Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project

Two single-levelled galleys

Cat. No.



c. 720 B.C. (transition between LG IIa and LG IIb)


Megara Hyblaea, near the agora



Attic krater (24 fragments). Fine beige clay, faded glaze

Accession Number

MH 7/7/3


Basch 1987: 177, no. 372; Tréziny 1980: 17-34, figs. 1-5

Ship A: single-levelled ship to the left. Low flat hull, massive triangular bow with concave stempost integrating the bow projection and terminating in a short spike pointing forward. There is a plank protruding from the stempost at the level of the base of the forecastle. Tréziny's reconstruction of a second plank protruding further down is less certain. The occulus resembles a fish eye, consisting of a reserved circle with a dot. Double-stepped integrated forecastle with the lower section incorporating a screen in the form of a reserved hatched square, with railing above it comprised of two vertical and two horizontal lines. The second, higher part of the aftercastle is made of a thin reserved rectangle filled with oblique strokes. Its upper horizontal is longer on both sides, giving the impression of spikes. There is a single thin horizontal line above the hull, to which it is joined by tightly spaced horizontal strokes. This is clearly a raised rail supported by struts. The rowers have their bodies fully shown, with their torsos inclined forward and their knees bent. There are eleven oars with triangular oar blades, but only six rowers preserved to various degrees.

Ship B: midships section of an identical ship, preserving parts of five rowers and four oars. The only difference is that the stanchions joining the railing are oblique rather than vertical.

Fragmentary krater with two ship depictions, one on each side.

The bow morphology and the "fish eye" are close to two other ships from Athens as well as the Toronto vessel. In all of these examples, the "horn" which is so typical of the Dipylon vessels is ostensibly absent. The forecastle is unusually detailed, with the integrated screen having no parallels. The sherd from the second ship clarifies that the oblique strokes should still be read as struts supporting the rail as these are identical vessels. This is important because it disproves the reading of similar rendering on other depictions as merely decorative rather than structural features. Thanks to these two slightly differing examples on the same vase, this seeming problem can be dismissed as artistic license, much like the spacing of these vertical which need not be so numerous.

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

Tréziny, H. 1980. “Navires attiques et navires corinthiens à la fin du VIIIe siècle. A propos d’un cratère géométrique de Mégara Hyblaea,” Mélanges de l’école Française de Rome. Antiquité 92 : 17-34.

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