Early Middle Ages - the period covering the century V to XI.This is the time when the face of the world is largely changed due to barbarian invasions and the Great Migration.In place of the ancient culture in Europe came a new, partially absorbing the light of the knowledge of Greece and Rome.However, even in these, by definition, many dark times progress is not stopped.Processes are forcing families to look for a new location, do the necessary improvement of military power and skills that contribute to winning the battle, and rapid movement.And therefore actively developed navigation and shipbuilding.Top sailors early Middle Ages become so mainly because of the need for new resettlement area rich in game, fish, fur animals, minerals.For the peoples of the impetus for taming marine element was the constant threat of enemy attack.
Eastern Roman Empire
Byzantium was the last stronghold of the ancient culture.Here, for several centuries after the fall of the Western Roman Empire preserved the knowledge of the Greeks and Romans.Byzantium was truly a country where the best sailors lived the early Middle Ages.It continues the tradition of the Roman ship, but there were significant differences.Roman fleet played in the defense is not the first role.However, the Byzantine Empire because of the peculiarities of its geographical position was forced to increase naval power.Its medieval ships were built originally Roman model, but quickly improved.
threat to the Arab invasion
upgrades contributed to militant Muslims actively promote to the borders of the state.There was a need for a strong navy capable to repel the invaders.Single storey dromon, inherited from Rome, began to transform into larger ships with two tiers of 25 oars on each oblique and Latin sails.Depending on the modification dromon accommodate from 100 to 200 people, some of whom had paddled all over the swim, and a part of the battle fought.Initially dromon equipped with battering rams, but with a change in the concept of battle, they were replaced by arrows, and then - to the Greek fire, the most powerful weapon of the Byzantine fleet.
On dromon Byzantines repel attacks of the Arabs, defending their territory in the Mediterranean basin, reflected the large number of attacks on Constantinople.
dromon Byzantine and Italian galleries were appreciated not only by their owners, but also enemies.Yet another early medieval mariners, vandals often used captured ships to attack the European powers.When King Geiseric are using such ships, we took Sicily, ravaged Rome, and a few years later defeated the Byzantine fleet.
Barbara could not boast of a centuries-old tradition of shipbuilding, they had to quickly master the technology, tried and tested in the ancient world, experienced by finding the optimal parameters of the vessel.It is not surprising, therefore, that they actively sought to get the enemy dromon and galleries.The Byzantines tried as much as possible to slow down the development of seafaring Barbarians.One consequence of this was the law, according to which any by teaching the barbarian shipbuilding, was sentenced to death.
Great Migration led to the familiarity of European countries with different tribes of barbarians.Among them were the vandals may not be the best sailors early Middle Ages, but very fast learner.In the V century they ravaged Gaul, Spain and took in 429 went to Africa, where ten years later with Alan founded the kingdom, coverage of modern Tunisia, north-west Libya and north-eastern Algeria.
Since the beginning of the V century vandals actively mastered the seas.By the time the kingdom in North Africa, they had quite a battle-worthy fleet.Teams on ships for the most part consisted of strange soldiers and sailors.Vandals themselves part of the leadership of the team.Their ships adapted for robberies and raids, accommodates up to 40-50 people.
Seafarers early Middle Ages, Franks, who fought frequently with the Vandals, and not quite worthy of the title of the best.Approximately to the XI century, they used random trial.It was only later the Franks began to build aisles, vehicles with high sides, superstructure and two aft rudders.Next to the Franks settled friezes, according to many researchers, the best sailors early Middle Ages.Franks repeatedly tried to conquer them.Freezers were subject to the empire until the end of the VIII century.
Ever since ancient times, they were reputed excellent traders.Friezes monopolized all the traffic on the Rhine and the North Sea, famous for the best mediators in commercial matters.They trust them because they were not looting, unlike the Vikings.This allowed the Frisians greatly enriched and actually become the founders of North Sea culture.
friezes used SBPC and hyulki.The first type is characterized by flat-bottomed ships, to give him an advantage in coastal trade.Master of the ship of the case provided for in the design of ships lossless opportunity to sit stranded at low tide and float when the tide begins.
Hyulki had a round bottom, low board, long the tank and feed required for steering the vessel.Hyulki were not equipped with the steering wheel, they ran with two oars, located just on the stern and bow.Well adapted to the conditions of the North Sea ships have made possible the rise of the Frisians, not only financially, but also in the cultural sense.
However, the first place in the list of "Top sailors early Middle Ages" is still occupied by the Vikings.Those who inhabited Scandinavia, among the Europeans got the name "Norman."Sea since childhood was an important part of life for each Viking.Their achievements in navigation led not only to the numerous and quite successful raids on Britain, France and the Mediterranean coast, but also the development of the territory of Iceland and Greenland, as well as to the discovery of America.
best sailors early Middle Ages, the Normans were able to navigate by the sun and stars.In addition, in the sagas found mention of a certain "sun stone", which allowed the Vikings to find the right direction.According to scientists, it was a tablet with a fortified it with a piece of magnetite.The study finds discovered in Greenland in 1951, gives grounds to assume that the Vikings knew and the device is very similar to a compass.It was probably a wooden disk with 32 divisions, rotating fixed in the center of the handle.It was oriented to the cardinal points using the stars and the sun, and it was determined by the direction.
naval power of the Vikings would not be so impressive, if they did not have the necessary expertise in the field of shipbuilding.Drakkar, warships, is an example of superior craftsmanship.They had lifted high the stern and bow, sides protected by shields.Feed decorated with a dragon's head, which gave the name of the ship.Drakkar move through the sail and oars, can reach speeds of 10-12 knots.They are the Vikings made their devastating raids and travel to unknown shores.
development of shipbuilding and navigation in the early Middle Ages gradually increase the pace.The accumulated knowledge about the orientation and the creation of open spaces of sea ships, suitable for ocean crossings, laid the foundation for the great geographical discoveries, followed by several hundred years.