medieval naval warfare

medieval naval warfare

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By the mid fourteenth century the Aragonese naval ordinances of the Admiral Bernat de Cabrera stipulated that the normal complement of a galley should include 156 oarsmen, 30 crossbowmen, and 30 ‘others’ including the officers, a total of 223 men. These inter-communal rivalries may perhaps explain why piracy and raiding both officially sanctioned and unauthorised seem to have been somewhat more prevalent in these waters than in the Levant. The Aragonese could not send fresh forces until well into the autumn nor could the Genoese from whom Alfonso hired replacements. The claim that ‘ships as men-of-war’ were unimportant in these campaigns is, perhaps, based on a misunderstanding of the potential of the use of ships in such circumstances.3 A naval battle in the conventional sense would have been unlikely to have greatly affected the fortunes of the forces on land. It is notable that Frederick’s own report of the encounter accounts for his defeat by saying that his galleys could not attack the enemy because they were, ‘sic intra seipsas remis involutae’. ), Venise au temps de galères, Paris, Hachette, 1968. At sea, the succession of the dromon to the Roman bireme liburna and its predecessors, especially the Greek trieres, has been presented in the conventional historiography of the maritime history of the Mediterranean as marking a transition from Rome to Byzantium. 29 The report is P.R.O. Near the Molo the comune also built the Loggia Sancti Marci where all galley arrivals were recorded. 72 L. Greco (ed. Although Rouen itself was some distance from the sea, the river was still tidal at this point and ships had been built there from at least the beginning of the century. Gillingham, J., Richard I, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1999. 30–1. Jean de Vienne, the French admiral, appointed in 1373, was undoubtedly an energetic and effective leader, but despite the terror caused by raiding, he was not able to get an invasion fleet across the Channel and make a successful landing. In the first period as well as Southampton, Portsmouth (twice), Harwich, Bristol, Hastings, the Isle of Wight, Plymouth (twice) and Teignmouth were all attacked. An eighteenth century commentator on the poem pointed out that the tactic of ‘bridling’ warships or tying them together can be found in Livy and thus may be here no more than the conventional following of a classical model.20 Other aspects of the account are more valuable. Breach of this order incurs draconian penalties. The Duke of Burgundy, Philip le Bon, assembled a fleet in 1436 for the purposes of completing the investment of Calais from the sea. These would have been used to launch projectiles, stones or pots of flaming liquid, at the enemy. Following the fall of Rome, the sea is increasingly the stage upon which the human struggle of western civilization … Despite nearly a year of attempts to settle things amicably, by the end of the following summer the Hanseatic merchants in Bruges had set about fitting out privateers to attack English trade. 71 P. de Cleves, L’Instruction de Toutes Manières de Guerroyer sur Mer, J.Paviot (ed. The English Crown’s lack of its own shipping and the practice of sea-keeping by licence contributed to what the Hanse saw as intolerable attacks on their lawful trade and English seafarers saw as justifiable retribution.48 In 1447–9 matters seemed to be reaching a possible resolution with English envoys pressing the League and the Grand Master of the Teutonic knights hard for reciprocal rights. 15 J.R. Lumby (ed. After the middle of the century states pursued their own commercial and political interests in a more fluid situation. A trained warhorse was a very valuable possession; the dangers of a beach landing may only have been contemplated in unusual and extreme circumstances. Notes 1 Our sea. The yard may have only had a few dozen workmen who built small vessels (‘des coques de noix’) of less than a hundred tuns but even so it was an object of fear to the English for a century.39 An overall view of French naval expenditure is provided by an account of 1346. Mueller (eds), Studies in Venetian Social and Economic History, London, Variorum Reprints, 1987, VIII, p. 162. Although the hulls were constructed in a different manner and square sails were raised on the single mast, these were long ships in name and in nature. The fact remains, however that especially in northern tidal waters ships deployed in this fashion could very easily find themselves in difficulties, aground or trapped against the shore, and unable to manoeuvre. 43 C. Bréard, loc. 21 D. Nicholas, Medieval Flanders, London and New York, Longman, 1992, pp. We have already noted the beginnings of a form of dedicated naval administration in England at this time.16 John has also been linked with the growth of the idea that a fleet could be used in war as something more than a means of transport; in particular with the notion that ‘a naval offensive is the best and surest defence against a threat of invasion’.17 In 1213 France faced him with such a threat and, as well as using the diplomatic tactic of submitting to the Pope in order to remove Philip’s justification for his actions, John dispatched a fleet under William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury to Flanders. Medieval Naval Warfare, 1000-1500 provides a wealth of information about the strategy and tactics of these early fleets and the extent to which the possibilities of sea power were understood and exploited. The dangers were not confined to the south coast, however; northern ports were threatened by the Scots and their allies and the enemy could also appear off Orwell and other towns on the east coast and as far west as Bristol. 66 N.A.M. Rodger, The Safeguard of the Sea: A Naval History of Great Britain, Vol. According to the chronicler, the king directed his shipmaster to steer straight for one of the enemy ships and hit it in such a way that one of the Spanish topcastles was sheered from the mast. Lane Venice: A Maritime Republic, Baltimore and London, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973, p. 163. If several vessels were involved the potential for chaos and mishaps of one kind or another must have been very high. , hemp for cordage and other Documents in the payment of the sea, ( trans ‘ and... 26V, 59v and 60v seem particularly close to Vegetius ’ list of recommended tactics for use at sea.. 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