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Aldarion

Warships in a Song of Ice and Fire

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I was doing a little research on medieval warships for the book I hope to write someday (basically a fantasy equivalent of "what if Roman Empire survived to 15th century"), and I realized something - Atlantic powers never fielded large Mediterranean-style galleys. The only ones who used such galleys in Atlantic were fundamentally Mediterranean maritime powers - Roman Empire, and later Spain. And both Westeros and Essos maritime powers are, essentially, oceanic maritime powers - there are maybe two closed seas, between Westeros and Essos, and in far east of Essos; maybe Slaver's Bay would count as well. But all these are far more open than the Mediterranean Sea. Yet we get references for use of dromonds, which would have been unsuited for oceanic / open sea conditions. Any galleys in Westeros should have been similar to Viking longships, or else Irish and British galleys - which basically were similar to longships. Another possibility for warships are carracks, but there are no gunpowder weapons in Westeros, meaning that combat would likely still require oared warships.

Thoughts?

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4 hours ago, Aldarion said:

I was doing a little research on medieval warships for the book I hope to write someday (basically a fantasy equivalent of "what if Roman Empire survived to 15th century"), and I realized something - Atlantic powers never fielded large Mediterranean-style galleys. The only ones who used such galleys in Atlantic were fundamentally Mediterranean maritime powers - Roman Empire, and later Spain. And both Westeros and Essos maritime powers are, essentially, oceanic maritime powers - there are maybe two closed seas, between Westeros and Essos, and in far east of Essos; maybe Slaver's Bay would count as well. But all these are far more open than the Mediterranean Sea. Yet we get references for use of dromonds, which would have been unsuited for oceanic / open sea conditions. Any galleys in Westeros should have been similar to Viking longships, or else Irish and British galleys - which basically were similar to longships. Another possibility for warships are carracks, but there are no gunpowder weapons in Westeros, meaning that combat would likely still require oared warships.

Thoughts?

The Roman Empire survived until the 19th century :P

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1 hour ago, Hugorfonics said:

The Roman Empire survived until the 19th century :P

Technically Lichtenstein still exists so it survived to 2019. 

 

 

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The Ironborn who are the most seafaring of all Westerosi generally use longships. Only the Iron Fleet are galleys and that seems a direct response to the Galley of the mainlands.

The rest of the galleys seem to be only for short distance coastal defense against Iron (Riverlands, Reach, Westerlands) or for use in the Narrow Sea (Stormlands, Crownlands) which is more Mediterranean in nature. For the size of the oceans/seas partly it's probably again an issue of scale which GRRM has often talked about one thing he might have done differently if he could.

Though the different weather patterns to us might also make sailing very different in practice too.

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That's interesting.

The Ironborn do have longships. Seems like most of the other sea powers just hug the coast. Even crossing the narrow sea is apparently a big risk.

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25 minutes ago, namesarehard said:

That's interesting.

The Ironborn do have longships. Seems like most of the other sea powers just hug the coast. Even crossing the narrow sea is apparently a big risk.

Yeah it seems only Iron Born and Summer Islanders do any sought of regular deep water sailing. They have longships and larger sail boats respectively.

Edited by GallowsKnight

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5 hours ago, GallowsKnight said:

The Ironborn who are the most seafaring of all Westerosi generally use longships. Only the Iron Fleet are galleys and that seems a direct response to the Galley of the mainlands.

 The rest of the galleys seem to be only for short distance coastal defense against Iron (Riverlands, Reach, Westerlands) or for use in the Narrow Sea (Stormlands, Crownlands) which is more Mediterranean in nature. For the size of the oceans/seas partly it's probably again an issue of scale which GRRM has often talked about one thing he might have done differently if he could.

Though the different weather patterns to us might also make sailing very different in practice too.

Makes sense, thanks.

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