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Venetian Galley Construction Process
From August 2004

Date Photograph Memo
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 and make this from scratch.
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.
The "corsia", the raised gangway running between the rowing benches, was made and the deck planking was completed. The hole on the starboard is for the cook's galley.

However, the position of this cook's galley was wrong as described Memo3.
the poop deck was planked.
According to the reference 7 p113, the poop deck was level with the top of the corsia and tilted upwards at the rear for visibilty.
The hole for the cook's galley was moved to the port deck.

At this stage, I made the hole for the cook's galley in the deck. But, about a month later, I heard that this was not correct. The cook's galley was probably on the deck or on the rowing bench.
The 24 banks of rowing benches and the rudder were made. The vacant on the starboard is for the skiff.
The apostis was made.
The structure of the apostis at the bow is affected by the gun setting. So, I checked the space for the guns by temporary setting all of the guns. As described on the Memo4, the space is too little to operate the guns. Therefore, I decided to widen the gun-deck to the apostis.
Then, the gangway along the apostis was planked.
In war galley, about a half of the soldiers sits in the gap between oars on the gangway. Although, the space for the soldiers may be sufficient in "a scaloccio" using one oar per bench, "alla sensile" seems having too little space. In order to overcome this problem, the gangway over the oars might have been built.
However, I made the gangway at a level of apostis following Fincati's model.
In November, I made the shields along the apostis and the lattice cover on the poop deck.
Then I elongated the track for the main centerline gun 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.
2004.12.16/Fighting Platform
I made the fighting platform above the bow artillery.
According to the reference 2 p223:
"Venetian galleys acquired a temporary fighting platform at the bow. This structure eventually, though well after the period of our concern, evolved into a permanent strucure more or less along western lines. The temporary structure which preceded it was unique to Venetian galleys. This was based on four heavy support beams running fore and aft which were set on vertical posts at about shoulder height above the front end of the apostis and on eithe side of the main centerline bow gun. The rear of these beams was slightly higher than the front, giving the platform a slight forward tilt. Planks could be laid across these beams (that is at right angles to the long axis of the ship) forming a raised platform about ten feet long, above all of the bow guns except for the main centerline piece."
"Even when the platform was created, the opening above the main centerline gun gave the gunners good ventilation and clear working space."
I think that the tilted platform is a little uncool.
At the last of 2004, I made the skiff .
The method of construction is described at Memo 5.
I constructed the mast. I fastened the shrouds to the apostis. But I do not know whether my way is correct or not..
There is a description on page 142 of reference 4: "Numerous shrouds, sometimes up to thirteen or fourteen per side on a mast, were attached below the cholzexe sheaves and were made taut to windward with deadeyes so they could be quickly cast off when changing tack." However, I have not seen the Venetian galley with such numerous shrouds in contemporary paintings. So I made six shrouds per side.
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 Memo4, there is no space in my model. After serious consideration, I decided to remove the fighting platform and rearrange the guns.
The anchors were mounted. These were made of brass wire and card.

In March, I completed the yard and set it in a form of the combat where the sail is furled.

In contemporary paintings, two positions of the yard, i.e, outside the shrouds or inside the shrouds, are depicted.
I hesitated over which to choose.
Their sails had been spread during rushing toward Turk's fleet at Lepant, according to the description of the book "The Galleys at Lepanto", that is "While Ali's ships visibly lost momentum, all along Don John's battle line, lateen sails were being shaken out along spars. They filled as if from a mighty and confident breath."
The yard with spread sail must be outside the shroud. Although they would furl the sails just before combat, they would not have enough time to move their yards from outside to inside.
Therefore, I concluded that the yard was set to be outside the shrouds.


Then, I started making the oars. I have to make 144 oars in all. I now completed 39 oars yet.
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. So, I made an alignment jig as shown in the photograph.


I completed all of the oars in May.
This looks like a centipede.


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 attached the pennant.