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Does anybody know if romans preserved standing rigging with tar (black color) or the rigging was left natural?

Same needed for my model of roman trireme to achieve historical accuracy.
Plinius told us in his NH 35, 149 that they were coloured by burned wax, which is called enkaustic painting technic. The used coloures were white, blue, green, yellow, brown, red and purple.
Tar were used for black, which were used like brown for the mass of the ship while the others were used for decorations.
Often you find the eyes at the front of the ships.

Taken of H.D.L. Viereck, Die Römische Flotte, Classis Romana
Thanks for post, but this time I am searching for any info on preservation of rigging (ropes).

It seems I have to study directly Plinius.
@ Tib. Gabinius: rigging = Takelage
Black or natural?

My model of trireme is near completion. One problem still being unsolved - did romans preserve standing rigging (ropes) with tar? This is very important since tarred ropes are black.

There are records from late medieval times on this method of preserving ropes from decay. We know that romans knew and used tar, but did they use tar on ships rigging?

Until I have some proof I prefer to let all ropes in natural (hemp) color.

Can anybody interested in naval history help me to solve this problem?
I'll have a look at Ships and Seamanship of the Ancient World tomorrow. I have it lying around at work.
Thanks Jasper! Looking forward...

I must buy this book.
Quote:@ Tib. Gabinius: rigging = Takelage
Danke dir, ich sagte ja, mein englisch ist mies... Smile

Ok, the velum was, if we can believe Viereck, white, and, this sounds like the connection to the vexilum, if the ship was the flaggship with the admiral on board purple or a kind of red.
I dont believe it was real purple, the costs had to be incredible...
The sipara (the little sail) was also white.
He also reports of leather strips to support the sails, so it was devided into many little squares...
I've just taken a look into

Höckmann, Olaf, 1985, Antike Seefahrt, Munich.

but did not find any comments about tar on ropes, sorry.

My knowledge about seafaring is only limited, but according to what I can scrape together from what I have read long ago, the standing rigging was treated with tar to make it more durable, while the running rigging stayed untreated. HOWEVER, in my opinion this makes only sense if the standing rigging was indeed a standing rigging = shrouds which were not moved. But for ancient galleys it was customary to take down the mast before any battles, so I would not use tarred ropes for this.

For sailing freighters it's something different - does Casson write something about this?
Casson, SSAW, 120 (on Polyremes): "Of rig we know absolutely nothing."
235-7 has some more on rig, but nothing about preservation of rigging. There is some info on p.231: cordage was made from papyrus, hemp, flax and esparto grass. But that's all.
Thanks for info. So I will leave rigging in natural color as planned.

Florian:
Quote:But for ancient galleys it was customary to take down the mast before any battles, so I would not use tarred ropes for this.

I suppose big roman warships have masts fixed, lowering masts was rather common with smaller galleys, especially greek. But for this the firm proof is still missing...

Thanks again for info!
Quote:I suppose big roman warships have masts fixed
Your ship is a trireme? That does not count as big, so if it's supposed to look battle-ready, take it off. Dio mentions specifically that Antony's fleet at Actium had masts & sails set, so they could make their getaway, while Octavian's fleet hadn't. And despite the propaganda idea of lumbering 10s vs liburnes, the proportions of the ships were quite a bit closer at Actium with Octavian's fleet probably consisting of triremes up to hexeres and Antony having some bigger ones up to a single ten.
Tobias:
Quote:Ok, the velum was, if we can believe Viereck, white, and, this sounds like the connection to the vexilum, if the ship was the flaggship with the admiral on board purple or a kind of red.
I dont believe it was real purple, the costs had to be incredible...
The sipara (the little sail) was also white.
He also reports of leather strips to support the sails, so it was devided into many little squares...

I wanted info about ropes...But you are right about using of purple dye, it was very expensive.
To Jasper:
I suppose that trireme MIGHT enter battle with standing mast and yards aloft and sails furled due to insufficient space on deck - tower(s), ballistas, troops and corvus (in early times). We have no convincing proofs about trireme construction, i.e. if the deck was full (single) or divided with central space for lowered mast like in greek galleys. Such a crowded space would be rather obstruction for running troops (like ditch). Same would interfere with deck tower(s).
Hi Martin,

at least You should paint the rope black that was stretched horizontally alongside the ship to prevent it from breaking apart. H.D.L. Viereck calls it by its Greek designation hypozom (may-be tormentum funis? in Latin). As it was - at least partly - at the outside of the ship's hull, it had been exposed to the seawater in a higher measure and therefore surely needed preservation by tar.

Greets - Uwe
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