THE GREAT SIEGE: MALTA 1565
The following are great excerpts from the book Great Siege: Malta 1565 by Erle Bradford
THE SULTAN OF THE OTTOMANS
Soleyman's titles resounded through the high Council chamber like a roll of drums:
"Sultan of the Ottomans, Allah's deputy on earth, Lord of the Lords of this World, Possessor of Men's Necks, King of believers and Unbelievers, King of Kings, Emperor of the East and West, Emperor of the Chakans of Great Authority, Prince and Lord of the happy Constellation, Majestic Caesar, Seal of Victory, Refuge of all the People in the whole World, the Shadow of the Almighty dispensing Quite in the Earth."
His ministers, admirals and generals prostrated themselves and withdrew. It was the year 1564, and Soleyman the First, Sultan of Turkey, was 70 years old. He had just taken the decision to attack the island of Malta in the spring of the following year.
His life had been an unparalleled distinction from the moment when he had succeeded his father, Selim, at the age of 26. Know in his country as the Lawgiver, and throughout Europe as Soleyman the Magnificent, he had truly earned these appellations. He had reformed and improved the goverment and administration of Turkey, and had made her the greatest military state in the world. He was unequalled as a statesman, and was a poet in his own right.
At the age of 70, with so many resounding triumphs behind him, it might have been expected that the Sultan would wish to take his ease and watch the decline of day over the Golden Horn. But to Soleyman in his old age there remained only the desire for power, the ambition to extend his conquests. Even if he had not been ambitious himself, those who surrounded him would never have allowed him to rest.
" So long as Malta remains in the hand of the Knights," wrote one of his advisors, "So long will relief from Constantinople to Tripoli run the danger of being taken or destroyed..." "This cursed rock", wrote another, "is like a barrier interposed between us and your possessions. If you will not decide to take it quickly, it will in a short time interrupt all communication between Africa and Asia and the islands of the Archipelago."
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