was as wise in council as he was terrible in battle; he was as much
esteemed by his brethren as he was feared by the infidel. Under his
governorship “the Religion” regained the ancient authority which it
had once possessed, especially in some of the German Provinces and in
the Republic of Venice. So great was the influence of La Valette that
he succeeded in making the “Languages” (or confederations of Knights)
of Germany and Venice pay their “responsions,” which had been allowed
to get into arrear. These “responsions” were a tax levied on the
“Languages “ exclusively for the purpose of combatting the infidel,
and La Valette brought all the firmness of his high character to bear,
in order to induce these Knights to do what, he reminded them, was
their simple and obvious duty. Fired by the highest conception of the
office he had been called upon to execute, La Valette allowed none
of those under his command to be slack in their performance of their
duties. In him dwelt the real old crusading spirit. He saw life with
the single eye, for that which was paramount was the utter destruction
of the infidel. There are many men who have a high conception of duty;
there are but few who can inspire those with whom they are brought
in contact. Of these latter was Jean Parisot de la Valette; in him
the pure flame of religious enthusiasm burnt with so clear a light as
to act as an illuminant for the paths of others. In him dwelt that
rare quality of lifting others almost to that plane on which he dwelt
himself, of making men nobler and better almost in spite of themselves.
So it was that, when La Valette stooped to remind others of his brother
Knights that they owed money to the Order, that money was paid at once.

Having thus restored order to the finances, the Grand Master turned his
attention to the state of affairs (as he had received them from his
predecessor) connected with the territorial possessions of the Knights.
For long years now the fortress of Tripoli had been in the hands of the
renowned Dragut, who was the scourge and the terror of the Christians.
The corsair dwelt in his stronghold in insolent defiance of the
Knights, whose property it once had been. Years before he had wrested
it from them by the strong hand: what, then, more necessary in the
eyes of such an one as La Valette than to expel this audacious pirate?
The Grand Master invited the co-operation of Juan la Cerda (a Spanish
Grandee, Duke of Medina-Celi, and Viceroy of Sicily for the King of
Spain) in this enterprise. The Viceroy joyfully acceded to the request,
and informed his master. Philip II. approved the project, and sent
orders to the Duke of Sesse, Governor of Milan, to the Duke of Alcala,
Governor of Naples, and to John Andrea Doria, General of the Galleys,
to join forces and to repair to Sicily, placing themselves under the
orders of the Duke of Medina-Celi, who was expressly charged to take
no action save by the advice of the Grand Master. The expedition
assembled, the Duke took it to Malta, where it wintered, and in the
spring it sailed and attacked Tripoli.

They found this fortress, however, in a very different state from that
which they expected. Dragut, says De Vertot, “avoit faire terasser les
murailles de cette place.” Bastions had been constructed, and every
advantage taken for defence which was permitted by the terrain, or
that the art of fortification admitted at this epoch. The castle, which
was not advantageously placed, was, notwithstanding, put in a state of
defence by an enormous expenditure of money. Great towers, in which
were mounted many big guns, defended the entrance to the port, which
had become the headquarters of the vessels owned by Dragut, and also of
those corsairs who sailed their craft under the crescent flag of the
Sultan of Constantinople. It was against such a fortress as this that
the Duke of Medina-Celi went up: we have no space to deal here with the
details of this attack, which ended in the hopeless and irremediable
defeat of the Christian forces. The Duke was an incompetent commander;
he was opposed to one of the greatest leaders of the age—an expert
in almost every branch of the science of war, in command of a large
body of the fiercest fighters of the day, who ever feared the wrath of
Dragut more than the swords of the enemy.

La Valette, though he mourned over the repulse of the Christian
forces from Tripoli, did not on that account allow his pursuit of
the infidel to grow faint; the galleys of “the Religion” were always
at sea, and both the corsairs and the Ottoman Turks were perpetually
losing valuable ships and costly merchandise. Under the General of
the Galleys, the Commandeur Gozon de Melac, and that celebrated
chevalier, the Commandeur de Romegas, the sea forces of the Knights
were everywhere in evidence. Into the hands of the Christians fell the
Penon de Velez, situated on the northern coast of Africa opposite to
Malaga—a fortress much frequented by the corsairs; the Goletta at
Tunis was also taken, and the pirates became so much alarmed that they
demanded succour from Constantinople. They represented to Soliman that,
at this rate, the whole of Northern Africa would soon be in the hands
of the Christians to the total exclusion of the true believer.

Soliman listened to their complaints and promised that soon he would
send forth an armament which should put an end to the misfortunes from
which they were suffering. Once again preparations were begun in the
arsenals of Constantinople, and while these were in progress an event
took place which had an important bearing on the situation. Just after
the taking of the Penon de Velez seven galleys of “the Religion,”
under the command of the chevaliers de Giou and De Romegas, which were
cruising in the neighbourhood of Zante and Cephalonia, fell in with
“a puissant galleon” filled with the richest merchandise of the East,
armed with “twenty great cannons of bronze,” and a number of smaller
guns, under the command of the Reis Bairan-Ogli, having on board
“excellent officers of artillery,” as well as two hundred Janissaries
for her defence. This great ship was the property of Kustir-Aga, the
chief Eunuch of the Seraglio of the Sultan, and many of the ladies of
the harem were interested in a pecuniary sense in the safe arrival of
this vessel at Constantinople. The galleys of “the Religion” attacked,
and, after a most obstinate resistance, in which one hundred and twenty
of the Christians and an even larger number of the Turks were killed,
the galleon was captured.

If there had been an outcry in Constantinople before this occurrence
it was all as nothing to that which now arose. Kustir-Aga and the
Odalisques of the Harem prostrated themselves at the feet of Soliman
the Magnificent, and with streaming eyes, dishevelled hair, and frantic
gestures, demanded the instant despatch of an expedition to utterly
exterminate these barbarian corsairs, the Knights of Malta, who had
thus injured them and lacerated their tenderest susceptibilities.
The Grand Turk, autocrat as he was, had no peace day or night; he
was surrounded by wailing women and sullen officials, all of whom
had lost heavily by the capture of the puissant galleon. The Imaum,
or preacher in the principal mosque, called upon the Sultan in his
discourse to fall upon the audacious infidel and smite him hip and
thigh. He reminded the Padishah that, in the dungeons of the Knights,
true believers were languishing; that on the rowers’ benches of the
galleys of “the Religion” Moslems were being flogged like dogs. In
a furious peroration he concluded: “It is only thy invincible sword
which can shatter the chains of these unfortunates, whose cries are
rising to heaven and afflicting the ears of the Prophet of God: the
son is demanding his father, the wife her husband and her children.
All, therefore, wait upon thee, upon thy justice, and thy power, for
vengeance upon their cruel and implacable enemies.”

Contrary to all precedent, which enjoins the most perfect silence in
the mosque, these bold utterances were received with something more
than murmurs of applause: never in all his long and glorious reign had
the great and magnificent despot heard so plainly the voice of his
people. Apart, however, from eunuchs, women, and Mullahs, Soliman had
long been importuned by Dragut to take the course which was now being
urged upon him with so much insistence. There was at this time no
warrior in all his _entourage_ for whose opinion the Sultan had the same
respect as he had for that of the ruler of Tripoli. Dragut had more
than a tincture of learning: he was first of all an incomparable leader
of men and an entirely competent seaman. He was also a scientific
artillerist, and was learned in the technique of the fortification of
his time. Added to this he was—albeit by no means so cruel as most of
his contemporaries—one of those men before whom all trembled: as we
have seen in the case of the corsairs who defended “Africa,” “they
feared the wrath of Dragut more than death itself.”

It was this renowned leader who warned Soliman against the Knights; he
pointed out that they were far more dangerous now than they had been
in 1523, the year of their expulsion from Rhodes. When established
there they were, so to speak, surrounded by the Turkish Empire; in
Malta, on the contrary, they were easily succoured from Sicily, which
belonged to Spain, another implacable enemy of the Moslem; that Malta
lay right on the route which all the ships of the Sultan must take on
passage from the East to Constantinople; and in consequence the Order
was a standing and perpetual menace to the trade of the Empire. All
this was so undeniably true that so shrewd a man and so competent a
ruler as Soliman could not fail to be impressed by the soundness of the
reasoning. Besides all this, he knew quite well that now he could
not hold back, had it been even against his inclination—which was by
no means the case; for there had arisen one of those storms of popular
opinion—all the more formidable because of their infrequency—before
which even the most hardened of despots must bend. Accordingly the
Sultan called a conference of his fighting men, which was held on
horseback in the open-air. The inclination of the Sultan being known,
most of the generals, like good courtiers, voted for immediate war
with the Knights. At this conference was present that Ali Basha, or
Occhiali, or Uluchali, as he was indifferently called, of whom we shall
have more to say later on. Upon this occasion he was present as the
representative of Dragut, and urged, on behalf of his master, that the
time was not yet ripe for an attack on Malta. First, he contended, it
was necessary to recapture the Goletta and the Peñon de Velez, and to
defeat the Moors of Tunis, who were feudatories of the Spanish king and
avowed enemies of the Ottoman Empire. Ali was supported by one Mahomet,
an old warrior who had grown white in the service of the Sultan, who
strongly opposed the contemplated campaign on the ground that the
Knights would in all probability have the full strength of Europe at
their backs.

Numbers, however, added to the personal inclination of the Sultan,
carried the day. The die was cast, the memorable expedition was decided
upon, and all the Sultan’s vast Empire soon rang with the note of
preparation. The Capitan Basha, Piali, was in command of the fleet, and
the direction of the land forces was confided to Mustafa, an old
officer sixty-five years of age, a severe disciplinarian, and of a
sanguinary and cruel disposition to any of his enemies who had the
misfortune to fall into his hands.

Once again did Europe lose itself in speculation: against whom, all
men were asking, was this new expedition to be directed? Spain feared
for her African possessions, as the Goletta was the key to the kingdom
of Tunis, while the Peñon de Velez was one of the bulwarks of Algeria.
In consequence Don Garcia de Toledo passed over from Sicily to confer
with the Grand Master of the Knights. Garcia de Toledo was by no means
a favourable specimen of the illustrious race from which he sprang,
and was a complete antithesis to La Valette; he was to prove himself
in the terrible days that were to come to be sluggish, incompetent, a
ruler who could not rule, a person for ever letting “I dare not wait
upon I would.” Just as long as Spain considered this new expedition
was directed against herself considerable activity was shown; when the
attack developed and it was seen that the objective of the Turks was
Malta, the procrastinating Spanish king and his incompetent viceroy
allowed matters so to drift that, had any other man than La Valette
been in command at Malta, the fall of that island had been inevitable.

We have seen how Juan d’Omedes had dealt with a previous crisis
in the affairs of the Order; very different was it in the opening
months of the year 1565. La Valette was well served by his spies in
Constantinople, and the Grand Master was under no illusions from the
very first as to what the destination of the army of the Sultan would
be. He recognised that against the small islands of Malta and Gozo
all the strength of the mightiest Empire in the world was about to be
directed, and with serene confidence set about the task of preparation.
His first care was to send out “a general citation” to those Knights
living in their own homes in different countries in Europe, commanding
them to repair at once to Malta and take part in the defence of that
Order to which they had vowed to consecrate their lives. The agents
of the Order in Italy succeeded in raising two thousand infantry, and
the Viceroy of Sicily sent over two companies of Spanish infantry
which he had promised. All the galleys of “the Religion” were called
in from distant service and were set to work importing ammunition,
stores, provisions, and all requisites for the withstanding of a
siege. As the galleys passed backwards and forwards to Sicily, in each
returning vessel came noble gentlemen of every country in Europe, in
answer to the summons of their Grand Master. They were received with
the tenderest affection by him and by those others already assembled;
never in all its long and glorious history had the Order assembled in
circumstances more grave; never in its history, either in the past
or in the future, did it quit itself with so supreme a heroism as in
those days of 1565 which were yet to come. In Malta the orderly bustle
of preparation went on ceaselessly; the Italian and Spanish troops
and the inhabitants of the island, for the most part hardy mariners
well accustomed to the ceaseless _guerre de course_ of the Knights, were
formed into companies, officered by the members of the Order, and
assigned to different posts.

Meanwhile the Grand Master caused copies of the letters which he had
received from Constantinople to be sent to all the great princes of
Europe; showing them the straits to which the Order was shortly to be
reduced and imploring of them to send timely succour. But it was not
upon outside aid that La Valette counted overmuch; he was preparing
to confront the Turks with such forces as he had at his own disposal;
content, if necessary, to leave the issue in the hands of the God in
whom he trusted. As the chevaliers came flocking to the standard of
St. John he received them, we are told, “as a kind father receives
his beloved children, having provided in advance for their food and
lodging.” He personally entered into the most minute details of his
charge; he reviewed his infantry, he instructed his artillery, he
planned sites for hospitals, he sketched out new fortifications, and
then went among the humblest of his followers and wielded the pick and
shovel in the burning sun. Everywhere his cheering presence was felt,
his equable and serene temperament diffused confidence and hope.

All things being thus in train he assembled his brethren and addressed
them in the following terms:

“A formidable army, composed of audacious barbarians, is descending
on this island; these persons, my brothers, are the enemies of Jesus
Christ. To-day it is a question of the defence of our faith as to
whether the book of the Evangelist is to be superseded by that of the
Koran? God on this occasion demands of us our lives, already vowed
to His service. Happy will those be who first consummate this
sacrifice. But that we may indeed be worthy to render it come, my dear
brothers, to the foot of the altar, where we may renew our vows. Let
each one rely on the blood of the Saviour of men and in the faithful
practice of the sacraments; in them we shall find so generous a
contempt for death that we shall indeed be rendered invincible.”

The Knights then, headed by the Grand Master, took themselves in
procession to the church. Here they confessed and received the
sacrament. “They went out from thence as men who had received a new
birth.” The Knights, we are then told, tenderly embraced one another
in all solemnity; vowing to shed the last drop of their blood in
defence of their religion and its holy altars. It was in this lofty
frame of mind that the Knights of Malta awaited the coming of their
hereditary foe. Into the hearts and minds of these gallant gentlemen
of the best blood in the world the Grand Master had instilled some
leaven of the greatness by which he himself was inspired. When belief
is so wholehearted as it was in the case of La Valette; when it is
allied to a genius for war, and a supreme gift for the inspiration of
others, then that man and the force which he commands are as near to
invincibility as it is permitted to fallible human beings to attain.
There were two things in which the Knights were supremely fortunate on
this occasion: the first was that they had La Valette as Grand Master,
the second that Dragut was not in supreme command of the Turks, and
that the siege had opened before he arrived upon the scene. In this
expedition, as in previous ones, the Turkish commanders had orders to
attempt nothing really important without the advice of Dragut. They
found themselves without him when they arrived and made an initial
mistake. With La Valette in command there was no room for blundering;
the ultimate result of their blunder was the defeat which they

Grand Master, Knight, and noble, soldier, peasant, and mariner, strove
valiantly with the task of putting the island into a state of defence,
and when at last the long-expected armada of their foes rose above that
distant blue horizon in the north all had been done that skill and
experience could dictate.

It was upon May 18th in the year 1565 that the Turkish fleet arrived
at Malta. It was composed of one hundred and fifty-nine galleys
and vessels propelled by oars: on board of these was an army for
disembarkation of thirty thousand men, composed of Janissaries and
Spahis, the very pick and flower of the Turkish army. Soliman the
Magnificent was leaving as little to chance as was possible on this
occasion; he well knew the temper of the Knights, and that this
expedition had before it a task which would try both the army and its
leaders to the very utmost of their strength. Behind the main body of
the fleet came a host of vessels, charged with provisions, the horses
of the Spahis, the siege-train of the artillery, all the innumerable
appliances and engines of war which were in use at that day. The
initial mistake on the part of the Turks was in embarking cavalry for a
siege; they knew, or they should have known, of the extreme smallness
of the island which they were about to attack, and that they were by
no means likely to be met with armies in the field owing to the
enormous preponderance of numbers which they had assured to themselves.

