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Ancient SEALs: The Byzantine Divers

We all went through it at different stages in our education: the study of history, struggling through the grueling task of having to remember countless figures, dates, names and places from years gone by. For some, the study of history can be quite a boring chore that does not yield any immediate advantages or results, especially for those who majored in such studies as business or economics. However, if we look beyond the names and the dates, we come to realize that much – if not all – of what we get to enjoy today can be attributed to the lessons that history taught.

The Navy SEALs are no exception. While for the most part, Navy SEAL history begins with military feats and experiences during the wars fought in the 20th century, the concept of the SEAL – that elite team of courageous and exceptionally skilled warriors – can be traced back even further in the annals of time.

Let us take, for instance, the SEALs’ exceptional skills at sea: they are, as most readers may very well know by now, known as skilled divers. If we backtrack a couple thousand years or so, we will find ourselves in ancient Byzantium, where an elite team of ancient divers defend the city by employing an ancient diving technique.

These fearless divers, armed with especially designed tools, defend their beloved city by capturing enemy ships underwater. Unbeknownst to their enemies and under the cover of darkness, Byzantine divers reportedly plunge into the depths and use ancient tools to sever the heavy chains that attach enemy ships to their anchors. As a testament to the ancient’s physical prowess, they do all that they have to do for about six minutes underwater – all in one breath; no oxygen tanks, safety harnesses and other such gadgets for these ancient SEALs.

All through history, there are other such great warriors and defenders. From the ancients to today, they all share a common bond: bravery and exceptional skills. Some, like today’s Special Forces operatives, are also provided with the latest technology available at that point in time. We still have other such stories of ancient Special Forces to share, so watch out for our succeeding posts.


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