Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Early Arab Warships



Frederick M Hocker’s hypothetical reconstruction of a tenth-century bireme dromōn, based on the few contemporary documentary sources. An Arab heavy warship would have looked similar in many respects.

Arab ships were similar enough to Byzantine warships that they were often referred to as dromōns as well, in both Greek and Arab sources, and the Greek terms chelandion, galea, and dromonarion also found their way into Arabic naval terminology, with shalandi one of the most common Arabic terms for large, dromōn-like ships. The main Arab ships were considered to be larger, heavier and slower than their Byzantine opponents. Arab types that do appear to be more specific include shalandi, shīnī and ghurāb for galleys and musattah for a large, decked galley common in later periods, especially in the Crusades. Another Arabic type of note is the harrāqa, or ‘fire ship’, which is the type most often equipped with Greek fire.

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