Shipping and Seafaring

John Pryor

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Shipping and Seafaring

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One misconception about Byzantines is that they were afraid of the sea and had low regard for seamen, shipmasters, and maritime merchants. In reality, Greeks and Syrians in the Graeco-Roman past and in the post-Byzantine Ottoman world were the most renowned seafarers and merchants of antiquity. The Rhodian Sea Law of c.700 CE attests to the Byzantines' skills in seafaring and their engagement in maritime commerce. The most important routes for these seafarers and merchants ranged from the Sea of Azov to Constantinople via the Danubian coast, from Trebizond to Constantinople via Sinope, from Constantinople to the Levant via the coast of Anatolia and Rhodes, from Constantinople to the West via Thrace and the east coast of Greece, and from Rhodes to the West via the south coast of Crete and the Peloponnese. This article looks at shipping and seafaring in Byzantium, focusing on the use of sailing ships and war galleys or dromons.

Keywords: Byzantium; seafaring; shipping; war galleys; dromons; sailing ships; seafarers; merchants; Constantinople; Greece

Article.  4281 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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