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August 2004 - June 2005
August 2007 - September 2007

Kit : Scratch built
Scale : 1/100 (Length : 480mm, Height : 310mm, Width : 260mm)
Plan : "The Plan of Venetian Galley" I made is shown in another page.
Reference :
1) Joseph Wheatley and Stephen Howarth : Historic Sail (The Glory of the Sailing Ship from the 13th to the 19th Century) (2000) Greenhill Books and Stackpole Books
2) John Francis Guilmartin, Jr. : Gunpowder & Galleys (2003) Conway Maritime Press
3) Andre Zysberg and Rene Burlet : Gloire et Misere des Galeres (Japanese translation published by Sogensya)
4) Lillian Ray Martin : The Art and Archaeology of Venetian Ships and Boats (2001) Texas A & M University Press
5) Jean Marteihe : Memoires d'un Protestant Condamne aux Galeres de France, etc. (Japanese translation published by Iwanami)
6) Nanami Shiono : The Battle of Lepanto (1987) Shinchosya (in Japanese)
7) John Francis Guilmartin, Jr. : Galleons and Galleys (2002) Cassell & Co
8) Brian Lavery : The Arming and Fitting of English Ships of War 1600-1815 (2000) Conway Maritime Press
9) Angus Konstam, illustrated by Tony Bryan : Renaissance War Galley 1470-1590, New Vangard 62 (2002) Osprey Publishing Ltd.
10) Jack Beeching: The Galleys at Lepanto (1983) Charles Scribner's Sons
11) Robert Gardiner (Editor): The Age of the Galley (2004) Conway Maritime Press

September 16th 2007

Summary of the Construction Process

I decided to construct a Venetian war galley in the age of the Battle of Lepanto.
I could not find the suitable kit. So, I determined to get the information from reference books listed above and make this from scratch.
In August 2004, I started the construction of the Venetian galley.

Late in August, I completed hull planking and fixed the 'spur' to the bow.
According to the reference 2 p87, the spur is generally viewed as a 'ram', yet its position well above the water line makes abundantly clear that it was not a ram in the classical sense. The classical parallel for the spur of modern and medieval galleys is clearly the Roman boarding bridge, not the Greek ram.

In September, the corsia, the raised gangway running between the rowing benches, was made and the deck planking was completed.
Then, the 24 banks of rowing benches and the rudder were made.

In October, the apostis and the gangways are completed.

From November to December, The gun-deck, the shields along the apostis and the cage on the poop deck were made.
The track for the main centerline gun was elongated by cutting off the front of the corsia in order to permit recoiling up to 1 m, as described in "An Estimation of the Recoil of the Main Centerline Gun on the Galley". All of the bow guns were fixed.
Then, I made the temporary fighting platform above the bow artillery according to the reference 2 p223.

At the last of 2004, I made the skiff . The method of construction is described at Memo 5.

In January 2005, I constructed the mast. I fastened the shrouds to the apostis.

In February, I found that I made a serious mistake. I forgot the space for the anchors. Mr. Marco's suggestion and Hendrik Vroom depiction on pp180-181 of reference 7 indicate that the anchors were placed in the spaces between guns and shields. As shown at Memo 4, there is no space in my model. After serious consideration, I decided to remove the fighting platform and rearrange the guns.
Then the anchors were mounted. These were made of brass wire and card.

In March, I completed the yard.

Then, I started making the oars. This galley has 144 oars. I completed the setting all of the oars in May. This looks like a centipede.
In alla sensile system, three oars are set on a rowing bench and their lengths are different from each other. The heights of the toes of these oars are also different. The shortest is the deepest and the longest is the shallowest.

In June, I made the sail, flags and a pennant. The sail was made of my used-white-shirt. The image of Venetian lion in the flag was copied from a website "Flag of the World". Then, it was printed on a sheet of paper by inkjet printer.
The Venetian galleys on the left wing at the Battle of Lepanto flew a yellow pennant at the yard peak10). I also made this of paper.

In September 2007, I added 8 swivel guns on the poop deck. The sail, the cannopy and the pennant were remade with thin cloth.


1) rudder

I thought that the model of a Venetian trireme, commissioned by Rear Admiral Luigi Fincati in 1881, was the most reliable. However, the rudder of the Fincati's model is attached to the sternpost by two hinges (A and B) as shown in the figure. Since the swing-axes (a and b) of these hinges intersect each other, this rudder seems not to swing.
So, I believed that Fincati's model was not correct.

