Remarks on the History of the Navy of the Empire of Nicaea in the Light of the Chronicle of Georgios Akropolites
International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Volume 74, 2016
4 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2017
Date Written: August 4, 2017
The Empire of Nicaea was a successor of the Byzantium shattered in 1204. In the newly established state marine traditions of Byzantines, remain alive. The best testimony to this, are the evidence contained in the chronicle of Georgios Akropolites, devoted to activities of the rulers of Nicaea, aimed to build their own naval forces. In this paper I'll also try to answer, where was beating the heart of the Nicean shipbuilding industry and how large was the navy of this state. This is important from point of view of the maritime history, because of the fleet of the Empire of Nicaea, filled the gap created after the fall of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire, which was the local naval power in previous centuries. Akropolites give us a clear and direct answer to a question, where we should search for a center of Nicaean shipbuilding industry. Georgios Akropolites suggest us, that was in two towns, Holkos and Smyrna. The above-mentioned fleet consisted of the few squadrons, each counting 5-6 ships. We can only guess that a fleet of the John III, could count about 50 warships, whose quality was worse to that belonging to the Venetians. We must say that the fleet of the Empire of Nicaea, which we see in the chronicle of Akropolites, was the force, that lent itself to the support of ground forces. And in this role worked well. The situation was different when it comes to clashing with the Venetians, with the experienced crews of their ships, who surpassed Nicaean in this matter. Even with the advantage of numbers, Nicaean was unable to overcome at the sea, the citizens of the Republic of St. Mark. The plan to build their own naval forces, which was taken by the emperors of Nicaea, was a good direction.
Keywords: Byzantine Navy, Empire of Nicaea, Georgios Akropolites, John III Doukas Vatazes, Venice
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