Independently published (December 1, 2020)
“In 1684, for the first time in its history, Venice declared war on the Ottoman Empire, as the Republic joined the Holy League. Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa’s huge army had just suffered a crushing defeat during the siege of Vienna: The Holy Roman Empire, Poland, Venice and the Papacy finally had an opportunity to deal a decisive blow against their common enemy.Captain General Francesco Morosini, the illustrious defender of Candia, was recalled to active duty. Once again entrusted with overall command over the Serenissima’s armed forces in the Levant, the old soldier with his staff of seasoned sailors, officers, and engineers secured the Morea (Peloponnese) in four epic campaigns, seizing its key fortresses one after the other.
The conflict would drag on unexpectedly, as the Turks fought back with renewed determination, while the opening of a new front against France diverted the Habsburg Empire’s main military effort from Central Europe. Venice also shifted its focus on defense, as its colonial representatives struggled to set up an administration in the impoverished and devastated “Kingdom of Morea”. The challenges were daunting, including the need to upgrade at least half a dozen Medieval castles, and the creation of brand new fortifications based on the most innovative designs of the time.
In 1699 the treaty of Karlowitz ratified the conquest of the Morea. Venice had avenged the loss of Crete and was still a respected European power. Fifteen years later, a large Ottoman land offensive led by the Grand Vizier was able to reconquer the entire Peloponnese in just three months. The Ionian islands, last remnant of the once-formidable overseas empire, were only saved owing to the gallant defenders of Corfu and Prince Eugene’s victory at Peterwardein. After the Great Turkish War’s string of victories, how was this final and monumental Venetian debacle made possible?Using a considerable amount of so-far unpublished archival material and contemporary historical accounts, Venice and the Ottoman Empire: The Morean Wars, immerses the reader into the 17th-18th century’s codes of European diplomatic intrigues and shifting alliances. It also unveils the dramatic evolution in siege warfare, naval warfare, and military tactics spearheaded by the West European centralized states.In the unforgiving theaters of Central Europe, the Southern Balkans and the Aegean, the religious dimension of the conflict meant that rules of war seldom applied. The fighting reached levels of violence unseen in Christendom since the Thirty Years’ War.”
Eric G. L. PINZELLI studies Ottoman Military History, Ottoman-Venetian relations, and Venetian Stato da Terra.