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Caesar - Roman Bireme (30 B. C.)

  • Kit Manufacturer: Mantua
  • Major Material: Wood
  • Model Specifications: 1:30 Scale
  • Work Experience: This kit should not be too difficult to construct for experienced ship modelers, but the plans and instructions may be too rough for beginners. The quality of the parts are not bad, however, it only provides one roll of 0.25mm rigging thread, and which is far from enough to complete the rigging. In addition, the number of the deadeyes included in the kit is less than that of required. In the kit that I bought, the dowel for the fore yard is also missing. I machined all the oars, masts, and yards by using my new Unimat 1 module power tool system. It saved a lot of time and the results are quite satisfactory. The construction was completed within one and a half month on the basis of 2 to 4 working hours per day.

Historical Notes: A typical Roman vessel of the first century BC as described in the book The History of the Ship: "... Thereafter Roman power dominated the Mediterranean. Annual grain convoys sailed from the fertile Nile to bring much needed food to the growing conurbation of Rome itself. For this and trade elsewhere, the Romans developed a handsome merchant vessel which may have derived from the ships of the Phoenicians. There are a number of depictions of these ships over a fairly wide period and they are remarkably similar. A sturdy, board-beamed, capacious wooden keelbased hull, planked and decked, and clearly capable of lifting a reasonable dead weight, seems therefore to have been rather commonplace. The vessel had a high stern with its stern-post being fashioned into a decorative finial, usually a swan's neck and head. The hull was double ended, but the deck was carried out over the stern, into a rudimentary poop with a deck cabin and on either quarter protrusions of the deck enabled the twin steering oars to be fitted and handled. These vessels also bore a single mast supported by shrouds and a forestay, tensioning being achieved by deadeyes and lanyards. On the mast a square sail was hoisted on a yard by a halliard (or 'haul-yard') and which was clewed by brails. The sail and yard could then be lowered to the deck. The yard was braced and the clews of the sail sheeted. Above the yard a triangular rafee could be set. From the heavy stem-post a bowsprit, or artemon, bore a small yard and sprit-sail and this would have made the vessel much more manoeuvrable than earlier, simpler craft."

More Pictures:   | Port Side View   | Starboard Side View   | Ship's Castle Details |

Recommended References:

  1. The Age of the Galley : Mediterranean Oared Vessels Since Pre-Classical Times
  2. Ships and Seafaring in Ancient Times
More Ship Modeling and Maritime History Books

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