172nd Bardot Blog: The House of Phaiax; No 4 in Series: Odysseus the Fleetmaster over Home Fleet Shipworks

In Introduction: Odysseus at Merchant Vessels, 1272-1268 BC

To renew our immersions in the lore of Cephallenia, exclusive Scheria as outside the Ityhacan League, had Odysseus spending the months before and after the wintertimes of 1270 and 1269 BC in support of greatest ever shipworks by the former Great Gulf League. They laid out far south of Scheria, of course, at beyond a gamut of coastal passage presented by Thesprotia. I’ve afforded that seascape a good perspective from north to south, as seen on the high hovering bird’s eye view. It has us peering over Sheria.

Laërtes had deemed reasonable that the Great Gulf Galleys be converted forward of their midships, to a modified overall adaption of these longest war vessels to useful short haul freighting. The opportunity of the next two summers served him well. By having his entire Near Fleet, the Home Fleet as usually called, under such major retrofits of its Great Gulf Galley class of warships, his main area of concentration was upon the merchant classes of long cruising vessels. They had all reached an age of their hard use, soon to be supplanted by far superior sisters of every class.

The projects of retrofitting in its entirety remained under father Laërtes’ supremacy, and that involved Mentör as his chief minister over the accountancy of all ship constructions. By the implied alleviation, Odysseus need not supervise closely the three main venues where the actively conducted retrofits, by the dense shipwright populations at Dülichion, Taphia Isthmus and  Prebeza Chersonese. To have serviced them at end of summer with the logs hauled off Ëpeiros across from Scheria Island proved more than enough attentiveness and contribution to the advancement of the Great Gulf Galley class .
We shall have much more to say of those three mentioned venues, because the Bardot Group has had a greatest interest in the evolved geomorphology now found to be so unique to all of their venues. For they once were, during the Late Aegean Bronze Age and its naval prehistory, greatly different from their modern geological appearances.

I leave them aside briefly for the sake of the Bardot Blog that will ensue this posting, because the next shall expalin why so much erasure of their LABA topographies..


Mentör’s commentary renders about another sprawl of shipyards, at Pleuron, upon a riverine setback from the Great Gulf. Its north mainland location took off the prosperity and expansion of a great timber operation interior to Aetolia’s by upstream set backs from the Gulf, in particular the many miles of coiling low country through which deep current and lazy flow of the Achelöos River. Further upstream lay somewhere the up-and-coming major haven of Pleuron, where many minor slipways, construction scaffolding and docksides, There also was a dam by a diversion of that river away from the many miles of low country wending SSW.. Pleuron lay just below that updtream dam, perhaps behind the accumulated heaps of pebbles, bottom talus and washes of smooth stones along the embankments by the Achelöos River that delivered his spates off the high altitude headwaters so far above Lower Aetolia. The dam allowed reconstitution of the sea barriers by such heaped detritus, allowing, therefore, a short protected sea way straight on by flow into the Great Gulf.

Near where modern Mesobingli situates today, Pleuron was afforded its genesis since the late 1280s BC. The original intention was to float mature timber lengths brought down as far as the dammed diversion. They disallowed further floating into the low country as first, because the many weirs that crossed its riverine coils were ideal for the harvesting of eels duringf their migratory runs. It’s hard to believe how greatly that dependance was upon that species of especially prolific fishes. River water, fersh or brackish was ideal to the propagation of eel eggs and the immature species called glass eels.Weirs were a means to cultivating their nurture until become so-called European Congers. But we refer to the particular sub=species that was not predatory upon its own spawn, due to its manner of feeding off muddy and oozy bottoms such as characterize the Achelöos’ long evolution of its serpentine length. It an especially nutrient hardy river in any case.

Upstream, by as vast wrap around through Aetolia’s far eastern ravines, deep enough water had needed to be contained further until even deeper. That was to affect a proper long diversion, a timber parking lot as best imagined. Sisyphus of Isthmian Ephyrëa had concerted with Laërtes to create such a man-made debouch that articulated above the main dam. That construction, furthermore, sluiced deep and wide enough for high water flooding that slipped logs down off where they were amassed to the shipyards that drew off their plentiful timber launched and sent down by the Aetolian Highlanders.

