ZOLOTOVSKIY V.A. Byzantine Navy During the Rule of the First Palaiologan Emperors (1259–1328)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2018.5.22 

Vladimir A. Zolotovskiy

Candidate of Sciences (History), Head of Department of Service and Tourism,

Volgograd State University,

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4259-8851


Abstract. Introduction. The purpose of this article is to reveal the military-strategic and economic grounds for the changes in the approaches to the formation and tactical designation of the early Palaiologan navy. The objectives are to determine the goals and methods of organizing the Byzantine naval forces in the context of the characteristics of the early Palaiologan priority campaigns.

The author reconstructs the military-strategic and economic grounds for the change in the approaches to the formation and tactical combat designation of the fleet of the early Palaiologan period.

Methods. The methodological basis of the work is the critical use of elements of civilizational, formational and systemic approaches. It should be noted that the system approach to the consideration of the military organization and navy as structural body allows to study their mutual influence, the role of the armed forces in society and the state, to reveal the causes and course of modernization in connection with society and state processes, to consider the functions and values (priorities) of individual elements of the military organization.

Analysis and Results. The analysis of changes in the organizational structure allows concluding that Genoese mercenaries had a special role in the fleet during the reign of Michael VIII. At the same time, the Byzantine navy was reinforced by a contingent of mercenaries of Roman origin who served on a long-term basis. The Andronicus II reorganized the fleet: instead of allocating funds for the re-equipment and manning of the Roman naval forces, the fleet was transferred to mercenary formations. From the tactical viewpoint, the Genoese and Venetian crews were used to solve specific tasks within one-time marine expeditions. This approach reduced the direct costs as only the specific operations of mercenaries were paid. At the same time, the protection of Constantinople was one of the priority functions of the naval forces.

Within the framework of the military operations of the Andronicus II’s reign, the military fleet was used episodically to combat enhancement of the strategic protection of trade routes, as well as coastal territories provided by the existing fortification system. Despite the obvious military-material dependence, in a strategicsense, the use of naval forces based on mercenaries ensured defense of Byzantium’s interests at sea, coastal security and protection of the islands from attacks by pirates, and timely transportation of land forces.

Key words: history of Byzantium, early Palaeologan period, military organization, Byzantine navy, mercenaries.

Citation. Zolotovskiy V.A. Byzantine Navy During the Rule of the First Palaiologan Emperors (1259–1328). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2018, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 238-250. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2018.5.22.

Лицензия Creative Commons

Byzantine Navy During the Rule of the First Palaiologan Emperors (1259–1328) by Zolotovskiy V.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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