The Metal Sheathing of Roman Warships

By Lucien Basch, published February 1979


An earlier article by L. Casson (MM 64, 139-142) concluded that while Roman fishing boats were sheathed, warships were not. The reason given was that fishing boats spent longer periods in the water than warships. In this article the author presents iconographic evidence from portraits of ships on mosaic tiles at the baths at Thermetra in Tunisia to argue that the hulls of Roman warships were indeed sheathed and that this correlates with the lengths of time they are known to have been kept afloat.

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Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

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