However, Mr. Marco Brancaleon showed me, from Italy, the several more detail drawings and he told me that Fincati's arrangement was correct.
After discussion with him, I understood that the couplings of the hinges were made to be very loose in order to be able to swing the rudder and the shaft of the lower hinge was made to be very long to hold the rudder. (If the couplings were precisely made like modern hinges, the rudder, of course, could not be operated. If the shaft was short like modern hinges, the rudder probably fell off during sailing. The long shaft also have the aim to facilitate the inserting of the rudder or the lifting.)
I deeply appreciate Mr. Marco Brancaleon's help.

my rudder After modifying my rudder like Fincati's model as shown in the photograph, I found an important description in the reference 4 p162-166. That is the curved rudder was used only in 15th century. After the late of 15th century, "the straight stern rudder was eventually preferred, because the curved stern rudder could break quite easily."
But I also found another description in the reference 11 p151 after completion of the model, it is described that "The straight stern and rudder form alla ponentina, introduced in the seventeenth century".
So, I do not know whether my rudder is correct or not.

2) La Battaglia di Lepanto

The number of the oars is a crucial factor for the galleys.
A vermilion-lacquered galley is in the center of a picture "La Battaglia di Lepanto" by Andrea Michelli (also known as Andrea Vicentino)3),6). Essential part of this picture is shown on the right. The flag of this galley is Venetian Lion and the man near the flag seems to be Venetian Capitano Generale del Mar, Sebastian Venier. These means that this is the Venetian galley for cmmanders.
I counted the number of oars of this galley. The number was 27 per side.

Before 1550, the standard Mediterranean warship was the trireme alla sensile of 24 banks (rowing benches per side) in which 144 oarsmen pulled his own individual oar. In this system, high dash speed was obtained but skillful oars men were required. Slaves and convicts could not master this rowing system.
To overcome this problem, the system was changed to a scaloccio (alla scaloccio) in which all of the men on a bench pulled a single large oar together by 1571. However, only the Venetians, backed by the availability of skilled free oarsmen, went against the trend for a time. Venetian triremes alla sensile fought at Lepanto2). This fact indicates that the number of oars of Venetian galley was 144.

The different numbers of oars have confused me for a long time.

However, I got the reference 9 and finally found the answer on page 17 in this book that is "--around 1550 and 1560-- , when they (the Venetians and Ottoman Turks) switched over to the alla scaloccio system for their larger galleys (command galleys)."


In galleys, one rowing bench was left vacant for cook's galley.
The photographs between p160 and p161 of reference 2 show that this cook's galley is on the starboard. So, I made the hole for the cook's galley on the starboard deck. However, after making this hole, I found the description in reference 7 that is "one bank of oars was left vacant on each side for the skiff (starboard) and the cook's galley (port)".
fogonI was confused.
So, I asked the author of these books, Dr. John Francis Guilmartin, Jr., Professor of history, Ohio State University.
He quickly gave me the answer that the cook's galley (fogon) is on the port. His guess is that the photographs in the reference 2 were reversed in the publication process.
I decided to reconstruct the fogon on the port.
Although I made the hole in the port deck, the fogon probably had been on the deck or on the rowing bench. So, I covered the hole and reconstructed the fogon as shown in the photograph.


my_gun_arrangement Venetian galley ca. 1571 is armed with a 52-55 pdr cannone weighing some 5,500 lb, two 12 pdr aspidi weighing about 1,200 lb and a pair of 5-6 pdr falconetti weighing perhaps 900 lb2). So, the sum of the gun's weight is about 7600 lb (3.4 tons). A change of the trim caused by this concentrated weight is shown in "A Calculation of Trim".

By the way, the length of the cannone is about 4.2 m, the aspidi is 2m2) and the falconetti is 1.6m8). If all of these guns are set on the deck of the body, the space will be too small.
Therefore, I decided to widen the gun-deck to the apostis. My arrangement of the bow guns is shown in the photograph.(October 2004)

modified_gun_arrangement In February 2005, I found that there was no space for the anchors in this arrangement. So, I modified the arrangement of the guns as shown in the under photograph.
The anchors were made of brass wire and card, and painted black.

Anchors on the sailing ships were generally hung on catheads. But the catheads on the 16th century galleys have hardly ever been depicted in the contemporary paintings except a painting on the endpaper of reference 7 which is captioned as "A near contemporary painting of the battle of Lepanto from the Venetian school". The projections like catheads are depicted on at least two galleys. However the anchors are not connected to these projections, placed on the side of the guns. I think this configuration is not reasonable.
Therefore, I decided not to install the catheads on my galley.


skiff The length of the skiff is only 2.5 cm. At first, I tried to construct this of wood using the plug as shown at the left in the photograph. But too short length made the construction difficult. So, I made this of card strips without using the plug. The hull was first made with card strips. Then, the ribs were glued inside of the hull.
The body was painted by acrylic paint.

Details of Construction Process:

link_to_body From August 2004 to Now

Close-up Photographs :

Close-up photographs of each section are shown in this page.

An Oil Painting:

My oil painting of the Venetian fleet just before the Battle of Lepanto is shown in this page.

A book:

This model is adopted as an illustration in a book. The photo of that page and the book "Getting and Staying Productive" written by Professor Roger W. Schmenner are shown in this page.