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Dark Age/Medieval/Middle Ages warships?

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  • Dark Age/Medieval/Middle Ages warships?

    OK, I can always hit wiki as a starting point and I will, but ....
    does anyone have experience/knowledge of any good online sources for information on warships of the dark ages through the medieval period and/or the middle ages?

    Some book tips might come in useful too.

    I'm interested mostly in the more powerful warships; the nearest approximate equivalent of "ships of the line" in Nelson's time or "battleships" in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (even if most types didn't carry guns as such; which they obviously would not have prior to the adoption of cannon on warships). Whatever types of warships were used to dominate the seas during those periods.

    I'm starting to get my head around triremes and suchlike for the ancient period; and from the mid/late 19th century to the present is going quite well but the "dark ages" through to the "middle ages" is proving more challenging to even start getting my head into.

    I'm aware that the Chinese had some formidable ships too so it's not just the western stuff I'm wanting to research.

    Any pointers greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by panther3485; 10 Jun 16, 10:44.
    "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
    Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

  • #2
    I've got Medieval Maritime Warfare sitting on my shelf, but I have yet to read it. However, every review I've seen raves about it. The author is retired from the Navy and he specializes in medieval naval warfare. He's already published several articles and books on the topic, and he's working on more. I hope this helps.
    Historian on the Warpath | Medievalism on Screen: An Annotated Bibliography

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    • #3
      Originally posted by scottmanning View Post
      I've got Medieval Maritime Warfare sitting on my shelf, but I have yet to read it. However, every review I've seen raves about it. The author is retired from the Navy and he specializes in medieval naval warfare. He's already published several articles and books on the topic, and he's working on more. I hope this helps.
      It's a good start!
      Thanks and +1.
      "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
      Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

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      • #4
        The Sailing Ship by Romola and R C Anderson although published as long ago as 1926 used to be a highly regarded source of information. It contains four chapters covering ships from AD 200 to the end of the Middle Ages in both the North and the South with a great many illustrations. It's still possible to find a copy, reasonably priced, on the second hand market.

        One general word of warning it and many other sources rely to some extent on illustrations from early manuscripts which may well have been drawn by monks from descriptions rather than first hand observation. Indeed the first (and possibly last) sight of a war ship a cloistered monk had may have been accompanied by shouts of "Vikings run for it".
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MarkV View Post
          The Sailing Ship by Romola and R C Anderson although published as long ago as 1926 used to be a highly regarded source of information. It contains four chapters covering ships from AD 200 to the end of the Middle Ages in both the North and the South with a great many illustrations. It's still possible to find a copy, reasonably priced, on the second hand market.
          OK, thanks. Never heard of it (come to think of it, never heard of most of the books I've been discovering over the last few days) but from your description it seems to be well worth a search.

          Originally posted by MarkV View Post
          One general word of warning it and many other sources rely to some extent on illustrations from early manuscripts which may well have been drawn by monks from descriptions rather than first hand observation. Indeed the first (and possibly last) sight of a war ship a cloistered monk had may have been accompanied by shouts of "Vikings run for it".
          I'll keep that in mind too.

          Earlier today I was combing through some of the more obvious places such as the Osprey site. Their publications are not the "be-all-and-end-all" by any means but they usually make fairly good and relatively inexpensive basic primers IMO and are not bad, especially for someone such as myself, starting out in the subject. The ones I've picked up so far seem pretty good. They also have, for example, a couple of volumes on Tudor period warships and some on the ancient and medieval ships of Asian countries such as China, Korea and Japan. So I think I'll be adding a few more of those to my list as well.
          Last edited by panther3485; 11 Jun 16, 10:32.
          "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
          Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

          Comment

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