A Model of the Portus Ship

By Dr Jules Sottas, published May 1935

Abstract

The ship in question is that which forms part of a marble bas-relief discovered in the ruins of the ancient harbour constructed by the Emperor Claudius. Sottas built a model of the vessel, based on the bas-relief image, to seek to establish the size and displacement of the original Roman merchant vessel. Having built the 1/40th scale model and floated it with the requisite amount of ballast he calculated that the original had been 21.40m long and could carry a 60 ton payload, which compared favourably to the merchant vessels of the first century of the Roman Empire.

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Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Shipbuilding & Design

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