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Louie da fly

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

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Hi Steven

 

Regarding the flag issue, I can't help wondering if they showed the flag to emphasise the outcome of the negotiations... I suspect our way of registering history as shown in period images is more influenced by more contemporary media, & we are more rigorous about the chronology.

 

Also, the faces of the negotiating parties are beautifully rendered.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Mark (Taylor). 

Interesting point, Mark (Pearse). Unfortunately we'll never know. I think I'll stick with what I believe to be the simplest explanation - the miniaturist made a mistake. But I could be wrong . . .

 

And yes, those faces are very expressive, aren't they? The Madrid Synopsis Historion was illustrated by as many as 7 miniaturists (the academics don't agree on this one) and in my view the one who did both of these pictures was the best of them. 

 

Steven

Edited by Louie da fly

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Steven very interesting discussion over history! I was just thinking of Prof. Ahrweiler. 

(Helene Glykatzi-Ahrweiler is Greek academic Byzantinologist at Sorbonne Uni France ) She wrote a few good books. I was impressed of an older book of her "The byzantine ideology".... remarkable.  I dont know about the english title I have  just gave, because I got it in greek. The book made me visit Konstantinoupolis.... fascinating place!!!

 

CHRISTOS

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19 hours ago, MESSIS said:

The book made me visit Konstantinoupolis.... fascinating place!!!

Yes indeed. I've been there twice. So I've seen the Walls and the Golden Gate and been inside Agia Sophia and I know where the Yenikapi finds were discovered. I hope to go back one day. Lots still to discover that I missed out on before.

 

Steven

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Posted (edited)

I've been off doing other things for a while. It's nice to get back to what my family call "boating" (to go along with my workshop which they call "the boat room").

 

I've made a cover for the hatch. I've kept the planking format I've been using for the deck, to allow air to get below decks so the oarsmen don't all collapse. It's not the same as the "criss-cross" halving joint method you see on the hatches of later ships -  I have no evidence at all how such a hatch cover was constructed for a dromon (it's only an assumption it had one at all, otherwise how do you get cargo below).

 

So it's planks with gaps between them, and cross-beams at intervals to support the planks so they don't deform or collapse when someone stands on them.

 

Here's the frame for the hatch itself:

20190524_120325.thumb.jpg.00d9c023aa9ea9a8bb669a8bb706a2a2.jpg

And here is the frame for the hatch cover. (The other two bits of wood are for the ladder down to the lower deck.)

20190524_191044.thumb.jpg.e9a423598790adc41357b288ac2b449f.jpg

Took quite a lot of mucking around till it fitted smoothly.

20190524_202817.thumb.jpg.bce0936759cbf0484b17849d5a1c5c8e.jpg

Planking at each end.

20190524_205533.thumb.jpg.965906cadbdd6d4b81e1317ae95b3312.jpg

Intermediate planks

20190524_214853.thumb.jpg.f787c62ff87276b2677c71d69cef4323.jpg

Cross-beams

20190524_223436.thumb.jpg.912dd4d8e37e5c7a8160209f22e507aa.jpg 

Cover in place

20190524_232630.thumb.jpg.a01671fa04356369acd260351b3fa303.jpg

And lying on the deck with the hatch open.

20190524_235543.thumb.jpg.18088062e30b2ae891b593a94d32b037.jpg

I'm just wondering whether I should also do a "border" around the top of the cover;

20190525_155922.thumb.jpg.f9bcd53c7896a7c03241ed7569966bea.jpg

does it look better with these battens around the perimeter? (they're just loose at the moment) Or should I leave it without them as in the pictures above? I'm just a bit concerned that without the perimeter battens it looks a bit too much like the duckboards you get in a sauna. Any suggestions welcome.

 

Steven 

Edited by Louie da fly

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Posted (edited)

Ladder belowdecks. I had to do this three times. The first was terrible - crooked, too narrow (it scaled about 30cm = 12" wide) and with the treads at all kinds of different angles, and looked like they were too close together.

20190524_120406.thumb.jpg.53a6a441cb4af359d2b1c84735d77084.jpg 20190524_215156.thumb.jpg.95c3c0a30089233dc27650cf1c5d63ed.jpg

The next was better; wide enough, treads all in alignment, and not crooked. But the stringers were too thin - the slots for the treads made them likely to break off. And on checking against a full size ladder I realised the treads were too far apart (in scale) to be used by any sort of normal sized human.