Piali, as we have said, was in command of the fleet, and Mustafa of
the army; the corsairs did not arrive on the scene till some days

The Turks landed some men who encountered the Chevalier La Riviere
and some Maltese troops, with whom they had some lively skirmishes.
Unfortunately, in one of these the Chevalier was captured, put to
the torture, and eventually beheaded for having wilfully misled
the Turks. A council of war was held by Piali, Mustafa, and their
principal officers, to deliberate on the best manner of prosecuting
the enterprise on which they were engaged. The admiral, wishing to
conform strictly with the instructions of Soliman, voted to delay all
initiative until the arrival of the famous corsair. Mustafa, however,
held a different opinion: the unfortunate Chevalier La Riviere had,
before his death, informed the Turkish general that large and powerful
succours were expected daily from Sicily. Secretly disquieted by this
news, which he had at the time affected to disbelieve, Mustafa now
urged immediate action. His opinion was that, in the first instance,
they had better attack the castle of St. Elmo. It was a small and
insignificant fort which at best would only delay them some five or
six days; when this had fallen they could proceed to the more serious
business of taking Il Borgo, the principal fortress on the island in
which the Grand Master and most of the Knights were established. By the
time St. Elmo had been taken they might reasonably expect that Dragut
and his corsairs would have arrived, and, with these seasonable
reinforcements, proceed to the really formidable portion of their
task. In their decisions both admiral and general were wrong; to delay
attack, once the troops were landed, was a counsel of pusillanimity
hardly to be expected of Piali, but showing at the same time how
he dreaded above all else departing one iota from the instructions
which he had received. To attack the castle of St. Elmo first was a
military mistake, because it could be—and was during the whole of the
siege—reinforced from its larger sister Il Borgo.

The discourse of Mustafa prevailed in the council of war, and the siege
of St. Elmo was decided upon and immediately begun.




  The siege of Malta by the Turks; The capture of the
  fortress of St. Elmo; The death of Dragut-Reis

There was an entire disregard of human life among the leaders of the
Ottoman Turks at this time which is almost incredible; to attain their
end in war they sacrificed thousands upon thousands of men with an
absolutely callous indifference. In no chapter of the bloodstained
history of their Empire was this trait more in evidence than it was
at the siege of Malta. There was, however, a reason for this, which
developed itself more and more as the ceaseless assaults on the
positions of the Knights went on. From a military point of view, all
the operations which took place were those of the siege of a fortress;
as when at length St. Elmo fell the Turks turned their attention to
the fortress of Il Borgo. The time-honoured method of the attack on
a fortress, of approaching it by sap and mine, was here almost an
impossibility, as the island of Malta is composed of solid rock through
which it was practically impossible to drive trenches. It is true that
the rock is of an exceptionally soft nature, easily cut through with
proper tools; but you cannot cut through rock, no matter how soft
it may be, when your operations are opposed at every step by a brave
and vigilant enemy. Mustafa and the council of war had, as we have
said, decided to begin operations by the siege of the fortress of St.
Elmo. This place had been built from the designs of the Prior of Capua,
an officer of the Order, and was situated at the extreme end of the
promontory of Mount Sceberass, which juts out between the Great Port
and the harbour of Marsa Muzetto. The fort was in a commanding position
and dominated the entrance to the two principal harbours in the island.
It was admirably adapted for repulsing an attack from the sea; but,
owing to the proximity of other points of land upon which artillery
could be mounted, was easily capable of attack by such an enemy as that
by which it was now assailed.

The principal preoccupation of the militant Prior of Capua had been to
make it formidable on the side facing the sea; perhaps the designer
had never contemplated the possibility that the day might dawn when
it would be attacked from the landward side! However this may have
been, Mustafa decided that it could and should be carried on this, its
weakest face, and made his preparations accordingly.

As far as it was possible to open trenches this was done, at the most
prodigal expenditure of the lives of the pioneers. Where the rock
proved absolutely impossible of manipulation redoubts were constructed
of massive beams on which thick planks were bolted, the whole covered
with wet earth which had to be collected with incredible toil from the
country at the back. Disembarking their siege-guns, and utilising
the cattle of the islanders for transporting them, the great cannon
of the Turks were dragged up the slopes of the Mount and got into
position; and by the 24th of May fire was opened on St. Elmo with ten
guns which threw balls weighing eighty pounds. Besides these there were
two culverins which threw balls of sixty pounds, and a huge basilisk,
the projectile from which weighed no less than one hundred and sixty
pounds. A terrible fire was opened against the walls of the fort, and
so destructive did it immediately become that the Bailli of Negropont,
the Knight in command, very soon became aware that his trust must be in
the stout hearts and strong arms of his garrison; as the walls by which
they were surrounded were hourly crumbling into nothingness.

Regarding the matter from this point of view, he sent at once to the
Grand Master by the Chevalier La Cerda demanding succour; this officer,
“rendered eloquent by fear,” exaggerated the peril to which the fort
was exposed and stated that it could not possibly hold out for more
than another eight days.

“What losses have you had?” demanded the Grand Master.

“Sire,” replied La Cerda, “the fort may be compared to a sick man in
his extremity, in the last stage of weakness, unable to sustain himself
except by perpetual cordials and remedies.”

“Then I myself will be your physician,” said the Grand Master with
contempt, “and I will bring others with me. If that cannot cure you of
fear it will, at all events, prevent the infidels from seizing upon the

There was no real hope in the mind of La Valette that St. Elmo could
be saved from the enemy. The place was too weak, and none knew this
fact better than the man to whom all the defences of the island were
as familiar as the hilt of his own good sword; but, though he secretly
deplored the necessity, he felt that if Malta were to be preserved it
could only be done by delaying until succour should come from outside;
every day, nay, every hour, was of importance, and he was prepared to
sacrifice St. Elmo and the lives of its entire garrison to attain his
end. He did not, however—to continue the simile of La Cerda—prescribe
for others a medicine which he himself was not prepared to take, and
when he said that he would go to the fort of St. Elmo it was no mere
figure of speech. The council of the Knights, however, would not hear
of the Grand Master thus sacrificing himself; well did these noble
gentlemen know that there was none among them like unto him, that his
name and his influence were worth an army in themselves. The outcry was
so loud that La Valette had to yield; which he did the more readily
when he saw the splendid emulation among his brethren to cross over
to the beleaguered and crumbling fortress which promised nothing but
the grave to those who should pass within the circle of fire by which
it was now surrounded. To the Chevaliers Gonzales de Medran and de la
Motte was conceded the proud privilege for which all the Knights were
clamouring; and, accompanied by the tears and the prayers of their
brethren, they passed to that place where, if death were certain,
honour at least was immortal. Truly the heart warms somewhat to the
days of chivalry when one reads of what was done at the siege of
Malta. The motto of _Noblesse oblige_ was no dead letter in the sixteenth
century. By this time the whole of Europe was awake to the peril
of the Order, and, galloping for dear life across Europe, came the
Knights, anxious and willing to share in the danger. For most of these
gentlemen Sicily was the goal at which they aimed; arrived there they
flung themselves into any boat or shallop which they could hire, and,
heedless of the risk of capture by the Turkish fleet, totally ignorant
of what was passing in Malta save that the infidel was at her gates,
they passed across the channel which separates the two islands and
joined their fellows at Il Borgo.

Greatly heartened by the reinforcements brought to them by de Medran
and de la Motte, the garrison of St. Elmo made a sortie, surprised the
Turks in their entrenchments, and, under cover of the guns of the fort,
succeeded in destroying nearly all the works which the enemy had so
painfully built up. The Turks, however, when they had recovered from
the surprise, were in such large numbers as to be able to rally and
drive the Christians from the vantage points which they had gained;
and to oblige them once again to retire into the fort. From this time
onward there was never a day in which the garrison and the besiegers
were not hand to hand in the trenches.

Just after the first reinforcements had been thrown into St. Elmo there
arrived on the scene Ali, the Lieutenant of Dragut. This corsair came
from Alexandria with six galleys, on board of which were nine hundred
men, reinforcements for the Turkish army. A few days after this the
famous Dragut himself appeared, with thirteen galleys and two galleots,
on board of which were sixteen hundred men.

What must not have been the despairing feelings with which the
defenders viewed the arrival of this augmentation to the swarming
ranks of their foes! From afar they noted the vessels and knew, while
Philip of Spain and Garzia de Toledo still procrastinated, that now
was added to the number of their enemies the most famous captain who
served the autocrat of the Eastern world. Very naturally the arrival
of Dragut was hailed with acclamation by the Turks: every gun in that
vast armada spoke in salute, every trumpet blared, every drum rolled
to welcome the man honoured of the Padishah, notorious throughout the
whole world of Europe for his implacable enmity to the Knights. The
first preoccupation of the corsair was to inform himself as to the
conduct of the operations. These, when disclosed to him, by no means
met with his approval. This real leader immediately made it clear to
Piali and Mustafa that which they should have done. In the first place
they should have made themselves masters of the castle of Gozo, and
then captured the Città Notabile. By doing this the supplies to the
town and fortress of Il Borgo would have been cut off: besides—and
more important than aught else—they would in this manner have closed
the road to those succours expected by the Christians. Piali, who had
desired from the first to undertake nothing without the advice of
Dragut, now said that the siege of St. Elmo was not so far advanced
after all, and, if the Basha of Tripoli should so direct, it could
be raised at once. To this, however, Dragut would by no means consent.

“That would have been well enough,” he said, “if the affair had not
gone so far; but, after the opening of the trenches and several days
of attack, it is not possible to raise the siege without sullying the
honour of the Sultan and discouraging the valour of the soldiers.”

It cannot be denied that, in acting as he did, the corsair displayed
a self-restraint and a loyalty to the Sultan hardly to be expected in
the circumstances. The jealousy which so often obtains among rival
commanders was singularly in evidence in the forces of the Padishah:
Dragut had good cause to be dissatisfied with the dispositions which
had been made, and yet, for the reasons which we have quoted, he
allowed them to proceed. Before the Basha had left Tripoli he had been
engaged in communications with Muley Hamid, the then King of Tunis, who
was feudatory of Spain. Anxious as was the corsair to aid in attacking
his implacable enemies, the Knights, he could not afford to leave his
own flank unguarded in Africa. He succeeded, however, in arriving at an
understanding with the King of Tunis, and, further than this, he had
assured himself, by means of his spies, that the succours which were
to be sent from Sicily by the Spanish King could not possibly arrive
for another two months. It was the negotiations which he was obliged to
undertake with Muley Hamid which had caused his late arrival. As far
as it is possible to judge, it was this circumstance, which (added
to their own incomparable valour) turned the scale in favour of the

Among all those brave men at Malta, on both sides, in this flaming
month of June 1565, there were none who excelled the Basha of Tripoli.
“No one had ever seen a more intrepid general officer,” says de Vertot.
“He passed entire days in the trenches and at the batteries. Among his
different talents none understood better than did he the direction
and conduct of artillery, which was his special _métier_. By his orders
on June 1st a second battery was constructed closer to the fort and
parallel to the one already in existence, in order that an absolutely
continuous fire might be maintained. He mounted four guns on the
opposite side of Marsa Muzetto Harbour on a projecting point of land,
from which a further enfilading fire smote the doomed fortress on the
flank: this point has been known ever since as the Point Dragut.”

A ravelin in advance of the fortress on the land side was scourged
without ceasing by the arquebus fire of the Janissaries. One evening,
as the return fire had slackened and all seemed quiet within this work,
some Turkish engineers stole forth from the trenches to reconnoitre.
Approaching the cavalier, all was still as death; the bold sappers
pushed on as far as the ditch by which the work was surrounded,
creeping on hands and knees. They let themselves down noiselessly into
the ditch, and then, one standing on the shoulders of another, peeped
in upon their Christian foes. Whether or no the sentry had been slain
by a stray shot, or whether he too slept, can never be known; but
the cavalier was unguarded; all within it slept the sleep of men
utterly exhausted. The sappers crept back to their trenches, fetched
scaling-ladders, swept like a flood over the rim of the cavalier, and
put to death every man whom they found. Profiting by their advantage,
the Turks dashed over the bridge connecting the cavalier with the fort;
here, however, they were met by Sergeant-Major Guerare and a handful
of soldiers aroused by him. These men were instantly succoured by the
Chevaliers de Vercoyran and de Medran, who were immediately followed
by the Bailli of Negropont and several other Knights. An obstinate
hand-to-hand combat now ensued; fresh Turks came up to the attack, but
were mown down in swathes by an enfilading fire from two cannons which
the defenders of the fort managed to bring to bear upon them. More
pioneers arrived from the trenches, carrying planks and sacks filled
with wool. These men tried to effect a permanent lodgment, but the fire
was too hot on the Christian side, and men fell in hundreds. Nothing
daunted, the Turks reared their scaling-ladders against the sides of
the fortress itself, and attempted to scale the walls; but for this
the ladders were too short, and the assailants were hurled back into
the ditch. This attack, in which the Turkish arms were rewarded by the
capture of the ravelin behind the cavalier, is said to have cost them
the lives of three thousand men. It lasted from daybreak until midday.

On the side of the Christians twenty Knights and one hundred soldiers
were slain; but worst of all, from their point of view, the ravelin
remained in the hands of their enemies. The chevalier Abel de
Bridiers de la Gardampe having received a ball through his body, some
of his comrades ran to place him under cover. “Count me no longer among
the living,” said the Knight. “You will be better employed in defending
the rest of our brethren.” He then, unassisted, dragged himself to the
foot of the altar in the chapel, where his dead body was discovered
when all was over.

So far communication remained established between St. Elmo and
their comrades in Il Borgo on the opposite side of the harbour;
in consequence the wounded were removed and their places taken by
one hundred fresh men under the Chevalier Vagnon. To the Bailli of
Negropont and the Commandeur Broglio, La Valette sent a message to
return to Il Borgo. These gallant and aged veterans, both of whom
were wounded, whose faces were scorched by the sun and blackened with
powder, whose bodies were well-nigh worn out with perpetual vigil and
hand-to-hand fighting, refused stoutly to quit their post, which now
was naught but a dreadful shambles filled with corpses mangled out of
recognition and heads and limbs which had been torn and hacked from
their bodies.

Dragut now proposed to erect batteries on the same side of the Great
Port as that on which Il Borgo was situated; on the point now known as
Ricasoli, but which was then and for centuries afterwards known as the
Punta Delle Forche (or Point of the Gallows, because it was here that
all pirates was executed; and their bodies, swinging in chains, were
the first objects that met the eye on entering the Great Port). In this
he was overruled by Piali, who declared that he had not sufficient
men to spare, and the Knights of II Borgo would soon render the battery
untenable even if they should succeed in erecting it, which the Turkish
admiral now considered extremely doubtful. The siege of St. Elmo, which
Mustafa had said would last at the outside for five or six days, had
now been in progress for four weeks; and, although the fort was in a
ruinous condition, nothing seemed capable of daunting those invincible
warriors by which it was held.

The position in St. Elmo now was that the Turks still held on to the
ravelin which they had captured; this they had built up to such a
height that they could look over the parapet of the fortress and shoot
down with arquebus fire any one whom they could see. Meanwhile the
Turkish sappers delved night and day in their endeavour to undermine
the parapet, which, if blown up, would give them free access to the
interior of the fort; while another party, by use of the yards of
galleys and huge planks of wood, busied themselves in constructing a
bridge to connect the ravelin with the parapet. Lamirande, one of the
most active of the defenders of the fort, viewed these preparations
without undue alarm, as he was aware that, by the nature of the
ground, it would be almost impossible to excavate sufficiently under
the parapet to place an effective mine. As, however, the sapping was
causing the parapet to incline outwards, and it was possible that
it might almost at any moment fall over into the ditch, he caused a
second parapet to be erected inside the first and artillery to be
mounted thereon. Having done this he caused a false sortie to be
made on the following night, and when the Turks rushed to the attack
he, accompanied by a party of sappers, sallied out into the ditch and
burned the bridge which had been made. The Turks, returning after their
fruitless assault, found their bridge destroyed, but with untiring
activity set to work and constructed it afresh. Dragging cannon to the
very edge of the ravelin, they, on the very next evening, revenged
themselves by also making a false attack: they swarmed into the ditch,
and, placing their scaling-ladders against the walls, pretended that an
escalade was to be attempted. The garrison, deceived, appeared on the
parapet in large numbers, when a murderous fire at point-blank range
was opened upon them from the ravelin. So great was the execution done
on this occasion that the garrison lost more men than had hitherto been
the case in the most determined attacks which they had sustained.

It now seemed as if indeed the end had come, that the garrison had done
all that was in the power of mortal man and nothing was left for them
but to retire while there was yet time. Accordingly choice was made of
the chevalier Median to represent the desperate extremities to which
they were reduced to La Valette. It was well known that for none among
the Knights had the Grand Master more respect than he had for Medran,
one of the bravest and most chivalrous of them all. He, at least, could
never be suspected of cowardice, feebleness, at a desire to desert his
post. This gallant Knight crossed the harbour on his dolorous errand
and was received by his chief: to him he represented the state of
affairs as it has here been set down, assuring him that at best the
fort could but hold out for a few days longer.

A chapter of the Knights Grand Cross was immediately held and the
most part of them were of opinion that the time had come to abandon a
hopeless position. But this decision did not meet with the approval
of the Grand Master. No one was more sensible than he of the peril to
which their brethren were exposed; at the same time, he contended, that
there were occasions on which it was necessary to sacrifice a certain
number for the good of the whole Order. He had certain information
that, if St. Elmo were abandoned, the Viceroy of Sicily would hazard
nothing for the relief of the island; that upon the arrival of succours
depended the existence of their ancient and honourable confederacy:
therefore, at no matter what cost, they were bound to hold out as long
as possible. So dominant was the personality of the Grand Master that,
in a short time, he had won over the votes of the chapter and Medran
was ordered to return to St. Elmo and deliver to the garrison a message
that the siege must take its course.

