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Re: When did the Tradition of Naming Ships Start?

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  • Jon & Wanda(Tink)
    Don t get the Noah thing going again. Jon ... started. ... need ... but ... fleets?
    Message 1 of 51 , Apr 1, 2007
      Don't get the Noah thing going again.

      Jon

      --- In boatdesign@yahoogroups.com, "Stefan Probst"
      <stefan.probst@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi,
      >
      > not directly "Boat Design", but maybe somebody knows, or can give
      > pointers ...
      >
      > I was wondering when and where the tradition of naming ships
      started.
      > Columbus' ships had names. Noah's Ark didn't (or did she?).
      >
      > I can only guess: As long as a boat is owned by an individual or a
      > family, you can refer to it as the owner's boat/ship, e.g. "Tom's
      > ship". But as soon as there is no clear relation, then you would
      need
      > another identifier. Take a navy: A ship will not always be captained
      > by the same chief (general or captain). The same might hold true for
      > merchant fleets, i.e. where the ship is not owned by the captain,
      but
      > where he is merely an employee.
      >
      > So, the naming might be the result of having navy or merchant
      fleets?
      >
      > Cheers,
      > Stefan
      >
    • Lew Clayman
      ... Thinking of names for my next boat, of course. Really, just playing with the concept of naming in general. I honestly don t think we can trace the
      Message 51 of 51 , Apr 6, 2007
        --- nutty_boats <nutty_boats@...> wrote:

        > What this has to do with boating is a mystery to me.

        Thinking of names for my next boat, of course.

        Really, just playing with the concept of naming in
        general. I honestly don't think we can trace the
        question of boat names - it seems to be pre-literate
        and as such, effectively as good as untraceable.

        Sometimes based on comparitive linguistics and using
        early epics as records of older oral records, you can
        trace words and names and such a LITTLE bit
        pre-literate, but it all gets very speculative very
        quickly.

        I don't know for a fact that Argos is the earliest
        known example of a named vessel in the Western
        tradition; it's just the earliest one I'm aware of,
        maybe that says more about me. But it's also an
        example of pre-literate storytelling preserved in a
        rather later written version, so we really can't set a
        good lower bound on its date - we can set an upper
        bound, of the earliest known writing about it, but we
        don't know how much earlier it was. Mycenean seems to
        be the conclusion on literary evidence, but that's
        pretty vague in terms of time-line.

        I don't think that the Egyptians recorded the names of
        individual vessels, and this is important because they
        DID preserve the earliest Western drawings of vessels
        and because the earliest preserved vessel remains
        comes from there. When modern Egyptologists speaks of
        "the royal barge" that's their descriptive name for
        it, we don't know what the folks called it in the day.
        Doesn't mean it WASN"T named however.

        During some dynasties, they used figureheads of
        various gods, but most often they finished the ends
        with lotus-blossom forms, or no decorative finial at
        all. During the figurehead period, we might guess
        that people referred to "the Horus boat" or "the Ra
        boat" or that a lookout might even say, "Here comes
        Horus." Maybe that's where names came from. Maybe
        not.

        We do know that in classical times, each culture had a
        local ritual for blessing a new vessel and beseeching
        the local sea-god(dess) to preserve the crews from
        storm and pirates and Nessies and what-not. We know
        that as late as Shakespeare, witches could still mess
        with mariners, and tho' his bark will not be lost, yet
        it shall be tempest-tost.

        We know that in SOME of these cultures, a boat was
        dedicated to the deity in sort of the same way one
        dedicates a temple or a child, and we know that naming
        children with religious ritual has always been a big
        deal. Modern ship's "christening" is not exactly a
        million miles away from that practice.

        So it may also be that the earliest boat names were
        intended to curry favor with the Divine. Certainly
        that sometimes occurred historically, and still does
        today, but there's no way to know if that happened
        "first."

        That is to say, naming a boat was not just to know
        what to call it - the right name made it work better,
        the wrong name could make it sink.

        -L

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        History is just one damn thing after another.

        - Winston Churchill

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