This book looks at the last 200 years of the Byzantine navy, from the restoration of Greek rule in Constantinople to the fall of the city. The restored Navy began as a fairly powerful force, based on the fleets of the Greek run fragments of Empire that had survived the Latin conquest, and this early navy helped the Empire regain control over most of the Greek islands. After that it tends to follow the general decline of the empire, slowly fading away and ending up as a very small force. D’Amato traces the rise and fall of this last navy, its sailors and officers, its role in Byzantine politics, the size and organisation of the fleet and its performance in battle.
The most impressive feature of this book is probably the many illustrations, with a large number of colourful examples of Byzantine art, including surviving paintings and manuscript illustrations. These give a tantalising image of a world that combined Byzantine, Oriental, Classical and western Medieval influences.
The last victories of this restored fleet came surprisingly late, at the Echinades Islands in 1427, but the nature of this victory reflects one of the key problems faced by the late Byzantines - even as they were facing destruction at the hands of the Ottomans, they were having to fight Latin adventurers just to keep control of the last Balkan provinces of the Empire.
History of the Naval Forces
Fleet Organization & Strengths
Dress & Equipment
Author: Raffaele D'Amato