Friday, August 07, 2009

the wine dark sea

Illus: Pamela Jane Rogers

First came soft measured strokes like the pounding of a distant drum. Then two distinct sounds gradually emerged within each stroke: a deep percussive blow of wood striking water, followed by a dashing surge. Whumpff! Whroosh! These sounds were so much a part of their world that Greeks had names for them. They called the splash pitylos, the rush rhothios.

John R. Hale, writing of the Ancient Greek naval trireme of Athens in Lords of the Sea: The Epic Story of the Athenian Navy and the Birth of Democracy, reviewed in this morning's New York Times.

Ancient Greeks + rowing? Added to my list.

Illustration by the artist Pamela Jane Rogers, who accompanied the Trireme Trust in 1992 with her easel in tow. The Trireme Trust is a group of rowers who have reconstructed the Ancient Greek Trireme and put it to a speed test.

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