Dojo Darelir, the School of Xenograg the Sorcerer

Tag: ships

The Greeks Were the Vikings of the Bronze Age

May 17, 2022

The Greeks were the Vikings of the Bronze Age. They built some of history’s first warships. Whether on large expeditions or smaller sorties, whether in the king’s call-up or on freebooting forays, whether as formal soldiers and sailors or as traders who turned into raiders at a moment’s notice, whether as mercenaries, ambassadors, or hereditary guest-friends, the Greeks fanned out across the Aegean and into the eastern and central Mediterranean, with one hand on the rudder and the other on the hilt of a sword. What the sight of a dragon’s head on the stem post of a Viking ship was to an Anglo-Saxon, the sight of a bird’s beak on the stem post of a Greek galley was to a Mediterranean islander or Anatolian mainlander. In the 1400s [B.C.E.], the Greeks conquered Crete, the southwestern Aegean islands, and the city of Miletus on the Aegean coast of Anatolia, before driving eastward into Lycia and across the sea to Cyprus. In the 1300s they stirred up rebels against the Hittite overlords of western Anatolia. In the 1200s they began muscling their way into the islands of the northeastern Aegean, which presented a big threat to Troy….

The Trojan War, pp. 2-3

Emphasis mine.

Web of Interdependence

March 7, 2003

Unlike modern “blue-water” naval squadrons, triremes were linked logistically to the coasts. There were no sleeping quarters on board, and the light ships could not carry much food. Thus, the Persian ships were beached every night, so that the oarsmen could eat and sleep in relative comfort. Owing to these logistical factors, the Grand Army [of Xerxes] and the Persian navy were mutually supportive and could not operate independently of each other. The army needed the food carried by the merchant marine, the merchant marine needed the protection of the battle fleet, and the battle fleet needed the secure beachheads established by the army. This web of interdependence was a major weakness of the Persian strategic plan: not only did it limit the tactical maneuverability of the various branches, but it meant that even a temporary collapse in the operational effectiveness of any one of the branches would fatally compromise the goals of the entire expedition.

Barry S. Strauss and Josiah Ober, The Anatomy of Error, p. 36