View Full Version : Canals, fjords, and 11th century ships

10-19-2009, 11:56 PM
I'm working on a fairly important geographical issue in my fantasy novel:
Two countries are separated by either a river or a fjord, leading between the sea and either a lake or a mediterranean sea. For plot-purposes, I need it to be possible to sail inland on the fjord/river.

What kind of situation and ship does it take to sail inland, with circa 11th century technology on your side?

Note that if I go with a fjord, I plan for there to be a spot where one can march an army across during low water, so the ships would need to have a shallow keel.

10-20-2009, 01:45 AM
The Viking ships of that period were able to penetrate a long way up rivers. They also used portage to get from the Baltic to the Black Sea via the Dnieper river

10-20-2009, 03:39 AM
a drakkar would be perfect for you purpose. low, wide keel, high walls, flexible, and nice looking

10-22-2009, 09:33 AM
Any longship would suffice, as would many trading galleys of the time. In fact, most ships of the period would have had a shallow enough keel to allow navigation of rivers. Truly deep-water vessels didn't really exist until the galleon and galleas, IIRC. Longships and others could technically navigate deep water, but they were not intended for that and that alone, as galleons were.