Episode 8 With English Subtitle
hat hour, O Master, shall be bright for thee: Thy merchants chase the morning down the sea, The braves who ﬁght thy war unsheathe the saber…
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.