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Neptunus of Ostia
Roman merchant ship of 200 AD
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Port side view of Neptunus ship
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Neptunus of Ostia

Year: 200 AD
Category: Ancient
Vessel Type: Merchant Ship
Scale: 1/12" = 1 foot
Overall Length: 110 feet

This carving represents a Roman merchant vessel from about 200 A.D.. Neptunus was the God of the ocean for the pagan Roman sailors and Ostia was the port city of Rome. Rome itself was inland a few miles whereas Ostia was a port city with an ample harbor.

Roman merchant ship design remained essentially unchanged for many centuries. Large carved swans were placed on the stern to serve as a decoration and to identify the owner of the ship as a Roman. Paintings on the stempost and on the hull's stern were purely decorative.

The hull design allowed for the rudders to be hoisted from the water with lanyards when required; this was done when the ship was running before a gale, as described in St. Luke's account of St. Paul's journey to Rome.

Plans and information provided by Maritime Historians Robert Gleason of the U.S. and Bjorn Landstrom of Sweden.

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Towering swans decorated the quaterdecks of most Roman owned ships.
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The deck is ivory that has been scrimshawed to show planking and then dyed brown with boiled walnut hulls to appear as a real deck.
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Roman anchors were made of wood but the crossarms were massive and cast of solid lead.
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The cabin allowed for cargo ships like this to carry a few passengers. The ladder was carved from one piece of ivory.

Location and Hours

1775 State Route 39
Sugarcreek, Ohio   44681
(330) 852-6096
Monday - Saturday 9 AM - 5 PM
Closed Sundays


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