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"The Byzantine Navy, 3001000 CE" Topic

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556 hits since 11 Mar 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2018 8:21 p.m. PST

"Naval power was inextricably tied to the fortunes of the Byzantine empire in the period 300-1000. Under emperors Constantine (r. 324-337) and Justinian (r. 527-565), the Byzantine fleet was modern and large and could project power to the far corners of the Mediterranean Sea, maintaining the flow of goods and the prosperity of the empire. The standard Byzantine warship was the dromon, a galley with two banks of oars and an average crew of 200 oarsmen and 70 marines. Swifter and lighter warships called the pamphylos and the ousiakos were also used, and special transport ships were used for carrying horses (onerarai) and for projecting Greek fre (siphonophores). Byzantium faced a new naval threat with the emergence of Islam in the seventh and eighth centuries. Muslims seized important naval bases along the Mediterranean littoral and islands and placed the Byzantine capital under siege twice (674-678 and 717-718). In the ninth century, Byzantine emperors Michael III (r. 842-867) and Basil I (r. 867-886) revived the eastern Roman Navy. But this revival was short-lived, as future emperors increasingly employed mercenary Venetians fleets to police their waters. When a Russo-Swedish navy attacked Constantinople in 1042, the Byzantines pressed into service aging hulks and refitted transports to defend the city, and in 1204 there was no Byzantine navy present to meet the Catholic crusaders during the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204)…"
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