Barbaroslar Episode 03 English Subtitle.
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That hour, O Master, shall be bright for thee: Thy merchants chase the morning down the sea, The braves who ﬁght thy war unsheathe the sabre …
Everything was ready. A Turkish overseer strode the long catwalk between the oar benches and gave the order for the stroke. The blades oh the port side were poised motionless above the sea, while the men on the starboard side threw their weight into the great looms of their oars. Slowly the galley circled to port, turning her beaked prow towards her approaching companion. The whistle blew again, and one of the Turks picked up the stick alongside a tambour and prepared to give the stroke. Thrum! Both banks of oars went into action, and the oar blades struck the water in unison. “The stratagem failed not of its desired eﬀect . . The other galley, seeing the leader turn towards them towing behind her a foreign galleot, immediately altered course to ﬁnd out what had happened. They saw the helmeted oﬃcers on the poop, and saw too the captain pacing up and down. But they were still too far away to descry that this burly red- bearded captain was not the same as the elegant Genoese who had stood there only half an hour before.
As the two galleys closed on one another in the narrow strait between Elba and Piombino, the Turks kneeling behind the bulwarks had their arquebuses and their composite Scythian-style bows at the ready. Baba (Father) Aruj would tell them when to reveal themselves and open ﬁre. The moment came. The kneeling Turks arose—and suddenly the unsuspecting second galley was hit by a devastating hail of arrows and lead shot. The surprise was complete. Before the oﬃcers, let alone the sailors and soldiers of the galley, had had time to collect themselves—to wonder even whether
their compatriots had gone mad—the rambade or forward ﬁghting prow of the other galley was alongside them, tearing through the oars on their starboard side. With a great cry of “Allah! Allaaah!” the Turks swarmed aboard their astounded opponent.
A number of the Italians on the upper deck were killed or wounded in that ﬁrst fusillade, and after that “the galley was instantly boarded and carried, with very little further bloodshed or resistance.” The triumphant Aruj found himself in possession of two of the largest vessels in the Mediterranean.
After disarming the oﬃcers and soldiers, his ﬁrst thought was to release the Moslem rowers at the oars of both his new-found vessels. The Christian criminals or debtors could stay in their shackles to toil, but true sons of the Prophet (some of them Turks and others from the African territories) were immediately freed. Aruj and his lieutenants had a quick inspection of their Christian captives, picking out with a practised eye those who looked as if they could stand the rigours of the oar. The others would still fetch money in the slave market back home in North Africa. Those who had rich or inﬂuential relatives—whether they had been condemned to the oar or not—would one day be able to ransom themselves at a handsome proﬁt to their captors.
Towing their own galleot behind the papal galley, the Turks turned to the south. They made their way between the rocky islands of Montecristo and Giglio. The days of hot summer passed as they crept down the Tyrrhenian Sea, then altered course to slide between Sicily and the southern tip of Sardinia towards their home port of Tunis. Sometimes a cool and favourable northerly breeze wafted from astern, and they goosewinged their great twin lateen sails. Only then was the monotonous clank of the toiling slaves (as they worked, their leg irons rattled in unison) completely stilled.
Mostly though, since it was still the high heat of the windless Mediterranean summer, the two great galleys
resounded day and night to the leathern voice of the tambour, the pipe of the silver whistle, and the dip, sigh, pause, and splash of the sweeping oars.
Many centuries before, the Romans had defeated their Semitic rivals the Carthaginians and had established sway over this sea. Now, with the aid of an Asiatic race, the Turks, the people from North Africa were about to reap their revenge upon the descendants of the ancient Romans. The salt-sown ruins of Carthage, the islands, the cities, seaports, and trading posts of the ancient Phoenicians—slumbering under the drunken summer sun—must have raised a ghostly cheer.
So they came swanning down the soft sea to the city that was described by an Arab chronicler as “Tunis—the White, the Odoriferous, the Flowery Bride of the West.” (There were some unkind enough to say that the adjective “odoriferous” was not complimentary, but referred to the stinking salt pans and the oozy sewage-laden lagoons around the city.) The land homs of the Gulf of Tunis closed around the two captured ships and the towed galleot. Soon they saw ahead of them, rising out of the heat haze and the low-lying coastal belt, the white houses of the port that they had made their temporary home. “The wonder and astonishment,” says the sixteenth- century Spanish historian Diego Haedo, “that this notable exploit caused in Tunis, and even in Christendom, is not to be expressed, nor how celebrated the name of Aruj Rais was become from that very moment; he being held and accounted, by all the world, as a most valiant and enterprising commander. And by reason his beard was extremely red, or carroty, from thenceforwards he was generally called Barbarossa, which in Italian signiﬁes Red- Beard.”