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Why doesn’t Dorne have a navy?

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Since the burning of the ships by Nymeria was 700 years ago shouldn’t Dorne have at least some form of fleet? There are quite a few major castles along the coast (Salt Shore, Lemonwood, Wyl, the Tor, and obviously Sunspear) and more along rivers, so I would think that at least of these castles would have ships for defence. 

Or Dorne might just not have the funds or inclination to support a navy,

Or House Martell may not have any ships because of tradition or out of respect for Nymeria?

Anyway I would like to hear the community’s thoughts on this, and apologies if this has been discussed elsewhere.

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Maintaining a fleet is actually quite expensive. Dorne definitely has merchant ships but they don't have a war fleet and also they don't have a marine tradition. Noone ever actually even tried to invade Dorne from the sea (Nymeria doesn't count since Dorne was not united back then) because they still have to march through desert and that's no easy task. They would probably have a fleet if they controlled the stepstones but that's not the case so...

Edited by Dreadscythe95

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It is odd, just as it is odd that the Stepstone pirates - and the Free Cities - apparently never tried to conquer (parts of) Dorne - or at least raid the more wealthy parts of it. There is wealth to be had at Sunspear, the shadow city, and the Planky Town, and the north-eastern reaches of Dorne are reasonably fertile.

I mean, sure, desert land is not that great a prize, but not all adventurers and raiders and conquerors are smart. Some should have tried.

Vice versa, adventurous and ambitious Princes of Dorne should have been interested in extending their power to the Stepstones and, especially, the Essos proper. There could have been wars with Tyrosh, Lys, and Myr, and Dorne could even have had a history of involvement in the quarrels for the Disputed Lands.

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Good question.... although most of the southern shore is unfit for landing ships, there are places where invaders can land, and as Lord Eunuch points out, Dorne is VERY close to the Stepstones and Tyrosh and the Disputed Lands. I've also been surprised at how little interaction there seems to be between these and Dorne.

I'd like to have some history about why Dorne hasn't been much more involved across the Broken Arm.... as it is, it just feels like part of the colouring book where the pencils broke and never got filled in properly.

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

It is odd, just as it is odd that the Stepstone pirates - and the Free Cities - apparently never tried to conquer (parts of) Dorne - or at least raid the more wealthy parts of it. There is wealth to be had at Sunspear, the shadow city, and the Planky Town, and the north-eastern reaches of Dorne are reasonably fertile.

I mean, sure, desert land is not that great a prize, but not all adventurers and raiders and conquerors are smart. Some should have tried.

Vice versa, adventurous and ambitious Princes of Dorne should have been interested in extending their power to the Stepstones and, especially, the Essos proper. There could have been wars with Tyrosh, Lys, and Myr, and Dorne could even have had a history of involvement in the quarrels for the Disputed Lands.

I agree with you, and also, given the blood between the Reach and Dorne, surely somewhere along the line the Redwyne fleet would have attacked Dorne from the sea. Seeing as Dorne can field so few men and has no naval defence it should be an easy thing to raid Sunspear or the Greenblood.

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2 hours ago, Dreadscythe95 said:

Maintaining a fleet is actually quite expensive. Dorne definitely has merchant ships but they don't have a war fleet and also they don't have a marine tradition. Noone ever actually even tried to invade Dorne from the sea (Nymeria doesn't count since Dorne was not united beck then) because they still have to march through desert and that's no easy task. They would probably have a fleet if they controlled the stepstones but that's not the case so...

And where did the Martells come from, if not the sea?

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4 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

And where did the Martells come from, if not the sea?

Man, that's in ancient times and it's migration, it's completely different to naval culture.

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Guys, Dorne probably has a fleet for naval defense. That's like 40 ships. That's not a marine power though for Westeros standarts. You can't remove your whole fleet from your Kingdom because your ports remain defenseless. Also probably Dorne will have a  defensive naval pact with some of the Triarchy (Myr, Tyrosh, Lys), since Dorne is a very important trading market for them.

Edited by Dreadscythe95

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34 minutes ago, White Night said:

It's been suggested that the Martells are involved in piracy and the salve trade from which they derive their wealth.

I've heard that. Especially this current generation of Martells since Lady Mellario is a slaver who currently lives in Norvos.

If it's true, then come A Dream of Spring, Daenerys Targaryen is going to, as they say, "get in dat ass." Yet another reason for Princess Arianne to hate her.

Edited by Jabar of House Titan

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They have ships but a standing fleet of military ships is hard to justify if they are not a seafaring people.  

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People have tried to conquer Dorne before ... It didn't go well.

Most of the land is desert, sparsely populated, not really worth the effort to conquer. An invading army wouldn't be able to live off the land; they'd have to bring their own food and water, for their animals as well as themselves.  And the Dornish are so tough, they burn their villages and vanish into the deep desert rather than submit.

