art sales for fine art

... where art and art lovers meet...

How we develope a print file for Giclee Printing
Studio's for artistis represented by
ARTists Represented at
ARTicles on topics of interest
ART History topics from 4000 BCE to the Present
A Directory of art resources on the Internet

Shop for prints at
Print Archive

Francis Xavier
Co_Founder of the Jesuit Order and Missionary to Japan
Mission to Japan

Oleg Stavrowsky
Art Prints


Ancient Mystery
Chester Comstock

Art History
Bronze Weapons

Article: Angelic
Journey In Time

Chief's Pride
A Collaboration

Nuptial Finery
Comstock Studio

Linda Dabeau

Liturgical Art

Sculpture Studio
Historical Art
Sir Edmund Hillary

Bill Tyree

Ancient Ships: The Ships of Antiquity

The Egyptian Galleons

Egyptian seafaring ships from the 5th Dynasty 2458-2446 BCE

This ship is typical of the vessels used during the reign of Pharaoh Sahure over 4400 years ago.  Egypt's expanding interests in trade goods such as ebony, incense such as Myrh and frankincense, gold, copper and other useful metals inspired the Egyptians to build suitable ships for navigation of the  open sea. The navy of Sahure traded with Lebanon for cedar and traveled the length of the Red Sea to the Kingdom of Punt, modern Ethiopia and Somalia for ebony, ivory and aromatic resins. Ship builders of that era did not use pegs (treenails) or metal fasteners, but relied on rope to keep their ships assembled.  Planks and the superstructure were tightly tied and bound together with rope binders. Joints and cracks in the superstructure were sealed with pitch and bitumen.

 Historical records show that Pharaoh Sahure the second king of the 5th Dynasty established an Egyptian navy and sent a fleet to Punt and traded with cultures in the Eastern Mediterranean. His pyramid has colonnaded courts and relief sculptures which illustrate his naval fleet and record his military career consisting mostly of campaigns against the Libyans in the western desert. He is credited to have begun the cemetery complex at Saqqara and he also had a diorite quarry just west of Abu Simbel.
Model Picture Provided By Hobby World Of Montreal King Sahure's Ship 2458-2446 BCE 5th Dynasty

King Sahure purchased cedar timbers and commissioned the ship builders from the area of ancient city Byblos to create his ships; the importance of the Phoenician culture in seafaring technologies and trade throughout the eastern Mediterranean should not be underestimated. Bigger ships of seventy to eighty tons displacement suited to long voyages became quite common (In size they can be compared to Columbus's Santa Maria with a displacement of 100 tons or his smaller ships with about fifty). How and where these types of ships were used other than the expeditions where records are available is a matter for speculation and conjecture. The adventures of seafarers were the subject of Egyptian literature and the story of the shipped wrecked sailor recordered in approxiametely 2200 BCE is but one example that sheds some light on the matter.

Front View of Sahure's ships Circa 2500 BCE

The next ship is a model constructed from illustrations on wall panels at the funerary complex of Hapshetsut. One thousand years of Egyptian history and the evolution of ship building in Egypt separates the two ships.  It is interesting to make a comparison of the results of the shipwrights craft in the two different millennia. Hatshepsut's ships are generally larger and more complex in their superstructure. Most noteworthy is the fact that Sahures ship used larger sections in their planking.

Egyptian Seagoing Vessel
XVIII Dynasty (1580-1350 B.C.)
August F. Crabtree Collection of Miniature Ships
Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Virginia

A modern model of an Egyptian sea worthy ship created on the basis of information from the funerary temple of Hatshepsut. This model of a 15th century BCE merchant ship was made after   the wall relief at Deir el Bahri. The ship was about 22 meters long and 5 meters wide. It didn't have a wooden keel but got its stability from a thick rope fastened under tension at either extremity of the ship. There were fifteen rowing oars on either side, two connected oars used as rudder, a single mast and a 15-meter wide horizontal sail. The stern was decorated with a carved lotus flower. A major expedition to the Land of Punt (probably modern day Somalia) down the Red Sea and into the Indian Ocean was undertaken under Queen Hatshepsut.

Another story of seafaring trade is the journey of Wenamen in 1100 BCE, a trading expedition gone wrong in Egypt. This story illustrates the extent to which cultures bordering the seacoasts relied on ships and boats for their transportation and trade. Seafaring was the cheapest and fastest means of transportation, which meant the majority of trade was conducted by shipping by boat. In the Eastern Mediterranean cultures generally established cities and towns close to coastlines in order to take advantage of this phenomenon.   

  Rameses III recorded his conflict and defeat of the sea peoples at Medinet Habu. This model of a 13th century warship was made after wall paintings at Medinet Habu depicting the victory of Ramses III over the Sea Peoples. The high bulwarks protected sailors and soldiers from enemy missiles.

Egyptian Ship used during the conflict with the Sea Peoples 1250 BCE

Eighteen oars gave it the maneuverability, which was a decisive factor in the Egyptian victory.  Like all Egyptian ships of this period, it was not laid on a keel, but got its structural strength from a gangway-connecting stern to bow. It had a single mast with gangway connecting stern to bow. The single mast was hung with a horizontal sail. The stern was decorated with a lion's head crushing a human skull. This model of a Philistine man of war was equally constructed according to the Medinet Habu paintings. This is the kind of vessel the Sea Peoples would have used in their attempt to invade Egypt in 1280 BCE.  This implies that this kind of ship may have been used and available to the entire confederation of Sea Peoples, therefore this kind of vessel structure may have been used throughout the Aegean and Black Sea Regions.  Its lack of rowing oars may have been a distinct disadvantage in the confined space of the Nile delta where they must have been incapable of using their ram against the more maneuverable Egyptian vessels. This also indicates that this design was not created primarily for military use. The sea people depended heavily on land forces for the success of their military campaigns. Although not as effective in its design for Naval battles this ships overall structural design was superior to that of the Egyptian ships, having a proper keel and body ribs to make the hull ridged.

Modern model of a ship of the sea peoples created after the illustrations on wall panels at Mendinet Habu. Circa 1250 BCE . The model is at the Haifa Naval Museum, Israel.

Previous | Next | Table Of Contents

Site map | Shop |Top of Page | Legal | Privacy | Contact Us | Disclaimer   
©2003-2010, All Rights Reserved