Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Mary Rose, the Battle of the Solent and Machiavelli

After going round the HMS Victory my next stop in Portsmouth Historic Docks was the Mary Rose.

At the entrance there was a video about the conservation work. The basic message was: "it will be FANTASTIC in a few years after we can remove the black pipes" (above) which left me and others in the queue mentally going "oh".

It was still pretty impressive, in particular the vast quantity of stuff recovered from the wreck, including navigation tools and pairs of dice.

What I found most interesting was the story of what was going on when the Mary Rose sank, namely the Battle of the Solent. I really had no idea it was lost during a battle against a French invasion that included landings of 30,000 troops on the Isle of Wight & the mainland plus 200 ships, more than the Spanish Armada.

Basic summary: we won (or this blog would be en français) and it was all related to the Italian Wars which led to a certain Machiavelli writing up some of his more, er, Machiavellian, ideas in The Prince such as:

"He who neglects what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservation"

I suppose that applies to conservation of boats too: we need those black pipes to avoid the Mary Rose ending up as a ruin.

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