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Now...some of you know I've been dabbling in 1st-3rd century naval things for a while, and I thought it'd be worthwhile looking at some later stuff... in particular the naval wars between Bzyantium and emerging Arab navies in the 7th and 8th centuries. But, as I am dumb and have no clue, I need to read about them. Anyone got any good sources for that sort of period, other than Ahrweiler's "Byzance et la mer" (1966) and Pryor's "The Age of the Dromon" (2006)?

Any help would be much appreciated!
The naval aspects of the Byzantine military are not my strong suit, but I do know that historians of that period do not go into much detail concerning military matters, especially the navy. As such, very few modern works have been written on the subject. Hopefully somone else on the boards will know more than I. Good luck, though, and let me know how your search goes.
I have read several histories of the Byzantine Empire and the navy always gets short shift.

Basically they mention when a large fleet is raised by the Byzantines or the Arabs and who wins. The most memorable events are when large Arab fleets are decimated by the use of Greek Fire.

I can only imagine what a sight that would have been. Several hundred Arab ships burning along with the sea around them. Truly a sight straight from hell.
It is the same with the Russians in the 10th century; "in this year so-and-so came with 30,000 ships to attack, all were burned by a few of our ships with fire" and so on. It is unfortunate for us, but apparently the contemporaries didn't give a hoot.

Give me a couple days and I will see if I can find anything on the topic.

*crosses fingers*
Quote:Some of these look promising :

[*]AGE OF THE GALLEY: Mediterranean Oared Vessels Since Pre-Classical Times


This is an excellent book and has two relevant chapters: "Late Roman Byzantine and Islamic Galleys and fleets" and "From Dromon to Galea: Mediterranean Bireme Galleys AD 500-1300". In fact if you have any interest in the history of ships this volume is one of twelve in "Conway's History of the Ship" series which are all interesting.

The "Naval Warfare Under Oars 4th to 16th Centuries" by W.L. Rodgers (the companion volume is "Greek and Roman Naval Warfare") has the first six chapters devoted to your subject but they are very small so perhaps 40 pages of interest including some drawings photos and maps. First published in 1940 so scholarship may have changed a few details since then. If I'm not mistaken his two volumes are still regarded as a standard reference. Worth reading for perhaps a broader view compared to the Conway's book.
Well, looks like I was too late. Those are really the only useful ones I was able to find.
Casson's "Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World" has some stuff on the early Byzantine navy.
Thank you all for your help! Will go and burrow in a library somewhere and let you all know how I get on...

Hi Chris,
The following might be of use.

V. Christides, ‘Naval Warfare in the Eastern Mediterranean (Sixth-Fourteenth Centuries) - An Arabic Translation of Leo VI’s Naumachia’, Graeco-Arabica, 3 (1984), 137.

All the best,
Not only may it be of use, it will! Am off to look for a place stocking Graeco-Arabica now! Thanks Stephen!
Glad to be of service.
To order it check the following site out - they do the whole BAR series.

All the best,
Ignore last post -that was to a book in the BAR series by the same author but obviously the reference I gave you earlier is not a BAR title.

Also came acorss this work by Christides

Christides V., 1982 , Two parallel naval guides of the tenth century: Qdama's document and Leo VI's Naumachia: a study on Byzantine and Moslem naval preparedness. Graeco-Arabica, 1: 51-103

which presumably covers much of the same ground.


PS: For more about Leo VI I suggest you read Shaun Tougher's book.

The Reign of Leo VI (886-912): Politics and People

I used to teach with Shaun and his work is of the highest quality.
AS this rapidly turns into a post about Christides work, you'll find another article by him on 10th century naval intelligence here.

Thank you so much! Had a look at the Christides article and shall head down to Cambridge at the weekend to raid the UL for anything related as well as all the issues of Graeco-Arabica they have...

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