Greek Merchant-vessel

Greek Merchant-vessel

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Black-figure pottery painting, circa 500BC, of a cargo sailing vessel (holkas) on a kylix, a wide-bowled ceramic drinking cup. The vessel has  a single mast carrying a square-rigged sail that is furled or brailed-up.  At the  stern is the steersman with two steering oars (pedalia) and a landing-ladder.  The prow is decorated with an eye, a common feature of figureheads on Greek vessels, acting as a 'seeing eye' (okulos), not only looking out for the right direction, route and any hazards, but as an 'apotropaic eye’  to ward off evil spirits, demons and monsters. Along the sides are lattice-work bulwarks (cataphracti). A similar 4th century Greek ship was salvaged off the coast of Kyrenia which had been carrying a cargo of over 400 amphorae of wine and oil. The vessel was 14.75 metres long and had a beam of 4.5 metres.

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Keywords: 4th century bc, amphorae, apotropaic eye, artwork, attic, black-figure, bulwarks, cargo sailing vessel, cataphracti, ceramic, figurehead, greek, holkas, illustration, kylix, kyrenia, okulos, olive oil, painting, pedalia, pottery, seeing eye, ship, square-rigged sail. steersman, steering oars, wine

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