Did Tenth-Century Dromons Have a Waterline Ram? Another Look at Leo VI’s Tactica XIX

By Dr Fredrick H. van Doorninck Jr, published November 1993


This short article discusses an alternative interpretation of the Greek text of Leo VI’s Tactica on Byzantine naval tactics and dromon (chelandia) ship design. The suggested tactic used is capsizing rather than ramming as interpreted by R.H. Dolley, a generation ago. As no examples have been found, there is considerable doubt that Byzantine warships of the tenth century had waterline rams.

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Filed under: Early Middle Ages | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Shipbuilding & Design

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