View Southward over the Small Gulf & The Echinades Isles

[Image: We say aside here, however, that we are not believers in a mythical Calydon, in lieu of Pleuron, as anytime extant during the Late Aegean Bronze Age. That later capital seat than Old Pleuron (it later moved to an new location) ruled over a realm which composed from parts of eastern interior Aetolia, where a vast wilderness once shared with Gulf Phokis. The realm became Ozalian or West Lokris, by a majopr clearing settlement during the Archaic Age – afterwards of the Greek Dark Age from 1200 to 800 BC. Strabo makes a huge clutter of the ensuing tribal settlements, so I spare our readers the exactitude of his professed geography about a region that did not exist to any importance before 1200 BC (After, that is, the Illyric-Doric invaders as a rampant diffusion throughout the 11tth century BC. Hereon, by Pleuron, we have a region of eastern Aeolia, where a long bend of the Achelöos River through gorges takes a strong eastern direction of spring torrents, until a curvature of bends, until the River’s sustainable flow westward by watershed over the Lower Pindus Moutains. Man made damming has long been known above Aetolia’s Lake Trichonis, whereupon western low country shared with far western Arkanania. The Great Gulf’s north mainland shoreline is dominated at its western extent by hillock glaciation of both Aetolia and Phokis. The interior of both regions lays out as wilderness gorges of Greece’s two torrential rivers, the Achelöos/Achelóus and Euenos/Evenus].

Sluiced all the way down from the Upper Achelöos, long and slim logs also floated upon the annual flood spates that rendered the great river so swollen. Not quite flooding by overflow of embankments by early spring melt-off, the Pindus Mountains’ southwest of midriff delivered those melts most capaciously. They did so because of a long cycle of climate cooling since 1800 BC, which until the 15th century BC caused annual heavy snowcap. Cascades of snow lay over elevated hummocks most everywhere the great mountain range’s piedmont elevations. Such heavy accumulation of snow does not exist today, although the courses of the Achelöos and Arachthos Rivers still render highly apparent deep gorges that have denuded all rocky embankment in support of former heritage woodlands.

So, even as the two rivers of the north mainland assumed set courses southward during the more severe climate cooling above their respective debouches, the old growth heritage forests remained conservatories of lush and vast forests. They were distinguished by diverse and finest specimens of species pines, spruces and firs. While hardly as impressive for their lengths and girths as the timber that Ëpeiros across from Scheria once nurtured over the passing millennia, the Highlanders of north mainland central Greece had learned since the 1270s how to ably exploit the Aetolian wilderness for the sake of merchant ship timber resources at Pleuron. Logging the long shores each side of the Great Gulf proved a monopoly of these peacetime allies to Cephallenia after 1286 BC. The Ithacan League under Laërtes embraced all Highlanders as partners to towing fells to the debouch of the major diversion that passed by n ascent Pleuron.

Accordingly, there was means almost immediately to accumulating considerable logging stocks, whose variety of measured lengths and girths were amenable to the needs of shipwrights at designs. Their craft involved many natural kinds of bents and discriminated carefully the resource exactions of timbers for merchant vessels of large sizes in particular.

Merchant Vessels and Large Warships as Capital Assets

The Highlanders and the Cephallenes at convergent purposes by expanding Pleuron, the latter made it a seaport and repository of lumber awhile Odysseus’ four year tenure as Fleetmaster over the Ithacan League. That tenure proved able of service to Pleuron’s logistical needs, because Odysseus also affected considerable relocation of artisan skilled shipwrights to advanced merchant vessel class designs. He carried on enthusiastically off the example of his father, awhile Laertes co-regent years with his father Arceisius and his own solitary reign after that grandfather of Odysseus died (1280?) . Those years also demarcated Odysseus’ new found intimacy with his greatly beloved grandmother Amphithea, the mother of Anticleia.