20190524_230411.thumb.jpg.94fbf26f3f7437b236b8158b3d9f5d96.jpg 20190524_232308.thumb.jpg.d0678be7032fcb1b36b7c8edb6004de9.jpg 20190524_235604.thumb.jpg.b2f11583353421c45f2cf3423da5e959.jpg

So, onto version 3. The ladder is the same width, length and angle, and all the treads nicely in alignment. Stringers thicker to allow for the slots for the treads, and enough treads so you wouldn't have to strain yourself reaching from one to another. Turns out the first ladder had the right number after all . . .

20190525_155236.thumb.jpg.835955abfe8adbaf1a9a9b409397e62d.jpg 20190525_182737.thumb.jpg.097316a0e41b9fdf93a36a40ca16844f.jpg

I think my precision has improved. But I need to get into the habit of taking enough care the first time.

 

If at first you don't succeed, use a bigger hammer?

 

Steven

Edited by Louie da fly
added photo

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Louie da fly said:

If at first you don't succeed, use a bigger hammer?

or swap the tool for the wifey ... they usually know better ;) 

 

Looks credible to me, Steven

Edited by cog

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22 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

But I need to get into the habit of taking enough care the first time.

I recognize myself in these words. I sometimes have the same problem :blush:.

 

Nice ladder and cover

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Thanks for all the likes, people. And Patrick and Carl for the comments.

 

A little more. I went ahead with the perimeter battens for the hatch cover.I think it looks better, particularly with the contrasting wood colour. 

20190526_182206.thumb.jpg.1ffe6b2d0f279db7f609ce4a4898e562.jpg

And someone climbing up the ladder from below decks (just for the moment- he has other duties when the ship is complete).

20190526_181256.thumb.jpg.9b26ff43ded8416c4ff76c74ab30369c.jpg 20190526_181313.thumb.jpg.210eae71b4d48ceaa81ad07b00c3c019.jpg

The mediaeval Byzantine sources mention supporting stands for the yards and for the masts when they're lowered - two different structures with two different names. I couldn't figure out why until recently. Then the light bulb lit up - the yards are considerably longer than the masts - you can't use the same stands for the two different things. But I suppose the mast stands could also help support the lowered yards.

20190526_193524.thumb.jpg.26bbf4059d87daa13f400d70e23ba930.jpg

Started on the wedges for the masts - I've never done this before, and I'm just feeling my way. Not a bad beginning, though; just needs a bit of tweaking.

20190526_185616.thumb.jpg.af30b8e34cb31144d09c325e343146e4.jpg

Steven  

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Steven. I found that tapering the wedges slightly from the outside to the inside allowed them to fit together more snugly. Then they are woolded.

The dromon is looking fine. Too late to use it as a bread basket.😊

Dick

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Posted (edited)

Thanks, Dick. I'll try that. Makes a lot of sense.

 

Steven

4 hours ago, woodrat said:

Too late to use it as a bread basket.

😁

 

By the way, I liked your hatches. Solid ones, because they didn't have to disperse cannon smoke (which is from what I've read, the reason for gratings in later hatch covers).

Edited by Louie da fly

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11 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

 

 

By the way, I liked your hatches. Solid ones, because they didn't have to disperse cannon smoke (which is from what I've read, the reason for gratings in later hatch covers).

I am unaware of when gratings made their first appearance but have seen no evidence of them in the mediaeval period or earlier.

Dick

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It would be interesting to check whether or not the idea of gratings being connected with gunpowder smoke is true, but it would require archaeological and/or pictorial evidence of before and after the introduction of guns mounted below the upper deck. And I think that would be a bit hard to find. Most if not all mediaeval wrecks are missing their upper decks, and the only contemporary picture I can think of off-hand that shows a ship's hatch before the cut-off period is the careened carrack in Botticelli's "Judgment of Paris", which unfortunately shows the hatches without covers.

 

Steven

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She's coming along nicely Steven!

 

The hatch discussion is interesting, it's one of the reasons I like following your build and Dick's as well. So many well thought out small details. I'd imagine it would be unlikely we would find a hatch cover archaeologically - not being nailed down, it would probably be one of the first things to float away as the ship sank. Or if they were made of tarpaulin or sail cloth they would degrade fairly quickly.