Dorne doesn't need a navy; it has a reputation.

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2 hours ago, Aebram said:

People have tried to conquer Dorne before ... It didn't go well.

Most of the land is desert, sparsely populated, not really worth the effort to conquer. An invading army wouldn't be able to live off the land; they'd have to bring their own food and water, for their animals as well as themselves.  And the Dornish are so tough, they burn their villages and vanish into the deep desert rather than submit.

Dorne doesn't need a navy; it has a reputation.

Well, such invasions and raids from the sea could have tried to target coastal regions only. And they could have taken place before the First Dornish War fiasco, i.e. during the Century of Blood and/or before the Doom took Valyria.

It is rather odd that a Free City like Tyrosh or Lys (or adventurers from those cities), being as close to Dorne as they are and with Valyria and its dragonlords coming to their aid if the need arose, would (1) never get into a serious conflict with the Dornish, and (2) would have never been interested in invading the place.

Even if that were the case, then the pirates and privateers and adventurers on the other Stepstones - if those guys existed before the Doom - certainly would have sometimes harassed or attacked the Dornish.

And to deal with that it would have been profitable to have some kind of fleet. Sunspear is completely defenseless against a naval attack. All you need do to raze the place is move a fleet there and land your men.

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You would think it would benefit them to have a strong navy to fight against the piracy and control the step stones.  

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For 300 years, Dorne has been part of one whole kingdom. It's the regions within that kingdom that were most likely going to attack them. The South already has the Redwyne fleet to the west and the Crown has it's fleets a little to the north. An attack on Dorne would be an attack on the 7K and within range of the existing navies. 

When we look at Dorne and the Martels, I don't see any evidence that there's an emphasis on protecting the small-folk. The Dornish, and The Martels by extension seem happy enough to allow an aggressor in. Their response is to play hide and seek and use guerrilla tactics. It sort of defines them.

Those two things combined make a navy seem like an unnecessary expense. Unless you're a peasant living in Sunspear or some coastal village. And nobody really gives a shit about those people and their lives. 

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8 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 

Even if that were the case, then the pirates and privateers and adventurers on the other Stepstones - if those guys existed before the Doom - certainly would have sometimes harassed or attacked the Dornish.

 

Yes, I'm sure there were occasional raids by pirates. But I don't think pirates can mount a large-scale military operation; and there probably isn't enough wealth in Dorne to justify such an operation. All the Dornish towns have castles, so they're not going to be easy to take. Dorne doesn't have a lot of trees, so it won't be possible to build ladders or siege engines.

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9 hours ago, TheThreeEyedCow said:

For 300 years, Dorne has been part of one whole kingdom. It's the regions within that kingdom that were most likely going to attack them. The South already has the Redwyne fleet to the west and the Crown has it's fleets a little to the north. An attack on Dorne would be an attack on the 7K and within range of the existing navies. 

Actually, no. If you are a kingdom or principality in the real world, then all your neighbors are potential threats - not just those west and north of your borders. Those in the east are a threat, too, meaning that Dorne should have had about as many issues with the Free Cities and the Stepstones than it had with the Reach and the Stormlands - before before and after the unification of Dorne under Nymeria.

9 hours ago, TheThreeEyedCow said:

When we look at Dorne and the Martels, I don't see any evidence that there's an emphasis on protecting the small-folk. The Dornish, and The Martels by extension seem happy enough to allow an aggressor in. Their response is to play hide and seek and use guerrilla tactics. It sort of defines them.

There are such hints - and, more importantly, there are even hints that the Dornish smallfolk protect their princes and lords, even from themselves. The Prince of Dorne and the lords of Dorne bent the knee to Daeron I, but the smallfolk continued the fight and rekindled the flame of resistance.

9 hours ago, TheThreeEyedCow said:

Those two things combined make a navy seem like an unnecessary expense. Unless you're a peasant living in Sunspear or some coastal village. And nobody really gives a shit about those people and their lives. 

One can certainly make a case why the Dornish have no great fleet after the union with the Iron Throne - but the fact that they apparently never had a fleet since Nymeria came is hard to swallow, as is the idea that they never faced a major invasion from the east.

In principle, while it can be bought that and why the Valyrians never made an attempt to conquer Westeros, it seems out of the question that none of the Free Cities ever warred with any of the Seven Kingdoms prior to and after the Doom. That just doesn't make much sense. It is like imagining England never going to war with France because the English Channel keeps them separate. Or the vikings never troubling England and France because, you know, the North Sea was between them.

The way to properly establish that such had become rare in later times would have been to invent such past campaigns - and reveal that they were either not very successful or disastrous for the invading party.