“YaiYai” was the Meda over Gulf Phokis, but also a governess astute to appreciate well her own north mainland seaport of Itea. It was the major receiving destination for livestock imports bequeathed to the Great Chrissa Plain. Such venerated gifts of young and pristine livestock was the tithe of devotional people everywhere to the Oracle of Parnassos. By a parochial economy otherwise, the Sibyls and Elders of the Oracle exploited the grants to petitioners most desirous to know the credible futures of their families and realms. I am personally of the belief that delivered well and often astoundingly to their devoted petitioners.

Overlook to Itea & The Western Extent of the Great Chrissa Plain

Dense Olove Orchards replace the lush and plentiful pasturage of Phokis. The blue green canopy was once just as uniform as verdant grassland on account of the sunken plain’s reception of warming sunshine even in the depths of winter. The Chrissa Plain was kept a highly protected conservatory, but almost was lost over the Cephallenes’ warfare to alleviate a martial occupation of Phokis, Thebes and the Isthmus of Ephyrea from 1301 to 1286 BC.

Three Classes of Commercial Vessels

The primary class of Livestock Transport takes the offered abstract depiction below……

Broad of beam, and of no standard length by its class, please also note the permanently stepped masts, here with yards and square sails raised. The Cephallenes were late to articulate their preferred sailing rigging. While these sails could be reefed to lessen the burden of seizure of the linen fabric by strong winds arisen abaft, the main judgement about sail wear was whether to use the foresail’s yard in a manner somewhat akin to a jib articulated by the forestay (here not a rendered detail). That’s to say to jib the sail so that the transport vessel could point somewhat into the wind, while using the oars here depicted to compensate from leeway affected bearings caused by a wind arriving from abeam. The main sail was always kept square with brail ropes strung from the lower hem of its fabric for tie-downs to the stern rail. We see that rail here is held up by stern armatures.

Which feature should not confuse: The deliberate clearance of the rail above the stern allowed a ramp to be hauled over the stern bulkhead and laid down upon a shallow shore for the livestock to tread. Accordingly, this vessel was capacious enough for a whole flock to stand within, and the animals were renderd more docile as packed in with natural leaders among them for the soothing they affected. Dung, of course, was an attendant maintenance chore by such mass movements of animals on the hoof. We theorize that these vessels had no bilges in order to keep the dung from settling within them. Rather the hull was hollowed at its center line, above which some kind of long box upon which a manger for forage was nested for the nourishment of the animals. But the long box’s manger for the forage could be removed, to expose the water passing beneath the hull and the box. Dung could then be dumped down the box at end of day, or by an overnight chore while the livestock was allowed to graze ashore at nighttime layover. The collection of dung to good use and purpose has also to be considered, for there was a modest value to populace of landfalls in the manuration by wastes brought ashore for carting into inland tllth.

The sturdy vessel in class was especially useful along the Great Gulf and along the few sounds that characterize mainland coast acseveral islands within the Ionian Sea.

The true freighter of the Cephallenes takes the appearance that we afford through several other figures…..

BiPod Masted Freighter Basic to Sailing while Rowing

The vessel depicted had a broad and capacious hold for bearing freighted goods at height above the bilge beneath its decked amidship. However, there’s a lot about this merchant class that we can’t yet understand in any rigorous manner of our knowledge gains. The BiPod mast is an obvious leading feature, understandable for its use of a hoist by positioning its peak over the bow, for dragging and lifting of cargoes off a landfall. Why it was otherwise crutched, when not in use, upon two stanchions crossed by two weak appearing spanners, has us stumped.

This very rare depiction suggests that some other feature is missing. Or even two lost features, perhaps. The decked bow that is stepped down and into may reflect the original provenance of this vessel as a very large fishing smack. The fish catch by nets were unloaded far forward and kept wet while waves wash drained overboard by laterally places scuppers. The second and more speculative feature, also missing from the depiction, is clued by the castellated stern deck, or helm deck, that’s raised aft of large hold directly before and beneath it. We speculate that this vessel’s primary freight was, in fact sacked grain, which burden was settled amidship upon the raised top deck, also depicted. With so much cargo stacked as sacks amidship,perhaps cargoes taken into holds for exchange along the way of itinerary had not other hold capcious enough except that suggested by the uncovered holds against the stern bulkhead.

