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Lighthouse - September, 2016.

Ships and Shipbuilding

Phoenician Vessels 

The most able shipbuilders of ancient times were those of Phoenicia, about 2000 BC, who constructed not only merchant vessels capable of carrying large cargoes, but also warships larger and more effective than any built by their contemporaries, the Egyptians and the Aegeans. The Phoenicians’ most significant contribution was the round boat—a broad-beamed ship that depended principally on sails rather than oars and provided a much larger cargo-space than the narrow galleys. Phoenician round ships travelled the Mediterranean and beyond: to Britain (for trade in tin), and probably far south along the African coast.

Phoenician shipbuilders are also credited with developing bireme and trireme galleys, in which the oars were arranged in two or three banks. Multi-banked galleys are a matter of scholarly dispute. Some authorities, who doubt that the quinqueremes of the Greeks and Romans actually had five banks of oars, suggest that the term means merely that five rowers were assigned to an oar.

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