Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project

Double-levelled galley

Cat. No.



Late Geometric IIa (c. 710-700 B.C.)


Acropolis, Athens




Accession Number

Athens National Museum 266


Basch 1987: 182-83, no. 385; Kirk 1949:109, no. 32, pl. 40.4 ; Morrison-Williams 1968:37, Geom. 44, pl. 7f; Pernice 1892: fig. 6; Wachsmann 1998: 133, fig. 7.13; Williams 1958: 125-26, pl. XIV.c

Part of the midships section of a double-levelled ship to the left, similar to NM 265 with some additional details. The thick line A which represents the hull is joined to a thinner horizontal line B by a series of oblique strokes. Space BC is comprised of reserved ports alternating with crosshatched screens. Above them are two more thin horizontal lines, with the band CD between them filled with a lozenge chain. There are three rowers preserved on each level facing right, with their torsos in an upright position and both hands grasping at their oars. Part of the torsos of the lower level rowers is hidden behind the screens. The oars of the upper level reappear beneath the ship's hull, corresponding to oars 2 and 4. The left rower of the upper level has an incised eye.

The two horizontal features above the gunwale are most likely wales that provided much needed lateral strengthening. The stanchions have been broadened into screens that protect the lower level rowers much like in the previous depiction, except that they are not depicted as solid planking. The fact that the torsos of the lower level rowers are visible can be explained by their upward position rather than leaning backwards. Line B would have acted as a raised railing for the tholepins instead of having them directly on the gunwale, the same feature noticeable on earlier single levelled ships. Likewise band CD is more than a simple deck since the knees and part of the legs which are typically shown in earlier depictions are hidden behind it, suggesting line D is above deck level.

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

Kirk, G.S. 1949. “Ships on Geometric Vases.” BSA 44: 93-153, pls. 38-40.

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

Pernice, E. 1892. “Über die Schiffsbilder auf den Dipylonvasen,” AM 17: 285-306.

Wachsmann, S. 1998. Seagoing Ships & Seamanship in the Bronze Age Levant. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press.

Williams, R. T. 1958. “Early Greek Ships of two levels,” JHS 78: 121-130.

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