Ancient Maritime World V

International Workshop / Summer School 2022 

The Doric Aegean and Crete

Sept 10th–Oct 1st

from/to Kos

Languages: German/English

The event takes place as a sailing excursion with a modern yacht and is directed at advanced students, doctoral students as well as postdocs in all fields of classical antiquity. It focuses on maritime conditions, influences and connections from the late Minoan to the early Byzantine period, i.e. the ancient historical development of this region in its maritime context. Various topics of individual areas and places are discussed and lectures given on topics such as ancient seafaring, navigation, astronomy, meteorology, sea routes, etc. Participants are expected to give a presentation on one of the journey's topics (e.g. listed below).

Starting from Kos Town, the journey leads to archaeological and historical sites of the southern Aegean, Crete and Rhodes and back to Kos. Places and islands in this region show very different characteristics, influences and developments in ancient times. The flourishing of individual areas, such as late Bronze Age Crete or Hellenistic Rhodes, contrasts with periods and/or areas of rather marginal importance or even obvious remoteness. These developments and changes will be an overall topic, as will be – of course – the dependence of this region on the different maritime routes, conditions and opportunities, evident in all cases.

In addition, the Doric Aegean and Crete offer various characteristic examples of more general, supra-regional developments and changes, such as the islands for the Doric migration, Thera for the archaic colonisation, Lindos for the early contacts with Egypt and the East, Melos for an imperialist expansion of the Athenians, Crete for piracy, Rhodes for the fight against piracy, and so on. In all cases, it is always the view on local conditions and particularities as well as on the respective supra-regional contexts that enable a more precise understanding of a social, political and cultural development. In this regard, maritime conditions are certainly not only fundamental for this region, but very often of decisive importance.

Topics and places e.g.

Cretan Palaces and their Harbours – The Ship Fresco of Akrotiri, Minoan Seafaring and the Minoa of Chania – Minoan Thalassocracy – The Minoan Eruption of Thera – The Uluburun Shipwreck – The so-called Sea Peoples and the Aegean – Doric Migration in the Aegean – Early Phoenicians in the Aegean – Zeus and Europa – Thera and the Foundation of Cyrene – Early Polis and Sanctuary of Lindos – Routes to Naucratis – Spartan Aegean – Off the Beaten Track: Astypalaia – City Foundation and Trade Routes: Rhodes, Knidos, Kos – The Siege of Rhodes – The Rhodian Fleet – Cretan and Cilician Piracy – The Antikythera Mechanism – Establishing a Roman Province: the Case of Crete – The Imperial Fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean – Goths and Herulians in the Aegean – Byzantine Control of the Aegean Sea – Early Islamic Raids in the Aegean – Controlling the Sea: Fortresses of the Knights of St John in Kos and Rhodes.


Previous knowledge of sailing – although beneficial – is not required. On board, participation as well as teamwork is expected. Accommodation is on board the yacht. It should be noted that in the southern Aegean and Cretan Seas, despite summery weather, slightly stronger winds and corresponding seas may occur at times. The number of participants is limited by the size of the yacht. Participation costs are the pro rata yacht charter. Itinerary to/from Kos is not included. The final route will depend on current wind conditions. 

 Costs: 1.400 € p.P. (excl. board cash)

Please note: Travel by sailing yacht offers a wide range of experiences and insights into the maritime world. It does not offer the comfort of a cruise trip and means living under simple conditions in a confined space. Participation can therefore mean getting out of one's comfort zone – mentally and physically.