 

Alberto

 

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Well, most of the upper works (pretty much anything above the waterline) is usually gone in most cases anyway - depending on the angle the ship came to rest on the sea floor. The Red Bay wreck and one in Scandinavia (and of course the Black Sea wrecks) are exceptions where most of the ship has survived. But the Yenikapi wrecks in Istanbul, for example, almost all have the upper works completely gone, and none have their decks surviving. So the chances of finding a hatch cover are going to be pretty slim.

 

Steven

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As for the gratings... I'm not sure when they came into being.  Even without gunpowder smoke, ventilation is needed and thus the gratings. This would apply to a ship with banks of oars under the main deck.  However, there are some ships, that used solid planking across the hatches but those seem much later and didn't have oarsmen or guns below the deck.   

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1 hour ago, mtaylor said:

As for the gratings... I'm not sure when they came into being.  Even without gunpowder smoke, ventilation is needed and thus the gratings. This would apply to a ship with banks of oars under the main deck.  However, there are some ships, that used solid planking across the hatches but those seem much later and didn't have oarsmen or guns below the deck.   

Examples?

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Posted (edited)

Another step forward. I've made the kathormeis (the crutches to take the yards when lowered) and the histodokai (crutches for the masts). After considerable agonising, I've decided to make them almost identical. The kathormeis are slightly narrower than the histodokai because they only have to support the ends of the yards, while the histodokai support both the masts and the thickest part of the yards, where they consist of two spars lashed together.

 

Unfortunately, there are no contemporary pictures of these - the closest ones are from maybe 700 years too early - a mosiac in baths of Themetra in Tunisia, c. 220 AD,

 1435148879_galleyc.220AD.JPG.31ec91baeddf51861f1d87890d5b76d5.JPG

 and a mast crutch from a sepulchre in the same region from the third century AD, which seems to have a mast on a pivot. 

1109935049_mastcrutchfromHadremetumTunisiaC3.JPG.89d5360e5c762946df644c724c4d2063.JPG

(both illustrations from Age of the Dromon). Lacking anything better to rely on, I've used the second picture as a rough basis for my own.

 

Checking back in Age of the Dromon (which I guess I should have done before making them) I find that there should possibly have been three kathormeis and an indeterminate number (perhaps one) histodoke according to the only (not very reliable) source, known as the Anonymous, from the time. However, I've gone with two of each, and since they're now glued in place I'm not going to change them. And Prof Pryor poses the question 

The Anonymous clearly differentiated the crutches for yards from the histodokai but whether there was in fact any difference between them is unknown. Why could not one set of crutches have been used for both purposes?

 

In a discussion relating to the Anonymous' statement that the histodokai are fixed to the keel Prof Pryor is of the opinion that 

Even if sheer logic did not demand it, the pictorial evidence suggests that both histodokai and yard crutches were set up on the deck, not the keel . . . 

 

but that

Whatever the case, neither histodokai nor kathormeis could have been fixed on the keel unless their posts were made to pass up through the decks as the masts were. That might possibly have been done for reasons of structural integrity since the weight of the masts and yards which they had to carry was very considerable.

 

This is how I see it as well; the histodokai would have been supported on the keel - if they were fixed only to the deck, the uneven turning forces as the ship rocked would have put far too much shearing force on the fixings, with the result that the histodokai would be very likely to rip their fixings out of the deck and fall over, taking masts and yard s with them. Unfortunately I didn't think of this early enough, so I've had to fix them into the deck after all. But as the deck would have hidden the part below decks anyway, it doesn't really make any difference to the finished model.

 

I had originally made a couple of them out of plane wood, but it looked too pale and boring, especially since the windlass, masts and wedges were made of darker pear wood. So I made new ones out of pear.

20190527_184024.thumb.jpg.4765c1110bda31c32c11761e72c3f596.jpg

Here are the (pearwood) histodokai and kathormeis as built. I forgot to take a photo of them before they were assembled.

20190530_161547.thumb.jpg.9c05c336ed6b769bb14e0d97d02d613d.jpg

Here is the ship with them attached.

20190530_162236.thumb.jpg.af87e50333d2dbfc35cfcfef5cd1c299.jpg 20190530_162259.thumb.jpg.1924ea9fa70846e585768d1be48eaf24.jpg 20190530_162305.thumb.jpg.490c87d2776e2647663cc67ec8493e47.jpg 20190530_162518.thumb.jpg.ff0384847368bfa1c3673a4bf26f86cd.jpg

And with the masts and yards in place. The yards would naturally go on first, followed by the masts. I had to balance the need for headroom underneath against the interference of the crutches with the foot of the sails if they were too high. As it is, the crew will have to duck a bit to get under them - which could lead to lots of entertainment for the rough sailors if people didn't look where they were going. 

