Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jerry Brotton, Trevor Phillips and the Armada

I suggested yesterday that Dr Brotton's theory seemed to be less than watertight, unless evidence existed that Walsingham's letter not only produced concrete Turkish action, but action which materially affected the Armada's chances of victory. I also doubted if any contribution of Mediterranean vessels could have affected the outcome.

In the strong version of the theory which Dr Brotton and Phillips set forth, the actions of the Grande Porte were not only material, but decisive.


Phillips - "It was the Turks who saved us".

Brotton - "Walsingham's plan was ultimately successful. Ottoman fleet movements in the eastern Mediterranean fatally split Philip II's armada" - although he immediately qualifies this by saying that "alongside all the stories we're told at school about why the Spanish Armada failed to conquer Britain and destroy Protestantism, we should add another reason: the Anglo-Ottoman alliance brokered by Elizabeth, Walsingham [and others]"

Conservative Party Reptile found this reheated Reuters report, in which Dr Brotton gives more information.

An academic argued on Tuesday that the Armada had been weakened before it even set sail for England because the Spanish had been forced to keep some ships in the Mediterranean to deal with the troublesome Turkish navy.

"If the Armada had been bigger it would have taken Britain," said Dr Jerry Brotton.

"The Armada was fatally weakened by having to leave some of its ships in the Mediterranean," added Brotton, a lecturer in Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. "Correspondence shows that Walsingham (Queen Elizabeth's spymaster) used diplomats to keep the Turks fighting the Spanish," he told Reuters.


I must say the argument is looking weaker and weaker. If it's a question of ships, as explained yesterday, the fighting vessels of the Spanish Mediterranean fleet would have been little help in the Channel or North Sea, even conceding the point (for which no evidence seems to be offered) that Walsingham's letter produced any Turkish action.

The Reuters report also includes this :

Dr Simon Adams, co-author of "England, Spain and the Grand Armada" argues the Ottoman Turks were not threatening the Spanish in the Mediterranean. "The Walsingham letter had been sent in 1584 or 1585 and although England might have hoped the Turks would cause the Spanish problems, nothing really happened," he told Reuters. "The Turks were not really doing anything (against Spain) in 1588. They were busy in the near east," added the University of Strathclyde academic. Adams said the Armada failed because the expedition was poorly planned and the English had an effective navy helped by favourable weather.

This would imply that there's no evidence of the letter producing any response. The thesis looks extremely weak.

I wrote to Dr Brotton as follows two days ago. I'll let you know.


Dear Dr Brotton,

Your 2004 Hay Festival lecture is in the news again, via Trevor Phillips' interpretation. But all I know of it is the 2004 Guardian report which boils down to :

"Walsingham hoped that Islamic forces might keep the Spanish forces "thoroughly occupied" by "some incursions from the coast of Africa", or by attacking his Italian territories from the sea."

Followed by "Walsingham's plan was ultimately successful. Ottoman fleet movements in the eastern Mediterranean fatally split Philip II's armada".

It sounds as if the Guardian report missed out the crucial link - the evidence that

a) Harborne successfully induced the Turks to harass Spanish possessions or otherwise threaten Spain, over and above the existing semi-endemic warfare
b) that this had a material impact on the Armada

Have you a transcript or copy of the lecture - or references to the evidence for a) and b) ? If so could you please mail me copies/references ?

Regards

LT






UPDATE - Six months on and Dr Brotton has not replied. They say the best way to sustain a poor argument is never to offer any evidence in its defence.

17 comments:

Blithering Bunny said...

Unfortunately there are two types of academic historians these days. Real ones, and postmodernists.

Gabriel Oak said...

I doubt you'll get any response at all, and if you do it will be pretty disingenuous.

Follow the money, that's always the way - and the money follows diversity.

We are having to pay high taxes through the nose for spun quackery based upon mere fragments which undermines our national story and identity. And is precisely purposed upon that end

An "alliance" surely implies a Treaty or at least something concrete, Britain held Staff talks before WW1 with the French for instance - where's the hard evidence?

Lord Higham- Murray said...

Thanks for that, Laban. Does this have some relevance to Boris' victory?

adirtymartini said...

Good job staying on top of this!

Anonymous said...

What I don't understand is why Armani Trev thinks that we can celebrate the Armada's defeat only because Muslims were apparently involved. Does he really think that ethnic minorities think this way? Is it possible for normal people to think this way?

If it is true that ethnic minorities need these sorts of justifications to take pride in British history and it's institutions, then we truly are f*cked. No amount of blather from the race hustlers is going to change this fact one iota.

Sergeant Troy 11th Light Dragoons said...

I'd like to see Trev and a crew of liberal idiots do a reconstruction in some Spanish style galleys of the period, most of their order of battle at Lepanto was galleys apparently.

Probably they wouldn't make it past the Bay of Biscay, in which case there would need to be some "local peasants" who would butcher them in the surf if they made it to shore.

If they made it to the Channel I would like to be part of a crew of patriots in, say, a reconstruction of Drake's ship "Revenge".

Some of the cannon I'd have loaded with musket balls, nails, bits of glass, tin-tacks etc for really close action.

I'd love to shred them and see nails sticking out of them.

JohnM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JohnM said...

Isn't it the case that Turkish Galleys were rowed by Christian slaves. I seem to recall that 10,000 were freed after the Battle of Lepanto. It's a strange form of political correctness that seeks to celebrate the "contribution" of such a brutal slave empire.

Sage King said...

Sorry but in our multi-cultist, relativist world facts are just that...Relative.

Thus it all comes down to perceptions, and thats all that matters to our post-modernist Reich at our multi-versities.

susan said...

