Take the 2-minute tour ×
History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am not a historian my self, but I like to read history, ancient history. I am reading now about Phoenician civilization.
I noticed in Wikipedia :

the Phoenicians were the major naval and trading power of the region.

then I saw this picture Assyrian Warship
in this picture, were they referring the fishes as their food while they are sailing(hunting fishes) or what ?
then my question is, while the Phoenician were strong naval civilization and sailed to really far places(I heard that they reached america, though not sure about it, I am still reading), how did they eat then while they were on a trip?

share|improve this question
Just as a point of fact, according to wikipedia this is an oar-powered Assyrian warship, not a sail-driven Phonecian trading vessel. It could have had sails too, but we can't tell that from this fragment. –  T.E.D. May 21 '13 at 21:26

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I believe I can answer my question. After some Google search I found this:

It is my understanding that it is difficult to fish on a sailing ship. Many fish won't bite a worm or other bait swimming 12-15 knots through the ocean - this isn't a natural mealtime option for them - the bigger fish may (marlins, tuna), but these are very large fish requiring a fishing operation, not a simple sailor fishing for his afternoon cup of chowder. The option then would be to take down the sails, stopping the vessel for a few hours to allow the men to fish (and fish populations tend to be much more plentiful near the coasts, rather than in the shipping lanes of the deep sea), which could take a lot of time and resources and leave the men on the high seas (where weather was their worst enemy) for a longer period of time. Conversely, they could travel nonstop to the nearest port of safety simply by storing food in some of their holds. Read more

So maybe this picture for the Phoenician trade route explains that they tried to stay on the coast so they can either take food from nearby villages or hunt fish on the shore. On the long trips, they probably had to count on corn because such food lasts longer (but a trip to Sicily, for example, seems like it took more than a month, how they were able to survive such trip).

Phoenician trade routes

Perhaps the picture I included in my question means they hunt fish on the shores because there is a crab included on the stone. I guess most of the fishing for the sailor was on the coast. However in the sea, they had to count on hard tack and corn meal because it could last longer

share|improve this answer
"but a trip to Sicily, for example, seems like it took more than a month, how they were able to survive such trip" including a sub-question in an answer isn't exactly great. –  Lohoris Dec 11 '13 at 15:14

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.