Ships of Destiny

By R. C. Holmes, published May 1950


The author discusses a personal selection of five ships of seminal significance: Noah’s Ark, an apparently sound structure without propulsion or guidance systems; the Phoenician vessel described by Xenophon, demonstrating impressively efficient stowage and management; William the Conqueror’s ship Mora from representations in the Bayeux Tapestry and a carving in Winchester Cathedral; Columbus’s Santa Maria, with a fuller discussion based on contemporary records; the Chinese junk described by Marco Polo, quoting his full account of the construction, rigging, manning, handling and operation of such vessels. The Chinese junk combines the best features of the others with additional ideas not adopted in Europe until hundreds of years later.

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Filed under: Late Middle Ages | Antiquity | High Middle Ages | Other (location)
Subjects include: Miscellaneous

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