The English Sailor as Compared with the Landsman: Beliefs, Folklore & Religion, 1570-1625 and Beyond

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2014-04-15
Authors
Horton, Thomas
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History
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History
Abstract

My research aims to construct the world of a subculture in early modern England that has drifted through history without a sizable splash of real examination. What I found quickly turned into a sociological cross-examination between these two archetypes of the English villager and a man inside the maritime community. Questions arouse that brought about the age old debate of nature versus nurture. The English mariner held on to an exotic school of superstitions that were sometimes older than Christianity. Through the many journals and historical writings I read, one thing eventually became clear: the English sailor was defined by his experiences at sea and what happened on shore was only secondary. The maritime community holds on to its defining characteristics throughout much of history, but makes subtle accommodations reflecting the context of the year’s collective conscience. This study is the only work that takes an equal look at a sailor’s Protestant faith during Reformation, as well as the folklore, mythology and superstitions that were not mutually exclusive to him.

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