What we do know about these Bipod Cargo Vessels is therir admirable seaworthiness, and that they traveled long cruise itineraries most reliably. While the depiction does not allow an understanding of many oars beasting broadside, the possibility of a very large oarage, or manning by rowers, can’t be dismissed. Another gallery for oars at the breasting may have located below the amidship decking, but what belies that is the attendant understanding that this clas of vessel was indeed greatly manned. We don’t know that, can’t know that. Besides, there are many other good uses for a covered hold amidship, the greatest of which were the live stores and other resupply that these vessels likely “sutled” or served to whole fleets underway a systematic pland of war and all attendant logistics. Until we can gain a knowledge of this vessels quite regular large manning, and why for, there’s much about the BiPod that we have still to learn.

The Strongoli or Round Hull

The Round-Hull merchant ship was built to its class by the Cephallenes from the already long tradition of the skin sewn boat. The earliest era known began as sectional patterns of heavy strop leather, all then stitched together. When plastered with lac, tar and varnish the patterns adhered to the warped framing of the final round hull. How that worked from such a proper “plasticity” of the ship’s exoskeleton seems confounding, because of the warping demanded of all structural features.

Additonally, the Round Hull was most definitely not a keel boat, because it did not even have a keelson. Instead, its structural integrity and sea worthiness lay in movements through water “on a wallow” that alleviated most stresses of high waves, rolling swells, or the choppy waters that both can convey together.

The essential difficulty lay in the hollowness of the hull that was always required by the criterion of capaciousness. First, it seems, a shipyard established the overall length of the hull by single long and strait trunk of a tall tree. It was suspended from two basal stanchions that defined bow stem and vertical simulation of the aft bulwark. Those ends sere then scaffolded in anticipation of the two broadsides of the ship. This hung log was called the hogging axis of the intended ship because its length was thought in abstract fashion to bisect the essential plane of waterline, at a level to the sea surface outside. The log had strong spokes affixed to it, their end affixed downward to rounded bents of wooden frames. I can’t help imagining two frames doweled and trussed together to achieve the balanced curvature required of the final hull bottom. The scaffolding, of course held the frames at rest upon the ground and in proper upward alignments. All frames were then thrust outward and kept that way by thwarts, or cross planks and/or cross beams. Spokes off the hogging axis, or log, reinforced the uniform thrust of the exoskeleton in preparation for the appliqués of leather patterns laid upon it.

The framing overall was capped by rails, which seaferers called wales of certain types. Their was a wale along the waterline establsished for the vessel as empty or unladen. There was another wales for the waterline of the fully burdened vessel. The re was a capping wale that enveloped the entire vessel as wrapped around the hull above its freeboard. Another wale was required to “secure” the planks of decking, although many Round Hulls might not have any decking, whereupon they were called aphractos. Open vessels without any decking might describe the midship, but the projection of stern and bow in almost all cases of such ships require some kind of decking, howsoever abbreviated.

Sterns, or poops, and bows were, respectively, the aftship and foreship for descriptive purposes. They were modular constructions by attachment to the midship sewn seam and patterned hull. How both ends were stitched or adhered together took many ways and means to accomplishment. They are beyond my extensive knowledge of this ancient sea lore about merchant vessels. I shall not essay the diversity of means to ends, therefore.

The oldest sewn skin vessels originated upon the Nile, wholly besides the many trussed reed rafts earliest by Mesopotamia. Both riverine civilizations evolved to imitate the best features of both such crafts, neither of which, I emphasize again, had nothing approximating keels or keelsons. Dispensing with reeds, but lacking dense forests upon their desert landscapes, we can only skip over how and from where timber was imported to their respective river settings from vast wilderness woodland by their headwaters. Suffice to say, round bottomed boats wrapped by skins patterned and tailored to the curvature of framework of accomplished exoskeletons. Rendered “plastic” that way, the hogging beam hung lengthwise of the hull’s slipway was the lenmgthwise focus of stresses from all water outside the vessel. Put simply it “bristled flexibly to withstand stresses imposed upon the hull. Main thwarts pushed outward circumferentially against the warped frames.

