Saturday, 31 August 2019

Going To Pot

I had never before realised the importance of the humble Greek pot. Nor, in fact, had I realised that, on occasion, the humble Greek pot is not as humble as the term might indicate. While a colleague of mine, who has undertaken research in classical Greek archaeology has, occasionally, waxed lyrical about Greek pottery; its actual importance has rather eluded me until now.

As I dare say you can deduce from the introductory paragraph, I have been reading again, this time a book on the Greek influence and spread beyond Greece proper (one can hardly say ‘mainland Greece’, after all):

Boardman, J., The Greeks Overseas: Their Colonies and Trade (London: Thames and Hudson, 1999).

As this is the fourth edition of a textbook type work, I think it is reasonably safe to say that at least, to the date of publication, it was reasonably up to date and comprehensive.

I confess I bought and read the tome under something of a misapprehension, thinking that its coverage might extend into the classical era, but in fact, it stops, quite reasonably, with the Persian Wars and the emergence of Greece into the historical written record. While Herodotus does provide a certain quantity of dating and chronology for the period before Marathon, the historian becomes more heavily dependent on archaeology to show where peoples, or at least their influences were found.

And so we come to the importance of pots. In terms of merchant activity, of course, pots of various sorts were important. Liquids were, after all, transported in pots, and so were some other commodities. Furthermore, the Greeks made a lot of pots and were merchants and colonisers in the pre-classical era. Not only that but pots are one of the few things that has a reasonable chance of survival in quantity in the archaeological record, and which can be reasonably securely dated.

Things get even more complicated when we realise that the Greeks were a fairly disparate crew and each city had its own style of pot. Add to this the fact that different cities dominated both fashionable pot making and the overseas trade at different times, and you have a reasonable chance of working out which merchants from which city were involved in trade to somewhere overseas, and correlating this with whatever comments might have been made by the early historians regarding trade and colonisation.

Of course, not everything was to do with pots. Other artefacts are found, but the fact is that a pot is something quite likely not to have been rescued or repaired when it was dropped. There is not a lot we can do today about dropped pots except sweep it up and put it in the rubbish. Something of more value, such as a religious icon or a statue, or jewellery, might well be rescued and repaired.

Boardman’s book gives a sweeping account of the archaeology of the Mediterranean basin as it pertains to the Greeks. The fact is that however much wargamers (and others) might like to think that the influences on the Greeks were limited, this is untrue. Eastern empires had a big sway over the eastern Mediterranean, at least, and, while for the most part Greek cities were not under particular political oppression, at least down to the revolt of the Ionian cities, eastern art and tastes did influence Greek design. It is fairly clear, for example, that if you wanted to sell into the Syrian market you had to present your wares in a way acceptable to the Syrian consumer; that is, in a pot which the Syrian consumer would not mind displaying in their house.

The Greeks, as you probably already know, did get around a bit. I was a bit surprised as to how far they had got before the Persian wars – pretty well all around the Mediterranean, founding colonies from the Black Sea to Sicily and Spain. Greek wares have been found, admittedly in fairly small numbers, in central France and Germany. The former presumably were traded along river routes from the south, the latter, from the context, were probably the property of Scythian tribespeople moving from the east, having obtained the goods from the Black Sea area.

One of the problems with all this is, of course, dubious and uncertain chronology. In some cases the fit to the written record is reasonable – pots are found which roughly correlate with the declared date of the founding of the trading post or colony. Sometimes the dates do not match; sometimes the historical record records no Greek activity there. Often the written record is much later and origins are hidden in myth and poetic licence. For example, there is interesting stuff in the Odyssey, but how it relates to the archaeology is a bit obscure, to say the least.

As I mentioned before, one of the key ideas here is that the Mediterranean is a sea, and therefore needs boats to traverse it. The Greeks, of course, had boats and were seagoing merchants. They founded colonies where it seemed fit to them so to do, mostly to command sea routes; hence we get some of the cities in Sicily and the boot of Italy. The point is, again, that serious wargamers really should not be quite so quick to dismiss warfare at sea and its many dimensions.

The book, therefore, is another one which has no direct bearing on the conduct of wargamers, military history or scenarios. It is, however, fascinating and a useful read. There might be some possibilities for “Dark Ages” Greek warfare incorporated. It is by no means obvious, for example, that Greek colonies were always welcomed by the indigenous populations. Sometimes ‘native’ sites seem to have been cleared to allow the construction of a Greek polis. Whether this was by agreement with the locals and their rulers or by force is not usually discernible in the archaeological record.