Medran accordingly returned and reported to his comrades the result
of his embassy. Several of the older Knights received the command
with due submission, but among those who were younger there were
murmurings. These men deemed the answer to their appeal hard and cruel;
they could see no object in the loss of their lives, which they well
knew would all be sacrificed in the next assault. They accordingly,
to the number of fifty-three, wrote a letter to the Grand Master,
demanding permission to abandon St. Elmo and retire to Il Borgo. If
their request were denied they announced their design to sally forth,
sword in hand, and perish in the ranks of the enemy. The Commandeur de
Cornet was the bearer of this letter, which was received by the Grand
Master with sorrow and indignation. To reassure them, he sent three
commissioners to inspect the place. This was done, and one of them, a
Knight of Greek descent named Constantine Castriot, reported that the
fort could still hold out a while longer. When he announced this at St.
Elmo the recalcitrant Knights were so furious with him that the Baili
of Negropont had to sound “the alarm” to prevent a disgraceful fracas.
The commissioners returned to Il Borgo. After hearing their report La
Valette wrote a letter to those by whom he had been memorialised to the
following effect:

“Return to the convent, my brothers; you will there be in greater
security; and on our part we shall feel a greater sense of security in
the conservation of so important a place, on which depends the safety
of the island and the honour of our Order.”

Never were men so taken aback as were the Knights in St. Elmo when
they received this response; here it was intimated to them that that
which they refused to do on account of the danger thereof was to be
undertaken by others. This was no more than a fact, as La Valette
was besieged with applications from, not only the Knights, but also
the simple soldiers of the garrison, to be allowed to pass over to
St. Elmo and die if necessary to the last man. It was, therefore,
with prayers and tears that the Knights besought the Grand Master to
allow them to remain. At first La Valette was adamant. He preferred,
he said, the rawest militia which was prepared to obey his orders, to
Knights who knew not their duty. In the end, however, he yielded, and
in the fortress of St. Elmo, that crushed and ruined charnel-house,
its defences gaping wide, its every corner exposed night and day to a
sweeping murderous fire, there remained a host of men sadly torn and
battered, but animated by such a spirit that nothing the Turks could
devise made upon it the least impression. These great and gallant
gentlemen had had their moment of weakness; they had been heartened to
the right conception of their duty by the noble veteran who was their
chief. To him had they turned at last, as his obedient children who had
had their moment of rebellion in a trial as hard as was ever undergone
by man. And now, as the inevitable end drew near, it was as if they
would imitate the Roman gladiator with that terrible chorus of his:
“Ave Cæsar morituri te salutant.”

All day and every day did the garrison fight, snatching such repose
as was possible when their pertinacious enemies, worn out by fatigue
and the terrible heat, could no longer be led to the attack against
those whom they now firmly believed to be in league with Shaitan
himself; “For how else,” demanded Janissary and Spahi alike, “could
infidels like these make head against those chosen of the Prophet like

At this time the garrison took into use a device attributed to the
Grand Master himself. This consisted in hoops of wood which were first
thoroughly soaked in alcohol and then boiled in oil; they were then
tightly bound with cotton or wool, also soaked in inflammable liquids
mixed with saltpetre and gunpowder. Once these fiendish contrivances
were set alight nothing availed to put them out, and they were feared
as was naught else by the Turks during the remainder of the time they
were in Malta. They were particularly deadly against the Turks, and at
times two or more soldiers mounting the breach would be caught in one
of these fiery circles, and the unfortunate wretches would be burnt
alive. Even the Janissaries refused to advance at times when these
fireworks were being flung down upon their flowing garments.

On June 16th another attack was made on the fortress, and, incredible
as it may seem, it was repulsed with such awful slaughter that at last
the Turks would not face the swords of the garrison. Alter this the
enemy succeeded in drawing so close a cordon round the place that no
more succours could reach it, and the end was but a matter of time.
The day before it came Dragut, who, with his usual intrepidity, was
standing in the midst of a hot fire, was struck on the side of the
head by a stone dislodged from a wall by a cannon-ball. At the moment
when this happened he was holding a council of war in the trenches
with Piali, a Sanjak, and the principal Turkish engineer. The same
shot which wounded Dragut killed the Sanjak on the spot. Piali caused
a cloak to be thrown over the body of the corsair in order that
his state should not be observed by the soldiers, and as soon as
possible had him removed to his tent, where he lay unconscious till the
following day.

The council on which the corsair had been engaged when he received his
mortal wound had for its object the complete isolation of St. Elmo from
Il Borgo; his dispositions were completed and his orders given to the
engineer just before he was struck.

The agony of St. Elmo was drawing to an end; completely hemmed in by
the latest dispositions of Dragut, the fortress was at its last gasp;
a brave Maltese swimmer managed to slip through the cordon, swim the
harbour, and deliver to the Grand Master a letter from the Bailli of
Negropont. The Grand Master made one last effort to throw succours and
reinforcements into the place, but these were beaten off with terrible
slaughter: nothing now remained but to await the inevitable tragedy.


On the night of June 22nd the defenders of St. Elmo, having now lost
all hope of being supported, made ready for death. Into them La Valette
had breathed his own heroic spirit, and none among them counselled
or dreamed of surrender. The Order to which they had given their
allegiance now demanded of them the last sacrifice which it was in
their power to make, and this was offered in the manner most fitting to
its tenets. These exhausted, war-worn, battle-scarred warriors repaired
to the chapel, where they confessed, and made ready by partaking
together of the sacrament, “and, having thus surrendered their souls
to God, each retired to his post to die on the bed of honour with
arms in his hand.” Those among the Knights who were too severely
wounded or too ill to stand caused chairs to be carried to the breach
in which they seated themselves and awaited the assault. For four hours
did these indomitable men withstand the might of a host innumerable:
at the conclusion of this period there remained alive but sixty of the
garrison. Mustafa ceased the assault for a few moments only to replace
the storming party by fresh troops, and then the end came. Almost
the last to fall were the Chevalier Lamirande and the veteran Bailli
of Negropont, and when the crescent banner was planted on the walls
there remained alive not one of those defenders who had held the fort.
Several of Dragut’s officers ran to his tent and announced the taking
of St. Elmo. The great captain was in his last extremity and unable to
speak, “He, however, manifested his joy by several signs, and, raising
his eyes to heaven as if in thankfulness for its mercies, immediately
expired: a captain of rare valour and even abundantly more humane than
are ordinarily these corsairs.”

The Basha Piali, on entering the fort and observing with what miserable
resources it had so long been held exclaimed, as he looked across the
harbour to Il Borgo:

“What will not the parent do to us, when so small a son has cost us the
lives of our bravest soldiers?”

There is no record of what that cruel savage, Mustafa, said on this
occasion; his deeds, however, spoke eloquently. He caused the bodies of
the Knights to be decapitated and nailed to wooden crosses, while
across their corpses were slashed a cross in derision of the religion
of his foes. The bodies were then cast into the harbour, and were
washed up at the foot of Il Borgo. Instantly the Grand Master ordered
the decapitation of all the Turkish prisoners, and their heads were
fired from cannon into the camp of Mustafa.

With the remainder of the siege, which was yet to last till September
18th, we have no concern in this book. It is only necessary to say that
the men of Il Borgo were worthy to stand in the same category with the
defenders of St. Elmo, which is equivalent to stating that in them also
was discovered the last limit of heroism. The Grand Master survived
the siege, his monument is the noble city of “Valetta” built on Mount
Sceberras. The Turks abandoned the siege and returned to Constantinople
on the arrival of some insignificant reinforcements from Sicily. So
terrible had been the resistance of the Knights that no heart was left
in their armada. Of Dragut there remains but little to be said: he
was perhaps the best educated of the corsairs and less cruel than was
usually their habit. Although not so renowned as his more celebrated
master, Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa, this is, perhaps, because his career
was cut short at the siege of Malta at a comparatively early age.
Although he never attained the rank of Admiralissimo to the Grand Turk,
that potentate, as we have seen, placed in him the greatest confidence,
and relied largely on his judgment, especially when sea-affairs were in
question. Like the Barbarossas before him, he rose from nothing to the
height to which he eventually attained by sheer force of intellect
and character. In the stormy times in which his lot was cast he never
faltered in his onward way, never repined, never looked back, sustained
as he was by a consciousness of his own capability to rule the wild
spirits by whom he lived surrounded. So it is that, whatever other
opinion we may hold of Dragut, we cannot deny that in this captain of
the Sea-wolves were blended rare qualities, which caused him to shine
as a capable administrator, a fine seaman, but above all as a supreme
leader of men. Dragut died with arms in his hands fighting those whom
he considered to be his bitterest enemies. He did not live to see the
repulse of Piali and Mustapha, and it is to be presumed that he died
assured in his own mind that victory would rest with the Moslem host.
For such a man as this no death could have been more welcome.



  Ali, the Basha of Algiers, succeeds to Dragut—He conquers
  the Kingdom of Tunis, captures four galleys from the
  Knights of Malta, joins Piali Basha in his raidings
  preliminary to the battle of Lepanto—The gathering of the
  Christian hosts and the arrival of Don John of Austria in
  the Mediterranean to take command.

“Now I have heard several mariners and captains of the sea, nay, even
Knights of Malta, debate among themselves this question, as to which
was the greater and better seaman, Dragut or Occhiali? And some held
for one and some for the other; those who held for Occhiali declaring
that he had held greater and more honourable charges than Dragut,
because he commanded as General and Admiral for the Grand Turk and that
_il fit belle action_ at the battle of Lepanto.” Pierre de Bourdeille,
the Seigneur de Brantôme, from whom we make the above quotation, was
himself present at the siege of Malta and, besides this, as is well
known, gossiped in his own inimitable way concerning men and women
of his time, from corsairs to courtesans. When such contemporary
authorities as those mentioned could not agree it is quite certain
that we of the twentieth century cannot decide on the rival claims to
distinction between the Bashaw of Tripoli and his follower Occhiali,
as he was known to the Christians, or Ali Basha, as he was called
by the Turks. Ali Basha has a title to fame in the fact that he is
mentioned by Cervantes in his _Don Quijote de la Mancha_ under the name
of “Uchali” in chapter xxxix., “Donde el cautivo cuenta su vida y
sucesos.” The captive is supposed to have been no less a person than
the famous Cervantes himself, and he briefly describes how Uchali
became “Rey de Argel,” or King of Algiers.

Ali was a Christian, having been born at a miserable little village in
Calabria called Licastelli. Nothing whatever is known of his birth and
parentage, and he does not appear even to have possessed a Christian
name, although born in a Christian land. He followed from his earliest
youth the calling of a mariner; “he was from infancy inured to salt
water,” says Joseph Morgan, in his _Compleat History of Algiers_, and he
was, as a mere boy, captured by Ali Ahamed, Admiral of Algiers, and was
chained to the starboard-bow oar in the galley of that officer. He was
thus very early in life “inured” to suffering, and must have possessed
a constitution of iron to withstand thus, in boyhood, the hardships of
the life of a galley-slave, which as a rule broke down the endurance of
strong men in a very few years. Morgan presents us with a description
of him at this period which in these more squeamish days can certainly
not be set down in its entirety: suffice it to say that he suffered
all his days from what is known as “scald-head,” and that personal
filthiness was one of his principal characteristics.

For some years Ali remained at the heart-breaking toil of the
rower’s bench: cut off from home, which to him meant nothing, devoid
of kinsfolk, alone—miserably alone in a world which, so far, had given
him naught but the chain and the whip—it is not a matter for surprise
that he became a Mussulman, thus freeing himself from slavery. From the
time that he took this step his fortunes mended rapidly in that strange
medley of savagery and bloodshed in which his lot was cast.

Alert, strong, capable, and vigorous, he became in early manhood chief
boatswain in the galley in which his apprenticeship had been passed—a
position which enabled him to accumulate a small store of ducats,
with which he bought a share in a brigantine. Here he soon acquired
sufficient wealth to become captain and owner of a galley, in which
he soon gained the reputation of being one of the boldest corsairs on
the Barbary coast. Having in some sort made a name for himself, his
next step was to seek for a patron who could make use of his valour,
address, and capability for command. His choice was soon made, as
who in all the Mediterranean, in his early days, held such a name as
Dragut? He accordingly entered the service of the Basha of Tripoli,
and, under his command, became well known to the officers of the Grand
Turk, particularly to the Admiral, Piali Basha, to whom he was able to
render some important services.

There is no object to be gained in lingering over the earlier years of
this notable corsair, as we should thus only be repeating what has been
said about Dragut, whose lieutenant and trusted follower he became.
He accompanied his master to the siege of Malta, and when Dragut was
slain the Capitan-Basha, Piali, named him as successor to his chief
as Viceroy of Tripoli. Ali sailed from Malta to Tripoli, taking with
him the remains of Dragut, to be buried as that chieftain had directed.
When he arrived on the Barbary coast he made himself master of the
slaves and treasure which had been left behind by Dragut; shortly
after this he was confirmed in his Vice-royalty of Tripoli by the
Grand Turk; thenceforward increasing, both his wealth and the terror
in which his name was held, by continual raids upon the Christians,
more particularly on the coasts of Sicily, Calabria, and Naples. It is
curious to observe the sort of spite which all the renegadoes seem to
have harboured against the countries in which they were born.

In March 1568, owing to the fall of Mohammed Basha, the Vice-royalty of
Algiers became vacant, and, through the good offices of his old friend
Piali, Ali became Governor. He thus returned to occupy a position of
literally sovereign power to the city which he had first entered as a

That he was no negligent Governor and that he took an entirely
intelligent view of his functions, is proved by an occurrence which
took place in this same year in Spain. The Moriscoes in the Kingdom
of Granada revolted against their Spanish Governor, by whom they
were sorely oppressed. They sent messages to Ali at Algiers, begging
for succour against their persecutor. But the Basha would send no
expedition; he permitted all and sundry to go as volunteers, but gave
out publicly that “it more concerned him to defend well his own State
than to interfere in the affairs of others.” He even went farther
than this, and when a number of Moriscoes, who were settled at
Algiers, embarked a quantity of arms for transportation to the coast
of Andalusia, he put an embargo on the vessels and would not allow
them to sail, saying “he would never suffer the exportation of what
was so necessary for the defence of his own dominions.” At last, after
much importunity, he consented “that all such as had two of a sort—as
muskets, swords, or other weapons—might, if they thought fit, send over
one of them, provided they did it gratis and purely for the cause’
sake; but he would never allow any of them to strip themselves of their
arms for lucre.”

Ali, being now firmly established at Algiers, took up arms against the
neighbouring State of Tunis. For long years now the King of Tunis had
been protected by the Spaniards—a nation whom the Sea-wolves always
held in singular abhorrence as the most bigoted of the Christian
Powers, and who held in thrall many of their co-religionists. Hamid,
son of Hassan, who now ruled in Tunis, had reduced that unfortunate
State to anarchy bordering on rebellion, and the whole country, torn
by internal feud, was ready to rise against him. The Goletta was in
the hands of the Spaniards; Carouan, an inland town, had set up a king
of its own, while the maritime towns passed from the domination of the
Sea-wolves to that of the Christians, and from the Christians back to
the Sea-wolves, according to which party happened to be the stronger
for the time being.

El Maestro Fray Diego de Haedo, “Abad de Fromesta de la Orden del
Patriarca San Benito” and “natural del Valle de Carranca,” whose
_Topografia e Historia de Argel_ (or Algiers) was printed in Valladolid
in the year 1612, gives an account of Hamid at this time in which he
describes that monarch as an “unpopular tyrant who sadly persecuted his
vassals and the friends of his father; who could by no means suffer his
tyrannies and those of his ministers, the scum of the earth (“hombres
baxos”), to whom he had given the principal offices of the kingdom.
Accordingly, since the time that Ali had become Basha of Algiers,
letters had been written to him importuning him to come to Tunis that
he might possess himself of that city and kingdom.”

