Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ANCIENT PICTURE OF AN EGYPTIAN SHIP.

desire of novelty, prompted a change; and a mode of, and its mariner and goods disappear under the waves. crossing the deeper streams was soon suggested to the The celebrated timber-raft which floats down the Rhine to observation of the savage, whose condition seems, by the Dort, in the Netherlands, from the forests of Germany, is testimony of Homei, to have been at its lowest pitch, when oftentimes 1000 feet long, and 80 or 90 feet wide, consistin ignorance of any means whatever, for crossing the water, ing of trees fastened together with iron spikes and crosswhich, though seeming, at first sight, to bar intercourse, timber,-a floating island with a village at the top, and does, in reality, promote it. The buoyancy of wood in the requiring nearly 500 labourers to manage it. When the water is the germ of all his subsequent proceedings. Acci- raft is broken up and sold, it sometimes fetches a sum of dent shows him that wood invariably floats; and on the £30,000. The same practice is used on the coast of fallen trunk of a tree he ventures, beyond his own depth, Norway, thereby saving the trouble and expense of landaway from the land. The trunk of a tree, hollowed out, carriage. for a more convenient position of the body, (an idea derived, On a board, or slight raft, the surf-swimmers of the we are told, from a split reed, seen floating on the water,) Sandwich Islands, in the Pacific Ocean, pursue their forms the canoe, which is usually found among the most. pastime. They swim out to sea on this raft through a uncivilized of the human species. From this rude begin: violent surf, plunging under every wave, and rising beyond ning to the noble vessels of our day, how great the interval it. In returning they are carried swiftly on the top of a of time, how slow the pace of improvement, and how abso- large wave towards the shore, when they steer among the lutely necessary, for any permanent and comprehensive rocks, taking care not to lose their planks, for such a loss is effect, the application of elements, which seemed at one deemed to be very disgraceful. time out of the reach and cognizance of man.

Somewhat superior in contrivance and effect is the construction of the pottery-floats of Egypt. Jars and various earthen vessels are made in great quantities in Upper Egypt; a large number of them are fastened together with cords and twigs into a triangular shape, having the mouths of the vessels upwards; they are then covered with bulrushes, and, being empty, are rowed as need may be, and steered down the Nile to Cairo, where the raft is taken apart and the articles are sold. Some remarks on these earthenware boats may be found in Vol. IX., p. 164, of this work.

It appears that, in very ancient times, a vessel was in use on the Nile, made from the planks of acanthus wood, so laid together as to lap over in the manner of tiling, and fastened with wooden pegs, the seams being tightened with leaves. It was also covered over with flags of the papyrus, and properly cemented, to keep out the water. In process of time an acanthus mast was added, to which was appended a sail, formed of papyrus leaves. This was the case in the infancy of Moses, and to such the prophet Isaiah alludes in the second verse of the 18th chapter of his book.

In ascending the Nile the vessel was towed along; in its We seem to learn from contemplating the first materials descent, it was steadied against the effects of the N. E. winds of antiquity, that man derived, from the natural objects by a hurdle of wood let down from the prow. which surrounded him, a notion of the forms and fashions of By the term canoe is generally meant a single tree things which conduce to his benefit. The pitcher-tlower, hollowed out boat-like, propelled onwards in the direction (Nepenthes distillatoria,) * presented to him a graceful and

of the view of the Indian, who urges its course with padconvenient form for his cups and vases; the leaf-covered dles, which are worked perpendicularly in the water. The grottoes infused into him the idea of arranging his archi- Macedonians, who saw the natives at the mouth of the tectural principles on the patterns of nature; and the move-Indus paddling in their canoes, thought they were digging ments of the inny tribe developed the secret of directing the water with spades. Canoes are of various lengths, from his path on the water with nearly the same ease as on land; 10 to 50 feet. the trunk of the tree hollowed out, as a recoptacle for the

