|Battle of Lepanto 1571|
A Holy League had been organised by the said Pope and included most of the major Catholic maritime states within the Mediterranean. The plan was to break the Ottoman Turks' control of the eastern Med.
The scene was set and battle commenced. Meanwhile Pope Pius V carried out his papal duties away from the conflict in Rome. The year was 1571 and he was going through the papal accounts. Suddenly though, he stood up, crossed the room, opened a window and stared out into the distance. After a few minutes he returned and with 'shining eyes' faced the Vatican officials who were present at the meeting.
He commanded them to, "Leave all this for now," gesturing to the ledgers and financial documents, "We must go and give thanks to God. Victory has gone to the Christian fleet."
The treasurer noted this incident into the minutes of their curtailed meeting. He wrote that this happened: just before 5 p.m. on October 7, 1571.
Obviously receiving news and messages was a slow old business back then but, exactly a fortnight later, on October 21, a messenger rode into Rome from Venice with the news of a historical naval victory.
Don John of Austria and his Christian fleet had trounced the Turkish fleet at the Battle of Lepanto. And, according to the official report, it was established that the victory was theirs just before 5 p.m. on October 7, 1571.
Perhaps Pope Pius V had received his inside information from ... well, who knows.
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