Article

Ships and Seafaring

Ian Friel

in Medieval Studies

ISBN: 9780195396584
Published online April 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396584-0050
Ships and Seafaring

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)
  • Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)
  • Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
  • Byzantine and Medieval Art (500 CE to 1400)
  • Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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This bibliography is intended as an introduction to the study of medieval European ships in the period between the 5th and 15th centuries ce. It lists works that discuss why and how these vessels were designed and built, how they were rigged and equipped, and the ways in which they were used by seafarers and shipowners. Also, because research into medieval ships and seafaring requires the evaluation of often disparate, incomplete, and fragmentary evidence by scholars from different disciplines, this bibliography includes works that explore and evaluate the nature of that evidence. Like many aspects of medieval history, the study of medieval shipping grew over the course of the 20th century from being the preserve of a minority of professional and amateur scholars (often regarded as rather eccentric by their peers) into an international field of academic enquiry. Interest in medieval ships has undoubtedly received an enormous stimulus from the discoveries made by maritime archaeologists in the last half-century or so. Time and again, these discoveries have produced examples of the real thing, and have helped to show how ships were put together and used. This bibliography gives some idea of the great range of work already undertaken in this field, and how interdisciplinary work among historians, archaeologists, and other scholars and scientists has been essential to its development. Most importantly, it is hoped that this introduction will encourage people to want to learn more and to make their own contributions to an exciting area of international research. Despite its international scope, the number of people studying medieval shipping is not large, nor is ever likely to be. That said, the field has the potential to encourage the wider public understanding of medieval history in general. The subject matter can be very dramatic, and it is not difficult to show how the ships and seafaring of the Middle Ages helped to shape the world in which we live now.

Article.  9858 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500) ; Literary Studies (Early and Medieval) ; Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy ; Byzantine and Medieval Art (500 CE to 1400) ; Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Archaeology

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