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Some remarks on the Mediterranean and Red sea ships in Ancient and Medieval times – A preliminary report

Some remarks on the Mediterranean and Red sea ships in Ancient and Medieval times – A preliminary report

By Vassilios Christides

Tropis Symposium Proceedings, Vol. 1 (1985)

Introduction: The difference in shipbuilding between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea vessels in ancient and medieval times has been a topic of many discussions; but the scope of these discussions has been limited to the use of iron fastening in the construction of ships in the Mediterranean in contradistinction to the fastening by stitching the planks with fiber used in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. (To mention a few scholars: J. Hornell, Richard le Baron Bower, G. Hourani, L. Casson, and more recently N. Chittick and Patrice Pomey. The last one shows that sewn boats were also used in the Mediterranean in Roman times).’

The aim of the present paper is first to offer a cursory examination of the main problems concerning the differences between navigation in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea and second to discuss in particular three of an array of problems which have remained obscure, i.e., the differences in the construction of cabins between Eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea – Indian Ocean going merchantmen in medieval times, the use of oars in the same type of vessels in both areas, and the lookout men.

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