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Ancient and Modern Ships. Part 1. Wooden Sailing Ships   By:

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First Page:

VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM SCIENCE HANDBOOKS.

ANCIENT AND MODERN

SHIPS.

PART I.

[Illustration]

BOARD OF EDUCATION, SOUTH KENSINGTON. VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM.

ANCIENT AND MODERN SHIPS.

PART I. WOODEN SAILING SHIPS.

BY SIR GEORGE C. V. HOLMES, K.C.V.O., C.B.,

HON. MEMBER I.N.A., WHITWORTH SCHOLAR. FORMERLY SECRETARY OF THE INSTITUTION OF NAVAL ARCHITECTS

WITH SEVENTY FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS.

[Illustration]

( Revised. )

LONDON: PRINTED FOR HIS MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE, BY WYMAN AND SONS, Limited, Fetter Lane, E.C.

1906.

To be purchased, either directly or through any Bookseller from WYMAN & SONS, Ltd., Fetter Lane, London, E.C.; or OLIVER AND BOYD, Edinburgh; or E. PONSONBY, 116, Grafton Street, Dublin; or on personal application at the Catalogue Stall, Victoria and Albert Museum, S.W

Price One Shilling and Sixpence in Paper Wrapper, or Two Shillings and Threepence in Cloth.

PREFACE.

An endeavour has been made in this handbook, as far as space and scantiness of material would permit, to trace the history of the development of wooden ships from the earliest times down to our own. Unfortunately, the task has been exceedingly difficult; for the annals of shipbuilding have been very badly kept down to a quite recent period, and the statements made by old writers concerning ships are not only meagre but often extremely inaccurate. Moreover, the drawings and paintings of vessels which have survived from the classical period are few and far between, and were made by artists who thought more of pictorial effect than of accuracy of detail. Fortunately the carvings of the ancient Egyptians were an exception to the above rule. Thanks to their practice of recording and illustrating their history in one of the most imperishable of materials we know more of their ships and maritime expeditions than we do of those of any other people of antiquity. If their draughtsmen were as conscientious in delineating their boats as they were in their drawings of animals and buildings, we may accept the illustrations of Egyptian vessels which have survived into our epoch as being correct in their main features. The researches now being systematically carried out in the Valley of the Nile add, year by year, to our knowledge, and already we know enough to enable us to assert that ship building is one of the oldest of human industries, and that there probably existed a sea borne commerce in the Mediterranean long before the building of the Pyramids.

Though the Phoenicians were the principal maritime people of antiquity in the Mediterranean, we know next to nothing of their vessels. The same may be said of the Greeks of the Archaic period. There is, however, ground for hope that, with the progress of research, more may be discovered concerning the earliest types of Greek vessels; for example, during the past year, a vase of about the eighth century B.C. was found, and on it is a representation of a bireme of the Archaic period of quite exceptional interest. As the greater part of this handbook was already in type when the vase was acquired by the British Museum, it has only been possible to reproduce the representation in the Appendix. The drawings of Greek merchant ships and galleys on sixth and fifth century vases are merely pictures, which tell us but little that we really want to know. If it had not been for the discovery, this century, that a drain at the Piræus was partly constructed of marble slabs, on which were engraved the inventories of the Athenian dockyards, we should know but little of the Greek triremes of as late a period as the third century B.C. We do not possess a single illustration of a Greek or Roman trireme, excepting only a small one from Trajan's Column, which must not be taken too seriously, as it is obviously pictorial, and was made a century and a half after many banked ships had gone out of fashion... Continue reading book >>




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