Ship Building

Ship Building

The Phoenicians were well known navigators in the ancient Mediterranean world and famous for their shipbuilding and maritime trade.

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Phoenician ships had a curved shape with similar stems and sternposts. The masts had two large yardarms. Notice all the ropes used in the yard rigging. The ships also had high washboards with strakes around the deck to prevent cargo from falling off during heavy seas.

The Bible does not refer to seafaring often since the Israelites were an agrarian people rather than maritime. The prophet Ezekiel in his lament over the city of Tyre compares the city to a Tyrian merchant ship, and in doing so he describes the building of Phoenician ships in detail:

"They made all your planks of fir trees from Senir; They took a cedar from Lebanon to make you a mast. Of oaks from Bashan they made your oars; The company of Ashurites have inlaid your planks With ivory from the coasts of Cyprus. Fine embroidered linen from Egypt was what you spread for your sail; Blue and purple from the coasts of Elishah was what covered you." - Ezek 27:5-7

It was the Philistines, Phoenicians, and Syrians who controlled most of the eastern Mediterranean coastline. The Philistine ships were actually built similar to the Phoenician "hippos" style ships, named by the Greeks because of its horse-head prow (Greek hippos). There were also long ram-pointed warships, but the most popular were the round ships with asymmetrical bow and stern as seen in the picture above.

The Phoenicians invented double-oars. Their ships were tall with a high mast and upper and lower decks. 8th century Assyrian reliefs depict Phoenician merchant ships with masts and two banks of oars as seen below.

Recent underwater archaeological excavations at ancient Ashkelon have uncovered Phoenician ships 52 feet long and 20 feet wide, from the 8th century BC. Well rounded with heavy wooden beams with very large cargos of wine (over 12 tons) and some other goods. Apparently these ships were struck by a violent storm, possibly the same as mentions by Ezekiel 27.

Source  Bible-online

 


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