[Image: The sewn skin merchant vessel here depicted shows the Egyptians’ introduction of thin veneer planks by way of laminations over the patterned hide skins beneath them. This enhanced seaworthiness, although the depicted vessel is suitable solely riverine traffic of goods, or more simply, for transporting more than for trading along its way of itienrary. The sail is woven by broad leafed grass to its square shape, and the result is rendered taught by two yards above and below its area. The stems at stern and at bow had to be rearticulated for deep sea water conditions, as was the sail by resort to linen, as turdier fabric to withstand high swells and the scudded waves that surmount them.]

That was good enough for water conditions characteristic of lakes, ponds and rivers. Because all bracing ran away from that suspended timber, the hogging axis, the patterned skins stitched together eventually needed overlay of planking by imported strips of wood to meet the conditions of open deep sea. Such cladding by planks or strips attests to truly amazing craftmanship by the flush joinings in the manner of mortices or carved pegs, and tenons or carved slots, byt which pegs were inserted slots. The outward appearance was a flush planked hull, such as today is called (overall) a carvel hull. Neither the seafarers of the Nile or along Mesopotamia ever thjought of a clinker hull such as the Vikings built, where planks were dowled together so that every upper plank lay its bottom edge over a lower plank and affixed thereby the dowels. The few ships found upon the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea reveal themselves Round Hulls of many strips of lengthwise knotless woods, usually Cedar.
As for how the carvel hull operated on the water as buoyant and seemingly “on the wallow, firstly to be said, its ship must always have seemed top heavy until laden in full or by bulk of cargo. Freight distribution also had to brace the “exoskeleton” of the hull, against which the skins were first pinned, then sewn, then outwardly planked. Water pressure exercised the plasticity of smooth hull finishes by exerting both dynamic and harmonic stresses while water flowed along the buoyant hull as propelled by oar or sails.
The modeling of hull shape, I say redundantly, was solely fashioned by standardized patterns of skins, sometimes veneer laminations, sometimes by shaped bark sections, each alternative laid over the braced ribs. The sectional patterns were readily replicated from strop leather hides to form a standardized, well-crafted smooth surface. The primeval skin boat itself, once laminated by absorbent lacs and tars, retained most necessary subtleness under constant contact with streaming water. The buoyancy resulted directly from such resilience and a lessening of strain upon the entire exoskeleton. At deep sea navigation the merchant Round Hulls managed their hogging or wallowing so that the hull strength wassufficient to withstand laterally imposed dynamic stresses. The hull had not the strength to stand a rocky landfall, however, so they had to be moored or docked, accordingly.
The Minoans and the Levantines (precursors to the Phoenicians) advanced this basic hull construction by novel praxeis (construction programming) from as many as eighty lengthwise plank or strip bents for each broadside. That they effectively supplanted the old Nilotian methods of stitched and patterned skins is attested by their buoyancy to withstand high rolling swells of deep sea.. What neither the Minoans or the Nilotians could build until the 15th century BC were whole hulls by mortice and tenon jointures that bore sufficient lateral resilience. That being required to face a rough and battering sea’s tempestuous conditions, their hulls were insufficient of thwarts and beams that might be wedded to their surfaces by implanted dowels. It was easier, it seems, to use the old and well tried methods, by stitched patterns of hides, to laminate the inside and outside of the earliest known round-hull vessels. That they did achieve outstanding water-tight vessels, nevertheless, became of centuries of trial and error by innovative surfacing craftsmanship.