There were three principal conspirators—the Alcaid Bengabara, General
of the Cavalry, the Alcaid Botaybo, and the Alcaid Alcadaar. Ali,
however, was too shrewd a man to move until he had satisfied himself by
reports from his own adherents; he, therefore, awaited the result of
investigations made by spies from Algiers. At last, in the beginning of
the year 1569, when the offers from the Alcaids had been three times
renewed and the Basha was assured that the people in Tunis were sincere
in their offer to him of the sovereignty of the kingdom—which they
begged him to conquer and hold in the name of the Ottoman Empire—the
ex-galley-slave no longer hesitated. He left Algiers in the month
of October, leaving that city in charge of one Mami Corso, a fellow
renegado. Unlike Dragut, who would have gone by sea, he set out by
land with some five thousand corsairs and renegadoes. On the way he
was reinforced by some six thousand cavalry of the wild tribes of the
hinterland, then as ever ready to join in a fray with promise of
booty: doubly ready in this case, as it was to harass so unpopular a
tyrant as Hamid. Passing through Constantine and Bona, he continued
to march towards Tunis, his following augmenting as he proceeded, and
adding to his forces ten light field-guns. Arriving at Beja, a town
which Haedo describes as being but two short days’ march from Tunis,
he came upon a fortress, recently erected by Hamid, mounting fourteen
brass cannon. Here he halted, whereupon Hamid sallied out to give him
battle at the head of some three thousand troops, horse and foot. The
engagement had scarcely begun when the three Alcaids, who had been in
communication with Ali, deserted with all their following. Hamid fled
to Tunis, expecting to find shelter there, but he was hotly pursued by
the corsairs, who followed him up to Al-Burdon, where his summer palace
was situated. Hamid, finding that his people were everywhere in revolt,
fled to the Goletta, carrying with him a quantity of money, jewels,
and portable valuables, and placed himself under the protection of the
Spanish garrison—not, however, without the loss of the major portion of
his baggage, plundered from him by certain Moors in the course of his

Like Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa, Ali was now lord of Algiers and Tunis,
and as he was, for a corsair, a man of wide views, he treated his new
subjects with consideration. He made, however, one curious mistake not
to have been expected from one so politic: he demanded tribute from
the tribes of the hinterland. In those days, particularly in Northern
Africa, men paid tribute to an overlord because he was stronger than
they; because retribution followed swiftly and suddenly upon refusal.
To order tribute to be paid without being ready to strike was merely
to expose the man making the demand to derision. Particularly was this
the case with the fierce land-pirates of the desert, whose habit it was
to exact and not to pay tribute. To Ali the Sheiks replied that “if he
wanted tribute from them he must demand it lance in hand in the field,
for there and nowhere else were they accustomed to pay: that their coin
was steel lance-heads and not golden aspers.” After this, says Morgan,
“the Basha thought it well to dissemble.”

Ali, being in no position to wage war in the desert against these
people, had to swallow the insult and to turn his attention to
regulating the internal affairs of his newly acquired kingdom. This he
succeeded in doing sufficiently by the month of June in the following
year to enable him to leave Tunis in the hands of one Rabadan, a
Sardinian renegado, and to start himself for Constantinople. His reason
for doing this was the old one of attempting to consolidate his power
in Northern Africa by appealing to the Sultan for help. As long as the
Goletta remained in the hands of the Spaniards no corsair could feel
himself secure in either Tunis or Algiers. The object of Ali was to beg
from the Grand Turk men and ships to assist him to chase the Spaniards
out of Africa.

The month of June 1570, in consequence, saw Ali once more at sea in his
“Admiral galley,” steering northwards to the Golden Horn. Carrying with
them a favourable breeze from the south-east, the galleys spread
their huge lateen sails, and the straining rowers had rest awhile. The
squadron consisted of twenty-four galleys. Off Cape Passaro, in Sicily,
a small vessel was captured which gave information that five galleys of
the Knights of Malta were at anchor at Licata, a small harbour in the
neighbourhood, and that they were on the point of sailing for Malta.
The decision of Ali was taken on the instant: were he to go in and
attack them with the overwhelming force at his command the crews might
escape to the shore; even the Knights of Malta could hardly be expected
to fight twenty-four galleys with five. He was anxious to capture the
ships, but above all to capture those by whom they were manned: to have
the satisfactory revenge of seeing the proud Knights stripped naked and
chained to the benches of his own fleet.

The hot Mediterranean sun poured down out of a cloudless sky as the
Sea-wolves made their offing; out of sight of land they lay, but right
in the course which the galleys of the Christians were bound to take.
The great yards, with their lateen sails, were got down on deck, and,
oar in hand, the Moslems awaited their prey. Presently the Maltese
galleys were discovered coming leisurely along, under oars and sails,
and then—when it was too late—the Knights discovered the snare into
which they had fallen. There was but scant time for preparation or
deliberation, and who shall blame four out of the five if they decided
to try to escape? for it was escape or annihilation.

But there was one which did not fly, “Una galera hizo cara a los
Turcos” (One single galley turned her bows towards the Turks), says
that faithful chronicler Haedo. She was named the _Santa Ana_, but the
name of her heroic commander has not come down to us. Even as Grenfell
“at Flores in the Azores,” stood upon the deck of the little _Revenge_ on
that memorable August day in 1591, when “he chose to die rather than to
dishonour himself, his country, and her Majesty’s ship,” so also did
this Knight of Malta bear down on the twenty-four that were his foes.

When Don John of Austria, being at the time young and inexperienced in
warfare on the sea, wrote to the Marquis of Villafranca, General of the
Galleys of Sicily, requesting advice on the subject of galley attacking
galley, that officer replied to him, “Never fire your arquebus at the
foe until you are so close at hand that his blood will leap into your
face at the discharge.” If we bear in mind such an instruction as this
it will help us to picture that close-packed sanguinary conflict upon
which the Mediterranean sun looked down on this day. Eight to one, all
that could find room to get alongside of the _Santa Ana_, fought with the
Knight and his followers. The issue was, of course, never in doubt for
a moment. “Muertos y cansados” (Dead and deadbeat), says Haedo, the
caballeros and soldados of the Christian ship could at length hold out
no longer. The Sea-wolves were victorious, the proud banner of Saint
John was lowered; but never in all its history had it been more nobly
upheld, and the galley _Santa Ana_, commanded by that unknown member
of the great Christian military hierarchy of the sixteenth century,
may well stand in the roll of fame alongside of the _Revenge_, the
_Vengeur_, and the _Victory_.

The _Capitana_, or “Admiral’s galley,” of the Knights, being hotly
pursued, ran ashore with one of her consorts at Licata: the crews
landed, but were pursued and overtaken. One galley escaped altogether,
but four out of the five were taken. So notable a victory as this over
the Knights caused so much rejoicing in the fleet of the Sea-wolves
that Ali determined to celebrate it by a triumphal return to Algiers
instead of proceeding directly to Constantinople. Accordingly, the
ships’ heads were turned south once more, and upon July 20th, 1570,
the fleet arrived in the African port, “on sus galeras todas llenas de
muchas banderas”—with galleys gaily beflagged.


The procession entered the harbour in three divisions of eight galleys:
and towing behind each division was one of the captured galleys of
the Knights. In memory of his prowess Ali ordered that the shields
and bucklers taken from the Maltese galleys, which bore upon them
emblazoned the white cross of “the Religion,” should be hung up in the
great arched gate of the Marina. Also there was placed here the image
of Saint John the Baptist, taken from the _Capitana_ galley, “all of
which remain,” says Haedo, “until this day” (_i.e._ 1612), except the
image of Saint John, which in the reign of Hassan Basha, a Venetian
renegado, was taken down and burned at the instance of the Morabutos,
“los letrados de los Moros” (the learned among the Moors). It is an
instructive commentary on the fear and respect in which the Knights of
Malta were held that such a man as Ali should have considered it a
triumph worth the celebrating when he defeated five of their vessels
with twenty-four of his own.

The next occurrence in the life of Ali was one of those to which the
Sea-wolves were subjected from time to time, and which do not seem to
have caused them much trouble or anxiety. This was a mutiny of the
Janissaries in Algiers, who very reasonably objected to being left
without their pay. A mutiny of the Janissaries, however, was somewhat
a serious matter, as they were accustomed to the enjoyment of many
privileges, and were, as we have said elsewhere, a picked corps who had
it in their power even to coerce the Sultan himself upon occasions.

Those of them who were in Algiers demanded “Who was this corsair who
dared to keep the picked men of the army of the Grand Turk waiting for
their pay, as if they were no better than his slaves?” Such a thing as
a mutiny was, in the days of which we speak, a matter for which any
prudent corsair had to be prepared. Ali was in no means discomposed,
and, as the crisis had become acute on shore, he went to sea, where
he was under no obligation to pay his men, who paid themselves at the
expense of their enemies. He put to sea with twenty galleys, and,
shortly after leaving Algiers, he met with a galley from the Levant,
from which he received information that a powerful armada was preparing
in Constantinople for an expedition against the Christians. He steered
for Coron in the Morea, where he was almost immediately joined by the
Ottoman fleet, the commander of which force was overjoyed to find so
formidable a reinforcement under so renowned a captain as Ali.

Soliman the Magnificent had died in 1566, and had been succeeded by his
son, Selim; this prince, bred in the Seraglio, was weak and licentious,
given to that strong drink forbidden by the Prophet to an extent which
caused him to be nicknamed by the Spaniards as “el ebrio,” or “el

This was a state of affairs which boded ill for the Turkish Empire,
and Selim II. had been educated in a very different manner from that
which had hitherto been the custom. Speaking of this, Gibbon says,
“Instead of the slothful luxury of the Seraglio, the heirs of royalty
were educated in the council and the field. From early youth they were
entrusted by their fathers with the command of provinces and of armies;
and this manly institution, which was often productive of civil war,
must have essentially contributed to the discipline and vigour of the

Drunkard and weakling as he was, Selim had his ambitions. He wished to
signalise his reign by some great conquest, such as had added lustre to
the rule of his father; and in consequence he laid claim to the island
of Cyprus, then belonging to Venice, The Venetians, having strengthened
the fortifications of the island and fitted out their navy, sought
alliances in Europe to curb the pretensions of the Porte. In this
they found support, instant and generous, from the Pope Pius V. Of
this great ecclesiastic Prescott says: “He was one of those Pontiffs
who seemed to have been called forth by the exigencies of the time to
uphold the pillars of Catholicism as they were yet trembling under
the assaults of Luther.”

The Pope, Philip II. of Spain, and Venice formed what was known as the
“Holy League,” and, having formed it, immediately began to quarrel
among themselves as to what its functions were to be. The Venetians
wished all its efforts to be directed to safeguarding Cyprus, while
Philip and his viceroys were anxious to attack the Sea-wolves on
the coast of Africa in their strongholds. After much squabbling,
an agreement was come to. The principal items of this were, that
the Pope should pay one-sixth of the expenses, Venice two-sixths,
and Spain three-sixths; that each party should appoint its own
Commander-in-Chief, and that Don John of Austria should be in supreme
command of the whole forces assembled. The contracting parties were to
furnish 200 galleys, 100 transports, 50,000 foot, 4,500 horse, and the
requisite artillery and stores.

While the Christians were negotiating and talking, the Turks were
acting. It was in May that the Pope caused the treaty to be publicly
read in full consistory; in April the Turkish fleet had got to sea and
committed terrible ravages in the Adriatic, laying waste to Venetian

While ships and men were gathering, and while the fleet which it was to
be his fortune to defeat was pursuing its career in the Mediterranean,
Don John of Austria left Madrid for the south on June 6th, 1571. When
he arrived at Barcelona he made a pilgrimage to the Hermitage of Our
Lady of Montserrat, where his father Charles V. had confessed and
received the sacrament before he sailed on his voyage to the Barbary
coast in his expedition against Barbarossa. From Barcelona he sailed
with thirty galleys to Genoa, where he arrived on the 25th, and was
lodged in the palace of Andrea Doria. In August he arrived by water at

By this time all Europe was aflame with excitement: warriors of noble
birth were flocking to serve under the standard of the brother of the
King of Spain, who was regarded as the very mirror of chivalry. The
following description of Don John, at Naples, is from the pen of that
great historian Prescott:

“Arrangements had been made in that city for his reception on a more
magnificent scale than any he had witnessed on his journey. Granvelle,
who had lately been raised to the post of Viceroy, came forth at the
head of a long and brilliant procession to welcome his royal guest. The
houses which lined the streets were hung with richly tinted tapestries
and gaily festooned with flowers. The windows and verandahs were graced
with the beauty and fashion of the pleasure-loving capital, and many
a dark eye sparkled as it gazed upon the fine form and features of
the youthful hero, who at the age of twenty-four had come to Italy to
assume the baton of command and lead the crusade against the Moslems.
His splendid dress of white velvet and cloth of gold set off his
graceful person to advantage. A crimson scarf floated loosely over his
breast, and his snow-white plumes drooping from his cap mingled with
the yellow curls that fell in profusion over his shoulders. It was
a picture which the Italian maiden might love to look on. It was
certainly not the picture of the warrior sheathed in the iron panoply
of war. But the young Prince, in his general aspect, might be relieved
from the charge of effeminacy by his truly chivalrous bearing and the
dauntless spirit which beamed from his clear blue eyes. In his own
lineaments he seemed to combine all that was comely in the lineaments
of his race.”

At Naples Don John found a fleet at anchor under the command of Don
Alvaro de Bazan, first marquis of Santa Cruz, of whom much was to be
heard in the future in his capacity as Admiral of Castile. Here also he
received from the hands of Cardinal Granvelle a consecrated banner sent
to him by the Pope at a solemn ceremony in the church of the Franciscan
Convent of Santa Chiara. On August 25th he left Naples and proceeded to
Messina, where he landed under a triumphal arch of colossal dimensions,
embossed with rich plates of silver and curiously sculptured with
emblematical bas-reliefs. The royal galley in which the hero embarked
was built at Barcelona: she was fitted with the greatest luxury, and
was remarkable for her strength and speed; her stern was profusely
decorated with emblems and devices drawn from history; no such warship
had ever been seen in the world before.

Cayetano Rosell, in his _Historia del combate naval de Lepanto_, says
that the number of vessels, great and small, in the Christian armada
was over 300, of which 200 were galleys, the ordinary warships of the
time. He goes on to say:

“In this spacious harbour [Messina] there were collected the
squadrons of the League; the people who managed the oars and sails
and the innumerable combatants making an immense number when added
together. Since the days of Imperial Rome, never had been seen in these
seas so imposing a spectacle, never had there been collected so many
ships moving towards a single end dominated by a single will. Never
was there a spectacle more gratifying in the eyes of justice, nor of
greater incentive to men to fight for the cause of religion.”

The Spanish fleet comprised 90 royal galleys, 24 nefs, and 50 fregatas
and brigantines “los mejores que en tiempo alguno se habrian visto”
(the finest that ever were seen at any time), as they were described by
Don John. The Pope sent 12 galleys and 6 fregatas, under the command of
Mark Antony Colonna. The Pope had also made a grant of the “Crusada”
and “Excusada,” and other ecclesiastical revenues which he drew from
Spain, to the King of that country, to meet expenses.

Venice appointed Sebastian Veniero to the command of her fleet, which
consisted of 106 galleys, 6 galeasses of enormous bulk and clumsy
construction carrying each 40 guns, 2 nefs, and 20 fregatas. These
vessels were, however, so miserably manned and equipped that Don
John had to send on board Spaniards and Genoese to complete their
complements. In a manuscript of the Bibliothèque du Roi (Number 10088)
is an account of the battle of Lepanto by Commandeur de Romegas. He
gives the number of the Turkish fleet at 333 ships, of which 230 were
galleys, the rest galeasses and smaller craft. The total which he gives
for the Christian fleet is 271. Ali Basha was in supreme command of
the Turkish forces, “a man of an intrepid spirit, who had given many
proofs of a humane and generous mature—qualities more rare among the
Turks, perhaps among all nations, than mere physical courage.” With
Ali was the Basha of Algiers, that other Ali, the corsair, who since
his arrival at Coron had done more than his share of the fighting,
marauding, and devastating which were the preliminaries to the battle
of Lepanto. In this historic conflict he was to show once again how,
on the face of the waters, the Sea-wolves were supreme; as it was he
and his corsairs, out of the whole of the Moslem host, who acquitted
themselves with the greatest credit on that day so fatal to the arms of
the Ottoman Turk.



  How Ali Basha fought at the battle of Lepanto: his
  subsequent career—Conclusion.

Lepanto, the last battle of first-class importance in which the
Sea-wolves bore a leading part, is memorable in many ways. It is one
of the most sanguinary which was ever fought, the element of personal
hatred between the combatants, to which we have alluded more than
once, being singularly in evidence on this occasion. As we have said,
this campaign was brought about at the initiative of the Venetians,
and an incident which occurred not long before the battle exacerbated
the feelings with which the Turks were regarded by the Christians
to the point of madness. The city of Famagusta, in Cyprus, had been
captured by that Mustafa of whom we heard so much at the siege of
Malta. The Venetian defenders made an honourable capitulation, but
when the four principal Venetian captains were brought before Mustafa,
that general caused three of them to be beheaded on the spot; the
fourth, a noble and gallant gentleman who had been responsible for the
magnificent defence of the city entrusted to his charge, he caused to
be flayed alive in the market-square. He then had the skin stuffed
with straw, and, with this ghastly trophy nailed to the prow of his
galley, returned in triumph to Constantinople. Bragadino, the defender
of Famagusta, did not die in vain; his terrible fate excited such a
passion of anger in the whole of the armada of Don John that each
individual of which it was composed felt that the sacrifice of his
own life would be but a small thing if it only led to the destruction
of such fiends as those against whom they were arrayed.

