Phoenician Ships

Trading Ships

Best seafarers and ship builders of the ancient world for 1500 - 1000 BC were Phoenicians who lived on the east coast of the Mediterranean sea. The famous Lebanese cedar covering slopes of mountains of their native land was a perfect material for construction of strong seaworthy ships. On the picture is represented the Phoenician trade ship dated to a 1500 BC. This rather capacious vessel with strong stem-posts (firm beam in prow and stern extremities of the ship) and two stern oars. Along the sides fastened the lattices from rods for enclosure of the deck consignment. The mast bore a direct sail on two curved rods (as Egyptian ship).

To a prow stem-post fastened large amphora from burnt clay for a storage of potable water. Phoenician helmsmen have made an important contribution to the marine science, having entered division of a circle of horizon on 360 degrees. Besides they have made for the seamen reliable celestial reference points. Phoenicians with the full basis it is possible to consider as the first trade seafarers.

War Ships

Narrow prolate hull of Phoenician bireme (rowing military ship with two lines of oars) consisted as though of two floors and upper was given up to helmsmen and warriors.


For magnification stability of the ship Phoenicians have lowered crinolines (platforms where were placed oarsmen) on a level of main hull having placed there numbers of oarsmen. Bound with bronze, massive, outstanding as if a horn battering ram was the main weapon of narrow high-speed bireme. The traditional removable rig was applied with fair winds and was typical for Mediterranean.

A decorative poop extremity of stern was abruptly bent, similarly to a tail of a scorpion, and the balustrade of a battle platform was covered with the shields of warriors reinforced along sides. Phoenicians were considered as the best seamen of the time and many ancient states frequently used them as mercenaries. On the picture is represented war bireme 70 BC. Length is about 30 meters. A width of main hull - 1/6 of the length.