But the make and build of all the early naval structures navigator, accords with the body of the fish; the forepart depended simply upon the use they were put to, and the of this trunk, when sharpened off to an edge, in order to means at hand for their formation. We have from Herocleave the waters the more easily, is assimilated to the head dotus the description of a vessel for conveying goods down of the animal, while the forcible motion of its tail shadows the Euphrates to Babylon. A frame-work of willow was out the rudder, which, by its lateral movements, serves the covered with skins, forming, when complete, a sort of larye purpose of steering the boat, as the tail of the animal tub, which was managed by two men with long poles, withdirects the motion of the fish. This step in Navigation is out any regard to stem or stern. They were of various completed by adopting a method for propelling the vessel sizes, and carried an ass besides the merchandize; the onwards, which method is furnished by seeing the use of animal was employed in conveying the vessel home by the fins of the fish in forming

a passage through the waters. land when taken to pieces, as the downward force of the When oars, sculls, or paddles came into operation at the river's current prevented them from sailing up the stream. instance of Atlas, an ancient African monarch, the boat Major Rennel describes this vessel as being still in use in was essentially, complete.

the lower parts of the river, under the name of KUFAH, The foregoing illustration condenses into one view the or round vessel. Very similar to this is the coracle, various traditions, which have been handed down respecting consisting of a large basket, over which was stretched a the first decided step in Navigation ; for it matters little horse's hide. This was found among the ancient Britons from what other quarter,—the swan, or any other aquatic when the Romans invaded the island, and is still seen in fowl,—the suggestion arises to the human mind, so it use on the Severn, and among the people of South Wales. agree with the beauty of nature in its physical utility.

The American Indians use wooden-ribbed vessels, covered The raft, or floor of wood, formed by the lashing together with skins, which vessels, owing to their lightness, can be of two or more planks, seems to have been an early, as it is carried overland, when it is necessary to avoid the rapids one of the readiest modes for passing and conveying rough and waterfalls, which are numerous in the country. The goods along upon the water. In time of shipwreck, or Greenlander's canoe is covered in at the top with a skin, so for any temporary purpose of transport, its facility of make as to shut up the lower part of his body when he is sitting recommends it, when other modes fail. Thus Hannibal in the vessel; the water may thus be kept out in the used rafts for transporting his horses and elephants across roughest seas. the Rhone. The Egyptians, in very early times, used the

The double canoe of the Society Islands is an ingenious raft on the Nile. An improved sort of raft was found in contrivance for affording a safe platform, whereon the use among the Peruvians, tapered at the prow, in order to warriors may wage battle. Two canoes being placed alongpass through the water more easily; the planks were side of each other, at a certain distance apart, planks are fastened together with leather thongs, by the unnoticed firmly fixed across, which make a stage safe from capsidecay of which the bark would oftentimes fall to pieces, zing. The whole is so contrived, that the rowers may work

underneath this floor, while the soldiers engage in battle See Saturday Magazine, Vol. IT., p. 159.

above.

[graphic]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The próas of the Ladrone Islands present another form We arrive now at the general term of boat, by which we of the canoe, the peculiar quality of which, we are told, is understand a combination of every peculiar excellence swiftness to the extent of 20 miles an hour; this results afforded by eath sort of water-conveyance mentioned before. from their construction. The lee side, or that which is The method of making and finishing off a bont is to be away from the wind, is straight, while the other is bowed sought for in the science of Naval Architecture; but we out as usual. This causes both ends of the vessel to be may merely mention that, from the lightest and most subnarrow, and thereby exceedingly sharp, so that it pierces stantial material, strongly compacted into the form which through the water the more readily, and needs no turning will attain most speed, and admit of most room and converound when the voyager wishes to come back. In a rough nience for the rowers, whether they be one, two, or more, is sea they have a contrivance on the windward side of the produced the most finished specimen of the first and proa called an out-rigger, (see Vol. III., p.181, of this work,) original class of naval structures. to preserve a steady balance, and prevent its upsetting on the straight or lee side. The rapid motions of the sword

THE SAIL fish would seem to have suggested the idea of forming these flying proas.

About 1230 years before the Christian era, as far as we The alder and poplar were used by the ancients for ship

are able to discern actual fact through the hazy and fabubuilding, as being hard and light woods, but oak and fir lous record of profane antiquity, the adoption of sails prowere chiefly sought after. The Greeks used chestnut and moted the nautical art beyond former conception, and cedar, the latter of which they considered to be very served as an era in history by the simultaneous wonder and durable. Cypress was valued for its not leaking, and elm admiration with which the discovery, and the authors of it, was chiefly used for the parts of the vessel under water. were hailed by their fellow-men, whose knowledge and Sometimes, in these days of nautical simplicity, a fleet of comfort were, in process of time, so much promoted thereby. ships was formed within a month of the time when the The statements of the early writers of the world seem to timber spread out its leafy arms in the forest, haste, not concur in describing Dædalus of Athens, the most skilful skill, being used in their formation. When, however, time mechanician of his day, as the individual who first pressed allowed, ship-timber was not always hastily felled, nor care- the wind into the naval service of man. His genius, lessly employed. The age of the moon, and the quarter sharpened by fear, when seeking to escape the vengeance from which the wind blew, were superstitiously heeded. of Minos, king of Crete, put up in his own boat, and in

