Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Sweet.  I google Mediterranean winds on the off chance that there might be something simple to help me with sea travel.  And I find this at the first link:

So, if I go by this, the prevailing winds don't look conducive to travel on my map unless the party wants to head south along the coast. Traveling to some of the interesting marks on my map will require tacking against the Etesians.

That link has descriptions of all the winds too.  Makes me think that even if you world is completely fantastic you should have some named winds with personality.


  1. That is excellent. The Romans had names for winds from every quarter (12, IIRC). I've felt the scirocco, and it's noticeably warm and can be gritty. All of these are at least somewhat seasonal and/or fugitive, though. About the only place that's really never navigable because of winds in the medieval period is the northern half of the Red Sea.

    I'm ashamed to say I don't know about the weatherliness of junks, but I'd guess they're at least no worse than Genoese ships of the 12th century, which could just about make progress against the wind, though I think they wore around rather than tacking (turned their sterns to the wind in order to cross it, rather than their bows).

    One more thing; 12th c galleys overnighted on land, so they would hug the coast. Open water crossings out of sight of land are historically limited to sailing ships.

  2. Most of those winds are seasonal, so there should be a chance to sail against them. Historically, anyway, traders had little problem getting to any point of the Mediterranean, but did have to stick to certain seasons.

  3. I'll probably say we are in summer, the season of those winds, to make things simpler for me. I grew up a little north of LA and we had the Santa Anas every so often. I remember them being dry and electric, making kids want to run and adults want to fight.

    One odd thing for me, I know galleys survived for quite a while but they never really fit in my conception of a pseudo-medieval world (probably because of my ignorance as a child). Anyway, when I think galleys I think ancient Greeks and it throws my whole world picture off.

  4. Speaking of Greeks and galleys, here's an image from a 12th century manuscript of a war galley using Greek fire, an early version of the flamethrower, against an enemy vessel.


  5. That's not Greek fire, that's a jet engine ;) Thanks for sharing that.