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miércoles 22 noviembre 2017



Bertan > Our boats > Thirteenth century. The atlantic context
Bertan 23

Thirteenth century. The atlantic context


In the National Archive in Paris there is a wax imprint of the seal of San Sebastian council, attached to a document dating from 1297. It depicts the most important type of ship in thirteenth-century Atlantic Europe, responsible for beginning a boom in maritime trade. This type of ship was also used by other kingdoms with which the Basques traded, especially England. It was used by the Christian kingdoms in their military campaigns, such as in the conquest of Seville in 1248, in which Basque and Cantabrian ships played a decisive role in breaking through the defences on the River Guadalquivir.

Seal of San Sebastian (1352). General Archive of Navarre.
Similar to the one in the National Archive in Paris, dating from
1297.
Seal of San Sebastian (1352). General Archive of Navarre. Similar to the one in the National Archive in Paris, dating from 1297. © José Lopez
There are certain differences between the ship depicted on the
tympanum of the doorway of the Church of St. Peter in Olite and that
of San Sebastian; the upper planks of the hull can clearly be seen not
to end in the stems, but are instead raised to support castles built into
the hull. This type of ship very probably had its origins in northern
Europe.
There are certain differences between the ship depicted on the tympanum of the doorway of the Church of St. Peter in Olite and that of San Sebastian; the upper planks of the hull can clearly be seen not to end in the stems, but are instead raised to support castles built into the hull. This type of ship very probably had its origins in northern Europe. © José Lopez

French miniature showing a warship of the period, with the
sa-me design as the one in St. Peter of Olite.
French miniature showing a warship of the period, with the sa-me design as the one in St. Peter of Olite. © José Lopez
Ships moored alongside one another on the same quay or in a
cove. San Sebastian was a very important port at this time, when it
belonged to the kingdom of Navarre. In 1180, King Sancho the
Wise (Sancho VI) granted it a set of laws that constitute one of the
oldest known maritime legal codes. The same basic design was
used for different models of vessels, with only the size varying.
Ships moored alongside one another on the same quay or in a cove. San Sebastian was a very important port at this time, when it belonged to the kingdom of Navarre. In 1180, King Sancho the Wise (Sancho VI) granted it a set of laws that constitute one of the oldest known maritime legal codes. The same basic design was used for different models of vessels, with only the size varying. © José Lopez

This Roman ship from Ostia is surprisingly similar in outline to
the thirteenth century ships, down to the strong protruding stem
heads. This might suggest a continuity in ship design from the
Ro-man era down to the thirteenth century.
This Roman ship from Ostia is surprisingly similar in outline to the thirteenth century ships, down to the strong protruding stem heads. This might suggest a continuity in ship design from the Ro-man era down to the thirteenth century. © José Lopez
Miniature from the Ballads of Saint Mary, by Alfonso X the
Wise, thirteenth century.
Miniature from the Ballads of Saint Mary, by Alfonso X the Wise, thirteenth century. © José Lopez

Seal of the Village of San Nicolás, Pamplona, from 1236.
Seal of the Village of San Nicolás, Pamplona, from 1236. © José Lopez
Seal of the University of the Borough of San Cernin and the
Village of San Nicolás, Pamplona. 1274.
Seal of the University of the Borough of San Cernin and the Village of San Nicolás, Pamplona. 1274. © José Lopez

Seal of Winchelsea, England, thirteenth century.
Seal of Winchelsea, England, thirteenth century. © José Lopez
Reproduction of the seal of San Sebastian, 1297, from the
Na-tional Archive in Paris.
Reproduction of the seal of San Sebastian, 1297, from the Na-tional Archive in Paris. © José Lopez

Scene from the Pamplona Bible, commissioned by King Sancho
the Strong in 1194, and made by Petrus Ferrandus, manuscript
from Harburg-Oettinghen.
Scene from the Pamplona Bible, commissioned by King Sancho the Strong in 1194, and made by Petrus Ferrandus, manuscript from Harburg-Oettinghen. © José Lopez
Some specialists suggest that the boat on the seal of San
Sebastian might be up to 20 metres long. Over the following centuries
numerous innovations were incorporated into this type of
ship to adapt to the demands of each period.
Some specialists suggest that the boat on the seal of San Sebastian might be up to 20 metres long. Over the following centuries numerous innovations were incorporated into this type of ship to adapt to the demands of each period. © José Lopez

The seals show the use of a type of ship that was common to
Basque, English and Cantabrian ports. The city of Bayonne, like the
rest of Lapurdi belonged to England, and was one of the main shipbuilding
centres for the English crown.
The seals show the use of a type of ship that was common to Basque, English and Cantabrian ports. The city of Bayonne, like the rest of Lapurdi belonged to England, and was one of the main shipbuilding centres for the English crown. © José Lopez
The ship on the seal of San Sebastian shows a symmetrical stern
and bow, the side rudder on the starboard side, the clinker-built hull
and the heads of the beams crossing the hull. There is a poop deck sheltering the helmsman, an important feature on long sea voyages.
This raised platform was also very useful during naval battles.
The ship on the seal of San Sebastian shows a symmetrical stern and bow, the side rudder on the starboard side, the clinker-built hull and the heads of the beams crossing the hull. There is a poop deck sheltering the helmsman, an important feature on long sea voyages. This raised platform was also very useful during naval battles. © José Lopez

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