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By Samuel Mark

In this accomplished historical past of Homer’s references to ships and seafaring, writer Samuel Mark unearths styles within the approach that Greeks outfitted ships and approached the ocean among 850 and 750 b.c. to debate and make clear the phrases utilized by Homer, Mark attracts on scholarly literature in addition to examples from fresh excavations of old shipwrecks.

Mark starts off via emphasizing the significance of the loved ones in the course of a interval within which chiefs governed and Greek nobles disdained retailers and thought of seafaring an important yet below exotic task. His bankruptcy on Odysseus’s development of a boat contains discussions of the categories of wooden used. He concludes that the majority Greek ships have been of laced, instead of pegged mortise-and-tenon building. Mark is going directly to speak about features of Homeric ships and their stern adorns, oars, zone rudders, masts, mast-steps, keels, ropes, cables, and planks.

Mark reaches numerous dazzling conclusions: that during an agricultural society, seafaring was once a standard task, even one of the nobles; that hugging the coast should be extra treacherous than crusing throughout open sea; that Homeric ships have been outfitted normally to be sailed, rather than rowed; that sea battles have been quite universal; that helmsmen have been the most important to a secure voyage; and that harbors have been little greater than traditional anchorages. Mark’s dialogue of Homer’s geography covers theories that posit Odysseus crusing within the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas or even at the Atlantic Ocean.

As befits a learn whose topics are partially old, in part archaeological, and partially fantasy and legend, Mark’s conclusions are tentative. but, this entire and meticulous examine of Homer’s references to ships and seafaring is certain to turn into a customary learn at the subject.

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Sample text

23 Although unlikely, it is possible that such a technique was used, but, even so, it still fails to address the omission of the chisel and the two later stages of boring necessary for this type of design. In comparison to pegged mortise-and-tenon joinery, laced construction conforms more closely to the evidence. To build a simple laced boat, one requires an axe and an adze to shape the planks, then a drill to bore the dowel holes in the edges of the planks. A drill with a smaller-diameter bit is used for the pegs that secure the cords.

The hull planking of this ship is of Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), while tenons and Figure 4. Mortise-and-tenon joinery (after Casson, 1991, figure 3) tenon pegs are made from Turkey oak (Quercus cerrus). 4 These pegged joints act as internal frames, and their size and proximity add considerable sti¬ness and integrity to hull planking. Shipwrights carved tenons from a hardwood to reduce the distortion, cutting, or breaking of joints because seams try to shift under the strain of heavy cargoes or turbulent seas.

28 If this were attempted with a laced vessel, the force 30 chapter 4 Figure 7. Cross section of the royal barge of Cheops (Khufu) (after Lipke, 1984, p. 21) necessary to drive in the caulking material would stretch or break the cords holding the planks together. 29 However, carpenters used various techniques to build these ships. 32 In regard to Homer’s failure to mention the laying and tying of wadding, he may have omitted both simply because neither was required. We have several accounts of laced vessels that use neither wadding nor battens.

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