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Mars, also called Makalös, was Erik XIV's flagship and one of the largest ships of its time. She sank during the first battle at Öland's northern cape in 1564. Photo: Kirill Egorov.

The Lost Navy in Transformation

Naval warfare changed in multiple ways during the late middle ages and the Reformation, in ways which affected society at large and, ultimately, the rise of the modern state. What might biographies of individual warships tell about how this transformation happened? In this subproject, the transformation of naval warfare in the Baltic is examined.

The change of naval warfare includes the introduction of firearms and heavy artillery, which led to transformations of ship building, tactics and combat technique. This subproject investigates how different forces interacted in this process of technological change.  

The subproject studies warship biographies. The research is conducted in close collaboration with maritime archaeologist and through participation in ongoing maritime archaeological investigations. The project will also require research in national and international archives.  

This subproject is a part of the research programme’s historical and archaeological module.

This research is conducted within the genre of “War and Society”, and will use theories on technological innovation and methods of ship prosopography (collective biographies/life cycle perspectives).

Name of the Subproject

The dog of war and the god of war – The Lost Navy in transformation circa 1470-1570.


Project leader

Ingvar Sjöblom, historian, Department of History, Stockholm University.

E-mail: Ingvar.sjoblom@historia.su.se

Page last updated: 2021-06-07