The sailor who fell from grace with the sea essay

Prior to the first irruption of what developed into French, and European, revolutionary unrest after the political shape of the Italian peninsula derived in large part from the influence of Papal diplomacy over the previous millennium where the Popes had tended to strongly support the existence of a number of small states in the north of the peninsula such that no strong power might presume to try to overshadow the papacy. Such political decentralisation may have facilitated the emergence of a number of mercantile city states such as the Florence of the Medicis and the Milan of the Sforzas and to have allowed a scenario where ambitious men such as Cesare Borgia could attempt to establish themselves as rulers of territories won by statecraft and the sword. The burgeoning wealth of these city states, despite much political turmoil, helped to fund that re-birth of classical learning and of artistic expression that is known as the Renaissance. As time passed some of these mercantile states became reconstituted as Duchies and Grand Duchies.

The sailor who fell from grace with the sea essay

Persistent URL for this entry http: Unvieled in for the Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, the elaborate fountain expresses late nineteenth century ideas about society and race.

Phillip stands majestically at the top, while the Aboriginal people, depicted in bas relief panels, are right at the bottom. But this is not how Phillip himself acted towards Aboriginal people.

In his own lifetime, he approached on the same ground, unarmed and open handed. He invited them into Sydney, built a house for them, shared meals with them at his own table.

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This, of course, is a loaded question that has been explored by historians and anthropologists for some decades now. The debate has moved like a pendulum between mutually exclusive conclusions: Phillip as a good guy or a bad guy; race relations in the early colony were peaceful or violent.

It is about re-imagining the human situations, the dilemmas and decisions, and what it's like not knowing what is going to happen. This allows a nuanced and complex view, and it banishes once and for all the notion that there can be only one 'right' story.

The sailor who fell from grace with the sea essay

Intentions and expectations Phillip's official orders with regard to Aboriginal people were to 'conciliate their affections', to 'live in amity and kindness with them', and to punish anyone who should 'wantonly destroy them, or give them any unnecessary interruption in the exercise of their several occupations'.

In fact, he and the officers hungered for friendship. The early meetings in Botany Bay and Port Jackson were often marked by friendliness, curiosity, gift giving and dancing together on the beaches.

This is so entirely different from earlier violent and murderous encounters between Europeans and Indigenous people.

It is also very different from the frontier violence that dominated pastoral expansion in Australia well into the twentieth century.

The sailor who fell from grace with the sea essay

In that sense it was enlightened and humane. But at the time it was just a tiny pinprick on the edge of a vast and ancient Aboriginal continent — it made barely a ripple at first. From this perspective, the idea that Phillip's first footfall on the beach in Botany Bay brought instant death and corruption across the entire continent is Eurocentric nonsense.

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Aboriginal people did not drop dead or lose their culture the moment they saw a white person. There were no doubt oral traditions and songs about those earlier strangers and the muri nowie, Cook' s big canoe, which had stayed in Botany Bay for a few days in and then gone away again.

This time the number of muri nowie, and the number of these strangers in their coloured skins, was probably alarming. But surely, they too would leave again, like the last lot? Women and children stayed well away while the warriors stood on beaches or clifftops and shouted unmistakable warnings to the newcomers.

At Kai'ymay, later Manly Cove, in north harbour, they waded out to meet the longboat, strong, proud, purposeful and curious. The Berewalgal had no beards and they did not appear to have male sex organs. Once he grasped the question, Phillip instructed a sailor to drop his pants at one meeting — in response a great shout went up from the Eora warriors.

The next priority was to discover their intentions.


What did the strangers want? Access to hunting grounds? Or, given they didn't appear to have any women with them, and continually asked to meet Eora women, perhaps they wanted wives? This would take some serious negotiation, since women were the food providers, they bound clans together, and they would bind the strangers into local families through reciprocal rights and obligations.

Phillip and the officers only had James Cook and Joseph Banks ' accounts to go on, and they had portrayed the Eora as very few, weak, and cowardly — in other words, a rather pathetic, simple, childlike people whom it would be easy to treat kindly.

But Cook and Banks were wrong — they had forgotten or downplayed the show of strength and daring they themselves encountered from Eora warriors in Latest breaking news, including politics, crime and celebrity.

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