Fighting Ships – From the Ancient World to 1750
Beginning with Ramses III’s dramatic defeat of the ‘sea people’ in 1176 BC – the world’s earliest visual record of a naval battle – Fighting Ships tells the story of 3000 years of maritime history through 150 glorious images. From the Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans to the coming of the age of sail, here are breathtaking depictions of ancient triremes and Viking longships, the Santa Maria and the Spanish Armada, as well as Henry VIII’s giant carracks and the majestic three-decked warships of Louis IV that patrolled the Mediterranean.
Arranged chronologically, this sumptuous collection of grand-scale images brings together the earliest carvings on temple walls and the world-famous Bayeux tapestry, with exquisite depictions by the greatest artists, including Tintoretto’s The Capture of Constantinople, Brueghel’s The Fall of Icarus, Vasari’s The Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and Samuel Scott’s The Capture of Puerto Bello. Here too are striking portraits of key historical figures, such as Columbus, Raleigh and Drake, alongside ship plans, drawings, engravings and artefacts rescued from the wrecks themselves.
Maritime historian Sam Willis recounts famous battles, voyages of conquest and tales of triumph and defeat at sea. He not only reveals the secrets of naval strategy and ship design, but also sheds fascinating light on the lives of the great men that commanded their fleets, as well as on the heroism and hardship of life on board for the ordinary sailor.
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