Early Roman Empire   :|:   Document

Man sailing a small coastal vessel with two masts, from Carthage

ref. : en.1720.2019 | 27 January 2019 | by Francis Leveque
sculpture | End of IIe century AD
Carthage, Afrique ( Tunisie )
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The helmsman of this strange ship seems to want to express a message to the spectator who looks at him. He is piloting an innovative Roman ship often represented in North Africa.

Marble relief in roman period, ca. 200 A.D., probably made in Africa Proconsularis (Tunisia). Found at Carthage, excavated by Sir Thomas Reade, British-Consul in Tunis (from 1844 to his death in 1849). He collected many antiquities, including numerous items from Carthage excavated by Nathan Davis. His coin collection was brought from Tunis after his death and purchased by the British Museum from J. Doubleday

Dimensions :
- Height: 22.7 centimetres
- Width: 39.6 centimetres
- Depth: 7.5 centimetres

Man sailing a corbita, a small coastal vessel with two masts. If the body of the helmsman is in the axis of the ship, his face is turned to the right towards the spectator.

This merchant ship has a round hull for what can be seen above the waves. Its bow is convex and devoid of taillemer. The rudder seems protected by a box composed of 3 boards. The same device exists all along the hull, which suggests the protection of a bridge or a ream box.

The front mast is now equivalent in size to the main mast. But he kept a large inclination. The large mat is strongly backward. Both masts are supported by struts curiously represented only on the sails. The sails have reinforced seams but the vertical reinforcements are not aligned.


Bibliography :

  • L. Basch, Le musée imaginaire de la marine antique (MIMA), Institut hellénique pour la préservation de la tradition nautique, Athènes , 1987, p.481-186, n° 1104