Sailors in Ancient Greece were known by different names depending on their duties and roles. The Greek civilization was known for its extensive trade network, and sailors played a vital role in facilitating trade by transporting goods across the Mediterranean Sea.
What were sailors called in Ancient Greece?
The most common term used to refer to sailors in Ancient Greece was “nautes”. This term was used to refer to anyone who worked on a ship, from the captain to the deckhand. The word “nautes” is derived from the Greek word “naus,” which means ship.
The Different Types of Sailors
In addition to nautes, there were other terms used to refer to specific types of sailors based on their roles. These include:
Kyrenoros was a sailor responsible for rowing the ship. They would sit at the oars and row the ship as directed by the captain or helmsman.
Prorates was a sailor who assisted with navigating the ship. They would help the captain plot out courses and determine wind direction.
Antesignanus was a sailor who stood at the front of the ship, also known as the bow or prow. They were responsible for keeping an eye out for any obstacles or hazards ahead of the ship and alerting the captain.
Keleustes was a sailor responsible for maintaining order on board the ship. They would ensure that everyone followed orders and that there was no mutiny or disobedience among crew members.
The Life of Sailors in Ancient Greece
Life as a sailor in Ancient Greece was not easy. Sailors had to work long hours, often under grueling conditions such as storms and rough seas.
They had to be skilled in navigation, seamanship, and rowing. They also had to be physically fit and strong enough to handle the demands of life at sea.
Sailors would eat a diet consisting mainly of dried fish, bread, and wine. Fresh fruits and vegetables were rare on board ships, making scurvy a common ailment among sailors.
Sleeping arrangements on board ships were cramped and uncomfortable. Sailors would sleep in hammocks or on the deck of the ship.
To pass the time, sailors would play games such as dice or cards or sing songs together. They would also tell stories and share tales of their adventures at sea.
The Legacy of Ancient Greek Sailors
The legacy of Ancient Greek sailors can still be felt today in modern maritime culture. Many nautical terms used today are derived from Ancient Greek words, such as “navy” from “naus” and “admiral” from “amiralios.”
In conclusion, sailors in Ancient Greece played a vital role in facilitating trade and commerce across the Mediterranean Sea. Although life at sea was challenging, these sailors were skilled individuals who left a lasting impact on maritime history.