Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World / Edition 1

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Lionel Casson's encyclopedic study is the first of its kind to use underwater archaeological data to refine and area of scholarship that had, for the most part, relied on ancient texts and graphic representations. Tracing the history of early ships and seamanship from pre-dynastic Egypt to the Roman empire, from skiffs and barges to huge oared warships and royal yachts, Casson describes not only the ships themselves, but also the make-up and training of the crews, placement of weaponry, how cargo was stored, methods of navigation, harbor facilities, and the ways ships were named.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Greece and Rome

A wonderful book made even better.

International Journal of Maritime History

A bible for all interested in ancient ships, shipbuilding, and sailing techniques... it is a standard reference for every student of ancient history, not only for those interested in maritime matters.

Lloyd's List

Lionel Casson's scholarship is impeccable and he adds data from underwater archaeological research. In this paperback edition much new material is included..The remarkable performance of the Kyrenia ship replica, for example, will facinate any sailing reader. Clearly they were nautical experts, these Kyrenia seafarers of 300 BC!

American Neptune

Casson is one of those rare individuals able to make a highly technical subject not only understandable to the general reader, but interesting as well... This is unquestionably the finest general reference on the subject of ancient seafaring; copiously illustrated, erudite, and always readable, [it] belongs in the library of anyone with even a passing interest in the roots of maritime enterprise.

Classical Philology

This fine book... should remain the standard authority on ancient ships for many years to come.

Archaeological Journal

A comprehensive and up-to-date work of reference... [Casson's] extremely thorough study of representations of boats and vessels is complemented by his vast knowledge of text references.

**** Reprint of the classic work originally published by Princeton U. Press in 1971 (and distinguished by inclusion in BCL3). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801851308
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 470
  • Sales rank: 1,331,188
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Lionel Casson is professor emeritus of classics at New York University. He is the author of Daily Life in Ancient Rome, Daily Life in Ancient Egypt, Illustrated History of Ships and Boats, and Travel in the Ancient World, the last available from Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Ch. 1 Floats, Rafts, and the Earliest Boats 3
Ch. 2 Egypt and Mesopotamia 11
Ch. 3 The Eastern Mediterranean: 3000-1000 B.C. 30
Ch. 4 The Eastern Mediterranean: 1000-500 B.C. 43
Ch. 5 The Age of the Trireme: 500-323 B.C. 77
Ch. 6 The Warships of the Hellenistic Age: 323-31 B.C. 97
Ch. 7 The Roman Imperial and Byzantine Navies 141
Ch. 8 Merchant Galleys 157
Ch. 9 Sailing Ships 169
Ch. 10 Shipbuilding 201
Ch. 11 Rudder, Rigging, Miscellaneous Equipment 224
Ch. 12 Seasons and Winds, Sailing, Rowing, Speed 270
Ch. 13 Officers and Men 300
Ch. 14 Small Craft 329
Ch. 15 Markings and Names 344
Ch. 16 Harbors 361
List of Abbreviations 371
Glossary of Nautical Terms 383
Glossary of Greek and Latin Terms 388
General Index 403
Index of Citations 417
Index of Ships' Names 439
Addenda and Corrigenda 443
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