Tacitus deseribes the Swedish boats, seen by the navi- that of his son, a cloth, or cloths, to catch the passing gale, gators of his time, as being like the Northern yawls of the thus using its force to hasten on their frail barks. The present day, which are peaked at both ends. These boats

singers and bards of the time, whose avocation was with were, in all probability, used for piracy, which in a bar- the multitude, and whose recitations pleased in proportion barous condition of society, is the mode of gradually esta- to the quantity of the marvellous they contained, being blishing commerce. A galley, the prow of which resembled themselves, from the very nature of their pursuits, easily the weapon of the sword-fish, was used by the ancient led off from natural principles to the sublime and mysteGreeks, as also in more modern times, for cruising against rious, chanted before those, whom rumour had already prethe pirates of the Mediterranean, whose vessels were of a possessed, the flight of Dædalus and the unfortunate death similar sort.

of Icarus, his son. Dædalus, say they, had carefully fitted The materials with which the planks or other parts of to his own body, and to that of his son, wings, constructed these different vessels were put or fastened together, were with feathers and wax. Thus equipped, they took their various. Sometimes wooden pins were employed, and at flight through the air over that part of the sea which lay other times they were connected together with thongs, made between Crete and Italy. Icarus, with the rashness and from the skins and sinews of animals; iron seldom, or unsteadiness of youth, sought a higher flight than his sire, never, coming within the reach of these primitive naval and getting, in consequence, too near the neighbourhood of architects. The Icelanders and Esquimaux Indians were the sun, the waxen cement of his wings was Icosened, found to make their boats of long poles placed crosswise, which, thus becoming powerless, he dropped into and was tied together with whale-sinews, and covered with the skins drowned, in that part of the Ægean Sea, or Archipelago, of sea-dogs, sewed with sinews instead of thread. To stop which bore for ages after the appellation of the Icarian Sea. leakage the ancients used lime and pounded shells, which The point in this relation which we are chiefly interested being observed to waste away, pitch, resin, and wax were in clearing up, is the youth's mismanagement of his wings. employed. Sometimes the crevices were first stopped up The fact of the passage of one of these persons from with tax, and then leather was employed for sheathing. Crete to Italy, and the drowning of the other, is undisWe find sheet-lead used for the same purpose, and copper puted; also that they went over the water and not over the nails. For their tools they used flints and shells for cut- land. As we know that it is incompatible with the human ting, while several of the bones of fishes served them to

frame to be buoyed up by wings in the air, and unnatural pierce, to saw, and to plane with. From these nature-sug- that greater heat should be experienced in rising above the gested implements is derived, with improvements according surface of the earth, balloons being at that time out of the to circumstances, a great portion of the tools with which question, and being aware of the stretch and license which the mechanic of modern days so skilfully performs his work. the rude and unreflective imagination can take, we see

easily that Dædalus and Icarus, by cutting their way through the waters with sails swelled out by the wind, seemed to have flown over it with wings; and this the more veritably to those who regarded only, or chiefly, the novelty of the proceeding, and received their accounts from the echo of rumour. The vessel of Icarus then, who seems not to have had his sail sufficiently under control, was capsized, and thus, as truly said in the fable, “ he dropped into the sea, and was drowned."

Many other voyages, under circumstances so novel for the times, have received the utmost embellishment of the poetic art. When we consider the surprise of ignorant people, at beholding tloating castles with expanded wings, making their unassisted way over the sea, we discern easily whence arose the fiction of the flight of Perseus to the Gorgons, who, we are told by Aristophanes, was carried thither in a ship. The story of Triptolemus, who was feigned to ride about the world on a winged dragon, doing good to the human race, is easily understood, when we remember that he was employed by his countrymen to procure in a ship corn from foreign shores, for the supply of their necessities. The winged horse, Pegasus, was a ship of that name, fabled to have been the offspring of Neptune, the god of the sea. In a word, we thus account for the stories of griffins, or of ships transformed into fishes and birds, so frequently met with in the ancient poets.