Archaeology, of course, has limitations as well as opportunities for wargamers. Boardman’s book is a good introduction to both, in my view, and also, for me, a stimulus to have Alexander IV exploring some of the outer reaches of the Greek overseas world.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

The Annales School

It might be a semi-interesting fact that of all the posts which appear here, the ones in which I say something about modern historiography and its possible effects on wargaming are the most widely read and commented upon. I guess my wargaming is either non-controversial or boring. I admit that the wargame posts lack eye-candy, although I think my (admittedly limited) photographic skill might be improving a little.

Anyway, the historiography I want to focus on this time is French, the Annales School, as it is known, and, in particular, the work of Fernand Braudel who, if you have not encountered, particularly as an early modern wargamer, you really should try.

Braudel first came to attention with his work on the Mediterranean:

Braudel, F., The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (London: Fontana, 1975).

This comes in two volumes and three parts and was first published in France in 1949. Braudel moves away from the idea of empirical evidence and towards a perhaps more experiential view of history – how did it feel to people? In this, he identifies various strands of historical time – geographical, economic and population fluctuations, and events. These flow at different speeds, so humanity’s relation to the environment moves much more slowly than events do.

Thus we get the statement, for example, that the Mediterranean is 99 days long. This is the expression of early modern communications – horse and sail being the fastest ways of getting anywhere.

The Mediterranean is divided into three parts, corresponding to the three durations noted above. Firstly, Braudel considers the geography, humanity's relation to the environment and how that affects how people live and what sorts of political systems they might have given the influence of the world around. For example (non-Braudel) the Greeks in the ancient world lived in cities; this was, at least partly, due to the geography of Greece itself.

In the second part Braudel considers space, time and the economy. Part II spreads over both volumes of the work and pitches up with a consideration of the types of warfare in the Mediterranean world. One of the points that wargamers might like to note is that the Mediterranean is in fact a sea, naval activity was important. As I have noted before, few wargamers seem to be interested in navies in any period, or the multiplicity of amphibious operations the history of the world offers. On the other hand, I still have to rebase and repair my own Renaissance galley collection.

The third part of the book is the top level of historical currents – the events in the Mediterranean world from 1550 – 1598. Braudel has already extended his consideration of the size of the Mediterranean to cover most of Eurasia, at least, with a side-line, of course, of the Americas and the import of silver from Spanish colonies there. But in the top level of history, the north of Europe and the Mediterranean become increasingly interlinked. Spain, at least, had to look two ways – to the Netherland after 1566 and the Turks more or less across the period. Further, the Hapsburgs were, of course, involved on the Danube / Balkan frontier.

That said, of course, the Ottomans were by no means without their own sets of problems; issues with Persia and in the Indian Ocean (with the Portuguese disruption of the trade there) meant that they, too, were looking both ways and, at crucial times were, in fact, looking away from the Mediterranean. Further, with the acquisition of Portugal, the Spanish crown became more Atlantic focussed, as well as more concerned with the northern Europeans; in addition, the collapse of the French crown into near-anarchy (from time to time) also left Spain with tempting opportunities and distractions.

Braudel’s aim was the noble, if probably impossible, dream of ‘total history’. Critics (and, after all, there is no historiography left un-stoned) argued that The Mediterranean left great swathes of history and culture untouched, like law, agriculture and religion. There are also claimed to be problems with the linking of the three eras; the top events level often seems only vaguely connected to the previous sections.

Braudel also gets labelled as a geographic determinist. The accusation implies that he thinks that the geographical setting of different peoples means that they will, inevitably, behave in different ways. A people who live by the sea will develop a different society to those who live in mountainous areas. To an extent, this is stating the obvious. The Swiss are not the English, nor could they have become so.

Nevertheless, The Mediterranean is an outstanding achievement of twentieth-century history, as Green and Troup note (Green, A., Troup, K., The Houses of History: A Critical Reader in Twentieth-Century History and Theory (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999) p. 90). In my view, Braudel’s three-volumes on the world (Braudel, F., Civilization and Capitalism 15th - 18th Century (Glasgow: Collins, 1981 - 92), is also a remarkable work, with a global scope. It was, perhaps this work, more than any other, that suggested a global scope to my own wargame activities and informed, to some extent, my world-wide wargame campaign of 1618-Something.

For a pure wargamer, the books offer, perhaps, rather little. There is not much in either work about the orders of battle, troop types and dispositions of the forces of various nations. A I have noted before, modern historiography is largely uninterested in this sort of thing, designating it ‘drums and trumpets’ with, perhaps, a slight sneer. However, critics of Braudel note that his world is largely impersonal – people exist within their geography, they are not, particularly, actors within it. The Spanish and Ottomans lost interest in their wars in the Mediterranean because they were distracted by other things, other geographical areas. No-one seems to have decided to stop a war that neither side felt it could win (even after Lepanto).

Flaws and quibbles aside, if you want to understand the fluxes of history more than just sticking troops on the table, Braudel is a fine place to start. I read both multi-volume works a long time ago now, and they both still influence my thinking. Not only that, but I got them cheap – vast swathes of information, illustrations (particularly in Civilization and Capitalism) and a totally different way of thinking about history. I can’t argue with that.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

History and Theory

What sort of historian are you?

Of course, the standard retort to such a leading question is ‘I am not a historian.’ But I am afraid that it will not do as a response. If you are a historical wargamer (and I imagine that most of the few people who read the blog are – why else come here?) then you will have a position when it comes to history. A historical position is grounded on some sort of foundation, after all.

As you may have come to expect, the question has been triggered by a book I have just read. This one:

Green, A., Troup, K., The Houses of History: A Critical Reader in Twentieth-Century History and Theory (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999).

The point the authors make is that the various ‘houses’ of history lead to various ways of doing history, and hence assorted outcomes and views of what history is about and should be about. It covers twelve different positions, which I suppose could be understood as philosophies of history, but also seems to me to cover some areas of methodology. Not that method and contents can always be separated, of course.

The book covers twelve houses of history: empiricism, Marxism, Psychohistory, the Annales group, historical sociology, ethnohistory, narrative history, oral history, gender history, postcolonial history and poststructural or postmodern history. I have mentioned a few before here, such as postcolonial history and Marxism, and I cannot go through them all in any detail, but it is worth a ponder as to where you, or I, fit into this pattern.

Most ‘guns and trumpets’ military history fits into the first house, of course. Empirical history looks for its evidence in documents, in what happened, and tries to extract from that why it happened. Hence a lot of battle and campaign focussed history falls, I think, into empiricism. So much so that I suspect that a lot of people’s reaction the description of empirical history might be ‘is there any other sort?’

Empirical history tends to focus on politics and decision making. The text in the book is from G. R. Elton’s England under the Tudors (1955) and is a certain sort of thing. It switches from administrative history to foreign policy, dynastic problems (Henry VII and Lambert Simnel, for example, or Henry VIII and his issues with issue). This, you might say, is all fair enough, and I do not think anyone would particularly disagree with you. These sorts of things did impact of people’s lives, but then, so did a lot of other things which are not covered in this work: changes in technology, ideas and ordinary people’s lives. It is a bit difficult, for example, to see how this sort of ‘official document’ history could uncover the motivations of those involved in the Pilgrimage of Grace. It might be done, reading court documents against the grain, as it were (if any exist – I am not sure if the government’s retribution against the ring leaders was dressed up in any sort of legal clothing).

That said, I think empirical history does lay the groundwork for a lot of the other sorts. Historians spend a lot of time grubbing around in archives because that is what exists. However, even professional historians can sometimes be misled by their sources; we can all read naively. For example, I was told recently of a sad tale of a woman who had an adulterous relationship, got pregnant, was found out and burnt at the stake under the Protectorate. The flames provoked her to give birth to a live baby, and there was a debate as to what to do with it before it, too, was consigned to the flames. The point was, of course, how cruel the law was against women (and children) at the time.

I confess to being a bit sceptical about this story. Firstly, I had never heard it before; it is so lurid that I might have remembered it. Secondly, I do not think it is mentioned in

Capp, B., England's Culture Wars: Puritan Reformation and Its Enemies in the Interregnum, 1649 - 1660 (Oxford: OUP, 2012).

The 1650 Act laid out the death penalty for adultery and there are 36 prosecutions at the Old Bailey but only two convictions and both women were reprieved (Capp, p. 134-5). I suspect that the penalty would have been hanging rather than burning, as well. Capp states that there were trials but few convictions in the provinces as well (p. 136). When I inquired, I was told that the story came from a news-book which, as with today’s ‘gutter press’, had a tendency to if not make things up totally, at least embellish them sufficiently to establish little basis in reality. I would like to track down the story and see if it really does have any antecedents in reality. The news-book, after all, had the advantage that few people were going to be in a position to catch them out in lying, and fewer people, probably, would care anyway.

So, empirical history, I think, forms the basis for a lot of other history, but documents can lie, or at least, we can interpret them in perhaps naive ways. The readers of the news-book may well have believed the story; at least, it is almost certain that they were both titillated and horrified by it, as the modern reader may well be. But simply repeating it as true, as something that was a historical event, might be pushing the source beyond what is credible. News-books were in part propaganda. The 1650 Act was itself an act of propaganda in trying to impose a certain culture or morality on England. It also has to be realised that the revolution had swept away the Ecclesiastical courts in which such cases had previously been heard. Indeed, I seem to recall there was a bit of a hiatus in the legal status of marriage between the abolition of the Ecclesiastical courts and the 1650 Act, which caused grounds for confusion over legally contracted marriages for potentially several decades.

So, empirical history has its uses. I only have another eleven houses of history to talk about now….

Saturday, 10 August 2019

The View of Battle

I have written before about the Portuguese naval empire, which extended from Africa to Asia and Brazil. It is, I think, an interesting and under-exploited resource for historical wargaming, perhaps particularly in the seventeenth century when the Dutch and then the English started to muscle in on the Asian trade routes.

It is also probably reasonably widely known in wargaming circles that the crowns of Portugal and Spain were united from 1580 to 1640, or thereabouts. This was due to the unfortunate results for Portugal of the Battle of the Three Kings in 1578, when Sebastian the king and his army were crushingly defeated in North Africa and Sebastian himself was killed, leaving no heir aside from an elderly cardinal and King Phillip II of Spain. After a brief battle and the failure of the English and Dutch to intervene effectively, the crowns were united.

In actuality, the union of the crowns had fairly little effect immediately on the running of either Empire. In the longer term, however, it did, at least as far as this article suggests.

Dantas da Cruz, M., 'From Flanders to Pernambuco: Battleground Perceptions in the Portuguese Early Modern Atlantic World', War in History 26, no. 3 (2019), 316-341.

The argument is that the Portuguese view of warfare was mediated by the struggle against Islam. The Portuguese had been heavily involved in the Reconquista and this, as with the Spanish, affected their view of which battles were worthy of being fought. To start off with, North Africa was the place to be. It was from there that honour, glory and royal gifts derived. A later apologetic historian noted that King Sebastian was not doing anything different from his royal predecessors and their crusading zeal. The rest of the empire was, broadly speaking, founded on private enterprise and trade and was, thus, less worthy of royal largesse.

This view changed with the union of the crowns. It could hardly not, of course, and the union itself had a sizeable impact on European history. For example, Portuguese ships served in the Spanish Armada. In fact, it is a little doubtful whether Spanish resources, significant as they were, could have launched such an expedition on their own. But the point here is that the Portuguese were now embroiled in military activity outside their own usual sphere of activity. The needs of the Portuguese Empire was being subordinated to that of Spain.

This subordination became a problem when the Eighty Years War resumed in 1618. With increasing Dutch naval activity across the world, the Portuguese possessions soon found themselves under attack as being part of the Spanish Empire. The war was projected globally, a reasonable candidate for a ‘First World War’. The Portuguese Empire, under resourced in Asia, shrank there and became more focussed on the Atlantic, but was also under attack there.

In 1624 the Dutch seized Salvador de Bahia, the capital of Portuguese Brazil. This was of strategic importance not only for the Portuguese but also for Spain as Brazil was seen of an outpost to protect Spanish America. Thus the biggest military expedition to cross the Atlantic was organised: 56 ships, 12463 troops. Whereas before Brazil, having not been the site of a native empire which had to be overthrown, had not had much status as a theatre of military operations, it had now become a significant one.

Dantas da Cruz notes that the victory in Bahia in 1625, accomplished by Castilian, Portuguese and Neapolitan troops, became an iconic event in Hapsburg great victories, alongside such things as the capture of Breda. This was in a way which other Portuguese victories at Macao and Goa did not. A further consequence of this activity was that the Spanish government, led by Olivares, suggested a union of arms between all the composite bits of the empire, or at least the Iberian parts. This, however, at least in part, eventually provoked Portuguese independence and the revolt of Catalonia.

The Portuguese military world view changed, Dantas da Crus suggests, between 1580 and 1640. In 1580 Flanders was barely on the map, and the military revolution had scarcely had an impact. After 1580 the ideas of the revolution, at least in terms of martial books on the shelves of aristocrats, came to Portugal, as Portuguese troops were shipped off to Flanders to serve in tercios. The status of service in Flanders also changed; it became a badge of honour and military prowess to have been there, and experienced men with service in the north claimed high honour and position in expeditions to Brazil.

The war in Brazil was, of course, very different from that in Flanders. Some Brazilian veterans considered Flanders veterans to be of little use in their part of the world. European veterans were also reluctant to serve in Brazil. The warfare was ‘skulking’. Defence of Brazil had to be via ambush and canoe, rather than by army and fortress. The settlers knew how to defend it; the military from Europe did not.

To me, this resonates with the European experience in North America. I have on my shelf a book, which I read years ago:

Malone, P., The Skulking Way of War: Technology and Tactics among the New England Indians (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1991).

The argument, as I recall, of this book is similar: the natives used ambush, raid and movement to defend their lands, rather than the European stand-up battle and sieges. The result was, of course, various massacres and atrocities rather than any satisfying, wargame-oriented battles. In this sense, it seems to me, the Spanish were fortunate in encountering an enemy is Central America which had the political centralisation to create large armies that could be defeated in battle. That, at least, gave the incentive to others to try in less well-developed areas.

Overall, I think that the adventures of the early modern Europeans abroad could make for good wargames, but the appropriate measures have to be taken to allow the natives to fight their own way, not impose European categories upon them. I demonstrated a while ago that skirmish based armies can win wargames, albeit if the massed army makes mistakes. But it takes some careful rules writing and scenario setting to achieve it, I think.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

The Banks of the Iffy River

As the mists cleared, Donal cleared his throat and adjusted his cloak. About two hundred yards away he could see his cousin, Dougal, standing with shadowy figures behind him. Either that or it was a rather good Dougal-like statue, and Dougal had always been followed by dodgy people. Amplified by the drizzle, he could hear the coughs of his Galloglaich, and the occasional rattle of their chain mail as they adjusted their positions in the damp.

Dougal was moving towards him. A final parley before the carnage started. Donal gripped his sword hilt a little tighter. You never could tell. Would Dougal apologise for the insult to his aunt, Donal’s mother?

‘Morning Donal.’

‘Morning, Dougal. It looks like being a fine day.’

‘It does, it does. It would be a shame to die on a day like this.’

‘To be sure, but, we have an honour to defend.’

‘Donal, I assure you that I never insulted your mother.’

‘Dougal, you said she was a cow with one horn, which I take to mean half a devil.’

‘No, Donal. I said she has a cow with one horn. It isn’t quite the same thing.’

‘Are you sure?’

Dougal smiled a tight, thin, untrustworthy smile. ‘Of course, I am, Donal. Why would I want to call my aunt half a devil? Why not go the whole hog and call her a full devil?’

‘Would you call her that, Dougal?’

Dougal considered. ‘I might, if the circumstances warranted it.’

‘What circumstances would they be then, Dougal?’

‘Well, I’m not sure. But refusing to agree over Iffyahame would be one option, I suppose. It was given to my mother by Grannie.’

‘No, Dougal, it was given by Grannie to my mother for her lifetime.’

The sun came out. ‘Then I suppose your mother is a devil, and you are the son of one, Donal.’

There was a shout from behind and the sound of running feet. ‘Lord Donal, Lord Dougal, what is that?’

Started, they both looked around. Silently a ship had sailed into the bay. Now the clearing mist showed boats putting off from it to the shore. Donal looked at Dougal, who seemed transfixed by the naval activity. ‘Any ideas?’

Dougal flexed his fingers on his axe. ‘Nope. Nothing to do with me.’ He squinted a bit. Dougal’s eyesight had never been that good. ‘A golden flag, I think. Spanish?’

