PENTECONTER Greek galley

The vessel depicted on this stamp I could not find a drawing of her on the internet, but she was given as a 600 BC used Greek cargo galley. On the stamp is depict a one row vessel with a ram bow. At that time the Greeks used a penteconter Greek galley for war, piracy and transport.

The penteconter, alt. spelling pentekonter and pentaconter, also transliterated as pentecontor or pentekontor (Greek: πεντηκόντορος, pentekontoros "fifty-oared"),plural penteconters was an ancient Greek galley in use since the archaic period. In an alternative meaning, the term was also used for a military commander of fifty men in ancient Greece.
The penteconters emerged in an era when there was no distinction between merchant and war ships. They were versatile, long-range ships used for sea trade, piracy and warfare, capable of transporting freight or troops. A penteconter was rowed by fifty oarsmen, arranged in a row of twenty-five on each side of the ship. A midship mast with sail could also propel the ship under favourable wind. Penteconters were long and sharp-keeled ships, hence described as long vessels (νῆες μακραί, nḗes markaí ). They typically lacked a full deck, and thus were also called unfenced vessels (ἄφρακτοι νῆες, áphraktoi nḗes).

Homer describes war ships during the Trojan War of various numbers of oars varying from twenty-oared, such as the ship that brought Chryseis back to her father, to fifty-oared, as Odysseus’ ship that had fifty men and as many as 120 men of the Boeotian ships.

According to some contemporary calculations, penteconters are believed to have been between 28 and 33 m (92 and 108 ft) long, approximately 4 m wide, and capable of reaching a top speed of 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph). However, modern reconstructions of penteconters, as well as other ancient ship designs such as triremes, manned by modern untrained amateurs, attained that top speed fairly easily on initial sea trials, which implies that the top speed of that type of ship in the ancient era had to be substantially higher. Ancient Greeks also used the triaconter or triacontor (τριακόντορος triakontoros), a shorter version of the penteconter with thirty oars. There is a general agreement that the trireme, the primary warship of classical antiquity, evolved from the penteconter via the bireme. The penteconter remained in use until the Hellenistic period, when it became complemented and eventually replaced by other designs, such as the lembos, the hemiolia and the liburnians.

Libya 1983 100dh sg 1304, scott
Vietnam 1986 3d sg 991, scott1689


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Postby shipstamps » Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:41 am

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In the book Sealers and Whalers in New Zealand waters is a photo on page 138 of the whaler CANTON the photo is also used for the stamp design of the Norfolk stamp.
She was built in 1835 in Baltimore from oak and copper sheated according the book, but of she the first years was used as a whaler I am not sure.
She appears in the History of the American Whale Fishery in 1843. There have been sailing out from New Bedford two CANTON whalers and one CANTON PACKET also a whaler, and in some sources the ships are mixed up.
The CANTON depict on the stamp was in 1843 owned by Charles R Tucker & Co, New Bedford. Ship rigged and a tonnage given as 280 tons. Under command of Capt. Taber she sailed out from New Bedford, Mass on 29 July 1845 for the whaling grounds of the Indian Ocean, returned on 15 June 1847 with on board 150 brls. sperm oil and 1.850 brls. whale oil. During the voyage she sent home 9.679 lbs. bone.
Sailed out on 04 Oct. 1847 under Taber for the Indian & Pacific Ocean, returned on 23 Feb. 1851 with on board 425 brls. sperm oil, 1.095 brls. whale oil and 9.100 lbs bone. She visited in 1846 Hobart, Tasmania.
Her next voyage was under command of Capt. Folger for the Pacific, sailed out on 31 July 1851 and returned on 20 June 1855 with on board 1.171 brls sperm oil and 2 brls of whale oil, she had already sold part of her cargo in Sydney.
Sailed out under command of Capt. S.E. Cook on 05 Sept. 1855 for the Pacific, returned on 17 Sept. 1858 with on board 1.237 brls. sperm oil, 175 brls. whale oil and 1.300 lbs whalebone. During the voyage sent home 13 brls. sperm oil.
Sailed out under command of Capt. George White for the Indian Ocean on 01 Dec. 1858, returned on 02 Aug. 1862, with on board 1.630 brls sperm oil.
Sailed out under Archelaud Baker jr. on 28 Dec. 1862, for the Indian Ocean, returned on 07 April 1866 with on board 1.415 brls sperm oil and 81 brls whale oil.
Sailed out under Joshua G Lapham on 02 Oct. 1866 for the Indian Ocean, returned on 09 July 1870 with on board 1.339 brls sperm oil, sent home during the voyage 70 brls. sperm oil.
Again under Lapham she sailed out on 19 Oct. 1870 for the Indian Ocean and returned on 22 September 1874 with on board 991 brls sperm oil and 4 brls whale oil.
Sailed out under command of Capt. Peleg L Sherman on 08 Dec. 1874 for the Indian Ocean, returned not given, but during the voyage she was whaling also inside the New Zealand waters.
Auke Palmhof
Sources: Sealers and Whalers in New Zealand waters by Don Grady.

All the time she was owned by Charles R Tucker Co in New Bedford, the book has not more any entry on the vessel, but she made more voyages as a whaler, after Sherman, Capt. Howland, Poole, Fisher, Shockley Vieria and Roza got command of the ship for one or more voyages.

28 November 1909 she was wrecked at the island Malo one of the Cape Verde group in the Atlantic. At that time it was said that she was the oldest whaleship afloat.

Source: History of the American Whale Fishery by Alexander Starbuck. Sealers and Whalers in New Zealand Waters by Don Grady.
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