[graphic]

358-2

ANCIENT ROWING-BOAT

It is probable that some natural object, such as the wing which latter colour was intended to correspond with thi of a bird, suggested the idea of the sail. By some it has cerulean appearance of the sea, in climes where the blue been referred to the nautilus, or sailor-fish, which is seen sky overhangs the watery expanse, undimmed by clouds in the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the and vapour. When we read of the black ships of Homer, Polynesian waters of the Pacific. It is oftentimes observed we must remember that they took this appearance from the in calm weather floating on the surface of the water, using pitch, with which they were externally covered to exclude its side-fins as oars, its hinder one for steering, while its ihe water. Sometimes other materials were used to prodorsal-fin, which is formed from a peculiar membrane, serves duce the same effect, and hence a diversity in the colours as a sai When wishing to go down all is drawn in, with of the ships. Such was the sort of vessels which conveyed a sufficient quantity of water to make it specifically heavier the allied army to the plains of Troy. The size and numthan its own bulk of water, it then sinks in an instant: ber of the sails increased with the magnitude of the vessels when wishing to rise again it ejects the water. (See Vol. VI., and the length of their voyages, all which depended upon p. 149.)

the importance of the nation, which, in the progress of The material of which the sail was usually composed time, by the searching spirit of commerce, or the desire of was linen, or it depended upon the particular produce of conquest, advanced the maritime arts. the country which despatched a sailing vessel from its The form and disposition of the sails in the vessel have shores. A sail was, perhaps, at first most readily formed been found to be different in different countries. We are by the mariner's suspending his clothes upon a pole, In told that, un ancient Egypt, the sail was suspended on two some countries they used leather, or skins of animals, for upright poles, so that it could be used only before the wind, sails, as Julius Cæsar observed the Gaulish Venetians to as is the case with many of the South Sea Islanders, whose do. Thus Hercules is said to have sailed with the back of sails are made of matting. The sails of the New Zea. a lion, because he used no other sail than his garment, landers and Polynesians are found to be of a triangular which was the skin of a lion. In other countries they used form, the former having the base upwards and the latter sails made from twisted flax or hemp, as the native West downwards; and, in a general view of the case, the condiIndians are found, at the present time, to use in making a tion of the savage state in our times will be found very sail, a sort of silky grass, plaited to the length and breadth much upon a par with that of early antiquity, at least as required.

far as art and science are concerned, which consideration We do not find more tian one sail used in the earliest must be kept in view, if any question should arise in the ages, or more than one mast; their vessels had not even a reader's mind, as to why we seem to treat of the naval deck. The sails were commonly white, which colour was pursuits of modern barbarians in conjunction with those of esteered more lucky, though sometimes they were of other the people who lived before the Christian era colours. The vessels were painted red and sometimes blue,

[graphic][merged small]

THE RUDDER, ANCHOR, CABLES, SHIP'S NAME, &c. nected therewith by fastenings, termed rudder-bands, allu

ded to in Acts xxvii. 40; so that these were called doubleBEFORE proceeding to consider the more perfect condition stern ships, and could be propelled either way, without of ancient Navigation with reference to its effects, we shall turning. Tacitus relates that the Germans used vessels of present a brieť view of some of its appendages in detail. this sort. The use of the rudder-bands was to fasten the

The rudder serves to regulate the course of the ship, as helm up out of the water, when the ship was left to drive, the tail of the fish guides the motions of its body. The or take its own course; but, if they were loosened, as St. principle is the same in both cases. When the rvdder is in Luke relates, the rudder dipped into the water for use. We a right line with the central direction of the vessel, it is read of four rudders being employed, but nothing definite merely an enlargement of the keel. When drawn towards seems to be known of ships of this sort; nor of ships, either side, it has to make way against a force of water, which are mentioned as having two prows and two sterns. the resistance of which is in proportion to the angle formed It is a general feature in the maritime affairs of ancient by the rudder and the keel, and the rate of propulsion at nations, that their vessels in general could be conveniently which the yessel is urged along, or to the force of the sur- carried overland, when so doing would tend to lessen disrounding current; so that the stern or hinder part of the tance; and for this purpose they were oftentimes so convessei is forced aside out of its place by the resisting water, structed, that they could be easily taken to pieces; as was and the prow, or forepart, consequently, assumes an oppo- often done, when they wished to pass over an isthmus. site direction, according with the movement of the rudder. They were also drawn up out of the water, even for a single

