In the Middle Ages, the Mediterranean was an unfamiliar, disconcerting sea. People nonetheless skirted its shores and crossed it in every direction. A world lived on and for the sea. But how? In this well-documented work, the author sheds light on a range of features of the sea-going Middle Ages: the widespread network of ports and harbours; maritime trades, including fishing; different types of seafaring craft; training of crews in both peacetime and war; the organization of daily life on board ships; navigation techniques and orientation tools; maritime legislation; seaborne battles; and piracy. The book ends with an overview of conflict in the Mediterranean and an insightful analysis of exploratory incursions into the Atlantic Ocean.
Antonio Musarra teaches Medieval History at the Sapienza University in Rome.