Kathy Tran & Anh Nguyen
Ancient Greek Merchant Ship
The ancient Greek merchant ships sailed the Mediterranean Sea around 500 B.C.E. (Archaic period). Greek merchants used merchant ships to go to different lands to sell goods. Merchants are people who make money by selling goods. There were goods such as olive oil, pottery, wine, grain, timber, and metal. The Greeks traveled long trips because the ship was not built for its speed. They didn`t have maps or compasses to show them where they were so it was a dangerous trip. They usually just follow the stars to map out where they were.
The ancient Greek merchant ships are made by merchants who traveled around lands from Greece. Merchants are people who sell goods to make money. Ancient merchant ships are made out of wood and a large rectangular cloth as a sail. The Greeks made their merchant ships no different from their warships. The ancient merchant ships are made mostly for carrying goods than rather for speed. The merchant ships that the Greeks built were in the manner of Phoenicians and Crete inhabitants. They had upgraded free-boards with latticed guards and side ladders. The mast was installed in the middle of the ship and carried a colored mainsail. One or two oars were fastened to the ship’s hull. In good wind such a vessel could gather speed to 5 knots (9.2 km/h). Greeks imported a lot of goods and bread from the Black Sea coasts, from Egypt and Sicily, and exported wine, oil, honey and craft items.
Most of these ships weighed about 150 tons during the archaic period. As the time goes by and a different time period has arrived, they built bigger and heavier ships. That weighed about 400 tons (during the Hellenistic period). These bigger ships sometimes had 2 or even 3 masts, so they could probably carry more sails. When Greeks travel, they often go by sea because going by ox-carts was hard to transport things.
We think that the ancient Greek merchant ships were important to Greek history because it tells us how the Greeks traveled around the seas and what they used to build the ships. We researched and learned that the Greek merchants traded and sold many goods. We can learn that back then the ships were different from what kinds of ships we have and use today. Back in ancient Greece they used the wind to travel around the sea. In conclusion, ancient merchant ships were important to Greek history.