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Re: [gothic-l] Gothic and Gotlandic Sailing

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  • Søren Larsen
    ... From: Tore Gannholm To: Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2002 12:20 PM Subject: Re: [gothic-l] Gothic and
    Message 1 of 26 , Feb 11, 2002
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Tore Gannholm" <tore.gannholm@...>
      To: <gothic-l@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2002 12:20 PM
      Subject: Re: [gothic-l] Gothic and Gotlandic Sailing

      It is naive to think that sails were not used in the Baltic.
      What we can discus is to which extent sails were used. When rowing
      was faster they used rowing. But if there was good wind they of
      course used some kind of sail.

      Do you have any evidence or supporting argument concerning sails
      in the Baltic? I think you put to much importance into sails on warships.
      Warships was primarily oarpowered well into the middleages for very
      good reasons - speed and maneuverability. Sail makes sense when you
      want to transport a heavy cargo and use as few crewmembers as possible
      - bulktrade.


      I have made relevant parts of the book "Dark Age Naval Power"
      available on http://w1.855.telia.com/~u85528681/Gothic_l/

      About sails one can read the following:
      "Most Of the ships in this fleet were probably sailing ships as,
      Tacitus tells us, the Germans used cloaks to make improvised sails to
      improve the performance, and appearance, of some of their captured
      Roman vessels.41 This is the earliest evidence which exists for the
      use of the sail among the Germans and is discussed in greater detail
      below "


      I don't think anyone is arguing that Roman ships were unable to carry sails.
      All this quote indicates is that the captured Roman ships probably
      wasn't equipped with sails when taken, which make the idea that they were
      primarily sailing ships less probable, or that the germanics didn't know how
      to use the proper sails or the germanics knew about sails but didn't have
      available.and experimented with cloaks.

      I think it is more likely that the captured ships was military ships like
      liburnians - a one or two banked open galley and as such a primarily
      oarpropelled ship with help sail
      It should be noted that it was practice if possible to remove mast and sail
      on mediterreanean warships before going into combat to enhance speed
      and maneuverability when going by oars.


      "The Roman fleet had the advantage of the current but the Germans had
      the wind behind them. The last point is another indicator of the
      importance of sailing ships in the German fleet. "


      You would definitely like wind and current on your side even when going by


      "It is impossible to say exactly when the Germans first learned of
      the sail but it was certainly in widespread use among their Celtic
      neighbours by c. 100 BC. Roman naval expeditions in 12 BC, AD 5 and
      AD 12 had explored the coasts of Germany and Denmark so it is
      impossible that the Germans of the North Sea coast were still
      ignorant of the sail in the first century AD. It is thought that the
      common Germanic word segel is derived from the Celtic word seklo ).
      As the word must have entered the Germanic vocabulary long before the
      first century AD, this would seem to indicate that the Germans had
      learned of the sail from their Celtic neighbours well before their
      first contacts with the Romans. "


      I agree that the germanics were aware of a lot concepts in the
      Roman and Celtic world. This does not mean that these things
      were in use by the germanics all over the germanic area from the
      the first contact onwards.


      "The type and sophistication of a seafaring people's shipbuilding
      traditions seems to be completely irrelevant to the question of the
      adoption of the sail: almost anything that can float, from a log raft
      to a reed boat or a dug-out canoe, can be, and has been, successfully



      Right. The only problem is that you have no ability to beat against the wind
      in such vessels. This means that you have to rely on wind and current as
      on a river or in the trade wind belts/seasons.
      You definitely wouldnt like to cruise around the North Sea or Baltic in
      such a vessel unless you are suicidal


      "The Franks and Saxons were also being joined by raiders from
      Scandinavia, for in c. 287 Maximian defeated a force of Heruls, then
      settled in Denmark, who had attacked the lower Rhine along with the
      Chaibones, probably the Saxon tribe of the Aviones."



      I think others are better suited than I to discuss the whereabouts of the


      "He suggests that the structure was detachable and was set up only in
      rough seas. This hypothesis has received scant attention from
      maritime archaeologists, which is surprising because, if �kerlund is
      right, the limitations of the weak keel structure, as regards the
      potential seaworthiness of Nydam-type ships and their ability to
      carry mast and sail, have been exaggerated. Indeed, in the light of
      the ship-carving from KarIby,92 it now appears certain that
      Nydam-type ships did at some point in their development become
      sailing ships. Unfortunately, the lack of a dating context for the
      carving means that at present the time at which that occurred cannot
      be determined. "



      The Karlby carving measures 12mm on pebble found on Karlby beach.
      While the ship resembles the Nydam type, the other carvings; a deer and
      a snake with open mouth resemble carvings from the 7th and 8th c.

      The carving is tantalizing but must be regarded as very weak evidence it
      should alsoi be noted that the ship has 1! crewmember.l

      Soren Larsen
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