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  • Creators in the internet age can make a living with the support of only 1,000 true fans, and if our crew can reach that strength then I can devote all my time to creating more content, more often, and all for you.
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  7 comments for “Become a Crew Member!

  1. R Barnes
    March 15, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Can you recommend a book or books for an amateur historian on middle Bronze Age (2000 BC) Mesopotamia ships/boats?

    • Brandon Huebner
      March 20, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      Great question that I, unfortunately, don’t have a great answer for. I never found a single source that covered that period and place in depth. The sources I’ve got listed for Episodes 002 & 003 may be a good place to start.

      In particular, Lincoln Paine’s book is a good overview. In addition, books by Lionel Casson are also great overviews even if they’re slightly outdated. An super-detailed look at the archaeology can be found in Sean McGrail’s “Boats of the World: From the Stone Age to Medieval Times.” I took a lot of info from that book and would recommend it for a non-narrative view, but it’s quite pricey. Perhaps try a university library for that one. Hope those provide somewhat of a helpful start.

  2. Tom
    June 9, 2017 at 8:14 am

    One time donation link not working.

    • Brandon Huebner
      June 9, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      Thanks for bringing that to my attention! It should be rectified now. Additional thanks for your consideration of patronizing (in the good sense) the podcast.

  3. Shedrick Moore
    July 20, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Dear Brandon, When was the first time when pulleys or blocks and tackle were used on ships ? I have looked for thirty years, but no luck. I know the Greeks had them. Best regards, Shedrick Moore

    • Brandon Huebner
      July 23, 2017 at 9:50 pm

      Hi Shedrick, thanks for the question. I’ll do my best to give a moderately useful answer, but evidence for the earliest use of inventions like this is always hard to pin down.

      You’re certainly right to point out that the Greeks had them, and it’s possible that they weren’t used much on ships prior to the time of Archimedes (287–212 BCE), since Plutarch gives that great story about him easily pulling a ship in Syracuse with the use of a pulley system, the implication being that this system was little known or used in the years prior.

      I personally haven’t seen indications that pulleys or blocks-and-tackle were used prior to the Greeks, although there is much evidence of their use on Roman ships. Egyptian ship depictions and boat models all seem to indicate square-sail use with simple rope rigging and no use of pulleys in the set-up, so far as I can tell, and in the most comprehensive books I’ve used (written by Seán McGrail), there is merely a statement that in Egyptian ships “block and tackle are not illustrated.”

      My understanding is that prior to the Greek adoption of block-and-tackle uses, which probably didn’t become widespread and prevalent until in later Roman times, ships used the simple system of running ropes through rings sewn into the bottom edge of the sail and then over top of the yard itself, so pulling on multiple ropes would simply raise or lower the sail. My most recent study focused on the reconstruction of the trireme Olympias, and this simple rigging system was the one they adopted based on a study of classical Greek triremes. All that to say, that even in Greek triremes it’s possible that no blocks-and-tackle were used and that similar systems were used in Egyptian ships and (most likely) in Phoenician ships as well.

      I hope that is a sufficient answer for now! I will certainly keep this topic in mind though as I continue to read up on maritime history, so I’ll get in touch again should I stumble across information that may be relevant 😉 Thanks for listening, Shedrick. Fair winds.

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