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June 14 , 2008

Sea-Power and Other Studies


Sea-power is a term used to indicate two distinct, though cognate things. The affinity of these two and the indiscriminate manner in which the term has been applied to each have tended to obscure its real significance. The obscurity has been deepened by the frequency with which the term has been confounded with the old phrase, 'Sovereignty of the sea,' and the still current expression, 'Command of the sea.' A discussion—etymological, or even archæological in character—of the term must be undertaken as an introduction to the explanation of its now generally accepted meaning. It is one of those compound words in which a Teutonic and a Latin (or Romance) element are combined, and which are easily formed and become widely current when the sea is concerned. Of such are 'sea-coast,' 'sea-forces' (the 'land- and sea-forces' used to be a common designation of what we now call the 'Army and Navy'), 'sea-service,' 'sea-serpent,' and 'sea-officer' (now superseded by 'naval officer'). The term in one form is as old as the fifteenth century. Edward III, in commemoration of the naval victory of Sluys, coined gold 'nobles' which bore on one side his effigy 'crowned, standing in a large ship, holding in one hand a sword and in the other a shield.'
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