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What is a Ship?
     Dean Howson says that more about the ancients' merchant-ships is to be learned from Luke than from all the writers in classic literature. Some of these ships were very large, and probably the majority carried from 500 to 1000 tons. They were steered by two large paddles at the sides. Acts 27:40, carried usually but one mast with a huge sail, but were also propelled by oars, hence required rowers, were ornamented by images in the bow and stern and figures painted on the side of the bow, which made "the sign" - e.g., Castor and Pollux. Acts 28:11. They were furnished with under-girders, which passed round the frame at right angles to its length and "frapped" it when the planks were in danger of starting, anchors like ours, except that they had no flukes, sounding-lines; "could sail within seven points of the wind; seem to have had some mode of keeping the log; and it has been supposed that with a fair breeze they could make seven knots an hour." - Ayre. Nor need they hug the shore. The Hebrews were not sailors. We have no information in regard to the ships of their nautical neighbors. The reference to rudder-bands, Acts 27:40, is thus explained: the rudder-paddles already mentioned "were lashed up lest they should interfere with the ground-tackle. When they wished to steer again and the anchor-ropes were cut, they unfastened the lashings or bands of the paddles." Ancient ships were properly galleys.

Bibliography Information
Schaff, Philip, Dr. "Biblical Definition for 'ship' in Schaffs Bible Dictionary". - Schaff's

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