[Image: The crude color rendition of a simple merchant tramp vessel, for short haul freighting, is intriguing for its simple points made. While this as a keeled vessel, its simplifies early sail rigging and the manner of sheeting or stabilizing the yard off which the sail’s square fabric hung. Note the sheets running from yard to the mast box in particular, whereby a method of turning the yard commensurate with the direction of wind coming abaft (from astern) at either quartering or direct propelling velocities. Any comparable true round hull vessel of this character would not cut deep sea well, given the bow and stern features depicted. A sturdier poop was required to support a helm deck, and the bow had to rise to lead its stem over oncoming winds.]

To compensate for the long missing lateral stability, the shipwrights of Crete organized the capacious holds of their vessels so that the cargo itself provided considerable lateral resilience to deep water stresses. By stacking freight amidships upon woven wicker sections, for instance, the shipwrights laid cargo elements over the bilges. Then, pressed firmly down with copper and tin ingot that looked like flayed hides, those sections became sustaining of the broadside bulwarks. Tucked into such stacking and pressing were bracing racks for containers such as amphoras and metallic jars. By such layering or stacking of holds amidships, the freighting also reinforced the lengthwise beams and lateral bracing spokes. Anything like thwarts – cross planks or beams – spanned the vessel only at nearest the bow and aft decks of Round-Hulls. They allowed a well ballasted ship, at last, which is also to say a seaworthy vessel, but only once a full hull was laden by the stacking below and just above the settled waterline.

[Image: Absent the later innovations of stern and bow modules, this merchant vessel approximates the class of merchant ship brought to deep water freighting by the Cephallenes.The amnner by which a broad beamed vessel could prove lengthy and still seaworthy is shown by the low curvature of the broadside seen here in profile. Quite simple it curves, whereby a means of enhanced buoyancy despite high and long wave swells into which it had to “hog,” or wallow; it rode over crests of swells and choppy waves well, because the broadness of beam helped the vessel plane off the peaks of swells and waves. The tall and proportionally narrow square sail was suitable to a shallow sea such as the Adriatic was in the years it was still called the Ionian Gulf. The planked hull depicted shows an artist who did not realize this was a vessel without a keel. The artist also suggest a clinker hull, or planking by clapboarding, rather than a clinker hull composed of flush strips of wood (1.5 X 1.0 or 1.75 X 1.5 inches) brought flush together my morticing and tenoning them together. The sail is intriguing by the loops along the sides of the square sail. This assisted reefing of sails to reduce its area exposed to strong winds. But the loops also allowed for full width spanners, by way to batten the sail flat for better reception of light sailing winds drifting up to the ship abaft.]

The superbly rounded shapes of such hulls was essential to their vessels at any undertaking of hazardous deep water. For they rolled and wallowed at their headway to any place of next destination intended, wherefore to lay off content from their holds systematically. Finely ballasted lading was the only assured way to achieve seaworthiness between deep water destinations far apart— irrespective prevailing water and wind conditions. To actually build strong vessels throughout their lengths, by both cross beams and ribbed thwarts, too much weight and cumbersomeness was added during and throughout the Minoan era. Strengthening also limited the capacity of the Cretan Round-Hulls to freight well in a best commercial way, in accordance with a supercargo’s acute sense of her “useful tonnage” at taking on and lading off cargoes by his swap exchanges of bartered goods. The Levantine vessel depicted nearest above indicates evollved betterment of seaworthiness without sacrifice opf a light weight amidships. That said, we acknowledge our lack of depictions, and therefore of knowledge, about bow and stern modules that rendered Round Hulls highly diverse.]

Further innovations, all of them excellent by both those nation races, were structural coping to allow a sturdy cage, into which a mast was properly stepped and braced by running rigging. The latter suspended cordage affixed the broadside bulwarks at just barely aloft the hogging axis or timber. The mast was stabilized by running rigging stayed outboard and secured the mast in a fixed fashion that could be biased forward or aft. A mast’s stepping point, or pivotal moment, lay below the waterline. That way to poise its peak, a full raised sail hung off a yard hauled upright, high and collared. That rigging did not render the ship top-heavy by the wear of the especially heavy linen canvas. The mast enabled sailing, of course, while the elaborate running rigging held it poised somewhat flexibly by its attitude once upright, thus slightly leaning forward, or boldly raked aft. At one or the other bias the square sails once tautly sheeted, those most rugged sailing vessels of the Minoans managed very well their short point-to-point itineraries of merchant cruising.

