Reconstruction of an early 10th century Byzantine bireme dromon, based on the Tactica of Emperor Leo VI the Wise. Notice the lateen sails, the aft- and mid-castles, and the Greek fire siphon in front (bow).

The dromon (from Greek δρόμων, dromōn, i.e. "runner") was a type of galley and the most important warship of the Byzantine navy from the 6th to 12th centuries AD. It was indirectly developed from the ancient trireme and was usually propelled by both oars and sails, a configuration that had been used by navies in the Mediterranean Sea for centuries.

Literary sources and accounts reveal that there were at least three varieties of dromon, while the exact relation of the dromon proper with the chelandion, a term with which it is often used interchangeably, somewhat unclear. These were, firstly the ousiakon which took its name from one company or ousia of 100 men. This was a two-banked galley with the lower rank rowing only, and the upper rank rowing or disengaging to fight when required. Secondly the slightly larger pamphylos with a crew of between 120 and 160. Thirdly the dromon proper, which had a crew of 200: 50 on the lower bank, and 100 on the upper bank in two files, together with 50 marines.

The dromons had a central tower (xylokastron – Greek: "wooden castle") near the main mast, from which the marines could use their bows and arrows or throw spears and other projectiles. Dromons were frequently equipped with flamethrowers (siphones, and as such the ships were described as siphōnophoroi dromones) that discharged Greek fire and catapults capable of hurling 10 kg projectiles up to 250 meters.

Middle English dromond and Old French dromont are derived from the dromon, and described any particularly large medieval ship.[1]


  1. ^ The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, "Dromond".


Further reading

  • Pryor, John H.; Jeffreys; Elizabeth M. (2006): "The Age of the ΔΡΟΜΩΝ. The Byzantine Navy ca. 500–1204", The Medieval Mediterranean. Peoples, Economies and Cultures, 400–1500, Vol. 62, Brill Academic Publishers, ISBN 978-90-04-15197-0

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • DROMON — DROM Le dromon est, à peu de chose près, une réplique byzantine de la trière gréco romaine; Léon VI, empereur de Byzance au IXe siècle, décrit ce navire monté par cent rameurs (cinquante de chaque bord, sur deux étages). À la différence,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Dromon — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Dromon Bizantino según las fuentes Dromón es un barco de guerra del Imperio Bizantino, siendo uno de los estandartes de su flota hasta su caída en 1453. Contenido …   Wikipedia Español

  • dromon — DRÓMON s.n. 1. (Ant.) Navă de transport. 2. Navă medievală de război cu vâsle. [< fr., gr. dromon]. Trimis de LauraGellner, 25.02.2005. Sursa: DN  DROMÓN s. n. 1. navă bizantină de transport, cu vele şi rame sprijinite direct pe bordaj. 2.… …   Dicționar Român

  • dromon — dròmōn m <G dromóna> DEFINICIJA pom. pov. srednjovjekovni bizantski trgovački brod na vesla, s latinskim jedrom ETIMOLOGIJA grč. drómōn: lagano (brzo) plovilo ← drómos: trčanje …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Dromon — Un dromon (du grec δρόμων, « coureur », en fait « croiseur ») est un navire long, manœuvrant et rapide mû à la rame et employé dans l Empire byzantin du VIe au XIIe siècle. Ils furent indirectement développés à partir de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Dromon — Dromond Drom ond, or Dromon Drom on [OF. dromont, L. dromo, fr. Gr. dro mwn light vessel, prob. fr. dramei^n to run. See {Dromedary}.] In the Middle Ages, a large, fast sailing galley, or cutter; a large, swift war vessel. [Hist. or Archaic]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Dromon —    The standard Byzantine warship that employed both sails and oars. A typical 10th century dromon had two banks of oars employing 200 rowers, in addition to a battering ram on the prow, and enough heavily armored marines to board an enemy ship… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • dromon — (dro mon) s. m. Sorte de barque légère. HISTORIQUE    XIe s. •   Sire est par mer de quatre cenz dromunz, Ch. de Rol. CXVII.    XIIIe s. •   Lors fait les charpentiers mander Por cele barge conmencer ; De trente piez fu le dromont, Li maz en fu… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Dromon Bureau of Shipping — Industry Shipbuilding Genre Classification Society Founded 2003 Key people Andreas Nicolaou, MD Services Classification …   Wikipedia

  • Saint-Geniez-de-Dromon — Saint Geniez Pour les articles homonymes, voir Saint Geniez (homonymie). Saint Geniez Détail …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.