 

20190530_162807.thumb.jpg.bbce9da2083cbc3113dc5e0c6b31b019.jpg 20190530_162837.thumb.jpg.926b919bba71b6913405ee4bedadbaae.jpg 20190530_162920.thumb.jpg.ae70fcf9dc30939145b17468c5558e40.jpg

Sorry about the fuzziness in some of the photos - mobile phone and not enough light. However, I think it looks pretty good. It's all starting to take shape.

 

 

Steven.

 

 

 

Edited by Louie da fly

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Posted (edited)

Wuaooo Peter!

 

Christos

 

 

Ps. Ιστοδοκοί "oi" not "ai"(although it  could have been in a more modern greek laguage also correct)  .. and καθορμείς.. 100% correct. Just as only a linguistic point. 

Edited by MESSIS

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I just want to take a moment to register how much I appreciate this build-- for the clear craftsmanship, obviously, but also for the subject that is well off the beaten track. Please keep up the wonderful work.

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Posted (edited)
Thanks everybody for the likes and particularly the comments. It makes the hard work worthwhile - well, the work itself is worthwhile otherwise I wouldn't be doing it- but it's very nice to get the feedback from my fellow modellers, whose opinions are very valuable to me.
 
Christos; normally yes, but apparently the word has changed over the centuries; the Anonymous has  'Ιστοδοκη, (and so does the Iliad, according to Age of the Dromon)-so Pryor has the plural as 'Ιστοδοκαί and I think in this case that must be right.
 
Steven   
 
Edited by Louie da fly

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Love the crutches but I still think your spur is too long😓. But as long as you are happy with it, thats all that matters. Interestingly the undoubted dromons shown on the Annales de Genes show the spur well.

1050379067_annalesdeGenes01.JPG.6d01b909ca1f3adea8b4da0327d5b8ac.JPG

 

These are not dromons as there is only a single bank of oars

313060643_annalesdeGenes06.JPG.e1f51e818d28e9db1cf9f01aa71b2b93.JPG

Dick 😊

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Posted (edited)
 
 

Thanks, Dick. Yes, I understand about the spur, and I had to make a decision at some point whether to trust the pictures or the documentary evidence. I came down on the side of the documents because it's easier to faff around with a drawing than with written numbers - though I admit I'm not totally consistent in this!

 

The first picture is certainly of a two-banked vessel so is a dromon in form, but as it's from Genoa it would probably be called a galea. The others might be two-banked - it's hard to be sure - if not, perhaps they are galeae with oars arranged in one bank with two oars per bench (alla sensile), which seemed to have made dromons obsolete due to their better power-to-weight ratio.

 

Oh, and look! They have a bar between the "horns" - so (in relation to my comments in your Venetian round ship build log) perhaps the horns were to support the yards after all! 

 

Now, an OOPS!

 

I didn't take into account the inclination of the foremast when I put in the forrard crutch, and it turned out the mast interfered with the crutch. Just impossible.

20190531_095612.thumb.jpg.f992d587f7828332f0df2210eb5e3ee9.jpg 20190531_095615.thumb.jpg.06da58fa7d8760ef1b3a23ba38c95cc0.jpg

So I had to remove the crutch (fortunately, that was pretty easy), cut a new hole for it in the deck and glue it in place

20190531_100302.thumb.jpg.b5ecf87852f739b825780bdd90bb9f8a.jpg

and close up the old hole in the deck.

20190531_101229.thumb.jpg.8951545ba470bce68e7d2533617e80f9.jpg

I'll probably have to use a bit of home-made filler to smooth it all off. 

 

(Sigh).

 

Steven

Edited by Louie da fly

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5 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

So I had to remove the crutch (fortunately, that was pretty easy), cut a new hole for it in the deck and glue it in place

You could have lowered it a couple of mm's ... (and the others as well) if we have to go by what Dick wrote: the spurs are to long

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7 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

has the plural as 'Ιστοδοκαί and I think in this case that must be right.

Steven indeed... I believe you gave it a closer look, so I rest my case👍

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