It seems that the original rudder was nothing more than night. Hence, it is clear, that they were for a long time, one of the oars or paddles held sternwise by the person in at best, but sailing-boats; and that the anchor was not the boat, which natural observation and practice taught him needed. The need or convenience of this grew with the to steer the vessel by. This practice is even now far from size of the vessel. The Tuscans are said to have invented obsolete. The ancient Greeks, we are told by Homer, used the anchor, while some ascribe it to Midas, whose anchor only one rudder ; but as their vessels enlarged in size, they was long preserved in one of the temples of Jupiter. But, used two, one at the prow and the other at the sterni con- i whatever means may have been originated by any party to stay their vessels on the water, though the effect obtained dolphin at the prow. Arion, the famous musician o. was always the same, the instrument was various. The Lesbos, having made great wealth in foreign parts by his most ancient anchors were large stones, bored through the profession, was returning home by ship, when the sailors middle; sometimes they were made of wood, having lead resolved to kill him and seize upon his riches. Playing inserted. In some places, baskets of stones, or sacks of once again, at his last request, a favourite tune, he leaped sand, suspended by cords in the sea, served as anchors, by into the sea. A dolphin, attracted by the melody, received impeding the course of the ship by their weight. At him safely on its back, and carried him again to the court length the anchor was made of iron, with one tooth, or of the prince, whence he had set out. Arion, doubtless, fluke; and soon after two-fluked anchors became general. escaped by a boat, the fore part of which consisted of a Sometimes they employed an anchor with four claws, or dolphin. The flight of Phryxus with his sister Helle, into flukes; which seems to be what is meant in Acts xxvii. Asia, on the back of a ram having a golden fleece, and her 29; although the ancients used more anchors than one, falling through giddiness into that part of the sea afterand usually dropped them by boats from the stern, contrary wards named the Hellespont, or Sea of Helle, now the to the practice of the moderns, who let them down from the straits of the Dardanelles, is explained by considering that prow. The boat, being fastened to the stern, was usually Phryxus absconded with an immense treasure in the ship towed along after the ship, unless in case of a heavy sea Aries or Ram, and that his sister Helle, who accompanied coming on, when it was drawn close up to the ship; as in him, fell overboard by some accident or other. The ship in Acts xxvii. 16. We learn from Bruce that the four-fluked which St. Paul sailed away from the island of Malta, had anchor is still used by the Egyptians; and we should ob- the twin sons of Leda for its sign. The Gemini were the serve that St. Luke mentions that St. Paul was voyaging in patrons of mariners, and were deemed to be present with an Egyptian vessel. Of the several anchors belonging to mortals, when a sacred light played around the tops of the each ship, one exceeded the rest in size and strength. masts. This light is now known by the people of the This was called the sacred anchor, and was used only in Mediterranean coasts, as St. Elmo's' fire, and is due to extreme danger; so that the phrase, to throw out the sacred electricity, which is attracted by points. Many of the signs anchor, was in process of time proverbially applied to those of the Zodiac, and other constellations, received their names who were driven to their last shifts.

from the ships of early days, which the unaffected admiraWe find, upon one or two occasions, mention made of iron tion of the times resolved to honour with immortal rememchains in use for dropping the anchor. Cables, however, brance, by a belief in their translation to the skies. were generally employed, made at first from leather thongs, The people of Ægina, an island in the Ægean, and of or the sinews of animals. They then used flax, hemp, Crete, an island of the Levant, are among the earliest broom, rushes, or sea-weed. The ancient Greeks procured people, who pursued navigation. The inhabitants of from Egypt ropes and cables manufactured from rushes and Corinth and Corcyra were the first to form a fleet; but the sea-willow. We must not omit to mention the ancient prac. Cretans are said to have been the first to possess the empire tice of undergirding the ship, mentioned in Acts xxvii. 17. of the sea. By this is meant the passing of ropes several times round the hull, to prevent the timbers from starting and giving way, when the ship, in a very rough sea, is strained, and apt to lurch. It is even done now, upon occasion, when the vessel is not very large; as we find in Walter's account of Lord Anson's voyage, who relates the undergirding, of a Spanish ship with six turns of a cable, during a violent storm.

