Mykonos – 4

In another room were models of a fishing boat, used to specifically catch octopus, wooden tools used to make boats, and a heavy, old diving helmet. There were finely painted models of a brig, a bratsera, a belou, a bark-bestia, and a sponge-fishing boat.

The displays weren’t confined to Greece. There was a model of HMS Endeavour, used by James Cook on his first voyage of discovery. There was some information about and a model of the steamship Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. Its journey to Liverpool took 27 days and 11 hours, although it was only under power for 85 hours and the remainder of the crossing took place under sail.

The historical ship models were extensive. There was a Byzantine dromon, with bronze tubes in the prow, which spat out Greek Fire on its enemies. Greek Fire was a caustic liquid that couldn’t be quenched by anything including water.  There was a detailed cross-section of an Athenian trireme as well as models of a Phoenician bireme and a pentecontor, so called because it required 50 oarsmen to power it along. The Argo was a pentecontor as were the ships of the Trojan War, all of them with a large ram at the front.

Another fascinating model was of an Olkas or Round Ship. Whilst not round like a coracle, this ship moved based on the wind through a square sail in the middle of the ship and without the assistance of rowers. 180 of the 230 ships on Philip of Macedon’s expedition into the Black Sea in 340 BCE were olkas.

This museum also contains a funerary ship from an Egyptian tomb, information about how people crossed the Tigris river in ancient Mesopotamia using only an inflated skin bag, and an amphora from Canaan dating from about 1400 BCE. Outside in the garden there’s an original lighthouse lantern dating from 1890.

Published by Julian Worker

Julian was born in Leicester, attended school in Yorkshire, and university in Liverpool. He has been to 94 countries and territories and intends to make the 100 when travel is easier. He writes travel books, murder / mysteries and absurd fiction. His sense of humour is distilled from The Marx Brothers, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Midsomer Murders. His latest book is about a Buddhist cat who tries to help his squirrel friend fly further from a children's slide.

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