Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hesiodos on when to sail

This pottery fragment originate from a krater (wine mixing vessel) painted by the Dipylon painter and here you see a war ship during a naval battle. The piece is dated to ca 760-650 BC.

This picture is combined with a slightly later quote by Hesiodos, who is believed to have been working around 700 BC. He is most likely talking about merchant vessels here, but the same rules would apply to war ships at this time.

"But if desire for uncomfortable sea-faring seize you when the Pleiades plunge into the misty sea4 [620] to escape Orion's rude strength, then truly gales of all kinds rage. Then keep ships no longer on the sparkling sea, but be sure to till the land as I bid you. Haul up your ship upon the land and pack it closely with stones [625] all round to keep off the power of the winds which blow damply, and draw out the bilge-plug so that the rain of heaven may not rot it."

Hesiodos - Work and Days (between line 615 and 630)
Translated by H.G. Evelyn-White

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