It seems to have been the ordinary practice of the ancients, to place at the head or prow of the vessel an image, called the sign; which we see also in modern times. This gave then, and usually gives now, a notion of the ship's name. The sides of the prow were called cheeks, as this part of the vessel generally showed a human face, and was decorated with paint and gilding (see the engraving in page 35). The part of the vessel which cut the water, was called the goose ; a great similarity being fancied to exist between the ship and this bird, while on the water. At the stern, often carved into the form of a shield, and elaborately painted, were small streamers. Here also was set, or in some way delineated, a representation of the deity to whose tutelary favour the ship was committed. To this deity daily prayer and sacrifice were offered, and this was the naval sanctuary. Taking this into consideration, and that ancient vessels were universally named after some beast, bird, or fish, we shall easily resolve many stories of antiquity, which contain facts under absurd and unnatural guises.

Ships were very usually termed horses among the ancients, which sets off in a clearer light the story of Neptune and Minerva contending for the honourable guardianship of the city of Athens. The horse, which the former ANCIENT SHIP, SHOWING THE SIGN, OR IMAGE, AT THE PROW gave, was a symbol of maritime affairs; as the olive, given by the latter, was of agricultural peace and quiet. Though the victory was at the time adjudged to Minerva, we read of

WAR AND MERCHANT SHIPS. her being an early patroness of Navigation. We are told that the poorer people of Gades, (now Cadiz,) a Phænician Thus far respecting naval affairs in general. We must colony in the south of Spain, called their small barks now observe that the vessels of the ancients were distinhorses ; and we know that the Nubian savages, at the pre- guished into two chief classes ; each possessing its own sent time, call a sailing-boat “ a water-mare." About characteristic features; war ships, and ships of burden. 1500 years B.C., the Princess Europa, we are told, was The former generally had no sails, but were impelled by carried off from Phænicia to Crete, by Jupiter, who had oars, and were of great length; so that long ships was a assumed the form of a bull: the credible version of which term equivalent with ships of war. The latter were of a story is, that Asterius, King of Crete, whose wife she rounder shape, and were mainly propelled by sails. afterwards became, went to her father's court, prevailed upon The people most distinguished for naval warfare before her to elope with him, and conveyed her across the sea in a the Christian era, were the Phænicians, Carthaginians, vessel having the sign of the bull at its head, and the shrine Greeks, and Romans. One illustration of their war-ship of Jupiter at its stern. The chariot with winged dragons, in and mode of fighting applies to all; as each one seenis to which Medea fled from the vengeance of her husband, was have been tutored by its predecessor in political existence. only a ship with sails. The Elder Pliny tells us of a boy, War-ships were chietly rowed with oars, that they might who was carried by water some miles on the back of a be able to tack about, and approach the enemy at pleasure. dolphin to school; the vessel, in all probability, having a The number and appointment of oars became more nume. rous, as navigation improved. There were, according to In the event of an engagement, everything was put out the size of the vessel, rows, tiers, or banks of oars; not of the vessel which would not be wanted in battle. If the placed on the same level, but having the seats fixed at the ship had sails, they were furled and put away; and it is to back of each other in the manner of stairs. The most be observed that the ancients always avoided fighting in usual number of these rows was three, or four, or five. stormy weather. The order of battle was generally that There were, however, many vessels, which had more tiers ; of a half-moon, the best men and ships being stationed and the ship's class was determined by this property. The at the horns, or wings, for the purpose of breaking the first long ships were rowed, we are told, with fifty oars, in enemy's line by beaking. Sometimes the semi-circle was the thirteenth century B.C., and the notion of them was directed convexly towards the enemy; at other times conderived from Egypt. The size of this species of vessel, as cavely. Upon some occasions the fleet was drawn up in depending upon the extent of the rowing-banks, became, a circle, as with the Peloponnesians; at others, in the form we read, after many ages, enormous.

[graphic]

