Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project

Single-levelled galley

Cat. No.



c. 680 B.C.


Thisbe, Boeotia


L: 21 cm


Bronze fibula with the bow formed from a thin, vertical, crescent-shaped plate with incised decoration

Accession Number

Berlin 8396 (missing)


Basch 1987: 193, no. 408; Hampe 1936: no. 60, fig. 1; Morrison and Williams 1968: 77, Arch. 13; Schweitzer 1969: fig. 124

Single-leveled ship to the left with a low, slightly rockered hull. Rectangular bow with a vertical stempost integrating a beak-shaped ram and ending in an incurving horn device with a flat rectangular extremity. There are three short horizontal timbers tapering to a pointed tip projecting from the stermpost. The forecastle is comprised of two rails, one nested within the other. This seems to indicate that they were little more than an open framework, unenclosed by planking. The same is true for the aftercastle, comprised of a single rail that projects beyond the sternpost. The sternpost is high and incurving, flaring slightly towards the end into a rounded extremity. The quarter rudder is placed at the base of the aftercastle. It has a paddle-shaped oar blade with a central rib and a triangular tiller. The hull is decorated by a series of vertical parallel zigzag lines similar to the ship from the Louvre fibula. The horse floats above the gunwale, his front legs slightly overlapping with the forecastle.

Side A: A large rosette occupies the center, filled with twelve large petals framed by concentric rings. In the left corner is a ship facing to the left, with a horse on board. Below the hull is a large fish to the right, while a bird perches atop the sternpost device. There is a flower in the upper left above the stempost. In the right corner is a figure handling a horse's bridle, with a foal suckling underneath. A snake frames the horse to its right, while a bird is perched above, placed antithetically to the bird of the left corner. At either end of the bow are chevron and lozenge patterns

Side B: A large rosette occupies the center as on Side A. In the left corner is a large meander-cross, framed by a snake to its upper left and a bird to its upper right. In the right corner is a battle scene. A figure equipped with a Dipylon shield, a spear and a helmet appears to be standing on top of a horse while grasping its bridle. Striding behind the horseman is an archer drawing his bow. He carries a sword at waist level and there are two more arrows floating in the space behind him. A third figure lies face down on the ground beneath the horse, still grasping a spear. All the figures appear naked. There is a small bird above the horse's head. At either end of the bow are chevron and lozenge patterns.

Basch, L. 1987. Le musée imaginaire de la marine antique. Athens: Institut Hellénique pour la preservation de la tradition nautique.

Delivorrias, A. (ed.) Schweitzer, B. 1969. Die geometrische Kunst Griechenlands. Köln: Verlag M. Du Mont Schauberg.

Hampe, R. 1936. Frühe griechische Sagenbilder in Böotien, Ate¬ne : Deutsches archäologisches institute.

Morrison, J.S. and R.T. Williams. 1968. Greek Oared Ships: 900-322 B.C. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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