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 The book comprises a brief but masterly historical account that has never been superseded.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.
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