of the letter V, for the purpose of penetrating the body of In the reign of Ptolemy Philopater, King of Egypt, about the adverse squadron. 200 years B.C., a ship of forty tiers of oars was constructed, Prayer and sacrifice preceded the battle, accompanied each tier containing one hundred rowers. This ship carried, with the exhortations of the admiral. The signal for enmoreover, its complement of sailors and soldiers, and was gaging was given by sound of trumpet, which was repeated called the Isis. Astill more wonderful vessel was constructed round the fleet, as also by hanging out a gilded shield, or about the same time by Archimedes, at the command of banner, from the admiral's galley, which vessel was moreHiero, King of Sicily. This ship had in it banqueting-rooms, over distinguished by a red Hag. The battle continued as galleries, stables, baths, and fish-ponds; it had also a temple | long as the shield, or banner, was elevated. A pæan, or of Venus, the floors and sides of which were painted with war-song, to Mars was chaunted by the party which made scenes from the Iliad of Homer. There seems to have been a the attack; and a hymn to Apollo was sung by the rage at this time for constructing these huge machines, which victors. the deficient nautical skill of the times could not apply The admiral's galley would begin the engagement by to any useful purpose. They resembled floating islands, endeavouring by a sudden, close, and parallel movement, and, indeed, we are told that these, and such like fabrics, to break, or sweep off, the whole set of oars on one side of were too unwieldy for use, and served merely for show and a hostile vessel, which would thereby be disabled from perostentation. In a word, if there be no exaggeration, which forming any further manœuvres; or they might seek to is much suspected, and we be under no misapprehension, disorder the enemy's line by attacks with the beaked prow, which is much feared, respecting these accounts, they serve, while the soldiers assailed their rivals with slings and at least, to show that human nature often impotently darts, and eventually with swords and spears. In fact, the attempts to outdo itself. The most usual size for vessels, latter part of the battle would more nearly resemble a land. in the more perfect condition of ancient navigation, allowed fight; for, when the ships came to close quarters, one party five tiers of oars, holding three hundred rowers, above or the other would throw out iron grapnels, by which the whom were two hundred fighting men. The oars of those vessels were locked together, and the weaker prevented who were at the lower part of the vessel, and, consequently, from escape. This plan was usually resorted to by the nearer the water, were shorter than those of the rowers party which was the inferior of the two in naval tactics. above, whose oars increased in length proportionally as they | We find boarding-pikes mentioned by Homer as being used ascended. We are not well informed of the manner of ap- | in naval encounters. plying the oars from so many tiers as we have here men- To enter more into detail of this sort would lead us intioned, or even more; and how the mechanical force, ne.. sensibly from our subject. We may remark, however, that cessary for working the upper and longest oars, was effec- if the country which a fleet was sailing to, was hostile, or tively brought into play, but such we see on several coins if there was no good harbour, they would draw their ships and other fragments of antiquity. Two large holes at the on land and form a naval camp. prow of a vessel, occasionally used for oars, were called the The naval business of Athens had very great reference ship's eyes. It has been noticed by voyagers, that in the to war; but as conquest and the extension of dominion fishing-boats of the Society Islands, these eyes are made of was the sole object proposed by the Romans in their as shells. To bear up into the wind, Acts xxvii. 15, means, sumption of naval tactics, all the proper business of naviwhen literally translated, to present its eyes to the wind,- gation, from the master to the rower, was allowed to lie in in modern nautical language, to loof up against the wind. the hands of slaves, or of the lowest classes. Hence the

Ships of war had at the prow a wooden projection, covered Romans make no figure in maritime history. with brass, termed a beak; the use of which was to dash violently against an enemy's vessel, and sink or shatter it. Pieces of wood, placed on each side of the prow of a vessel, to ward off or counteract the force of the enemy's beak, were termed the ship's ears. The Romans, having defeated the Carthaginians in several naval encounters, carried home as prizes the beaks of the enemy's ships which they had captured. These they hung up in the Forum, about the tribunal from whence the public orators harangued the citizens. This pulpit was, therefore, called the rostrum, which is the Latin for beak. Hence, a person about to speak publicly, is said to mount the rostrum.

Over these vessels were certain raised platforms; at their sides were projecting stages, and on their forecastles were towers, on which the soldiers stood and levelled their missive weapons with greater force and certainty against the enemy: whereas the rowers, by their position in the hull of the vessel, were always secure from damage. Sometimes an attempt was made to sink the enemy by discharging a heavy weight of stone or lead into his ship. In the case of a siege on the sea-side, ships were connected together, along the circuit of water surrounding the walls; on which ships high towers were erected at intervals, to enable the besiegers to annoy the townsmen, and perchance to scale the walls, (see p. 40.) The besieged would, by means of a long lever, invented by Archimedes, lift the invading ships up out of the water; and suddenly letting them go, dash them to pieces. Towers made so as to be quickly raised, or let down, were used also in general naral engagements. Many ships had coverings of hides or skins, to protect all

EARS AND EYES OF THE SHIP who were in the vessel from the darts of the enemy. The shields of the soldiers were usually hung upon the railing (see p. 40) which begirt the ship, and above which the stages appeared,

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »