Home >> Cyclopedia Of Knowledge >> Abattoir to And Marriage Registration Of >> Admiral_P1

Admiral

fleet, title, word, kingdom, appointed, naval, officers and officer

Page: 1 2

ADMIRAL, the title of the highest class of naval officers. Various fanciful etymologies of the word have been given ; but the word is said to be merely a cor ruption of the Arabic Amir or Emir, a lord or chieftain. The al is the Arabic definite article al (the), without the noun to which it belongs. Eutychius, Petri arch of Alexandria, writing in the tentb century, calls the Caliph ()mar Amirol Mumenim, which he translates into Latin Imperator Fidelium (the Commander of the Faithful). To form the word Ad miral the first two terms of some titir similar to this have been adopted, and the third has been dropt. From this it ap pears that the word ought properly to be written, or rather ought at first to have been written, Amiral, or Ammiral, as we find it in Milton's expression:— mast Of some great Ammiral " Milton, holding to this principle of orthography, wrote in Latin Ammira/arris Curia (the Court of Admiralty). The French say Amiral, and the Italians Am miraqlio. The d seems to have got into the English word from a notion that Admiral was an abridgment of Admi rable. The Latin writers of the middle ages sometimes, apparently from this conceit, style the commander of a fleet Admirabilis, and also Admiratus. The Spaniards say Admirante or Almirante.

Under the Greek empire, the term Emir or Amir ( Amp) was used most commonly to designate the governor of a province or district, which was itself called Ampaatas. Gibbon states that the emir of the fleet was the third in rank of the officers of state presiding over the navy; the first being entitled the Great Duke, and the second the Great Drungaire. (Decline and Fall, ch. liii.) The holy wars of the twelfth and thir teenth centuries seem to have introduced the term Admiral into Europe. The Admiral of Sicily is reckoned among the great officers of state in that kingdom in the twelfth century ; and the Genoese had also their admiral very soon after this time. In France and England the title appears to have been unknown till the latter part of the thirteenth century : the year 1284 is commonly assigned as the date of the appointment of the first French admiral ; and the Amiral de la Mer du Roy d'Anqleterre is first mentioned in records of the year 1297. The person to whom the title is given in this instance is named William de Leybourne. Yet at this time England, although she had an admiral, had, properly speaking, no fleet; the custom being for the king, when he engaged in a naval expedition, to press into his service the merchaut-vessels from all ports of the kingdom, just as it is still the prerogative of the crown to seize the men serving on board such vessels. This

circumstance is especially deserving of notice, as illustrating what an admiral originally was. The King of England's admiral of the sea was not necessarily the actual commander of the fleet ; he was rather the great officer of state, who pre sided generally over maritime affairs. Sometimes he was not a professional per son at all ; at other times he was one of the king's sons, or other near kinsman yet in his nonage, on whom the office was bestowed, as being one of great dig nity and emolument : the duties were per formed by persons who acted in his name. But these duties were usually not to com mand ships in battle, but merely to super intend and direct the naval strength of the kingdom, and to administer justice in all causes arising on the seas. The for mer of these duties is now executed by the department of government called the Admiralty, and the latter by the legal tribunal called the High Court of Ad miralty.

Anciently, two or more admirals used often to be appointed to exercise their powers along different parts of the coast. Thus in 1326 mention is made of the Admiral of the King's Fleet, from the mouth of the Thames northward, and of another officer with the same title, com manding from the mouth of the Thames westward. Besides these, there were also Admirals of the Cinque Ports. There are still a vice-admiral and a rear admiral of the United Kingdom, which places are now sinecures, and are usually bestowed upon naval officers of high standing and etninent services. They are appointed by royal patent, and it is said would exercise the authority of the Lord High Admiral in case of his death, until a successor was appointed. There is also a vice-admiral of the coast of Yorkshire, a nominal office, usually given to a nobleman. It is the opinion of some writers that the first admiral of all England was appointed in the year 1387. Even the officer bearing this title, however, was not then the person pmessing the highest maritime juris diction. Above him there was the King's Lieutenant on the Sea (Locum tenens super Mare). Also before the term Admiral was used at all, there was an officer de signated the Cotes Maris, or Guardian of the Sea.

Page: 1 2