Roman Merchant Ships

The featured image is a picture of a ¼” to 1’ scale model of a Roman Merchant Ship found In the Mariner’s Museum’s “The Miniature Ships of August and Winnifred Crabtree” exhibition. The documentation attached to the ship tells that ships such as this one were used to carry grain, wines, oils, cloth, and passengers all over the Mediterranean and the Roman Empire in the 1st century AD. They used oars, instead of rudders, to maneuver the ship, with one oar per side. There is a miniature boat on what one would guess was the ships captains quarters. Though it may seem out of place, there is a white swan at the stern of the ship, likely because swans were glorified in death by Romans, The swan was meant to serve as a reminder that all Romans should be willing to die for the empire. Crabtree utilized stone mosaics, carved reliefs from Pompeii, period historical drawings and shipping accounts to accurately reconstruct this model.

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