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10th-11th century Byzantine dromon by Louie da fly - 1:50 - FINISHED!


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Ah! But he has an awning over his head (yet to be added) which will take care of the banner tails.

 

But they certainly had those big banners  - in fact I'm being a bit conservative, if anything . . .

 

766999411_Blowinghair.jpg.e1c61193ec60b9be9ddaf529dc93ab62.jpg

 

From the Synopsis Historian of Ioannes Skylitzes (commonly known as the Madrid Skylitzes Chronicle, after the library where it's held)

 

And I've just realised I have another Byzantine pic of a steering oar with a tiller - check it out - it looks a lot like what I ended up making! Though it seems to me the steersman is holding it the wrong side of the rudder shaft.

 

1730772811_SermonsGregoryofNazianzusPantaleimonCod_6f_183r.JPG.e1c29b9105842a0ea012b7884ffd55ef.JPG

 

From the Sermons of Gregory of Nazianzus:  Pantaleimon Cod. 6 f. 183r

 

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11 hours ago, druxey said:

The Madrid image has the steersman using a double-handed grip, I note.

 

The one in the blue, yes. It's a bit hard to see what the steersman in the red is doing. Maybe I should go through all the illustrations in the Skylitzes to see if there are any others showing anything worthwhile on this subject.

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Thanks everybody for the likes and OC for the nice comment.

 

Pat, as far as I can work out that's the fixing point for the steering oar against the hull. They came in various types (the TAMU paper goes into them in considerable detail). I chose the triangular ones you can see in my pictures above,

 

1784116274_ScrapingboatdeMateriaMedicaConstantinoplemid10thcenturym652.240ra.jpg.fcaa9fd3dd55f68b20615c5a5ae2b3a5.jpg

 

but there were plenty of other types - "box", "socket" and even some where the steering oar actually goes through a hole in the hull..

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I found a couple of interesting illustrations from the Madrid Skylitzes. First, I need to let you know that this manuscript is a Byzantine history and was produced in Sicily in the second half of the 12th century under the rule of the Sicilo-Normans. A number of different artists from various traditions and cultures illustrated it, which accounts for the different artistic styles. Most of the ones below are probably by Western artists, but the ones I've based the dromon on (such as the one above with all the flags flying in the breeze) are in the Byzantine tradition, produced by Byzantine-trained artists.

 

image.png.9cc3cc5d22c13b4f905a77d74255b251.png      image.png.ce09c7af16e6af1467b48d6de0c7590b.png

 

Two handed grip on rudder -     folio 132 verso.                                                                                                  folio 134 verso.

 

image.png.b1c2cb17125ec97ea0b9199e9ce8c5c0.png

 

This is the only illustration by this artist who is almost certainly West European.

 

image.png.12cb7b72f1e4d9348ce656868a8fd9c6.png

 

Probably single-handed. Folio 146 verso.

 

image.png.ade1b4cd65d87c73d9378f2b18a6708b.png

 

Folio 168 verso. Western artist, whose renditions of ships are very simplistic.

 

 

image.png.58cc33844be6a833bc47003156ae2f3f.png

 

From folio 138 verso. Note the beached galleys with their steering oars swivelled up out of the water. This appears to be the only rendition of a ship in the manuscript that shows both steering oars, though it's pretty certain that double rudders were a standard feature.

 

It is possible that in smaller vessels there was only one steersman who operated both rudders. Certainly when Tim Severin and his associates followed Jason's voyage from Thessaly to Colchis in what is now Southern Russia in the 1970, the steersman held one rudder in his right hand and the other in his left, and it worked well. Due to budget constraints their reconstruction of the Argo was smaller than Jason's 50-oared pentekontor.

 

However, each rudder shaft broke twice on the voyage and had to be mended. So the forces involved are considerable, even on a twenty-oared vessel.

 

 

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The awning for the poop has been painted for a long time, with an eagle motif. And now I've painted the substructure to match the rest of the ship, particularly the castles. The columns are wood painted to resemble porphyry, the purplish marble reserved for Imperial use.

 

20201016_231436.thumb.jpg.bde937dc24fa6d676244d618adec0136.jpg

 

And now to add the figures I've been saving up all this time.

 

The Emperor (Alexios I Komnenos, known to the vikings as Kirjalax - from Kyrie (lord) Alexios).

 

20201017_103414.thumb.jpg.d4e311a7f97f8c34a8288c0e0886615f.jpg

 

20201017_103440.thumb.jpg.fb92b605607cb6f855bbf0ebdc387b34.jpg

 

And now the awning, and the flute-player who gives the time to the oarsmen (far right of the picture, in blue):

 

20201017_104410.thumb.jpg.b536e3d8b18c517a0fcc950a4b44313c.jpg

 

And the Emperor's Varangian (Viking) bodyguards:

 

20201017_105442.thumb.jpg.26af98ebd70ec65c623f9a8d5a0613c1.jpg

 

And two Imperial courtiers:

 

20201017_115312.thumb.jpg.286b7018b3fc9fd5b64639a5f87539dc.jpg

 

 Unfortunately, you can barely see the Emperor under the awning:

 20201017_115401.thumb.jpg.ae74f3973949fd7bb03f63c7fdfb99ac.jpg

 

 

20201017_115322.thumb.jpg.968ad7c95fa6920965c3b0405c5fb65d.jpg

 

I just have to tidy up a couple of ropes and the ship is complete, after more than 5 years!

