: Ancient Ships
Illustration of an ancient Greek ship.
Paul's Ship to Malta
It was actually a grain ship like the image above. It was of enormous size and the corn ship that Paul traveled on carried 276 men. Ships of this size had a tonnage of 2,600 tons. The hull ran up to a bird's-head carving above the bows and a bird's-tail at the stern. In the midst was a high mast, usually of cedar wood and near the prow was a smaller one for hoisting a small sail. Two large oars were used to steer. On the deck was a wooden hut for the helmsman which was also used as a temple of worship containing an idol.
Philistine ships were sailing ships and had no oars. In the front and rear was a vertical prow and sternpost. In this image they were carved in the shape of a swans neck. At the top of the mast was a crows nest. Notice the ship below contains two Philistine warriors carrying their round army shields and the warrior on the right is also holding a special dagger in his right hand.
Phoenician ships had a curved shape with similar stems and sternposts. The masts had two large yardarms. Notice all the ropes used in the yard rigging. The ships also had high washboards with strakes around the deck to prevent cargo from falling off during heavy seas. The prophet Ezekiel described the building of these ships.
Pompeii Illustration Rolling Up a Sail
A mural found in the ruins of ancient Pompeii reveals how sails were furled (rolled up). The mainmast was in the center, made of one piece and held by strong ropes running from the sides of the ship to the main top. The large yard was fixed to the mainmast which enabled it to carry the sail. Four-inch strips of leather was sewn across the sail to reinforce it..