‘I heard there was a Spanish fleet about England. But they’d gone.’

‘Not far, obviously.’ Dougal shrugged. ‘We can’t let them get in the way of serious business. Iffyahame belongs to my mother, your aunt, not to your mother, the horned devil.’

‘You’ve done it now, Dougal. Take that back!’

‘The only back I’ll see is yours as you run away, Donal, when I stab you in it.’

‘What about that lot?’ Donal jerked his thumb in the direction of the bay.

‘I’ll deal with them later, after I’ve won Iffyahame.’

‘That’ll be never, then.’ Donal turned and stomped back to his lines.

‘Are we fighting, Lord Donal? There are more of them than us.’

‘Yes, we are. But send Father Brian to the beach to invite our guests to join us.’


After two years of effort, I am now the proud possessor of a sixteenth-century Irish army. Well, I mean nearly two years of them sitting as a ‘grey army’ in my pending painting box, and about six weeks of actually being slowly painted. You know how it is.

Having thus finished, I, of course, wanted a battle. Now, you might have been following my Abbeys Armada campaign. Indeed, the Irish were originally purchased to give options for that activity and I originally set the battle to be that of an English expeditionary force set to Limerick to quell an Irish uprising sparked by the arrival of an armada ship. I even got so far as setting the forces out and showing the Estimable Mrs P the table.

Something about it bothered me, however, and it took a day to track it down. So while the Estimable Mrs P was banging on the door of my wargames hovel I was here, in my study hovel, typing the above backstory. Drivel it might be, but it does provide a better motivation for an engagement than I had before and even contained some interest and a few laboured jokes. But not, I trust, any racial stereotypes.

Anyway, the battlefield looked like this.

The River Iffy flows across the board, joining the sea somewhere just off the table. Iffyahame Manor is closest to the camera. Whichever Irish side holds the manor at the end of the game wins. Donal’s forces are to the left, while Dougal’s are to the right. Dougal has a one base advantage over his cousin, but Donal is despatching Father Brian to the seashore to recruit the Spanish when they land. You can just see their rowing boats at the top of the picture. The woods are totally gratuitous; I usually forget to place any trees, so I thought I would show off that I had some. The soldiers are Irregular, as are the trees. Iffyahame Manor is Leven.

The fight was quite lengthy. Donal’s tactics were to stay on the defensive behind the Iffy and await the arrival of the Spanish. Dougal’s plan was to attack while he had the material advantage. The Spanish were delayed by a long time, and Donal’s men had just about staved off the attack when they intervened on his left routing a base of kerns that brought Dougal’s army to ‘fall back’ status. Not wishing to increase the family feud, Donal declined to pursue.

As it happens, the River Iffy lived up to its name, the famous Polemos Crocodile Infested Streams caused several of Dougal's attacks to falter. Donal couldn't throw a six to land the Spanish, but Dougal managed several times to fail to cross the Iffy.

Donal’s right flank, the one nearest the manor, had been largely a skirmish fest with honours about even and a distinct lack of much interest from the commanders. Dougal’s centre had attacked in two waves and lost both times, being disrupted by failures to cross the stream (obviously the banks of the Iffy are iffy). The belated arrival of the Spanish on the far side prevented Donal’s men being outflanked. If you look really closely you can see Father Brian looking rather pleased with himself leading the sword and buckler men of the landing party. He had occupied himself making sand castles while waiting.


‘So, what do you say about my mother now, Dougal of the losers?’

‘I’ll look forward to her roast chicken dinner in her new manor of Iffyahame.’

Donal glanced at his visitors, who were sitting stiffly at the bench. ‘Are they all right, Father?’

Father Brian shot a rapid line of Latin at the Spaniards. Haltingly they replied and the priest translated. ‘They are wondering if you are trying to poison them.’

‘That is our best stout!’

‘What do they want, anyway?’ Dougal asked.

There was a lengthy Latin exchange. ‘They want to land an army here and, with your men and assistance, march on Dublin, take the city, seize any ships there, sail to England and invade it, capture London, dethrone Elizabeth and return the country to fealty to the King of Spain and the one true church.’

‘Is that all?’

‘It seems to be.’

Dougal pulled some parchment from his pocket and flicked through it. ‘Well, I’m free until next Tuesday.’