[Illustration: DON JOHN OF AUSTRIA.]

Lepanto was a magnificent triumph for the arms of Christendom, and
taught a much-needed lesson to Europe that the Ottoman Turk was not
invincible upon the sea; it was not, however, an interesting battle
from the point of view of the student of war and its combinations. Of
all the high officers in command on that memorable day there was only
one who displayed real generalship and a proper appreciation of the
tactical necessities of the situation; that officer was Ali Basha,
the leader of the Sea-wolves. The account of the battle is somewhat
obscured by the fact that on the side of the Moslems the name of the
Ottoman Commander-in-Chief was also “Ali”; in order to avoid confusion
in this narration, we shall allude to the Basha of Algiers by the name
given to him by the Christians, “Occhiali.”

It was on Sunday, October 7th, 1571, that the Christian fleet weighed
anchor from Cephalonia and stood southwards along the Albanian coast,
which is here fringed with rocky islets. The right wing was commanded
by John Andrea Doria, the left wing by the Provéditeur Barbarigo, the
centre, or “battle,” as it was called, by Don John in person, who
had on the one side of him Mark Antony Colonna, the General of the
Galleys of the Pope, and on the other that fiery veteran Sebastian
Veniero, the commander of the Venetians. Here also were stationed the
Prince of Parma, nephew to Don John, Admiral of Savoy; Duke Urbino,
Admiral of Genoa; the Admiral of Naples, and the Commandeur of Castile.
The reserve, under the command of the Marquis of Santa Cruz, consisted
of thirty-five galleys. Immediately in rear of the _Real_, or royal
galley of Don John, was that of the Grand Commander Requesens. The
number of seamen, soldiers, officers, and galley-slaves in the fleet
amounted to over eighty thousand persons; twenty-nine thousand infantry
had been embarked, of which number nineteen thousand were Spaniards.
Opposed to the Christians on this day was a Turkish fleet which had
on board no less than one hundred and twenty thousand men embarked in
two hundred and fifty galleys, without counting an innumerable host of
smaller vessels.


Inset, portraits of Don John and Pope Pius V. Heroic statue of Don John
dominating Christian and Turkish Fleets. The breath of the Almighty
destroying the Turkish fleet at Lepanto.]

The authorities on whose accounts of the battle this description is
based are Prescott, the famous historian; P. Daru, a member of the
Académie Française, who wrote an exhaustive _Histoire de Venise_ and Don
Cayetano Rosell, member of the Spanish Academy, who is responsible for
an exposition of the subject, known as _Historia del combate naval de
Lepanto_. From a comparison of the works of these eminent men one fact
emerges with great clearness, which is that the battle of Lepanto was
an indiscriminate mêlée which was decided by some of the most desperate
fighting ever recorded, but which depended hardly at all upon the
tactical abilities of the men in chief command. It is true that we are
told Don John issued written instructions to the commander of each
ship, but we are left in the dark as to what these instructions were,
while at the same time we discover that in his line of battle, which in
the first instance appears to have been that of “single line ahead,”
the galleys of all nationalities were inextricably mixed up; making it
thereby impossible for the Papal, Spanish, and Venetian commanders to
deal, as they should have done, exclusively with their own men. On the
other hand, Occhiali kept together the squadron of the Sea-wolves; he
outgeneralled and had all but defeated John Andrea Doria, when the end
came and he was obliged to retreat.

We are, however, anticipating. Don John passed down his own line in a
light “fregata” giving a few words of exhortation and advice to each
ship under his command. If the bastard brother of the King of Spain did
not exhibit any large measure of ability as a leader on this occasion,
he was perhaps none the less the right man in the right place, as
he had about him so winning a way, he was so striking and gallant a
figure, that the hearts of all under his command went out to him. The
seamen and soldiers of the great armada greeted him with enthusiastic
shouts of delight as he bade them remember in whose cause it was that
they fought. The last of the Knights-errant must have made a brave show
as he passed down that line four miles in length, the sun shining on
his damascened armour, and his yellow curls streaming out from beneath
his helmet.

Soon after sunrise the Turkish fleet was descried sailing towards the
Christians, in such apparently overwhelming force that several of the
Spanish commanders represented to Don John that it would be imprudent
to risk a battle. To his honour be it recorded that he replied he had
come out to fight the Turks and that the time for talk was now over. He
then hoisted all his banners, and the executive signal for the combat
to begin was given by displaying at his mainmast head the sacred banner
blessed by the Pope. As this standard floated out upon the breeze there
went up a great shout in unison from all that were under the command of
Don John. The scene of the combat was that area of the Ionian Sea which
is enclosed on the east by the coasts of Albania and Morea and on the
west by the islands of Ithaca and Cephalonia, Just to the northward, at
the entrance to the Gulf of Arta, sixteen hundred years before had been
fought the battle of Actium between Antony and Octavius; the same spot
had witnessed, in 1538, the memorable battle of Prevesa between Andrea
Doria and Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa.

From the point of view of the seaman, who is naturally anxious
to discover the dispositions of their fleets made by the rival
Commanders-in-Chief, Lepanto is an almost hopeless puzzle. As far as
can be gathered, however, it was that the two armadas approached one
another in what is known as “line ahead,” each ship being immediately
astern of its next ahead in one long continuous line; and that,
when they got within striking distance, these lines turned so that
they formed “line abreast,” when each ship, having turned at right
angles, simultaneously the line advances abreast, the ships forming
it being broadside to broadside.

When the Turks discovered the allies they were issuing from between the
islets and the shore. Seeing John Andrea Doria moving to the right,
they judged that he was executing a turning movement with the object
of escaping to the northwards, from whence he had come; they were, at
the time, unable to see the rest of the fleet, which was hidden by the
land. With sound tactical judgment they accordingly advanced to attack
the allies before they should have time to issue from the strait. They
were, however, too far off to accomplish this, and, by the time they
arrived within striking distance, the Christian fleet had cleared the
strait and was ready for them, “drawn up for battle,” says Monsieur
Daru, which is somewhat vague in describing the disposition of a fleet.
What is certain, however, is that in advance of the galleys of Don
John were six great galeasses, which were armed with guns of immensely
superior power to anything which could be mounted in galleys. As the
Turks advanced to the attack these vessels opened fire, and did so much
execution that Ali, the Turkish Commander-in-Chief, ordered his line to
open out and thus avoid their fire. Whatever formation the fleet was
in at the time—which was, as far as we can gather, “line abreast”—this
opening-out process, to avoid the galeasses, threw it into hopeless
confusion. The Turkish right wing, which was hugging the coast, and
was the first to come into action, passed on in an endeavour to turn
the left wing of the allies. While this manoeuvre was in progress
Ali, the Capitan-Basha of the Turks, arrived in his vessel opposite
to the royal galley of Don John. At the masthead of the galley of the
Capitan-Bashaw floated the sacred standard of the Ottomans. This, the
ancient banner of the Caliphs, was covered with texts from the Koran,
and had upon it the name of Allah emblazoned no less than twenty-eight
thousand nine hundred times in letters of gold. “It was,” says
Prescott, “the banner of the Sultan, having passed from father to son
since the foundation of the dynasty, and was never seen in the field
unless the Grand Seigneur or his lieutenant was there in person.” Ali,
the Commander-in-Chief, a favourite of the Sultan, had been entrusted
with this most precious of all the possessions of the Padishah, as an
incentive to him and all under his command to fight their hardest to
do honour to the Prophet, and to prevent this symbol of their religion
from falling into the hands of the Christian. Ali, like Don John, was
young, and burning to distinguish himself; accordingly, as soon as the
ships of the two leaders came opposite to each other neither regarded
any enemy save his rival Commander-in-Chief. Ali drove his great galley
straight on board of the vessel of Don John, and a most obstinate
conflict ensued. Veniero and Colonna hastened to the assistance of
their chief, who was sore beset.

The combat now became general, and, as has been said, was for the most
part nothing but a melee, in which each ship sought out the nearest
of her foes and closed with her. For some time the fight went hard
with Don John; time and again the galley of the Moslem leader was
boarded, but on each occasion the Spaniards were hurled back upon
their own decks. Loredano and Malipier, two Venetian captains, fell
upon seven Turkish galleys which were hastening to reinforce the attack
on Don John, and sank one of them. They then fought with such fury and
resolution with the six that remained that, although both captains were
killed, it was conceded that they had saved their general, entirely
altered the complexion of the battle in their neighbourhood, and
facilitated the capture of the Turkish admiral. The determined conduct
of the two Venetians allowed the Spanish division to close in on the
Turkish flagship, which, after an heroic resistance, was captured,
principally because there were practically none left alive to fight.
The head of Ali was struck off by a Spanish soldier, the banner of
the Moslems was replaced by the flag of the Cross, the head of Ali
on a pike being exhibited in derision above it. The conquerors seem
to have seen no incongruity in this performance. The lowering of the
sacred standard of the Capitan-Basha had a disheartening effect upon
the Turks; they knew by this that their Commander-in-Chief was dead
and his ship captured, the result being that the resistance of the
Ottomans began to weaken. Then thirty galleys took to flight from the
neighbourhood of the Christian flagship; so hotly were they pursued
that they ran on shore, the crews swimming or wading to the beach and
making off inland.

On the right of the Christian line things had not been going so
propitiously for them. Here Occhiali had managed, by his apparently
persistent attempts to outflank John Andrea Doria, to decoy that
commander away from his supports and from the main body of the
Christians. This tactical manoeuvre of the corsair was successful;
having drawn off some fifteen of the Christian galleys, he suddenly
flung the whole of his greatly superior force into the gap and
surrounded them. These galleys were Spanish, Venetian, and Maltese,
and, although they offered a most vigorous resistance, they were mostly
destroyed or captured. Doria, in spite of all his efforts, was on this
day both outgeneralled and outfought: the Sea-wolves, under their
grim leader, manoeuvring for position, obtaining it, and then falling
like a thunderbolt on the foe. They were all brave men at Lepanto on
this memorable October day; but few there were like the corsair king,
in whom a heart of fire was kept in check by a brain of ice, who,
during the whole combat, never gave away a chance, or failed to swoop
like an eagle from his eyry when the blunders of his enemy gave him
the opportunity for which he watched. It was the old story of “the
veritable man of the sea” pitted against gallant soldiers fighting on
an unfamiliar element. And yet it was against the best seaman on the
Christian side that Occhiali pitted himself on this stricken field;
and none can deny that with him rested such honour as was gained by
the Turks on this day, the day which broke up for ever the idea of the
invincibility of the Ottomans on the water. It needs not to say, to
those who have read the story of the siege of Malta, how the Knights
comported themselves in the battle; and yet Occhiali captured the
_Capitana_, or principal galley of the Order, He was towing her out of
action, a prize, when the Marquis of Santa Cruz bore down upon him with
the reserve. By this time the battle was lost; the Moslems were in full

The corsair recognised that he could do no more: sullenly he cast
off the tow, and, forming up some thirty of his galleys, still in a
condition to navigate, stood boldly through the centre of where the
battle had once raged, and escaped. The _Capitana_ of Malta had been
taken; and to the Sultan did Occhiali present the great standard of
Saint John, as an earnest of his achievement.

Bernardino de Escalente, in his work _Diálogos del arte militar_, printed
in Seville in 1583, says that the Captain Ojeda, of the galley _Guzmana_,
recaptured the _Capitana_ of Malta; and that, in recognition thereof,
“the Religion” pensioned him for life. Ojeda, it is to be presumed, was
under the orders of the Marquis of Santa Cruz during the battle.

There remains one incident connected with the battle of Lepanto which
must be told. In the _Marquesa_ galley, in the division of Doria, was
lying in his bed sick of a fever a young man twenty-four years of age;
a Spaniard of Alcala de Henares, “de padres hidalgos y honrados,” we
are told, although these parents were poor. When this young man heard
that a battle was imminent he rose from his bed and demanded of his
captain, Francisco San Pedro, that he should be placed in the post of
the greatest danger. The captain, and others, his friends, counselled
him to remain in his bed. “Señores,” replied the young man, “what would
be said of Miguel de Cervantes should he take this advice? On every
occasion up to this day on which his enemies have offered battle to his
Majesty I have served like a good soldier; and today I intend to do so
in spite of this sickness and fever.” He was given command of twelve
soldiers in a shallop, and all day was to be seen where the combat
raged most fiercely. He received two wounds in the chest and another
which cost him the loss of his left hand. To those to whom he proudly
displayed them in after-years he was accustomed to say, “wounds in the
face or the chest are like stars which guide one through honour to the
skies.” Of him the chronicler says: “He continued the rest of his life
with honourable memory of this wonderful occurrence, and, although he
lost the use of his left hand, it added to the glory of his right.” How
glorious was that right hand is known to all readers of _El Ingenioso
Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha_.

The losses at the battle of Lepanto are something so prodigious that
imagination boggles at them. It is said that the Christians lost five
thousand men and the Turks no less than thirty thousand. Enormous as
these numbers are, they represent probably a very conservative estimate
of the loss. The Turks lost two hundred vessels, and when we recollect
the number of men embarked on board of the sixteenth-century galleys we
can see that the numbers are by no means exaggerated, especially as no
quarter was given on either side. When the Captain Ojeda recaptured the
battered wreck which had been the _Capitana_ of Malta, we are told that
on board of her were three hundred dead Turks; if this were the cost of
the capture of one galley we need not be surprised at the total.

With the results to Europe of this amazing battle we have nothing to
do in this book. That which it demonstrated, as far as the Sea-wolves
were concerned, was that they still remained the most competent
seamen and sea-fighters in the Mediterranean, and that the legend
of the invincibility of the Ottomans at sea rested on what had been
accomplished during a long period of years by these insatiable pirates
and magnificent warriors.

That which the fighting Pontiff, Pius V., said when he heard of the
victory is in character with everything which history has told us of
this remarkable occupant of the chair of Saint Peter. It was short but
very much to the point, consisting of the one sentence, “Fuit homo
misus a Deo cui nomen erat Joannes.”

In a collection of epitaphs printed in Colonia in 1623 (and edited by
one Franciscus Swertius) is one in Spanish by an anonymous author on
Don John of Austria. In this, which takes the form of question and
answer, it is asked of him “who with so much real glory lies so humbly
’neath this stone,” what it is that Spain can do for him, what temple
or what statue can she raise to his honour. To this the hero is made
to reply that “My temple is found in my works, my statue has been my
fame.” This is not only a pretty conceit, but it is very substantially
true when we think of the place in history which this man attained.

It remains to speak of the future career of Ali Basha after his
experiences at Lepanto. He now returned to Constantinople, where he
found that the bitter complaints of the Janissaries concerning their
lack of pay had preceded him; this must have been annoying, as by this
time so insignificant a circumstance had probably escaped his memory.
His old friend and patron Piali Basha was still in power; the Basha
used his influence, and the corsair laid at the feet of the Sultan the
great Standard of Saint John captured by him from the Knights—which
was the only trophy which came to Constantinople from that disastrous
battle; and in consequence we are told that “instead of reprimands he
was loaded with caresses and applauses.”

There was in Ali the same dauntless quality of never knowing when
he was beaten which had distinguished Kheyr-ed-Din Barbarossa. His
exploits at Lepanto had secured him the high favour of the Sultan,
which he used in a manner most grateful to that sovereign by
approaching him with a request that he might be allowed to fit out
another fleet to revenge himself on the Christians. The Sultan acceded
to his request, and such diligence did he use that in June 1572, only
eight months after the crushing defeat of the Turks, Ali took the sea
with two hundred and fifty galleys besides smaller vessels. So powerful
had he now become that Selim nominated him as his Admiralissimo,
allowing him also to retain the Bashalic of Algiers. With his new fleet
he sought out the allies once more, finding them at anchor in a port in
the Morea. He lay outside the harbour defying them to come out, which
they refused to do—“but they parted without bloody noses”—is Morgan’s
comment. Haedo attributes this inertia on the part of the allies to
dissension among their leaders; but, however that may have been, Ali
gained almost as much favour with the Sultan as if he had defeated them
in a pitched battle. “But these are the judgments of God and things
ordered by His divine providence and infinite wisdom,” says Haedo. The
connection is somewhat hard to establish.

In 1573 the Bashalic of Algiers passed into the hands of Arab Ahmed,
and in this same year Don John of Austria recaptured Tunis from the
Turks. Ali, with a fleet of two hundred and fifty galleys and forty
smaller vessels, recaptured it again in a siege lasting forty days,
and once more returned to Constantinople in triumph with thousands
of Spanish captives. He was yet to live some years to harass the
Christians, against whom he ever displayed a most inveterate rancour.
In 1576 he set out from Constantinople with sixty galleys and ravaged
the Calabrian coast, where he had been born. In 1578, the Janissaries
of Algiers having assassinated Arab Ahmed the Basha, he was sent to
chastise them, which he did with a heavy hand.

