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  • The Mediterranean (A)bridged: A View from Nafpaktos, Also Known as Lepanto

    Phaedra Douzina-Bakalaki

    Chapter from the book: Rommel C. & Viscomi J. 2022. Locating the Mediterranean: Connections and Separations across Space and Time.


    The Battle of Lepanto took place in 1571, when the allied naval forces of the Holy League engaged the Ottoman fleet at the gulf of Corinth–Patras, near modern Nafpaktos, a western Greek town of 20,000 people. The Catholic victory resonated across Europe, to capture the imagination of Renaissance composers and poets, to inspire important artwork, and to leave an indelible mark on Miguel de Cervantes, whose left hand ‘became useless at the Battle of Lepanto, to glorify the right one’, as he is quoted to have said. Today, Lepanto holds a prominent place in Islamophobic discourses and alt-right formations across Europe and North America. Yet, unlike commemorators who rejoice in divisions between the West and barbaric Rest, my Nafpaktian interlocutors are more ambiguously positioned vis-à-vis these binaries. In fact, rather than celebrating Lepanto’s contemporary symbolism, Nafpaktos’s claim to the battle is premised on location, and on the town’s proximity to the site of the naval engagement. This chapter examines Nafpaktians’ quests for a meaningful location-driven narrative on the Battle of Lepanto. Tracing the mutual co-production of relative location and historical event – Nafpaktos and Lepanto – the chapter draws attention to the different Mediterraneans afforded by such processes of creative synthesis.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Douzina-Bakalaki, P. 2022. The Mediterranean (A)bridged: A View from Nafpaktos, Also Known as Lepanto. In: Rommel C. & Viscomi J (eds.), Locating the Mediterranean. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33134/HUP-18-4

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

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    Published on July 6, 2022


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