Posted 28 October 2008 - 08:54 PM
Low-draft Greenblood houseboats, clinker-built Ironborn longships (with rams!), Summer Island swan-ships, Ibbenese whalers, cogs, carracks, and whalers, it would be neat to see what all of these vessels look like to those of us who are nautically challenged. I'm slightly perplexed by the tech level; there are some ships with at least three masts, which sounds more baroque-era than medieval (I reiterate that I'm nautically challenged, so I may be way off base). Are all Westerosi boats square rigged, or do they have more advanced riggings? Dromonds in particular are mystery for me...afaict, the term refers to roman or byzantine ships in real life, but the IaF Dromonds sound like something much more advanced.
Anyway, I'm sure that this is not a new suggestion, but I wanted to voice some enthusiasm for whatever is in store on the topic.
Posted 28 October 2008 - 09:06 PM
Posted 15 March 2009 - 07:08 PM
I always pictured Swan Ships as being very advanced, similar to a smaller version of a British Ship of the Line, though the Swan Ships would lack cannon, of course. Instead, they have contingents of bowmen. :D
Ironborn ships i've pictured similar to something like a Viking Longship, but I know there's contradictory evidence to that, such as Victarion Greyjoy having a cabin in which he keeps the dusky woman, or the fact that Euron's Silence was able to travel so far. Plus, Viking Longships don't have rams. Maybe a sort of trireme-esque ship, or a bireme with two levels of oars and a single square sail?
Dromonds I picture as triremes. If I recall correctly, King Robert's Hammer had three hundred oarsmen and a few catapult on board. If it didn't have a trireme design, it would be unrealistically long. As it is, though, King Robert's Hammer was a damn big ship.
Lyseni and Bravvosi galleys I picture as a small bireme or even a simple open deck with a single cabin. Basically little ships with BIG sails. The Night's Watch's ships seem to be similar, though they definitely have a belowdeck section. The rowers seem to have been exposed to the elements, though.
I don't know; these are all mental images I've had, and I admit there's not much proof to back them up.
Posted 16 March 2009 - 12:53 AM
Posted 13 August 2011 - 02:39 PM
Posted 17 August 2011 - 11:38 AM
Viking longships occasionally had Rams. Eric the Red's Longship Ironbeard had one such.
Viking Longships were defineately ocean going long range vessels. Vikings were known to have traveled from the North of Greenland to Denmark nonstop by longship, often with a LIVE POLAR BEAR chained to the deck (the king of denmark liked to buy polar bears) a journey of six weeks by see across the north atlantic and north sea. This is on a small, oared, single masted vessel.
See Jared Diamond's Collaspe for more
Posted 19 September 2011 - 05:57 AM
Posted 19 September 2011 - 12:00 PM
Posted 27 October 2011 - 01:04 PM
Posted 09 January 2012 - 06:21 PM
There are so many ship references within the books and many of them quite important. Nymeria's 10,000, the ships that are supposed to save the Wildlings, the Battle of Blackwater etc...
It seems to me that the architecture of the ships in Westeros is so broad in terms of tradition that it would be nearly impossible for GRRM to cite his references... Also it must be remembered that this is only a reflection of our world and the ships are as modified as the armour, creatures and inhabitants...
The Merchant Vessels for instance are all referred to generally as Cogs... As far as I am aware this is just a contraction of Cargo (now usually called Bulk Carriers). So called for their top hatches which open to large cargo spaces below. I like this as it is a constant reminder for me that the world is a "real" place with people going about their lives as the story unfolds...
His descriptions of the ports and voyages though are absolutely spot on... The sail down river that Tyrion took, where GRRM goes into incredible detail about each town and it's connection with the water which would have been the artery of trade, commerce and travel even with the roads. Also his knowledge of sailors is impeccable... "...where there are sailors there will always be whores..." ...
Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:10 PM
Galleys were the go-to ship for thousands of years in the Mediterranean, simply because they could use the wind when it was blowing, and oars when it wasn't. They could operate regardless of weather, and often rowers could double as fighters when speed was no longer an issue. However, once an owner or investor could be certain that their sea route was safe from pirates and had enough developed ports to protect a ship from storms, then a cog was far more efficient for the cost. Cogs became the major cargo ship of the Roman republic/empire simply because of their military's (slightly-better) ability to respond to piracy than prior empires.
