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552
SEA-POWER


importance of the naval states of Italy. That they had been able to act effectively in the Levant, may have been in some measure due to the weakening of the Mohammedans by 5°""'°W°' the disintegration of the Seljukian power, the moveoflfalian

mpub"c, ments of the Moguls and the confusion consequent on the rise of the Ottomans. However that may have been, the naval strength of those Italian states was great absolutely as well as relatively. Sismondi, speaking of Venice, Pisa and Genoa, towards the end of the 11th century, says “ these three cities had more vessels on the Mediterranean than the whole of Christendom besides ” (Ilal. Republics, English ed. p. 29). Dealing with a period two centuries later, he declares it “ difficult to comprehend how two simple cities could put to sea such prodigious fleets as those of Pisa and Genoa.” The difficulty disappears when we have Mahan's explanation. The maritime republics of Italy-like Athens and Rhodes in ancient, Catalonia in medieval and England and the Netherlands in more modern times-were “peculiarity well fitted, by situation and resources, for the control of the sea by both war and commerce.” As far as the western Mediterranean was concerned, Genoa and Pisa had given early proofs of their maritime energy, and fixed themselves in succession to the Saracens, in the Balearic Isles, Sardinia and Corsica. Sea-power was the Themistorlean instrument with which they made a small state into a great one.

A fertile source of dispute between states is the acquisition of territory beyond sea. As others have done before and since, the maritime republics of Italy quarrelled over this. Seapower seemed, like Saturn, to devour its own children. In 1284, in a great sea-fight off Meloria, the Pisans were defeated by the Genoese with heavy loss, which, as Sismondi states, “ruined the maritime power ” of the former. From that time Genoa, transferring her activity to the Levant, became the rival of Venice. The fleets of the two cities in 1298 met near Cyprus in an encounter, said to be accidental, that began “ a terrible war which for seven years stained the Mediterranean with blood and consumed immense wealth.” In the next century the two republics, “ irritated by commercial quarrels ”-like the English and Dutch afterwards-were again at war in the Levant. Sometimes one side, sometimes the other was victorious; but the contest was exhausting to both, and especially to Venice. Within a quarter of a century they were at war again. Hostilities lasted till the Genoese met with the crushing defeat of Chioggia. “From this time, ” says Hallam, “ Genoa never commanded the ocean with such navies as before; her commerce gradually went into decay; and the 15th century, the most splendid in the annals of Venice, is till recent times the most ignominious in those of Genoa.” Venice seemed now to have no naval rival, and had no fear that any one could forbid the ceremony in which the Doge, standing in the bows of the Buceutaur, cast a ring into the Adriatic with the words, “Despousamus te, mare, in signum veri perpeluique daminii.” The result of the combats at Chioggia, though fatal to it in the long run, did not at once destroy the naval importance of Genoa. A remarkable characteristic of sea-power is the delusive manner in which it appears to revive after a great defeat. The Persian navy occasionally made a brave show afterwards; but in reality it had received at Salamis a mortal wound. Athens seemed strong enough on the sea after the catastrophe of Syracuse; but, as already stated, her naval power had been given there a check from which it never completely recovered. The navy of Carthage had had similar experience; and, in later ages, the power of the Turks was broken at Lepanto and that of Spain at Gravelines notwithstanding the deceptive appearances afterwards. Venice was soon confronted on the sea by a new rival. The Turkish naval historian, Haji Khalifeh (M arilirne wars of the Turks, Mitchel1's trans. p. 12), tells us that, “ After the taking of Constantinople, when they [the Ottomans] spread their conquests over land and sea, it became necessary to build ships and make armaments in order to subdue the fortresses and castles on the Rumelian and Anatolian shores, and in the islands of the Mediterranean.” Mahommed II. established a great naval arsenal at Constantinople. In 1470 the Turks, “for the first time, equipped a fleet, with which they drove that of the Venetians out of the Grecian seas ” (Sismondi, p. 256). The Turkish wars of Venice lasted a long time. In that which ended in 1503 the decline of the Venetian naval power was obvious. “The Mussulmans had made progress in naval discipline; The Venetian fleet could no longer cope with theirs. ” Henceforward it was as an allied contingent of other navies that that of Venice was regarded as important. Dyer (Hist. Europe, i. p. 85) quotes a striking passage from a letter of Aeneas Sylvius, afterwards Pope Pius II., in which the writer affirms that, “ if the Venetians are defeated, Christendom will not control the sea any longer; for neither the Catalans nor the Genoese without the Venetians are equal to the Turks.”

The last-named people, indeed, exemplified once more the rule that a military state expanding to the sea and absorbing older maritime populations becomes a serious menace to sempom its neighbours. Even in the 15th century Mahommed gud pm, II. had made an attack on Southern Italy; but his gre.” of sea-power was not equal to the undertaking. Suley- U” TWU man the Magnificent directed the Ottoman forces towards the west. With admirable strategic insight he conquered Rhodes, and thus freed himself from the danger of a hostile force on his flank. “ The centenary of the conquest of Constantinople was past, and the Turk had developed a great naval power besides annexing Egypt and Syria” (Seeley, British Policy, i. 143). The Turkish fleets, under such leaders as Khairad-din Barbarossa), Piale and Dragut, seemed to command the Mediterranean, including its western basin; but the repulse at Malta in 1 56 5 was a serious check, and the defeat at Lepanto in 1 571 virtually put an end to the prospect of Turkish maritime dominion. The predominance of Portugal in the Indian Ocean in the early part of the 16th century had seriously diminished the Ottoman resources. The wealth derived from the trade in that ocean, the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea had supplied the Mahommedans with the sinews of war, and had enabled them to contend with success against the Christians in Europe. "The main artery had been cut when the Portuguese took up the challenge of the Mahommedan merchants of Calicut, and swept their ships from the ocean ” (Whiteway, p. 2). The sea-power of Portugal wisely employed had exercised a great, though unperceived influence. Though enfeebled and diminishing, the Turkish navy was still able to act with some effect in the 17th century. Nevertheless, the sea-power of the Turks ceased to count as a factor of importance in the relations between great states.

In the meantime the state which had a leading share in winning the victory of Lepanto had been growing up in the West. Before the union of its crown with that of Castile and the Spam, formation of the Spanish monarchy, Aragon had been, e, ,., ,¢, W¢, - expanding till it reached the sea. It was united with Catalonia. Catalonia in the I2th century, and it conquered 'R-Valencia in the 13th. Its long line of coast opened the way to an extensive and flourishing commerce; and an enterprising navy indemnified the nation for the scantiness of its territory at home by the important foreign conquests of Sardinia, Sicily, Naples and the Balearic Isles. Among the maritime states of the Mediterranean Catalonia had been conspicuous. She was to the Iberian Peninsula much what Phoenicia had been to Syria. The Catalan navy had disputed the empire of the Mediterranean with the fleets of Pisa and Genoa. The incorporation of Catalonia. with Aragon added greatly to the strength of that kingdom. The Aragonese kings were wise enough to understand and liberal enough to foster the maritime interests of their new possessions (Prescott, Ferdinand and Isabella, Introd. sects. i., ii.). Their French and Italian neighbours were to feel, before long, the effect of this policy; and, when the Spanish monarchy had been consolidated, it was felt not only by them, but by others also. The more Spanish dominion was extended in Italy the more were the naval resources at the command of Spain augmented. Genoa became “ Spain's water-gate to Italy .... Henceforth the Spanish crown found in the Dorias its adrnirals;

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