On Aug. 2, 1571, at Famagusta — the besieged and last remaining Christian outpost on the island of Cyprus — Marcantonio Bragadin and Astorre Baglioni, two Venetian commanders, surrendered to the Ottoman Turk commander, Lala Mustafa Pasha.
The battle at Famagusta had been a bloodbath, all too typical of the era, with a Christian force of fewer than 10,000 utterly overwhelmed by a Muslim force of more than 100,000. The Christians fought to the death, suffering upward of 90% casualties.
Bragadin and Baglioni had been assured honorable terms of surrender, with promises that they and the survivors would keep not only their dignity but their lives. When they went to Mustafa’s tent, they instead were immediately arrested. Baglioni was beheaded on the spot. Bragadin, the governor general of Famagusta, would not be so lucky. He would be turned into an example.
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