Ali was never married, and left no descendants; in the later years
of his life he built himself a sumptuous palace some five miles from
Constantinople, and no man in all the realm save the Sultan himself
was so great a man as the Calabrian renegado, the unknown waif from
Southern Italy who possessed neither name nor kindred. He was tall and
robust in stature, but all his life suffered from “scald-head”; for a
definition of which ailment we may refer the curious to the dictionary.
He possessed, for a chieftain and a fighting man, the disadvantage
of a voice so hoarse as to be inaudible at a few paces distant.
In default of offspring he maintained at his charges five hundred
corsairs, whom he called his children. He died in the year 1580, and
with him what has been called the “Grand Period of the Moslem Corsairs”
in this book may be said to have come to an end.

By the men whose deeds have been here chronicled the pirate States of
Northern Africa were established; and, as we have seen, they maintained
an unceasing warfare against all that was mightiest in Christendom,
aided and abetted by the Sultans of Constantinople. In the sixteenth
century the Sea-wolves had this at least to recommend them, that they
feared neither King nor Kaiser, albeit these great ones of the earth
were bent on their destruction. Villains as they were, they were none
the less men to be feared, men in whom dwelt wonderful capabilities
of leadership. Such, however, was not the case with those by whom
they were succeeded; and the great and civilised nations of the world
tolerated for centuries in their midst a race of savage barbarians
whose abominable insolence and fiendish cruelty were only equalled
by their material weakness and military impotence. Algiers, Tunis,
and Tripoli became recognised States, and the Great Powers degraded
themselves by actually accrediting diplomatic agents to the “Courts” of
these people.

“The Algerines are robbers, and I am their chief,” was the remark made
by the Dey of Algiers to the English Consul in 1641, and the man spoke
the plain unvarnished truth. Yet at this time the Algerines had no more
than sixty-five ships, and no organisation which could have held out
for twenty-four hours against such attacks as had been successfully
resisted on many occasions in the previous century.

On April 10th, 1682 (O.S.), “Articles of peace and commerce between the
most serene and mighty Prince Charles II., by the Grace of God King of
Great Britain, etc., and the most illustrious (_sic_) Lord, the Bashaw,
Dey, and Aga, Governor of the famous city of Algiers in Barbary,”
were concluded by “Arthur Herbert, Esquire, Admiral of His Majesty’s
Fleet.” It need hardly be said that such a treaty as this was not worth
the paper on which it was written; that the barbarians by whom it was
signed were as ignorant as they were unprincipled, and that the only
argument which they understood at that, or any other time, was that of
the right of the strongest.

When we of the present day read of the deeds of the corsairs we are
filled with horror, we fail to understand how such things could have
been tolerated, we seek for some explanation. When we hear of a
“League of Christian Princes,” and find that all its members could
accomplish was to turn their arms the one against the other, we are
even still more puzzled. What was it, then, that lay at the root of
this problem? The answer would appear to be in the ethical standpoint
of the sixteenth century. We are so accustomed in the present day to
hear of the rights of man that we are apt to forget that, in the time
of Barbarossa, of Dragut, of Charles V., and the Medicean Popes such a
thing did not exist, and the only rights possessed by the common man
were those vouchsafed to him by his sovereign lord. We have also
to take another factor into consideration, which is that what we call
“humanity” simply did not exist, the result being that the raids of
the Sea-wolves were not judged by the great ones of the earth from the
standpoint of the amount of suffering which they inflicted, but in what
manner these proceedings affected the wealth and power of the lord of
the territory which had been despoiled. So differently was society
constituted in those days that the very victims acquiesced more or less
meekly in their fate, each one unconsciously voicing that most pathetic
saying of the Russian peasant that “God is high and the Czar is far

The fact of the intolerable lot of the common man in these times helps
us to understand one thing which otherwise would be an insoluble
problem: which was, why did Christian soldiers so often become
renegadoes and fight for the corsairs under the banner of those who
were the fiercest and most irreconcilable foes of themselves and their
kindred? The life of the common soldier or sailor did not offer many
advantages; it was generally a short and anything but a merry one, and
the thing by which it was most profoundly affected was capture by the

When this happened he became either a “gallerian,” rowing out his
heart on the benches of the Moslem galleys, or he festered in some
noisome dungeon in Algiers, Oran, or Tlemcen. For him, however, there
was always one avenue of escape open: he had but to acknowledge that
Mahomet was the Prophet of God and the prison doors would fly open,
or the shackles be knocked off the chain which bound him to the hell of
the rower’s bench. Many of the Christian captives had really nothing
to bind them to the faith of their fathers—neither home nor lands,
wealth nor kindred, and they were doubtless dazzled by the amazing
success which accompanied the arms of the leaders of the pirates. Is
it wonderful, then, that such men in such an age should grasp at the
chance of freedom and throw in their lot with their captors?

It was treachery, it was apostasy, and no amount of sophistry can
prove it to have been otherwise; but the man who would sit in judgment
in the present day must try to figure to himself what the life of
a galley-slave meant—a life so horrible and so terrible that it is
impossible, in the interest of decency, to set down a tithe of what it
really was.

We who in the present day sit in judgment upon the virtues and vices of
a bygone age can, in the ordered security of our modern civilisation,
see many things which were hidden from our forefathers, even as in
another three hundred years our descendants will be able to point the
finger of scorn at the mistakes which we are now committing. We have
seen how it was that the pirate States arose; we have seen also how, in
future generations, they were allowed to abide. We cannot, in common
honesty, echo the words already quoted of the historian that “these
are the judgments of God, and things ordered by His divine providence
and infinite wisdom,” neither can we acquit the heirs of the ages for
that slackness which prevented them from doing their duty; we have,
however, to ask ourselves this question, that, had it fallen to our
own lot to deal with the problem of the extermination of the pirates,
should we have done better?

One word in conclusion. That which they did has been set down here; the
record, however, is not complete, as many of their acts of cruelty,
lust, and oppression are not fitted for publication in the present day.
It has been said, with truth, that no man is much better or much worse
than in the age in which he lives; and to hold the scales evenly—if one
were tempted to shock contemporary opinion by too literal a transcript
of all that was done by the corsairs—it would also be necessary to cite
the reprisals of their Christian antagonists. It has seemed better to
leave such things unchronicled: to present, with as much fidelity as
possible, the public lives and acts of these troublers of the peace of
the sixteenth century. Looking back, as we do, over three hundred and
fifty years, and judging as fairly as is possible, it would seem that
there is little which can be said in their favour.

But we may at least concede that, no matter how infamous were the
Barbarossas, Dragut, and Ali, they proved that in them dwelt one rare
and supreme quality, which, in all the ages, has covered a multitude of
sins. At a time when every one was a warrior and the whole world was
an armed camp, men sought great captains in whose following to serve.
Among the Moslems of Northern Africa, in ordered succession, there rose
to the surface “veritable men of the sea,” in the wake of whose galleys
ravened the Sea-wolves. When we consider how undisciplined and how
stupidly violent these pirates were by nature, and how they were welded
into a homogeneous whole by those of whom we speak, we are forced to
the conclusion that seldom, in all the ages, have abler captains arisen
to take fortune at the flood, to dominate the minds and the bodies of
a vast host, to prove that they were, in deed and in truth, supreme as
leaders of men.


Sailing Ships and their Story. E. Keble Chatterton.

Barbary Corsairs: Story of the Nations. Stanley Lane Poole.

Compleat History of the Present Seat of War in Africa between Spaniards
and Algerines. 1632. Joseph Morgan.

History of Philip II. William Hickling Prescott.

History of Charles V. Robertson.

Histoire de Barberousse. Richer.

Vie des plus célèbres marins. Richer.

Histoire de Barberousse. Sander Rang et Ferdinand Denis.

Doria et Barberousse. Les derniers jours de la Marine aux Rames.
Admiral Jurien de la Gravière.

Histoire de Barbarie et ses corsaires. Pierre d’An. Paris, 1637.

Histoire d’Alger. Laugier de Tassy.

Messire Pierre de Bourdeille Seigneur de Brantôme. Vie des hommes
illustres et grands capitaines etrangers de son temps. 1594.

Histoires de les Chevaliers de Malte. Mons l’Abbé de Vertot. Paris,

Histoire de Venise. P. Daru.

Topografia e Historia general de Argel El Señor Don Diego de Haedo.

Reverendissimo Arcobispo de Palermo. Presidente y Capitan-General del
Reyno de Sicilia por el Rey Felipe Segundo. Nuestro señor. Valladolid,

Descripcion general de Africa. Don Luys de Marmol Caravajal. Granada,

Historia de Carlos Quinto. El Maestro Don Fray Prudencio de Sandoval,
Obispo de Pampluna. 1612.

El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha. Cervantes.

Arte de Navegar. Martin Cortes.

Diálogos del arte militar. Bernardino de Escalante. Seville, 1583.

Historia del combate naval de Lepanto. Cayetano Rosell.

Epitaphia joco-seria. Francisco Swertius. 1623.

La Guerra dei pirati e la marina Pontifica dal 1500 al 1560. Padre
Alberto Guglielmotti.

Storia della sacra religione et illustrissima milizia de San Giovanii
Gerosolimitano. Jacopo Bosio.

Lo Assedio di Malta, 18 Maggio-8, Settembre, 1565. Conte Carlo,
Sanminiatelli, Zabarella, Colonello.


       ENGLAND                FRANCE

  Henry VII., 1485–1509. Charles VIII.,1483–98.
  Henry VIII., 1509–47.  Louis XII., 1498–1515.
  Edward VI., 1547–53.   Francis I., 1515–47.
  Mary, 1553–58.         Henry II., 1547–59.
  Elizabeth, 1558–1603.  Francis II., 1559–60.
                         Charles IX., 1560–74.
                         Henry III., 1574–89.


Granada, taken by Ferdinand and Isabella, the sovereigns of Aragon
and Castile (“Los Reyes Catolicos”) in 1492. Their daughter, Joanna,
married Philip, son of the Emperor Maximilian of Germany. Ferdinand
died 1516, and was succeeded by Charles V., son of Philip and Joanna,
as King of Spain, in 1517. On the death of his grandfather Maximilian,
in 1519, Charles was elected Emperor of Germany. He resigned all his
dignities and retired to the monastery of Yuste in 1555, and was
succeeded by his son, Philip II. Charles died 1558. Philip II., who
married as his first wife Mary Tudor, of England, reigned from 1555
till 1598.


Bajazet II., 1481–1512; Selim the Cruel, 1512–20; Soliman the
Magnificent, 1520–66; Selim II., known to the Spaniards as “el bebedor”
(the drunkard), 1566–74; Murad III., 1574–95.


Pius III., 1503; Julius II., 1503; Leo X., 1513; Hadrian VI., 1522;
Clement VII., 1523; Paul III., 1534; Julius III., 1550; Marcellus II.,
1555; Paul IV., 1555; Pius IV., 1559; Pius V., 1566; Gregory XIII.,
1572; Sixtus V., 1585.


Pierre d’Aubusson, 1476–1503; Emeri d’Amboise, 1503–13; Fabrice
Carette, 1513–21; Villiers de L’Isle Adam, 1521–36; Juan d’Omedes,
1536–53; Claude de la Sangle, 1553–57; Jean Parisot de la Valette,
1557–68; Pierre Dumont, 1568–72; Jean Levesque de la Cassière, 1572–82.


  Gibraltar to Oran                            225’
  Oran to Tenes                                110’
  Tenes to Shershell                            41’
  Shershell to Algiers                          40’
  Algiers to Bona                              104’
  Bona to Jigelli                               30’
  Jigelli to Bizerta                           205’
  Bizerta to Tunis                              55’
  Tunis to Susa                                120’
  Susa to Sfax                                  86’
  Sfax to Jerbah, otherwise known as Los Gelues 54’
  Jerbah to Tripoli                            130’
  Gibraltar to Algiers                         410’
  Algiers to Tunis                             391’
  Algiers to Tenes                              91’
  Tunis to Malta                               232’
  Malta to Tripoli in Barbary                  200’
  Tripoli to Cape Serrano                      350’
  Jerbah to Malta                              210’


  Abdahar, 141.
  Abu-Abd-Allah-Mahomed, 40.
  Actium, battle of, 189, 199, 366.
  Adam, Prince Philippe Villiers L’Isle, Grand Master of the Knights
    of St. John, 42, 124, 299.
  Adorno, Antony, 103.
  Adriatic, coasts of the, 182.
  Adrumentum, 251.
  “Africa,” town of, position and fortifications, 251,
      attacked and taken by Dragut, 257–259;
      besieged by Andrea Doria, 265;
      captured, 267;
      mutiny, 268;
      blown up, 268.
  Ahmed, Arab, Basha of Algiers, 375,
      assassinated, 375.
  Albania, coast of, 363, 366.
  Al-Burdon, 350.
  Alcadaar, Alcaid, 349.
  Alcala, Duke of, 311.
  Alcala de Henares, 371.
  Alcaudite, Count of, his defence of Marzaquivir, 10.
  Aldemar, St., Geoffrey de, 291.
  Aleppo, 120, 125.
  Alexander IV., Pope, 290.
  Alexander VI., Pope, 99.
  Alexander VII., Pope, initiates the “Alliance of Christian Princes,” 38.
  Alexandria, 49.
  “Alexandria, The Young Moor of,” defeated, 177,
      released, 178.
  Alfonso, King of Navarre and Aragon, 291.
  Alghieri, Bay of, 235.
  Algiers, 2,
      attacks on, 30, 88;
      captured, 62, 64;
      Moorish refugees at, 63;
      appeal for help, 66;
      surrenders, 89;
      mutiny of Janissaries, 355;
      treaty with King Charles II., 377.
  Ali Ahamed, Admiral of Algiers, 345.
  Ali, at the siege of Malta, 328.
  Ali Basha, or Occhiali or Uluchali, 6, 14, 22,
      present at the conference held by Soliman, 316;
      his birthplace, 345;
      endures the life of a galley-slave, 345;
      becomes a Mussulman, 346;
      enters the service of Dragut, 346;
      at the siege of Malta, 346;
      appointed Viceroy of Tripoli, 347;
      Governor of Algiers, 347;
      view of his duties,347;
      offered the sovereignty of Tunis, 349;
      expedition against Hamid, 349;
      captures Tunis, 350, 375;
      captures galleys of the Knights, 352–355;
      at the battle of Lepanto, 363,368–371;
      his banner, 368;
      captures the _Capitana_, 370;
      withdraws and escapes, 371;
      returns to Constantinople, 373, 375;
      nominated Admiralissimo, 374;
      his palace, 375;
      ailment of “scald-head,” 375;
      death, 376.
  Ali Basha, in command of the Turkish forces, 361,
      at the battle of Lepanto, 367;
      beheaded, 369.
  Ali-Chabelli defeated, 180.
  Al-Mehedi, his fortifications of “Africa” blown up, 268.
  Amalfi, 287.
  Ambracian Gulf, 189.
  Amburac, Ibrahim, his plot with Dragut, 253, 256.
  Ampasta, Rio de, 83.
  An, Rev. Frere Pierre d’, on the dangers from the corsairs of
      Barbary, 20–22, 27.
  Andalusia, 4, 15.
  Andior, 246.
  Andrade, Captain Diego de, 73.
  Andros, island of, 187.
  Angelo, Michel, 139.
  Aponte, Antonio de, “Electo Mayor” of “Africa,” 268.
  Aragon, Alfonso d’, 235.
  Aragon, Ferdinand of, acquires Granada, 29,
      attempts to recover Naples, 99.
  Arba, Francisco d’, 210, 217.
  Archipelago, islands of the, 182,
      raid on, 187.
  Arta, Gulf of, 189, 191, 195, 366.
  Aubusson Pierre D’, Grand Master of the Knights of St. John, 37, 38,
    39, 298.
  Augustus Caesar, at the battle of Actium, 189, 199.
  Austria, Don John of, 23, 230,
      in command of the forces of the “Holy League,” 357;
      at Barcelona, 357;
      reception at Naples, 358;
      dress, 358;
      appearance, 359, 365;
      at Messina, 359;
      his fleet, 364;
      instructions, 365;
      at the battle of Lepanto, 366–371;
      recaptures Tunis, 375.