Innovation by Cephalos and the Lelegans of the Saronic Gulf

The true genius that brought a next era’s extreme innovation of commercial trading vessels, especially the long voyaging classes within a typical convoy assemblage, had become easy exercises of diversification for Cephalos by 1372 BC. His well sponsored shipbuilding did not at first apply to Round Hulls, however, or to the other classes of merchant vessels such as we’ve now established to have commonplace. Cephalos since a boy wasa advantaged by a dedicated and dense populace of skilled shipwrights called Lelegans (from Leleges). Many of their coastal communities had abandoned the imperial Minoans or migrated by diffusion by returns from Anatolia and the Greek Archipelago for lack custom for their skills. By the time Cephalos became a lad entering into his early teenage years, He had his older first cousins accepting innovations by skilled shipwrights of the Saronic Gulf. Their earliest commercial vessels I’ve called skiffs, which Cephalos emploed as fishing vessels, and later as most welcomed passenger transports for crosiing an increasingly industrious Saronic Gulf.

The classes introduced previously, within this posting, worked especially well for him later, over the later long duration of his reign as the eventual High Chief (Medon) over the Echinades Isles ( from 1350 until 1330 BC). His evolved improvements were mostly purposive to the quality of his vessels’ handling by simplest wear of sails or their style of rigging as well depicted by the second ship depicted above, called a carota. Odysseus would soonest be adopting both lateen or square hung by topping yards of considerable breadths. By Cephalos’ last decade, the 1330s, the Round-Hull’s wholly built essentials became unchanging otherwise, with respect to its most important features. Odysseus was to benefit from his patriarchal forbear’s standardization of a final class of Round Hull at the wallow and roll of any deep sea that it confronted.

I end this posting with his own first expressed naval genius at shipbuilding around the Saronic Gulf. While only a lad, Cephalos developed the bow heavy configuration of the skiff that led directly into the Spoon Round-Hull (our term-of-art as based on the porcelain soap spoons used by the Japanese. Cephalos made it a perfected class of cargo carrier by a forward bias of the skiff’s hold. Instead of a skin boat or anything its like, Cephalos originated a hull of broad beam based upon platforming over narrow dugout logs. Forward beam was always elliptically rounded at far below the waterline; it composed from tree trunks olf ample girths by hollowing them out. Beam and defined freeboard he established by lateral thwart planking, sometimes by crude hewn thjin logs. His hulls remained within that tradition of the sunken basal dugout hull, all else of vessel superstructure biased of mass backwards when the skiff was unladen, but intended for dipping down and forward when fully laden with fish catch or numerous passengers.

The eccentric hold far forward of any mast box attested Cephalos first design of large fishing vessels in fleet numbers for the netting of weighty catches. The saronic Gulf was once famous for the many runs of migratory schools of fish. Contained within the afforded dugout bilge of the foreship, this same class of vessel became excellent for ferrying passengers as an afterthought—for when the holds were empty and could be bench seated over. Having no feature tantamount to a keel or keelson, that forward biased ballast compensated for the lengthy weight built backward as a odest miship for rowing and a high rise to a helm deck aft. The latter was severely heightened, and not yet become a poop as defined, the lateral planking, laid down abeam and behind the mast box, allowed the stern base of lift into high platform stability.

The Spoon Round-Hull by Cephalos, from 1330 BC

Our 174th Bardot Blog addresses the Shipyards of the Ithacan League by its established venues of specialized shipwrighting appropriate to all classes of merchant vessels and warship galleys. But intervening that posting is our 173rd, or next Bardot Blog. It shall be about the geography of Cephallenia and the north mainland across from the Outer Echinades Isles.

for the Bardot Group


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