Braavos is a very appropriate stand-in for Venice partly due to it's system of mixing different types of ships for long voyages. Venetian traders/lords would often buy or lease out minor owners for their ships in times of heightened piracy, and refit tall galleys with extra oars and weaponry to serve in combat as a new hybrid called a "galleas." Between galley, galleass, and cog, well-protected trade convoys were easy to put together in medieval Venice, especially if the new science of "insurance" guaranteed he owner, captain, and any mercenary captain hired that they would be paid no matter what happened on a venture.
A longboat is simply a very well-built galley that minimizes cargo capacity for rowers, passengers, and speed. The high speed of these low-drafted, long galleys allowed the "Viking" subculture of the Norse (roughly starting around 400 BCE) to minimize their rations and supplies, and to carry back the largest amount of loot from raid. Longboats in later times served mainly to transport mercenaries and self-sufficient foragers, who raided along coasts during campaigns, while cogs transported their heavier foodstuffs, horses, and household/royal soldiers. The longboat eventually died around the 11th century as newly-Christian Norse kings made more-profitable relationships with the Continent viable, and constant raiding was no longer an option. Those who stuck to the pirate culture of the Vikings used crude copies of these fast Norse longboats to haunt the Northern Atlantic for centuries to come.
The final big development in medieval sailing was the migration of many different pieces of machinery and technology from Muslim traders and warships. The mechanical pulley, reinforced rudder, astrolabe, and- most importantly- the triangular sail revolutionized Western European navigation and seafaring. These innovations allowed ships to quickly change sails, navigate by the seasonal position of the stars, and literally sail against the wind and current of both the Mediterranean and the open ocean. The most efficient merging of these technologies is referred to as the "caravel, a deep-bottomed and high-masted composite-sail design native to North Italy that was eventually proven to survive in the open ocean, and carry entrepreneurs across previously-uncharted seas.
As far as I know, a "dromond" in Westerosi terms refers to a very large galley. Actual dromons were very late-Byzantine galleasses that used triangular sails to quickly project force into colonial ports, and either protect (or encourage) piracy, then head back to home. Cersei's "dromonds" sound more like large triremes, slow, strong, and filled to the brim with marines; entirely useless on the eastern coast of Westeros, compared to the Ironborn raiding on the western.
Posted 11 January 2012 - 09:53 AM
A longboat is simply a very well-built galley that minimizes cargo capacity for rowers, passengers, and speed.
Not entirely true - Longboats were clinker-made (a type of wood construction) to withstand rough seas, and they did so marvelously, traveling some of the most dangerous areas of water even today. On the contrary Galleys were relatively Fragile and rarely went out of the Mediterranean except in rare circumstances. however Longboats were still being utilized in Europe contiguous with the time they are being used in Westeros, so I see no problems there.
As far as I know, a "dromond" in Westerosi terms refers to a very large galley.
Mostly correct, but Dromon(d)s are more or less contiguous with galleys, and I think it's understandable that GRRM uses the term interchangeably. Medieval scholars were known to do the same.
Cogs were mostly used in the Northern Climes of Europe, because of their stability in very bad weather, as opposed to galleys and their ilk. therefore when northern european countries attempted war at sea (during the Middle ages) they usually just mustered whatever merchant cogs they could find and put archers in the front and back, where large tower like structures helped provied a good firing platform (battle of Sluys)
Another ship mentioned by GRRM is the Carrack, which appears in the Ragman's Harbor when Arya is in braavos. Carracks were similar to Caravels, yet larger and faster, basically the jumping board for the later European Galleons and Ships of the Line. The use of Square/Lateen sails in the same ship made them equally maneuverable with the wind or against it, and if they are in the books then it would mean that the timing in relation to Europe would be latest 1492 - the Santa Maria, one of Colombus' boats, was a Carrack. therefore I tend to apply that time to all the other ships as well.