Brief Description of Ancient Nafpaktos
The picturesque, mainly Venetian castle, from which ramparts descend
to enclose the little harbour, reminds us of its medieval past when it was known
in the West as Lepanto. The square, shaded by jacaranda trees, looks across the
Gulf to Mt. Panakhaikon in
Peloponnesus. Ancient Nafpaktos
was taken during the arrival of the Doric Clans in 1104 BC. The town was destroyed
by earthquakes in 583 BC. Later the town was occupied by the Ozolian Locrians,
and was taken in 454 BC. by the Athenians.Here they established a colony of Messenians,
who had been dispossessed by their Spartan conquerors. The place played an important
part in the Peloponnesian War; it was successfully defended in 429 BC. by Phormion
and in 426 BC. by Demosthenes against the Spartans. In 338 BC., Philip the 2nd
of Macedonia occupies Nafpaktos from the Achaians and delivers it to the Aetolians.
In 218 BC., Nafpaktos becomes the capital of the Aetolic Confederation. Nafpaktos
is classified in Dominant of Epirus in 1205-1295 AD. The town becomes a Venetian
Colony in the year 1407-1499 AD. Occupied by the Turks in 1499, Lepanto is chiefly
celebrated for the victory which the combined popal, Spanish, Venetian, and Genoese
fleets, under Don Juan of Austria, gained over the Turkish fleet on Oct. 7, 1571.
At last, Nafpaktos was liberated from the Turks, in 1821-1829 A.D. Saint Dimitrios,
protector of the city of Nafpaktos, was martyred in 305 A.D. defending Christianity.
He is also regarded as the Patron Saint of Thessaloniki
and its saviour during difficult moments. Nafpaktos is one of the few Greek towns
that managed to survive and to pass from prehistorical age to nowadays. The town
for more than 3.200 years of turbulent life, appeared under various names, such
as, Nafpaktos from its founding Lepanto by the Venetians, Epahtos by the Byzantines,
Enevahte and Nepahtos by the Turks. Its primary name came from the fact that the
area is located historically as naval colony, where ships were manufactured, by
Loric races and later by Doric ones. Nafs (ship) + pignimi (manufacture) = Nafpaktos.
Naval Victory-La Victore De Lepante, Le Rosaire
On October 7, 1571, Selim II, Sultan of the Turks, was utterly destroyed
in a disastrous naval defeat near the harbor of Lepanto. This great victory is
always ascribed to Pope Pius V and is mentioned in his canonization in 1712. At
the hour of the battle, a procession of the Rosary began its march to the church
of Minerva. The pope was present, and, quite unexpectedly walked to a window,
threw open its doors and stood in a trance for a considerable time. Returning
to the cardinals, he remarked, "It is now time to give thanks for the great
victory which has been granted us." Officials later compared the time of
the pope's words with the records of the battle and found them in precise accord.
But the real reason for crediting the pope with the victory came from the mouths
of the prisoners taken in battle. They attested, with unquestionable conviction,
that they had seen Jesus Christ, Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Santa Maria Di Lepanto
and a multitude of angels, sword in hand, fighting against Selim and the Turks,
blinding them with smoke.
This text is cited December 2004 from the West Greece Region General Secretariat URL below, which contains images.