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Presenter : Julian Davison

Masters of the Mediterranean

In part two, Julian Davison departs the former capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul, and travels to the site of one of the most extraordinary sieges in European history, the island of Malta.

The pride of the Christian Crusader Order of the Knights of St. John, Malta stands today like a baroque jewel, but in the 16th century it was the object of desire for Ottoman Sultan Sulieman the Magnificent and he was prepared to risk all to possess it.

In Malta, Julian enlists in a local re-enactment group and tries his hand at the weapons of 16th century warfare before dissecting a siege that would become one of the Ottomans most shocking defeats. Before leaving Malta Julian explores the legacy of the Knights of St. John and meets a modern day knight.

He then travels northward to the commercial superpower of the 16th century, the resplendent kingdom on water, Venice. Here, Julian, participates in the time honoured pageant, La Sensa, a symbolic marriage between Venice and the Sea before revealing how this tiny island Republic grew to into one of the richest and most formidable sea powers in the world.

We discover how Venice managed a complex love/hate relationship with the Ottoman Empire that exploded into an all out war for control of the Mediterranean involving the Pope and much of Christian Europe. Julian gets a taste of life as a galley slave before moving on to the former Venetian stronghold, Cyprus. 

Read our notes to accompany the series

Places Mentioned - Cyprus, Italy, Malta

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