 

20201017_115747.thumb.jpg.d56d561964c966c210272684c3e7392c.jpg   20201017_115854.thumb.jpg.917f8ae6f1eea252e5238adead295a5c.jpg  

 

I still have to complete the stand, add a nameplate and make a case. But that's it. I'm already having withdrawal symptoms . . .

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well done indeed, Steven. It has been interesting to follow your journey into uncharted territory and ending up with a plausible result. I've enjoyed the presentation of what evidence you had in order to arrive at an outstanding conclusion. And thank you for putting up with my admittedly terrible puns.

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9 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

porphyry, the purplish marble reserved for Imperial use.

 

 

Oooh, my turn to show off pedantic knowledge! Geologically speaking, porphyry is an igneous rock (formed from cooling lava), whereas marble is metamorphic (physically and chemically transformed from limestone). However, in the building trade, "marble" is routinely used to refer to any crystalline rock that can be cut and polished regardless of origin. "Granite" is the same way in kitchens and baths; most "granite countertops" cause a geologist to bristle. 

 

Anyway, aside from the rare pleasure of applying my geologic background to model building, this has been such a wonderful journey through a period and ship-building style I knew nothing of. Thanks for sharing so much detail and context with us along the way. I am much the better for it.

 

Also, what happened to the horns on the guards' helmets? (ducks)

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Not only a stunning and beautifully built model, Steven, but also a journey of discovery through the Byzantine empire.

 

Lots of unclear evidence winnowed and crystallised into the Dromon.

 

You can be proud of it/her ( I have no idea whether Mediterranean ships are referred to as feminine!)
 

Many thanks for sharing.  
I can safely say that no one who viewed your build log will ever pull a hose without seeing ( in their minds eye) a lateen yard rising steadily with three unfurlers ( Tom, Dick and Mustafa?) ensconced thereapon.

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  • Louie da fly changed the title to 10th-11th century Byzantine dromon by Louie da fly - 1:50 FINISHED!

Thanks everybody for the all the comments. It's very nice to have finally finished this build, and I'm pretty happy with the final result.

 

17 hours ago, druxey said:

thank you for putting up with my admittedly terrible puns.

 

Actually, much appreciated.

 

8 hours ago, mtaylor said:

I do hope that you will put some photos in the Gallery, Steven. 

 

Just done. I had to figure out how to make it all work - never posted in the galley before.

 

6 hours ago, BANYAN said:

I am looking forward to your next project - any hints?

 

I've got a few ideas, but haven't made up my mind yet - so many choices . .  And I still have to finish off the Great Harry.

 

5 hours ago, liteflight said:

three unfurlers ( Tom, Dick and Mustafa?)

 

Mustafa must be an Arabian immigrant - which wasn't all that uncommon. A lot of mutual exchange of populations. But a more likely group would be Con, Theo and Iouannis . . .

 

 

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Oh, and almost forgot . . 

 

17 hours ago, Cathead said:

Geologically speaking, porphyry is an igneous rock (formed from cooling lava), whereas marble is metamorphic (physically and chemically transformed from limestone).

 

Fascinating stuff, Cathead. In Western Australia there's a town in the far north-west called Marble Bar, after the big reddish and purple rock outcrop in the local creek.

 

If you ever go to Marble Bar it's traditional to have a beer in the Ironclad pub (built 1891) "The hotel was constructed of corrugated Iron. It was allegedly given the name by American miners who were reminded of the Ironclad ships from the United States." (Wikipedia)

 

The town is celebrated as the hottest place in Australia, "The hottest day recorded for Marble Bar is 49.2 degrees C (120 degrees F) in 1905. Marble Bar is renowned as the hottest town in Australia and can spend every day for more than a month with temperatures topping 40C (104 F)"

 

But the whole point of it is that the "marble" of the bar is actually jasper. You can't trust anybody these days . . .

 

18 hours ago, Cathead said:

Also, what happened to the horns on the guards' helmets? (ducks)

 

How did you know about the ducks?

 

image.png.ae13a70f3bd8b0eb42be33d0dbc017dc.png

 

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40 minutes ago, Louie da fly said:

Mustafa must be an Arabian immigrant - which wasn't all that uncommon. A lot of mutual exchange of populations. But a more likely group would be Con, Theo and Iouannis .

How right you are.  His family name is “Goodheadforheights”

indeed the byzantine world encompassed a wide geographical and ethnic base - most of the known western world

And Larson WOULD have a duck take on the Viking helm😁

 

 

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  • ccoyle changed the title to 10th-11th century Byzantine dromon by Louie da fly - 1:50 - FINISHED!

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