Oceanic galleys

Oct 2011
467
Croatia
I am doing a bit of research on galleys and galley warfare, and I realized that Mediterranean galley types - such as trireme, or Byzantine dromond - were completely useless for oceanic warfare. So which galley-type warships were used in the Atlantic ocean? And were and which galleys used in Indian ocean as well?
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,970
Portugal
I am doing a bit of research on galleys and galley warfare, and I realized that Mediterranean galley types - such as trireme, or Byzantine dromond - were completely useless for oceanic warfare. So which galley-type warships were used in the Atlantic ocean? And were and which galleys used in Indian ocean as well?
The galleys were indeed used for oceanic warfare. During the medieval period they were the backbone of the Iberian war navies (and I think that France also used them). And there were naval combats between galleys in the Atlantic Ocean. I recall that in the 14th century the first Portuguese Admiral, the Genoese Manuel Pessanha, was defeated in a Battle against the Castilians near the Cape of São Vicente. Both sides had galleys. Possibly only galleys.

These galleys were considered basically an evolution of the Byzantine Dromon.

I don’t know any article in English about this, but here is an article by José Luis Casado about Spanish Galleys in the Cantabrian Sea, often called fustas:

https://itsasmuseoa.eus/images/itsas_memoria_04/36 CASADO.pdf (in Spanish, maybe some translator can help you here)

Also Neapolitan galleys were a part of the 1588 Armada.

In the Indian Ocean they were also used by the Portuguese. Some “fustas” were dismounted and shipped to India to be mounted there, others were built there. One even made the voyage by sea, from India to Portugal.

EDIT: I had a problem with the English and confused "useless" with "unuseless". Corrected.
 
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Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,118
Canary Islands-Spain
The Spanish galleys built in Atlantic areas were the same of those of the Mediterranean, or well they were transported from the Mediterranean into the Atlantic

England kept using galleys into the 16th century, it could be nice to know about their design

In the case of the Spanish, they knew about the limitations of the Mediterranean design. So they went furthern and made experiments with different mixed models since the 14th century. Look at pictures at p.548 https://itsasmuseoa.eus/images/itsas_memoria_04/36 CASADO.pdf

There were further mixed designs, as the frigates developed to fight in the Caribbean in the 1560's

Or the ships developed by Álvaro de Bazán since 1548
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,970
Portugal
My virtual library is a mess since I had to format my hard drive, but here is another article, also relevant, about the navigation of Castilian galleys in the Atlantic, based on a chronicle. I got this some time ago, but it is still online:

“ATLANTIC NAVIGATION OF THREE CASTILIAN GALLEYS IN THE EARLY FIFTEENTH CENTURY AFTER THE VICTORIAL: FROM CHIVALROUS CHRONIC TO MARITIME HISTORY”, by Michel Bochaca and Eduardo Aznar Vallejo. This is in French:

http://estudiosmedievales.revistas.csic.es/index.php/estudiosmedievales/article/viewFile/725/740 (edited, the link was missing).

England kept using galleys into the 16th century, it could be nice to know about their design
I think (but far to be sure) that those galleys were ceremonial.
 
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Mar 2019
1,952
Kansas
England kept using galleys into the 16th century, it could be nice to know about their design
There is definitely some debate about this. In English sources of the time, the Salamander is listed as a galley, and is certainly not in the convention way. Another vessel 'The Great Galley, was described by knowledgeable Venetian witnesses as a galleass. There was at least one "Galley Subtle" that is clearly a ceremonial vessel

Here is a contemporary drawing of her

History of the Royal Navy - Wikipedia
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,118
Canary Islands-Spain
I don’t know any article in English about this, but here is an article by José Luis Casado about Spanish Galleys in the Cantabrian Sea, often called fustas:

https://itsasmuseoa.eus/images/itsas_memoria_04/36 CASADO.pdf (in Spanish, maybe some translator can help you here)

Also Neapolitan galleys were a part of the 1588 Armada.
According to Casado, "fusta" was at first a generic term for rowing ships. By the late 15th century, they were a specific type of small galley

The galleys of the Armada were Portuguese! They were expected to fight on shallow waters once the Armada arrived, but their sailing capabilities proved to be very bad. Three of them turned back to Peninsula, and one was lost in Bayonne (France).

The Neapolitans contributed with galleass. They were more robust ships, their sailing gave lot of troubles as well, but once in combat, their trained crew and powerful artillery was one of the best in the Armada
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,970
Portugal
According to Casado, "fusta" was at first a generic term for rowing ships. By the late 15th century, they were a specific type of small galley

The galleys of the Armada were Portuguese! They were expected to fight on shallow waters once the Armada arrived, but their sailing capabilities proved to be very bad. Three of them turned back to Peninsula, and one was lost in Bayonne (France).

The Neapolitans contributed with galleass. They were more robust ships, their sailing gave lot of troubles as well, but once in combat, their trained crew and powerful artillery was one of the best in the Armada
When I wrote galleys I meant galley type of ships, thus the mention to the Neapolitans.

But you are quite right… there was a Portuguese squadron! I forgot to mention the Portuguese galleys. Ups!

And for those (few) who read in Portuguese:

https://repositorio.ul.pt/bitstream/10451/8419/1/ulsd65180_td_Luis_Da_Fonseca.pdf

"WAR AND NAVIGATION IN OARS IN THE OCEAN SEA. THE GALLEYS IN THE HISPANIC NAVAL POLICY (1550-1604), a doctoral thesis by Luís José Fonseca, not to be confused with Luís Adão da Fonseca, another eminent sea historian.
 

Tercios Espanoles

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Mar 2014
6,679
Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
Dutch trading Galley of the 17th Century, by Bellevois. Heavier construction than Mediterranean galleys, and fewer oarsmen. More of an oar-assisted sailing ship, really. 1563807280714.png
1563807280714.png
 
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Tercios Espanoles

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Mar 2014
6,679
Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
The Charles galley of the late 17th century. This was an ocean-going warship. Captain Kidd's famous Adventure galley, which operated in the North Atlantic, South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, was of a very similar design. Again, it's more of an oar-assisted sailing vessel.
1563807970228.png
 
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