5 hours ago, Aebram said:

Yes, I'm sure there were occasional raids by pirates. But I don't think pirates can mount a large-scale military operation; and there probably isn't enough wealth in Dorne to justify such an operation. All the Dornish towns have castles, so they're not going to be easy to take. Dorne doesn't have a lot of trees, so it won't be possible to build ladders or siege engines.

If pirates trouble your own backyard it is very odd to allow them continue.

And it is not that Dorne couldn't have profited from controlling some or all of the Stepstones. It would have given them a lucrative source of income. Are we to believe they never wanted to control the trade that passed through their neighborhood?

As for pirates raiding land - the shadow city is defenseless against a concentrated pirate attack. And there should be a lot of wealth to be taken there. Aegon the Conqueror built walls around his city to protect them from that kind of thing - but the Dornish have none such walls for a thousand years. Does this make much sense?

If a sufficiently strong raiding party landed they could pin the Martells into Sunspear, sack and destroy the shadow city, and make away with plunder and slaves long before any help arrived.

The same goes for the Planky Town.

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@Lord Varys

Westerosi navies make little sense.

1. The Westerlands have the Reach and Ironborn for neighbors but their fleet is smaller than both.

2. The Starks haven't had a fleet for thousands of years despite the presence of the Ironborn and the Wolfswood.

3. The Stormlanders are said to be great sailors in TWOIAF but we're never given any examples of that.

4. Dorne as mentioned above.

5. The Arryns, despite being a hop and a skip away from Andalos never got into any kind of conflict with Pentos.

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5 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

@Lord Varys

Westerosi navies make little sense.

We do have to keep in mind that the Ironborn-Redwyne thing only means that the only fleet able to take on (all) the Ironborn is the Redwyne fleet. That doesn't mean there are no warships elsewhere, just that there are not enough. We learn the Hightowers have a war fleet, too, we can guess that the Arryns have war ships as well, we know the Manderlys have some and are building more (although they lack experienced men to man them).

5 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

1. The Westerlands have the Reach and Ironborn for neighbors but their fleet is smaller than both.

They had fleets in the past, and we don't know how large they were at their apex. We don't even know how large the fleet was that Balon burned during the Rebellion. Could be that this fleet was not that far behind the Redwyne or Hightower fleet at the time. That he didn't rebuild it immediately makes sense in light of the fact that Robert pretty much crushed the Ironborn.

5 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

2. The Starks haven't had a fleet for thousands of years despite the presence of the Ironborn and the Wolfswood.

There is some issue with that, but one assumes the Ironborn threat declined over the years, at least for the North, and, frankly, one assumes the Starks didn't give shit about the trouble the Bear Islanders or the people on the Stony Shore had. I mean, they ruled a vast land and would have to focus on the other borders and their many unruly bannermen who likely rebelled every fortnight for most of their reign.

Once Ironborn power declined one assumes most raids were done along the rich and fertile coasts of the Riverlands, the West, and the Reach - with only the fools and those who were not allowed to raid at more promising shores took it upon themselves to sail north for plunder.

5 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

3. The Stormlanders are said to be great sailors in TWOIAF but we're never given any examples of that.

They do have ships, just not as large fleets as the Redwynes and the Ironborn (and the Velaryons in the past). Argilac warred in the Century of Blood in Essos - he wouldn't have been able to do that if he didn't have any ships. The Arryns also had a sizable fleet back then, etc.

5 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

5. The Arryns, despite being a hop and a skip away from Andalos never got into any kind of conflict with Pentos.

That is part of the conundrum I outlined above. It makes no sense that there weren't any such wars. More so, perhaps, from the point of view of the Free Cities while Valyria yet thrived since Pentos and Myr and Tyrosh could be sure to get aid from the dragonlords if the Westerosi barbarians were trying to push them back into the sea or attack them on their home turf. So why did Pentos never try to take the lands around KL, say, why did the Myrmen never attack Tarth or Estermont or invade the Stormlands? Why did the Tyroshi never take all the Stepstones or parts of Dorne?

That is odd.

For the Westerosi one could assume that the fear of the dragonlords kept them in check. Any attempt to attack the Free Cities could have provoked them to suffer the same fate as their Andal ancestors or the Rhoynar.

But one would still expect that there were at least a couple of morons as stupid as Morion Martell, meaning there should be some such wars where either the Westerosi or the some Free City ruler got a pretty decent beating.

Vice versa, it is really odd that no Targaryen king up to the Dance involved himself in a war in Essos. There could have been an attempt to conquer one or two of the Free Cities. Tyrosh, perhaps, or even Myr or Pentos, possibly even in alliance with one of the other Free Cities (Braavos, perhaps).

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