Archive for September 28th, 2022

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Review – The Sea in World History: Exploration, Travel, and Trade, Vol 1

28 September, 2022

The BookFinally finished The Sea in World History: Exploration, Travel, and Trade, Vol 1 (Ancient Egypt through the First Global Age), Stephen K. Stein, Editor.  it was well worth the effort to go through but one of the great things is that the information is divided into easy section:

Each section covers a discrete historical period and starts off with a good-sized overview of what was happening in that period of history as regards to sea travel, trade, and maritime technology.  Then there are lots of small sections by experts on narrowly focused subjects such as specific ship types, famous navigators, particular regions, and so on.

So you can just dip into the book, pull out the information you need for what you are working on and move on.  Or you can read sections and pull out things that inspire you for world-building.

Such as: the Orang Laut or “sea people” who used to live in family groups aboard longboats in the ocean off Burma and Thailand, where they made their living as fisherfolk and gather other resources from the sea (including pearls) and trade.  They were also often involved in piracy and sometimes worked for local states providing naval forces and acting as coast guards.  While they still exist as a cultural group their lives as travelers of the seas were destroyed by the rise of the nation-states who forced them to settle ashore.  Still what an interesting model for a society to encounter.

Highly recommended for people who like to use the real world as a model for their game worlds.  The only downside is the book is an academic work and thus exceedingly expensive but hopefully your local University library has a copy (which is how I got the copy that I read).

Notes: Some thoughts I had along the way to the review here.

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