Was the Hellenistic Kyrenia shipwreck a victim of piracy? X Geo-Politically, the Hellenistic Period

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Transcript of Was the Hellenistic Kyrenia shipwreck a victim of piracy? X Geo-Politically, the Hellenistic Period

  • Was the Hellenistic Kyrenia shipwreck a victim of piracy?

    X

  • King Xerxes

    Persepolis: capital of the Persian empire

  • The imperial infrastructure of the Persian empire was undone and replaced with Alexander’s conquests (334-323 BCE)

  • Geo-Politically, the Hellenistic Period (beginning with Alexander’s death in 323 BCE) is defined by competing and often antagonistic satrapies (kingdoms) ruled by a Greek speaking elite,

    in the regions conquered by Alexander; the Mediterranean was an unstable and warring place

  • Reconstruction of a Hellenistic-Roman ‘Five’

    Hellenistic naval innovations: warships grow exponentially in size, and once again become fighting platforms; the catapult eventually supersedes the ram as an offensive weapon in naval warfare

  • Unlike Athenian naval supremacy in the Aegean during the 5th century, or the later pax romana in the Mediterranean of the Roman empire, the sea was not ruled by any one Hellenistic power

    And the ranks of every major military campaign were filled with mercenaries….and also pirates

    The hemiolia: the fastest war galley in Hellenistic navies

  • One example of the mobilization of pirates during a military campaign: the siege of Rhodes (304 BCE)

    Three ‘deckless’ pirate ships in the employ of Demetrios ‘the Besieger’ were captured in a Rhodian naval foray (chronicles of Diodorus)

  • Demetrios ‘the Besieger’ was unsuccessful; the Rhodians celebrated with the commission of the colossus of Rhodes (one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world)

  • Within about 3 decades of the siege of Rhodes a ship sunk off the northern coast of Cyprus

    XKyrenia shipwreckRhodes

  • The Kyrenia Shipwreck: discovered by a sponge diver in 1965, who in 1967 alerted the University of Pennsylvania doctoral student Michael Katzev (then working with George Bass on the Byzantine Yassi Ada shipwreck)

  • The significance of the Kyrenia shipwreck in the field of nautical archaeology

  • A couple notable observations on the hull: **it was sheathed in lead **80 repairs were made **joinery all mortise and tenon

    Showing lead sheathing on the reconstruction

  • Though aspects of the ship construction and design were informed by iconography

  • But this extraordinary study of the ship itself has come at a price: the shipwreck has yet to be published (and Michael Katzev died in 2001)

  • The cargo of the Kyrenia ship

    Kyrenia X

    **380 amphoras in 10 varieties: the majority from Rhodes and several from Samos

    Rhodes

    Samos

  • 29 grain mill blocks and over 10,000 almonds (!)

    The cargo of the Kyrenia ship

  • Potential galley wares

  • How did this ship go down?

  • Folded and pierced lead ‘curse tablet’ (though un-inscribed)

    Eight spear/javelin points, several with the ship’s lead sheathing attached

    The excavators have suggested the Kyrenia ship was a victim of a pirate attack

  • Unlike Athenian naval supremacy in the Aegean during the 5th century, or the later pax romana in the Mediterranean of the Roman empire, the sea was not ruled by any one Hellenistic power

    And the ranks of every major military campaign were filled with mercenaries….and also pirates

    The hemiolia: the fastest war galley in Hellenistic navies

  • If it sunk in an act of violence what would we expect to see in the hull?

  • Are you convinced?