Arab Seafaring:
In the Indian Ocean in Ancient and Early Medieval Times

George F. Hourani

Princeton University Press 1995 [1951]
A book review by Danny Yee © 2000
Little more than a long essay, Arab Seafaring is narrowly focused. Hourani concentrates on the western Indian Ocean and in particular on the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, though he briefly describes direct voyages to China and Islamic seafaring in the Mediterranean. And, though he uses more recent evidence where relevant, he restricts himself to the period down to 1000, with part one covering the pre-Islamic period and part two that of the Caliphate. In part three he surveys Arab nautical technology — sewn hulls, lateen sails, and navigation — and offers four brief but tantalising extracts from Arabic sea-stories.

Rather than modifying Hourani's 1951 text, Carswell has added twenty five pages of notes, summarising the latest archaeological evidence and explaining where Hourani's analysis has been superseded. He has also updated the bibliography and index.

February 2000

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%T Arab Seafaring
%S In the Indian Ocean in Ancient and Early Medieval Times
%A Hourani, George F.
%E Carswell, John
%I Princeton University Press
%D 1995 [1951]
%O paperback, bibliography, index
%G ISBN 0691000328
%P xvii,189pp