  Baetio, 141.
  Bairan-Ogli, the Reis, in command of the “puissant galleon,” 313.
  Balearic Islands, 32, 66.
  Barbarigo, Provéditeur, at the battle of Lepanto, 363.
  Barbarossa, Hassan, left in charge of Algiers, 312.
  Barbarossa, Khoyr-ed-Din, 6, 14, 17, 22, 108,
      King of the Sea, 24;
      his birth, 43;
      title, 45, 51;
      joins his brother at the island of Jerba, 50;
      attacks _The Galley of Naples_, 51–54;
      his wealth, 56;
      captures Jigelli, 56–58;
      his embassy to Soliman, 60, 76;
      character, 67, 75, 114–116, 127, 219;
      treatment of Hassan, 85–87;
      defeated by Venalcadi, 87;
      his allies, 88;
      fight against Venalcadi, 88;
      assisted by Spanish captives, 89;
      captures Algiers, 89;
      lays siege to the fortress of Navarro, 92–95;
      his plunder of the Christians, 108;
      requested to take the command of the Ottoman fleet, 111;
      voyage to Constantinople, 112–117;
      his captures, 113, 133;
      cruelty, 115, 133, 220;
      entry into Constantinople, 117;
      gifts to Soliman, 118;
      reception, 120;
      at Aleppo, 125;
      appointed head of the fleet, 127;
      his age, 127, 190;
      appearance, 127;
      speech to the Sultan, 128–130;
      raids on the coast of Italy, 133–137;
      sacks Reggio, 133;
      captures 11,000 Christian slaves, 133;
      his attempt to capture Julia Gonzaga, 134–136;
      enters Tunis 138;
      massacre of the inhabitants, 141;
      his fame, 142;
      appeal for help against the Christian hosts, 146;
      preparations for defence, 152;
      joined by the tribesmen, 153;
      defeated, 158;
      flight, 159;
      sufferings of his army, 163;
      at Bona, 164;
      embarks, 165;
      retires to Algiers, 168;
      return of his men, 169;
      captures the castle of Minorca, 172;
      recalled to Constantinople, 173, 178, 182;
      ravages, 182;
      number of slaves, 182;
      sets sail, 185;
      his innovation in the manning of galleys, 185–187;
      raid on the islands of the Archipelago, 187;
      his age, 190;
      hesitates to fight, 193;
      anchored in the Gulf of Arta, 194–207;
      at the battle of Prevesa, 208–216;
      withdraws from the battle, 213, 215, 217;
      his death, 220, 250;
      ransoms Dragut, 248.
  Barbarossa, Uruj, 7, 74,
      his birth, 43;
      character, 44;
      first attempt at piracy, 45;
      taken prisoner, 46;
      escapes, 47, 48;
      presented with a ship, 48;
      winters at Alexandria, 49;
      at the island of Jerba, 50;
      joined by his brother, 50;
      treaty with the Sultan of Tunis, 51;
      attackes _The Galley of Naples_, 51–54;
      wounded, 54;
      attacks on Bougie, 55, 58;
      loses an arm, 55;
      appeal from the Algerines, 66;
      treatment of Kara-Hassan, 66;
      besieges Navarre’s Tower, 67;
      slaughters the Berbers, 68–70;
      defeats Don Diego, 71;
      marches on Tlemcen, 72;
      blockaded, 73;
      killed, 73.
  Barbary, coast of, 236.
  Barbary, corsairs of, their character, 21.
  Barbezieux, his attempt to seize Andrea Doria, 104.
  Barcelona, 148, 357.
  Bazan, Don Alvaro de, General of the Galleys of Spain,
    at Barcelona, 149,
      Admiral of Castile, 359.
  Beachy Head, battle of, 283.
  Beja, 350.
  Bengabara, Alcaid, 349.
  Berber tribes, their character, 57,
      number, 57;
      conspiracy against Uruj Barbarossa, 68;
      slaughtered, 69.
  Bergerac, Jean Marteille de, on the treatment of slaves on board the
    galleys, 224.
  Bianco, Cape, 189.
  Biba, island of, 113.
  Bizerta, 2, 40,
      captured, 41;
      massacre of, 141.
  Boabdil el Chico, yields up Granada, 29.
  Bona, 153, 164, 350,
      Cape, 264.
  Bonifacio, Straits of, 113, 136.
  Borgo, Il, fortress, siege of, 32, 324, 342.
  Bosworth, battle of, 215.
  Botaybo, Alcaid, 349.
  Bougaroni, Cape, 56.
  Bougie, 2, 153,
      attacks on, 55, 58.
  Bouillon, Godfrey de, defeats the Saracens, 287.
  Bourdeille, Pierre de, 242, 344.
  Bragadino, his defence of Famagusta, 362,
      killed, 362.
  Brigantines, 18, 151, 240.
  Broglio, Commandeur, at the siege of Malta, 333.
  Byzacena, 40.
  Byzantine, Empire, fall of the, 33.

  Cabri, 246.
  Cachidiablo, 88, 90.
  Cadiz, 4.
  Cadolin, defeated, 100.
  Cagliari, Bay of, 152, 236.
  Calabria, 345.
  Calibia, castle of, surrender, 264.
  Canale, Girolame, his victory over the Moslems, 177.
  Candia, 187.
  Cañete, Marquis de, Viceroy and Captain General of Navarre, 147.
  Cantara, La Bocca de, 272, 274.
  Capello, Vicenzo, his age, 190,
      in command of the Venetian fleet, 191, 215;
      at Corfu, 191.
  _Capitana_, the, captured, 354, 370,
      retaken, 371.
  Capua, Prior of, his designs for the building of St. Elmo fortress, 325.
  Caracosa, Marie, 98.
  Caramania, coast of, 35, 37, 45, 48.
  Caravajal, Don Luys de Marmol, his “Descripcion general de Affrica,” 272.
  Caravels, 231.
  Carouan, 348.
  Castel Rosso, Isle of, 47.
  Castile, Isabella of, 29.
  Castriot, Constantine, his report on the condition of St. Elmo, 337.
  Centurion, Adan, fails to attack Barbarossa, 165.
  Cephalonia, 313, 363, 366.
  Cervantes, Miguel de, his mention of Ali Basha, 345,
      at the battle of Lepanto, 371;
      his wounds, 372.
  Charabulac, 242.
  Charlemagne, Emperor, his renown, 286.
  Charles II., King of England, his treaty with Algiers, 377.
  Charles V., Emperor, 14, 79,
      history of, 43;
      determines to crush the corsairs, 80;
      total fleet and army, 81,191;
      caught in a storm, 82;
      his wrath on the fall of Navarro, 97;
      acquisitions, 98;
      suzerain of Genoa, 101;
      joined by Andrea Doria, 105;
      his trust in him, 107;
      preparations for his attack on Barbarossa, 143;
      at Barcelona, 148;
      joined by his allies, 148–150;
      reviews the armada, 150;
      embarks in the _Galera Capitana_, 150;
      attack on the fortress of La Goletta, 156;
      defeats Barbarossa, 159;
      letter to the potentates, 163;
      evacuates Tunis, 166;
      his mistaken policy, 167;
      at Corfu, 191;
      orders the destruction of Dragut, 245, 261;
      orders the capture of “Africa,” 265;
      denunciation of Dragut, 271;
      concentrates his fleet at Messina, 278.
  “Christian Princes, Alliance of,” formed, 38,
      artillery, 39;
      seize Naples, 40.
  Christian slaves, number of, captured, 133.
  Città Notabile, 308.
  Civita Lavinia, 140.
  Coeva, Andrea, 98.
  Colonna, Camille, taken prisoner, 101.
  Colonna, Mark Antony, in command of the Papal fleet, 360, 364.
  Colonna, Vespasian, 134.
  Columbus, his caravels, 231.
  Comares, Marquis de, 80.
  Condalmiero, Alessandro, Captain of the _Galleon of Venice_, 192, 194,
      attacked by the Moslems, 209–213;
      his victory, 213.
  Constantine, 350.
  Constantinople, fall of, 33,
      entry of Barbarossa into, 117.
  Còrdoba, Don Martin de, his defence of Oran, 10.
  Còrdoba, Gonsalvo de, the “Great Captain,” 39,
      war against Roverejo, 99;
      besieges the fortress of Rocca Guillelma, 99.
  Còrdoba, Mosque at, 64.
  Corfu, siege of, 179.
  Cornet, Commandeur de, 337.
  Cornillan, Pierre de, appointed Grand Master of the Knights
    of St. John, 298.
  Coron, 355.
  Coronado, Capt. Juan Vasquez, 273.
  Corsairs, Moslem, their iron and rigid discipline, 7.
      _See_ Moslem
  Corsica, coast of, 246.
  Corso, Mami, left in charge of Algiers, 349.
  Cos, or Lango, island of, fortifications of, 292.
  Curtogali, at Bizerta, 40,
      his depredations, 41;
      attempt to carry off the Pope, 41, 140;
      Governor of Rhodes, 42.
  Cyprus, island of, 34, 356.

  Daoud Pasha, Admiral, defeats Grimani, 38.
  Dardanelles, 116,
      fortification of the, 34.
  Daru, P., _Histoire de Venise_, 364, 367.
  Delizuff, joins forces with Barbarossa, 112,
      killed, 113.
  Diou-Donnè, Gozon de, his mode of killing a serpent, 294–296,
      praises of his services, 297;
      appointed Grand Master of the Knights of St. John, 298;
      his death, 298.
  Doria Andrea, 6, 22, 108,
      his birth, 98;
      parents, 98;
      sent to Rome, 98;
      at the court of Urbino, 99;
      in the service of the King of Aragon, 99;
      joins Roverejo, 99;
      takes service with Lodovico Sforza, 100;
      appointed General of the Galleys, 100;
      captures the Fort of the Lantern, 100;
      defeats Cadolin, 100;
      appointed Captain-General of the Galleys of France, 101;
      the treatment of Francis I., 102, 104;
      letter to him, 103;
      joins Charles V., 105;
      honours received from Genoa, 105;
      Admiralissimo of the Navy, 107, 151;
      defeats the Turks at Patras, 109;
      at Barcelona, 148;
      captures Bona, 166;
      pursuit of Barbarossa, 166;
      defeats Ali-Chabelli, 180;
      wounded, 180;
      appearance, 180;
      age, 190;
      his fleet, 192;
      anchors outside the Gulf of Arta, 194–207;
      at Sessola, 207;
      tactics at the battle of Prevesa, 214;
      sails away, 216;
      ordered to capture Dragut, 261, 271;
      his pursuit of him, 262–264;
      expedition against “Africa,” 265;
      blockades Dragut at Jerbah, 271–275;
      allows him to escape, 275.
  Doria, David, 99.
  Doria, Dominique, 98.
  Doria, Franco, 192.
  Doria, Jannetin, captures Dragut, 245–247.
  Doria, John, 165.
  Doria, John Andrea, at the battle of Lepanto, 363, 367, 370.
  Doria, Philippin, defeats Moncada, 101.
  Dragut-Reis, 10, 14, 22,
      his birth and parents, 242;
      career, 242;
      offers his services to Barbarossa, 243;
      in command of twelve galleys, 243;
      his destruction ordered, 245, 261;
      captured by Jannetin Doria, 245–247;
      employed as a galley slave, 248;
      ransomed, 248;
      increase of power, 250;
      his desire to capture “Africa,” 251;
      plot with Ibrahim Amburac, 253;
      preparations for the attack, 254–256;
      wounded, 257;
      attack on the city, 257–259;
      pursued by Andrea Doria, 262–264, 271;
      his “Horrid Devastations,” 264;
      in the siege of “Africa,” 265;
      escapes, 267;
      at Constantinople, 269, 276;
      denounced by Charles V., 270;
      appointed Sandjak, or governor, of the island of Santa Maura, 271;
      blockaded at Jerban, 271–275;
      mode of escape, 275;
      hatred of the Knights of Malta, 276, 286;
      autocrat of Tripoli, 309;
      characteristics, 315;
      at the siege of Malta, 329–339;
      mortally wounded, 339;
      death, 341.
  Dupuy, Raimond, joins the Hospice of St. John, 288,
      appointed Grand Master, 289;
      forms a military corps, 289.

  Eginard, 286.
  Egypt, Soldan of, his treatment of the Knights of Saint John, 34,
      besieges Rhodes, 36.
  Elmo, St., siege of, 6, 301–305, 323–341,
      appeal of the garrison to abandon the fortress, 335–337;
      their use of fireworks, 339;
      fall, 341.
  Escalente, Bernardino de, his “Diálogos del arte militar,” 371.
  Esquemelin, John, his literary labours, 1.
  Etienne, St., Mount, 294.
  Eutemi, Selim, besieges Algiers, 65,
      assassinated, 68.
  Exmouth, Lord, bombards Algiers,30.

  Famagusta, captured, 362.
  Ferdinand V., King of Spain, joins the “Alliance of Christian
    Princes,” 38,
      his death, 65.
  _Florence_, the, 236.
  Floreta, M. de., 144.
  Forfait, on the speed of the galley, 234.
  Francis I., 14,
      appoints Andrea Doria Captain of his fleet, 101;
      attempts to levy a fine, 102;
      treatment of him, 102;
      fortifies Savona, 103;
      letter from Andrea Doria, 103;
      attempts to take him prisoner, 104;
      refuses to join in the war against Barbarossa, 144;
      treachery, 144.
  Fundi, 134,
      sacked by the corsairs, 136.

  Galeasse, the, 18,
      description of a, 233.
  _Galera Capitana_, 150,
      number of flags and banners on board, 151.
  _Galleon of Venice_, 192, 194, 208,
      attacked by the Moslems, 209–213;
      victory, 213.
  Galley, 2, 18,
      sufferings of the rower, 19, 221;
      innovation in the manning, 185;
      mobility, 222;
      length, 222;
      number of men on board, 223;
      treatment of the slaves, 223–229, 379;
      size, 229;
      mode of opening fire, 230;
      speed, 234;
      obsolete, 236.
  _Galley of Naples, The_, attacked by the brothers Barbarossa, 51–54.
  Gardampe, Chevalier Abel de Bridiers de la, killed at the siege
    of Malta, 333.
  Gelves, 271.
  Genoa, 32,
      arrangement with the Grand Turk, 34;
      confers honours on Andrea Doria, 105.
  Gerard, the founder of the Order of St. John, 287,
      death, 288.
  Gibraltar, Straits of, 15.
  Giou, Chevalier de, 313.
  Goialatta, 246.
  Goletta, La, 348,
      attack on the fortress, 156;
      fall, 157;
      captured, 313.
  Gomez, Alvar, left in charge of Bona, 166.
  Gonzaga, Hernando de, his advice at the battle of Prevesa, 198.
  Gonzaga, Julia, attempt to capture her, 134–136,
      escape, 136.
  Gozo, island of, Knights of St. John at, 277, 299,
      sacked, 309.
  Granada, fall of, 4, 8, 22,
      expulsion of the Moors from, 8, 29;
      revolt in, 347.
  Grandenico, Count, 178.
  Granvelle, Cardinal, 7, 359.
  Gravière, Admiral Jurien de la, 17, 54, 127, 214,
      his description of a Galeasse, 233.
  _Great Harry_, 232.
  Grimani, Antonio, the Venetian Admiral, defeated at Zonchio, 38.
  Grimani, Marco, in command of the Papal contingent, 191, 214,
      at Corfu, 191;
      raid on Arta, 191.
  Guasto, Marquis de, taken prisoner, 101,
      his suggestion to Andrea Doria, 104;
      in command of the army, 156.
  Guerare, Sergeant-Major, at the siege of Malta, 332.
  Guglielmotti, Alberto, his work “La Guerra dei Pirati,” 39, 41, 180.
  Guimeran, Commandeur de, success of his ambush, 307.
  _Guzmana_, the galley, 371.

  Hadj-Hossein, his embassy to Selim I., 76–78.
  Haedo, Don Fray Diego de, his History of Algiers, 96, 348, 353, 374.
  Hamid, King of Tunis, character of his rule, 348,
      conspiracy against, 349;
      flight, 350.
  Hassan Ali, 53,
      ravages towns and villages, 83;
      repulsed by Spaniards, 84;
      flogged and imprisoned, 86;
      released, 87;
      attacks Barbarossa, 87.
  Hassem, his attack on Oran, 10,
      retreat, 10.
  Henry II., 34.
  Henry VII., 215.
  Henry VIII., 14.
  Herbert, Arthur, concludes a treaty with Algiers, 377.
  Himeral, Basha, 114, 125.
  Hogue, La, battle of, 283.
  Honoré II., Pope, 291.
  Horusco, Pero Lopez de, 166.
  Hunyadi, John, 14.
  Hyères, island of, 234.

  Ibrahim, Grand Vizier to Soliman, 9,
      his mission to Aleppo, 120;
      advice, 123;
      impressions of Barbarossa, 126;
      return from Aleppo, 132;
      his relations with Soliman, 173;
      murdered, 176.
  Innocent VIII., Pope, 98.
  Ionian Islands, 179.
  Ionian Sea, 49.
  Ithaca, island of, 366.
  Iviza, 82.

