January 10, 2015 in 

A galley is a type of ship that is propelled mainly by rowing. The galley is characterized by its long, slender hull, shallow draft, and low freeboard (height of the gunwale above the waterline). These ships were used by ancient civilizations for warfare, trade, and piracy, and later by the Vikings and other northern European peoples for commerce, exploration, and warfare. Galleys were the dominant type of ship in Mediterranean and Atlantic waters from the 8th to 16th centuries.

The English word galley is derived from the Old French word galie, from the Latin galea, “helmet”. The word “galley” has come to be used as a general term for any ship with oars, sailing or otherwise.

The oarsmen of a galley were seated in two banks on long benches running fore and aft along the gunwales. The number of oarsmen varied between 30 and 150, depending on the size and purpose of the galley. The benches were divided into two sections with an aisle running between them; the section in front of the mast was called the “forecastle” while the section behind the mast was the “aftercastle”.

Galley ships were propelled by a combination of rowing and sailing. The sail was used to help the oarsmen row by giving them a boost when the wind was blowing in the right direction. In battle, the sails were furled and the ship was rowed into position.

The typical galley was equipped with a ram, a projecting beam or spur at the prow of the ship designed to puncture an enemy ship’s hull, and with one or more large castles, elevated platforms from which archers or other missile troops could attack the enemy.

Galleys were built in a variety of sizes and designs, but the basic layout was always the same: a long, narrow hull propelled by oars and sails, with a crew of rowers and a small group of officers and soldiers.

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CJ McDaniel

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!

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