Page:Heresies of Sea Power (1906).djvu/42

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HERESIES OF SEA POWER.

fleet at Ægospotami and the consequent surrender of Athens. A second feature of the war is that it saw the birth of naval tactics.

At the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war, 'Sea Power' seems to have been as well recognised by the Greeks as it is a recognised force to-day. The early pages of Thucydides indicate this very clearly;1 the references to the naval power of Agamemnon, to the fleet of Polycrates, to the lack of 'decked vessels' in the Athenian fleet at Salamis, all show that there was a very distinct recognition of the ship as a war force. The platitudes of to-day were platitudes then; and 'Sea Power' is in no way a modern idea. Call 'Sea Power' the use of a fleet, and it has always existed. But it has existed just as the bow existed beside the sword, or to-day the rifle beside the field-piece, the torpedo beside the big gun. It was used as a weapon beside other weapons, or as the most convenient weapon.


1 Thucydides, I. 4-5, 8, for the navy of Minos; I. 9, for Agamemnon; I. 13, for maritime progress after the Trojan war; I. 14, Athenian navy at Salamis; I. 15, for the importance attached to Sea Power. As showing the importance attached to naval power by the Greeks, two passages from Thucydides may be noted; the first deals with the reason why Agamemnon was able to assemble so strong a force for the attack on Troy. After alluding to his hereditary position as the first reason, the historian continues,

a. fxoi Soice? 'Ayafj.iiJ.vtov irapaaf}tov koX vavriKto re a/uo £tt irKtov Ttov &tov Icrxvffas, ryv (TTpartiav ov dpiTi rb irelov f) <p63to ^vvayayivv iroiT)ffa<r6ai) (Thucydides, I. 9).

The gist of this is that he owed his position to his hereditary power and to his naval power more than to anything else. The second passage points out that in early Greece the only important wars were maritime (Thucydides, I. 15). `