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Quinquereme of ...

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Alexander Howard
1281254.  Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:37 pm Reply with quote

Quinquereme of where?

Whatever Masefield may have written, not of Nineveh: the city was far inland, on no river deep enough to float a six-banked ship, and was sacked long before the quinquereme was invented.

It might be a poetical description of a great Assyrian ship, which might have been "rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine" (except that the name Syria Palestina was invented only in the Second Century AD). From distant Ophir? It could bring from there ivory, apes and peacocks - but it is most likely Ophir was in the Horn of Africa or India, so a ship could not sail from there to Judah or Philistia without circumnavigating Africa.

Sandalwood could come from India, but cedarwood and sweet, white wine would be most readily brought from up the coast.

Poetry really gets wrecked by historians and geographers.

1281322.  Sun Apr 15, 2018 6:23 am Reply with quote

Is this better?

Quinquereme of Syracuse from distant Carthage,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Sicily,
With a cargo of soldiery,
And loot and booty,
Victory's benefits and spoils of war.

1281702.  Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:13 pm Reply with quote

Are you sure you're not Richard Dawkins? He played the same trick on Keats in Unweaving the Rainbow. The man has no soul. But then he wouldn't, would he?

Alexander Howard
1281766.  Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:20 am Reply with quote

I though it was pretty good.

I am sure that the aspirant poets-in-residence on this forum could mangle Masefield quite happily with their own verses.

Longship of the Norsemen, rolling on the ocean
Lindisfarne behind it in the lithe spring waves
With a cargo of silver ripped from book boards
Grain sacks, sheepskins, and tonsured slaves

Towering East Indiaman bleached by the tropics
Filling her topgallants with Scilly on the lee,
With a cargo of spices, chintz and cotton
But wallowing deep with a belly full of tea.

Aged French merchantman trading on the triangle
Sailing from Dahomey with a watch set keen
With a cargo of [no; let's no go there]

Or you could get specific:

Silent Kaiser's submarine with oily diesel chugging
Slipping up the Irish Sea on night-time cruise
With its cargo a solitary traitor, homebound
Dreaming of fame but destined for the noose.

1281849.  Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:46 pm Reply with quote

Oooh - good stuff!

1291474.  Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:52 am Reply with quote

I doubt many if any quinqueremes were used for cargo, they were designed and used as warships. Their only cargo being the 300 or so oarsmen needed for it to move and the complement of soldiers assigned to the ship for combat.

1291475.  Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:01 am Reply with quote

On a side note this is a proposed layout for a Tessarakonteres, a forty rowed ship.

Requiring 4000 oarsmen, with 400 deckhands and 2850 soldiers making up the ship's carrying capacity. Hardly likely to have been used in combat it is viewed as something of a prestige item. Trump would order one at the drop of a hat.

1291483.  Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:11 am Reply with quote

They will have to find volunteer loudmouth rednecks to do the rowing, since potential foreign workers are being sent away at the border.


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