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Model, of Phoenician ship

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made in Glasgow

Postcard of Model, of Phoenician ship.
© National Museums Scotland

Model, of Phoenician ship

This wooden model represents a Phoenician ship from around 700 BC. It is based on an ancient Assyrian relief from Nineveh of a two-decked Phoenician fighting vessel belonging to the King of Tyre and Sidon. The model was built to a scale of approximately 1:50 by Mr R W Clark of Glasgow.

Features shown on the model include a fighting top used by archers and a rope ladder leading to the top of the main mast. The ship would have been propelled by 52 oarsmen arranged in 13 pairs on either side of the lower deck. The principal weapon would have been the ram - a device adopted from the Egyptians.

The Phoenicians were the first masters of naval engineering and probably the greatest of all ancient sailors, though few records remain of their ships. The little we know comes from bas-reliefs, vases, cylinder seals and coins. Their merchant ships were broad-beamed and used sail to leave room for cargo. Their fighting vessels were powered by oars as well as a sail, and controlled by a steering oar.

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Online ID: 000-180-000-237-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1979.90
Date: Model: around 1979; Original: around 700 BC
Dimensions: 38.00" x 20.00" x 26.00"
What: Ship, Phoenecian / model
Subject: 23. SHIPPING, Ships, pre 1400 (Departmental Classification)
Who: King of Tyre and Sidon (Model based on example of his fleet)
Where: Ninevak
Description: Model of a Phoenician ship from about 700 BC made to a scale of 1:50, based on an Assyrian relief from Ninewak depicting a fighting vessel belonging to the King of Tyre and Sidon
  • Storer, J D. Ship Models in the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh: A catalogue of models representing the history of shipping from 1500 BC to the present day. Edinburgh: Royal Scottish Museum Information Series, 1985, p 3. 
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