This volume examines the development and evolution of the war galley known as the
Dromon, and its relative, the
Chelandion, from first appearance in the sixth century until its supercession in the twelfth century by the
Galea developed in the Latin West. Beginning as a small, fully-decked, monoreme galley, by the tenth century the
Dromon had become a bireme, the pre-eminent war galley of the Mediterranean. The salient features of these ships were their two-banked oarage system, the spurs at their bows which replaced the ram of classical antiquity, their lateen sails, and their primary weapon: Greek Fire.
The book contextualizes the technical characteristics of the ships within the operational history of Byzantine fleets, logistical problems of medieval naval warfare, and strategic objectives.
Surviving Byzantine sources, especially tactical manuals, are subjected to close literary and philological analysis.
John H. Pryor, Ph.D. (1974), Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, is an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney in Medieval Studies and History. He has published extensively on medieval Mediterranean history, especially on the Crusades and on Maritime History.
Elizabeth M. Jeffreys, B. Litt (1969) Oxford, Bywater and Sotheby Professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek language and literature, Oxford. She has published extensively on Byzantine literature, including editions of 6th, 12th, and 14th century literary texts.
Preface and Appreciations
List of Figures, Maps, and Tables
Note on Orthography, Translation, Citation, and Dating
Note on Metrology and Hours of Daylight
Selective Gazeteer of historical place names
Selective Glossary of Greek, Latin, and Arabic terminology
Glossary of English nautical terminology
Note on citation of Greek and Latin Glossaries
Chapter One: The operational context
The first period, ca 400-560: the Germanic assault and imperial recovery
The second period, ca 560-750: the Muslim assault and imperial recovery
The third period, ca 750-875: equilibrium of chaos
The fourth period, ca 875-1025: Byzantine ascendancy
The fifth period, ca 1025-1204: the triumph of the Latin West
Chapter Two: The origins of the Dromon
Deck and oarage system
The ram and the spur
Square sails and lateen sails
Chapter Three: From the sixth to ninth centuries
Chapter Four: The Dromon in the age of the Macedonian emperors
(a) The sources
(b) Terminology and ship types
(f) Deck and Castles
(g) Masts, yards, and sails
(j) Oarage system and dimensions
(k) Horse transports
(l) Performance capabilities, water supplies, and logistics
(n) Tactics, strategy, and techniques
Chapter Five: The demise of the Dromon
Chapter Six: The triumph of the Galea
Appendix One: Syrianos Magistros, Naumacivai Surianou Magivstrou, edition and translation
Appendix Two: Leo VI, Naumacika; Levonto" Basilevw", edition and translation
Appendix Three: Anonymous, Naumacika; suntacqevnta para; Basileivou patrikivou kai; parakoimoumevnou, edition and translation
Appendix Four: Fleets, armaments, and equipment for dromons, pamphyloi, and ousiaka chelandia according to the inventories for the expeditions to Crete of 911 and 949 in the
De cerimoniis aule Byzantinae attributed to Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos
Appendix Five: Nikephoros Ouranos, Peri; qalassomaciva", edition and translation
Appendix Six: Greek Fire
Appendix Seven: The galleys of the manuscript, Madrid, Biblioteca National, vitr. 26-2, of John Skylitzes’ Synopsis historion and its dating and art styles
Appendix Eight: Muhammad ibn Mankalı, [a] Al-Adilla al-Rasmiyya fı ’l-Ta‘a bı al-H arbiyya [b] Al-Ahka m al-Mulu kiyya wa ’l-Dawa bit al-Na musiyya, translation
All those interested in the history of the Byzantine Empire, maritime and naval history, the Crusades, and relationships between Islam, Byzantium, and the West in the Middle Ages.