  Janissaries, their character as soldiers, 8,
      institution, 279;
      system of training, 280;
      mutiny in Algiers, 355.
  Jerbale, 2, 50, 153, 251.
  Jerusalem, Hospice of St. John at, 287.
  Jigelli, 2, 56,
      siege of, 57.
  John of Jerusalem, St., Knights of, 18. _See_ Knights
  Judeo, El, 88.

  Kara-Hassan, takes possession of Shershell, 66,
      beheaded, 67.
  Khorkud, Governor of Caramania, 48.
  Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, or Knights of Malta,
    their bigotry, 18,
      take refuge at Limasol, 34;
      characteristics, 35, 36;
      fortifications of Rhodes, 35;
      faith, 36;
      repulse the Turks, 37;
      expelled from Rhodes, 42, 277;
      forced to retreat to Malta, 42, 277, 292;
      their use of galleys, 229;
      fight for their “Religion,” 277;
      warfare against the corsairs, 277;
      history of the Order, 286–291;
      founded at Jerusalem, 287;
      Grand Masters, 289–298, 301;
      crusade against the Infidel, 289;
      composition of the Order, 289;
      languages, 290;
      dress, 290;
      form of government, 291;
      in the siege of Malta, 300, 324–342;
      number of deaths, 300;
      capture fortresses, 312;
      capture the “puissant galleon,” 313;
      at Licata, 352;
      their galleys captured by Ali Basha, 352–355.
  Knights Templars, foundation of the Order, 291,
      code of regulations, 291.
  Kustir-Aga, chief Eunuch of the Seraglio, 313.

  Lamirande, Chevalier, at the siege of Malta, 334,
      killed, 341.
  _Lancaster_, the cruiser, 231.
  Lanciani, extract from “The Golden Age of the Renaissance,” 139.
  Lantern, Fort of the, captured, 100.
  Lautrec, Marshal de, 104.
  Leo X., Pope, 41,
      attempt on his life, 140;
      flight to Rome, 141.
  Lepanto, battle of, 6, 23, 362–372;
      number of killed and wounded, 372.
  Lerici, 104.
  Leyva, Antonio de, 143.
  Leyva, Don Sancho de, Governor of “Africa,” 267.
  Liazzo, 246.
  Licastelli, 345.
  Licata, 352.
  Limasol, 34.
  Loredano, Jacques, 34.
  Loredano, Captain, at the battle of Lepanto, 369.
  Los Gelues, 112, 271.
  Louis XII., 100,
      joins the “Alliance of Christian Princes,” 38.

  Magliana, Castle of, 140.
  Mahan, Rear-Admiral, his books on “Sea Power,” 14.
  Mahomedi, banished from Constantinople, 43,
      his sons, 43.
  Mahomet, result of his death, 286.
  Mahomet II., Caliph, captures Constantinople, 33,
      fortifies the Dardanelles, 34;
      defeated Rhodes, 38;
      death, 38.
  Majorca, 172.
  Malipier, Captain, at the battle of Lepanto, 369.
  Malta, siege of, 6, 22, 299–305, 324–342,
      number of deaths, 300;
      position, 315;
      expedition against, 316;
      preparations for the siege, 318–321.
  Malta, Knights of, _see_ Knights
  _Marquesa_, the galley, 371.
  Marsa Muzetto harbour, 325, 331.
  Marsaquivir, attack on, 10.
  Maura, Santa, island of, 207, 271.
  Mecca, 4.
  Medina-Celi, Juan la Cerda, Duke of, expedition against Tripoli, 311.
  Medran, Chevalier Gonzales de, at the siege of St. Elmo, 327, 332, 335.
  Mehedia, 251.
  Melac, Commandeur Gozon de, 312.
  Mendoza, Bernard de, in command of La Goletta, 166.
  Mendoza, Don Luis Hurtado de, 143.
  Messina, 180, 278, 359.
  Minorca, 172.
  Mitylene, island of, 43.
  Monastir, 2, 250.
  Moncada, Don Hugo de, Viceroy of Sicily, 80,
      escapes to Iviza, 82;
      defeated and slain, 101.
  Mondejar, Marquis de, 143.
  Monferrato, Monastery of Nuestra Señora de, pilgrimages to, 150, 357.
  Monte Cristo island, 113.
  Montmorency, Anne de, 281.
  Monuc, the eunuch, 206.
  Moors, their characteristics, 4,
      expulsion from Granada, 8, 29;
      their condition in Algiers, 63.
  Morea, the, 355, 366.
  Morgan, Sir Henry, his capture of Panama, 24.
  Morgan, J., his _Compleat History of Algiers_, 243, 250, 345.
  Moriscoes, their persecutions, 5,
      revolt in Granada, 347.
  Mosca, Lodovico del, 39.
  Moslem corsairs, their cupidity, 3,
      driven out of Spain, 4, 29;
      characteristics, 4, 67, 241;
      fanaticism, 5, 17;
      supremacy on the sea, 8;
      frequent defeats, 10;
      tyranny, 11;
      ships, 18;
      booty, 24;
      cruel methods, 24, 32;
      retrogression, 239;
      mode of commencing their careers, 240;
      conquer Palestine, 286;
      at the siege of Malta, 300;
      number of deaths, 300.
  Motte, Chevalier de la, at the siege of St. Elmo, 327.
  Mourad-Reis, 201.
  Moustafa-Billah, Caliph, 287.
  Muley Hamid, negotiations with, 330.
  Muley Hassan, King of Tunis, 130, 137,
      restored to his kingdom, 161;
      terms of his vassalage, 162.
  Mustafa, in command of the land forces against Malta, 316, 322,
      captures Famagusta, 362.

  Naples, seized, 40,
      invasion of, 90;
      reception of Don John of Austria at, 358.
  Navarro, Count Pedro de, seizes the town of Bougie, 55,
      captures Algiers, 62, 64;
      his Tower, 64.
  Navarro’s Tower, siege of, 65, 67, 91–95,
      captured, 95;
      pulled down, 97.
  Nef, the, 18, 232.
  Negropont, Bailli of, at the siege of Malta, 326, 332, 333,
      killed, 341.
  Nunez, Martin, his embassy to the Pope, 163.

  Occhiali. _See_ Ali Basha.
  Ojeda, Captain, rescues the _Capitana_ at the battle of Lepanto, 371.
  Omedes, Juan d’, Grand Master of the Knights of St. John, 278,
      warned of the approach of the corsairs, 281;
      refuses to take alarm, 281, 306.
  Oneglia, 98.
  Oran, 2, 73,
      attack on, 10.
  Oristano, Gulf of, 236.
  Osmanli, their warlike achievements on land, 15.
  Ottoman, 292,
      his siege of Rhodes, 293.
  _Our Lady of the Conception_, 45.

  Palamos, Bay of, 236.
  Palermo, 265.
  Palestine, conquered by Moslems, 286.
  Palma, 172.
  Panama, capture of, 24.
  Pantellaria, island of, 236.
  Pantera, Captain Pantero, “L’ Armata Navale,” 225.
  Parma, Prince of, at the battle of Lepanto, 364.
  Paschal II., Pope, 301.
  Passaro, Cape, 352.
  Patras, Turks defeated at, 109.
  _Patrona_ galley, capture of, 275.
  Paul III., his scheme of defence for Rome, 139.
  Paxo, island of, 180.
  Payens, Hugues de, founds the Order of the Knights Templars, 291.
  Pedro, Francisco San, 371.
  Penne, Barras de la, on the treatment of men on board the galleys, 223.
  Peter the Hermit, 287.
  Philip II., King of Spain, 274, 311,
      forms the “Holy League,” 357;
      his fleet, 360.
  Piali, Admiral, 10,
      in command of the fleet against Malta, 316, 322.
  Pierre, St., Isle of, 235.
  Pius V., Pope, 356, 373,
      forms the “Holy League,” 357.
  Portugal, Don Juan, King of, his armada at Barcelona, 148.
  Portugal, Prince Luis of, at Barcelona, 148, 150.
  Prescott, William Hickling, 4,
      his description of the Janissaries, 279;
      of Don John of Austria, 358;
      of the battle of Lepanto, 364, 368.
  Press-gang, methods of the, 226.
  Prevesa, battle of, 6, 22, 108, 189, 190, 194–218, 366.
  Punta delle Forche, 277, 333.

  Rabadan, Celebi, 92, 112.
  Rabadan, left in charge of Tunis, 351.
  Raschid, 130, 137.
  Raschid, Caliph Haroun, 287.
  Ravenstein, Count Philip of, 39.
  _Real_, the, 364.
  Reggio, 32,
      sack of, 133.
  Reis, Aisa-, left in charge of “Africa,” 261, 264,
      his defence, 266;
      captured, 267.
  Reis, Dragut-, _See_ Dragut
  Requesens, Don Luiz de, disaster to his fleet, 234.
  _Revenge_, the, 354.
  Rhodes, island of, 242,
      seized by the Knights of St. John, 35, 292;
      besieged, 36, 293;
      serpent at, 294–296;
      derivation of the name, 297.
  Ribera, Don Perisan de, 80.
  Ricasoli, 333.
  Richard II, 215.
  Rio, Juan del, taken captive, 71.
  Rivière, Chevalier La, 322.
  Robeira, Captain, repulses the corsairs, 84.
  Rocca Guillelma, fortress of, besieged, 99.
  Rodas, Capitan de, 111.
  Roderick the Goth, conquered by the Osmanli, 15, 29.
  Rome, fortifications of, 139.
  Romegas, Commandeur de, 312, 313,
      his account of the battle of Lepanto, 360.
  Rosell, Don Cayetano, his _Historia del combate naval de Lepanto_,
    359, 364.
  Roverejo, Juan, war with Cordoba, 99.
  Roxalana, Sultana, her influence over Soliman, 174,
      characteristics, 174;
      jealousy, 174;
      murders Ibrahim, 176.

  Salaerrez, 88.
  Saleh-Reis, 187.
  Salerno, Gulf of, 101.
  Sallee, the rovers, 237.
  Sandoval, El Maestro Don Fray Prudencio de, his history of Charles V.,
    43, 70, 71, 108, 142, 144, 150, 155.
  Sangle, Claude de la, his death, 309.
  Sangullo, Antonio de, 139.
  _Santa Ana_, bravery of the, 353.
  Santa Cruz, Marquis of, at the battle of Lepanto, 364,
      rescues the _Capitana_, 371.
  _Santa Maria_, the flagship of Columbus, 231.
  Sardinia, 136.
  Satalie, Gulf of, 47.
  Savona, fortification of, 103.
  Sceberass, Mount, 301, 307, 325, 342.
  Scutari, 38.
  Sea-Wolves of the Mediterranean,
      take refuge in Northern Africa, 1;
      their deeds of terror, 2;
      cupidity, 3;
      fanaticism, 5, 17;
      autocratic rule, 7, 25;
      equality, 7;
      aptitude for the sea, 8;
      defeats, 10;
      nefarious doings, 15;
      characteristics of their leaders, 16, 25, 284, 376;
      ships, 18;
      character of the men, 26;
      leagues against, 29;
      relations with the Turks, 33.
  Seignelay, his criticism of Admiral de Tourville, 283.
  Selim I., Sultan of Turkey. _See_ Soliman
  Selim II., Sultan of Turkey, 356,
      his character, 356;
      lays claim to the island of Cyprus, 356.
  Serpent, method of killing, 294–296.
  Sesse, Duke of, 311.
  Sessola, islet of, 207.
  Sfax, 2, 250.
  Sforza, Lodovico, Duke of Milan, 100.
  Shershell, 2, 66.
  Shott-el-Jerid, 153.
  Sinan-Reis, in command of La Goletta fortress, 156,
      at the battle of Prevesa, 197;
      in command of the Janissaries, 279, 281;
      character as a leader, 285, 307;
      his expedition against Malta, 306;
      sacks the island of Gozo, 309;
      captures Tripoli, 309.
  Skiathos, 187.
  Skios island, 187.
  Slaves, on board galleys, their treatment, 223–229,
      mutiny at Lepanto, 228.
  Smyrna, Basha of, 48.
  Soliman the Magnificent, Sultan of Turkey, 9, 14, 109,
      expels the Knights of St. John from Rhodes, 42, 277, 299;
      embassy from Barbarossa, 60, 76;
      sends reinforcements, 61;
      recalls his ships, 61;
      his conquest of the Mamelukes, 77;
      invites the cooperation of Barbarossa, 110;
      appoints him commander of his fleet, 111, 117, 127;
      receives gifts from him, 118;
      his reception of him, 120;
      relations with Ibrahim, 173;
      under the influence of Roxalana, 174;
      declares war against Venice, 179;
      defeated, 179;
      preparations for campaigns, 183, 277, 316;
      his demands from Charles V., 270;
      loss of his “puissant galleon,” 313;
      lamentations of his people, 314;
      holds a conference, 316;
      expedition against Malta, 316;
      his death, 356.
  Spaniards, under Moorish rule, 30,
      expedition against the Barbarossas, 62;
      repulse Hassan, 84;
      captives, assist in the capture of Algiers, 89;
      restored to liberty, 89.
  Spartivento, Cape, 136.
  Spezzia, Gulf of, 104.
  Susa, 2, 250.
  Swertius, Franciscus, his collection of epitaphs, 373.

  Tabas, 88.
  Taranto, 32.
  Tarik, 15, 29.
  Tenes, 2,
      fall of, 72.
  Thevenot, his Travels, 297.
  Tiber, the, 139.
  Tineo, Garzia de, kills Uruj Barbarossa, 73.
  Tlemcen, 2.
  Tlemcen, Sultan of, his flight to Fez, 72.
  Toledo, Don Garcia de, 230;
      in the expedition against Dragut, 265;
      his character as a ruler, 317.
  Toledo, Don Pedro de, 273.
  Tours, Viscomte de, sent to Genoa, 102.
  Tourville, Admiral de, criticism on, 283.
  Traparni, 265.
  Tripoli, 2, 153,
      defence of, 10;
      capture, 309;
      fortifications, 311;
      expedition against, 311.
  Trivulce, Theodore, 104.
  Tunis, 2,
      captured by the corsairs, 137, 375;
      massacre in, 141, 159;
      fortifications repaired, 146;
      rebellion in, 348;
      appeal to Ali Basha, 349;
      flight of Hamid, 350.
  Tunis, Sultan of, his treaties with the Barbarossas, 51, 61,
      repudiates treaty, 59.
  Turks, their character as soldiers, 8, 124,
      relations with the Sea-wolves, 33;
      attack on Rhodes, 37;
      defeated at Patras, 109.
  Tuscany, Duke of, 235.

  Urbain II., Pope, 287.
  Urbino, Duke of, 99,
      at the battle of Lepanto, 364.

  Vagnor, Chevalier, 333.
  Valentia, ravaged by corsairs, 83.
  Valetta, position of, 307, 342.
  Valette, Jean Parisot de la, Grand Master of the Knights of St. John,
    6, 248;
      his characteristics, 301, 309;
      creed, 302;
      personal example in the siege of Malta, 302–305;
      his high conception of duty, 310;
      expedition against Tripoli, 311;
      repulsed, 312;
      summons help, 318;
      preparations for the siege, 318–321;
      address to his brethren, 319;
      at the siege of Malta, 324–328;
      reinforcements, 328.
  Vargas, Martin de, in command of the fortress of Navarro, 91,
      besieged, 91–95;
      wounded and taken prisoner, 95;
      beheaded, 96.
  Vasto, Marquis de, 143.
  Vega, Don Alvaro, in command of “Africa,” 267.
  Vega, Don Juan de, Viceroy of Sicily, 273,
      in the expedition against Dragut, 265.
  Velez, Peñon de, captured, 312.
  Venalcadi, 73,
      escapes, 86;
      attacks Barbarossa, 87;
      fight, 88;
      beheaded, 88.
  _Vengeur_, the, 354.
  Venice, 32,
      treaty of commerce concluded, 34;
      relations with Soliman, 179;
      war declared, 179;
      “Holy League” formed, 357.
  Veniero, Sebastian in command of the Venetian fleet, 360, 364.
  Vera, Don Diego de, sent to capture Algiers, 70,
      defeated, 71.
  Vercoyran, Chevalier de, at the siege of Malta, 332.
  Vertot, M. L’Abbé de, 273, 297, 311.
  _Victory_, the, 354.
  Villaret, Fulke de, Grand Master of the Knights of St. John, 35,
      seizes Rhodes, 35, 292.
  Villegagnon, Commandeur de, his interview with the Grand Master, 281.
  Villeneuve, Helion de, Grand Master of the Knights of St. John, 293,
      character of his rule, 293;
      death, 297.
  Vittoriosa, 299.
  Volo, Gulf of, 187.

  Ximenes, Fray Francisco, Cardinal Bishop of Toledo, 70.
  Yamboli, 216.
  Yonis Bey, sent to Venice, 178.

  Zante, island of, 114, 313.
  Zara, port of, 227.
  Zay, Basha, 114, 125.
  Zonchio, battle of, 38.


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