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 » Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:18 pm

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Built as an iron hulled cargo-passenger vessel under yard No 88 by Robert Napier, Glasgow for the Royal Mail Lines.
19 March 1859 launched under the name SHANNON. The christening ceremony was performed by Mrs. Napier. Named after the River Shannon.
Tonnage 3.092 gross, 2.187 net, dim. 103.02 x 13.46 x 5.94m., beam over paddle boxes 20.12m.
Powered by a two 2-cyl. side-lever steam engine, manufactured by builder, 800 nhp., speed during trials 14.4 knots. Bunker capacity 1.450 tons of coal.
Accommodation for 60 first class, 120 second class, crew 120.

She was the latest paddle steamer built for the Royal Mail.
17 August 1859 sailed for her maiden voyage between Southampton and the West Indies under command of Capt. Abbott.
17 October 1860 with on board cargo and passengers still under command of Capt Abbott, she sailed from Southampton bound for St Thomas.
On 23 October early in the morning a tremendous noise was heard, the engine was stopped and after examination it was found that her main shaft just outside her port side was broken in two.
After the wheel was secured by chains against the paddle-box and after removing some floats the SHANNON proceeded with only one paddle wheel and under sail, on 25th she was again underway, with a speed of around 3.5 knots.
09 November arrived in St Thomas after a passage of 23 days and 3 hours.
The SHANNON was later towed back by an other ship of the company the TRENT to England, twelve days after sailing the tow-line broke and the SHANNON sailed by herself back to England.

1875 Rebuilt by Walker Crough & Lindwall at Deptford-green Dock in a screw propelled vessel and also lengthened slightly with a new clipper-bow and stern.
A new 2-cyl compound steam engine manufactured by Maudsley, Son & Field, Deptford, 700 nhp., a two bladed propeller with a diameter of 5.79m. was fitted in, increasing her speed by 1 knots, and halving her coal consumption.
Tonnage 3.608 gross, 2.046 net, dim. 364 x 44 x 33ft.

1875 Re-entered service under command of Capt. E.M. Leeds.
02 August 1875 she sailed from Southampton and made the passage to St Thomas in 11 days, on her homeward voyage from Colon she was wrecked on the Pedro Bank, south west of Jamaica in August 1875, without loss of lives. In the Board of Trade hearing later the Capt. and Officers were acquitted of any blame on the wrecking.
It was the opinion of the Board that Captain Leeds an experience seaman had set the course 10 miles to the eastward of Portland Rock, and allowing two knots an hour for the extreme set of the current as shown on the chart, he was justified in considering that such a course would clear the danger on the Pedro Bank.

Source: The Times. Merchant Fleets, Royal Mail Line & Nelson Line by Duncan Haws. Some web-sites. Aulke Palmhof
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