If it is true that ethnic minorities need these sorts of justifications to take pride in British history and it's institutions, then we truly are f*cked. No amount of blather from the race hustlers is going to change this fact one iota.

Well, I can tell you that that is the way it is in the US of A and we are much more "diverse" than you are. My daughter (4th grader) has never heard of either Thomas Jefferson nor Thomas Edison, but she can quote "diversity" nonsense till the cows come home, and knows all about all sorts of relatively inconsequential "people of color" who may or may not have done something notable in US history. But giants of US history and culture like Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Adams, Twain, Edison, Melville, Longfellow, Poe, James Fenimore Cooper -- not a squeak. Much of our historical American culture has been reduced to merely "white" culture -- and considered irrelevant to the irreproachable and all-sacred "people of color." To make matters worse, we "celebrate" the culture of the Spanish and Portugese conquistadors in the Americas -- who were far more brutal colonists and slavers than the English ever were -- while we teach our children that the English colonists were greedy, genocidal, slave-owning psychopaths with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Sergeant Troy 11th Dragoon Guards said...

In England particularly liberals are guilty of genocide against our people, complicity in genocide and treason as Laban, in effect, pointed out


"Article 7.2 "Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples"

Article 8.1 "Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture."

Article 8.2 "States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:
(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
(d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration;

Someone had better tell the UK government about the fast-vanishing tribe of the English."

When the exigencies of the situation hopefully allow what is to be done with these vile creatures?

Shall patriots........

a) Pat them on the head?

b) Give them a big slice of cake?

c) Meet out savage and and thus condign punishment to the traitor crew?

The answer is obvious and in this context let me commend the merits of the 1797 issue cavalry sword, a weapon so fearsome that the French protested about its inhumanity.

This was the sword which so captivated Bathseba...."In an instant the atmosphere was transformed to Bathseba's eyes. Beams of light caught from the low sun's rays, above, aroundm, in front of her, well-nigh shut out the earth - all emitted in the marvellous evolutions of Troy's reflecting blade, which seemed everywhere at once, and yet nowhere specially. These circling gleams were accompanied by a keen rush that was almost a whistling - also springing from all sides at once. In short, she was in a firmament of light, and of a sharp hisses, resembling a sky-full of meteors close at hand.

Never since the broadsword became the national weapon had there been more dexterity in its management than in the hands of Sgt. Troy......".

So there it is, a splendid weapon in expert hands, equally excellent for the purposes of winning a maiden's heart, and chopping up lib left traitors.

Susan said...

Isn't it the case that Turkish Galleys were rowed by Christian slaves. I seem to recall that 10,000 were freed after the Battle of Lepanto.

Yes, that is true. In the Paul Fregosi book "Jihad in the West" which details the Muslim attack on Europe for centuries, Fregosi gives an account of the Muslim ship masters going down to the galleys to beg the Christian slaves to row with all their might for the Ottoman Empire (talk about cheek!). Some of the Christian slaves refused to row at all.

JohnM said...

Lots of links to other Blogs that covered this story here including this one at the Mail, which is interesting for the following quotes:

Dr Simon Adams, co-author of England, Spain and the Grand Armada, said the Ottomans were not threatening Spain in the Mediterranean.

He said: "The letter had been sent in 1584 or 1585 and although England might have hoped the Turks would cause the Spanish problems, nothing really happened.

"The Turks were not really doing anything (against Spain) in 1588. They were busy in the Near East."

Dr Adams said the Armada failed because it was poorly planned and the English had an effective Navy helped by favourable weather.

Larry Teabag said...

In England particularly liberals are guilty of genocide against our people, complicity in genocide and treason

Medic!

Anonymous said...

Larry - this what you are mocking, from the UN and quoted on this site:

Article 7.2 "Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples"

Article 8.1 "Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture."

Article 8.2 "States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:
(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
(d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration;

Id be interested to know how & why those dont apply to the UK right now in your opinion.

Do you think there any grounds for believing that 8.2(d) does not apply?

Anonymous said...

No doubt Drake was a raving homosexual whose father was black and he came from a poor background but won a scholarship thanks to the timely intevention of early trades unionists.

You know, I though all this stuff died out sometime during the nineties, but I see it has merely shifted from being focussed on the working class to being focussed on the immigrant population. Obviously the radical left knows which side its bread is now buttered.

Jonathan Dore said...

This question of possible Turkish influence on the Armada was looked at in great detail by Edwin Pears in the 1890s, with the results published in his article “The Spanish Armada and the Ottoman Porte”, published in the English Historical Review, vol. 8 (1893), pp. 439–66. He went over the extensive correspondence between Walsingham and the English ambassadors to the Ottomans, William Harborne and his successor Edward Barton, in great detail (the letter Brotton mentions is just one among many), and although they had been urging the Turks to make a joint attack on Spain from the early 1580s (on the grounds that Protestants, like Muslims, were anti-idolaters and thus had a common interest in defeating Catholic Spain), and Sultan Murad III had promised to make such joint action, the letters show that no naval action was ever actually performed: the Turks were simply too busy with internal revolt and war on their eastern front, and the governor of Constantinople was being bribed 60,000 ducats a year by the Spanish precisely to prevent their intervention. As Pears states: “The defeat of Lepanto, the war with Persia, and the rising of the subject provinces in North Africa did much to deter the Turk from lending aid. The heavy bribes by which Spain was able to obtain the support of the ministers and favourites of the sultan probably did more.” So contrary to Dave Hill’s remark, opinion is not divided about whether the Turks intervened or not: there is simply no evidence that they did, and quite a lot of evidence that they didn’t. Is Jerry Brotton simply unaware of this earlier research, which I’ve discovered simply by googling? It sounds like it.