In this classic work George Hourani deals with the history of the sea trade of the Arabs in the Indian Ocean from its obscure origins many centuries before Christ to the time of its full extension to China and East Africa in the ninth and tenth centuries. The book comprises a brief but masterly historical account that has never been superseded. The author gives attention not only to geography, meteorology, and the details of travel, but also to the ships themselves, including a discussion of the origin of stitched planking and of the lateen fore-and-aft sails. Piracy in the Indian Ocean, day-to-day life at sea, the establishment of ancient lighthouses and the production of early maritime guides, handbooks, and port directories are all described in fascinating detail. Arab Seafaring will appeal to anyone interested in Arab life or the history of navigation. For this expanded edition, John Carswell has added a new introduction, a bibliography, and notes that add material from recent archaeological research.
Introduction to the Expanded EditionPrefaceCh. ITrade Routes in the Pre-Islamic EraPrehistory and Geography3The East before Alexander6The Persian Gulf in Hellenistic and Roman Times13The Red Sea in Hellenistic and Roman Times17The Sassanid and Byzantine Empires36Appendix: Direct Sailing between the Persian Gulf and China in pre-Islamic Times46Ch. IITrade Routes Under the CaliphateGeneral Consequences of the Islamic Expansion51The Arabs on the Mediterranean53Persian and Arab Sea Trade with the Far East61East Africa and the Coasts of Africa79Later Times83Ch. IIIThe ShipsHulls and Their Equipment89Masts and Sails100Navigation and Life at Sea105Appendix: Four Sea Stories114Notes on Chapter I129Notes on Chapter II140Notes on Chapter III150Bibliography157Index179
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