The Ancient Sailing Season


Providing a comprehensive examination of the capacity of ancient ships and seafarers to cope with seasonally changing sea conditions, this book draws on a wide range of ancient literary sources while also taking account of modern weather records, hydrological data, and recent archaeological discoveries. Taking a fresh look at the various ways in which seasonality affected maritime transport across the sea-lanes of the ancient world, this book offers new perspectives on the nature of seaborne trade, naval warfare and piratical operations. The result is a volume that questions many long-held scholarly assumptions concerning the strength and seaworthiness of ancient vessels, as well as the abilities of Greek and Roman mariners, to regularly undertake voyages across hazardous stretches of sea.

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Front Matter
Pages: i–xv
Ships and Sails
Pages: 107–172
Pages: 173–212
Pages: 265–275
Pages: 277–296
Illustration Section
Pages: 297–350
Pages: 351–364
James Beresford, DPhil in Archaeology, University of Oxford, is currently Assistant Professor at Lahore University of Management Sciences. Before lecturing in Pakistan he was editor of Minerva: The International Review of Ancient Art & Archaeology. He has also taught in Japan, the United Arab Emirates as well as the United Kingdom.
"This is a well-written, well-informed study of what might seem an unrewarding subject. (...) It is absorbing and even entertaining to read."
A.J. Parker, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology (2013) 42.2:439.

"The great strength of this volume is its ability to see between the generalised views of traditional academia and to present the reader with the sheer variability in sailing conditions that existed across the Mediterranean. In assessing this variability, the clear conclusion is that we should change our view of the ancient sailing season to reflect the range of vessels, motives and weather conditions that were in existence in antiquity." Julian Whitewright, The Ancient History Bulletin, Volume 3 (2013), 72-74.

In überzeugender Weise ist es Beresford gelungen, die Vorstellungen vom mare clausum grundlegend zu revidieren. Ein mare clausum gab es nicht, bestenfalls eine gewisse Reduktion des Schiffsverkehrs. Desweiteren kann er zeigen, dass Fahrten über das offene Meer absolut möglich waren und künftig in der Diskusssion um den Seehandel der Antike stärker berücksichtigt werden müssen.” Christoph Schäfer, sehepunkte 13 (2013), Nr. 12 [15.12.2013].
List of Illustrations

Introduction: The State of Modern Scholarship
Chapter 1 The Textual Evidence
Chapter 2 The Mediterranean Climatic Regime
Chapter 3 Ships and Sails
Chapter 4 Navigation
Chapter 5 The Sailing Season of the Indian Ocean
Chapter 6 Ancient Pirates and Fishermen

Translated Works
A volume for those with an interest in ancient ships and seafaring, and the nature of maritime trade, warfare and piracy on the Graeco-Roman Mediterranean and the Arabian Sea.
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