They may have owed their origin to the Roman galleys: they did without doubt owe their sails to them.
The great majority of the two hundred galleys and eight galeasses, of which the fleet was composed, came from Venice, under the command of the proveditore Barbarigo; from Genoa, which was in close alliance with Spain, under Gianandrea Doria; and from the Pope whose squadron was commanded by Marc Antonio Colonna.
It consisted in all of 273 galleys which were of lighter build than the Christians', and less well supplied with cannon or small arms. The Turks still relied mainly on the bow and arrow.
It was formed in the traditional order of the galleys - a long line abreast, subdivided into the centre or "battle" commanded by Don John in person, the left wing under the proveditore Barbarigo, and the right under Gianandrea Doria.
On their right Scirocco outflanked the Venetians of Barbarigo, but the better build of the galleys of Saint Mark and the admirable discipline of their crews gave them the victory.