Home > Archive > Volume 59, No. 2 > This paper

Who Taught the Ancient Greeks the Craft of Shipbuilding? On the pre-Greek Roots of Maritime Technological Know-How

Harald Haarmann

Abstract

In the conventional handbooks on maritime trade, on seafaring and colonization in antiquity, the origins of Greek shipbuilding and the sources of technological know-how remain unexplained. Archaeological finds of remains of Mycenaean ships date to the latter half of the second millennium BCE. There is evidence for seafaring in the Aegean Sea that dates back into the eighth millennium BCE. This is the source from which the know-how of Greek shipbuilding ultimately finds its origin. Since there are neither Semitic nor ancient Egyptian loanwords in this domain of ancient Greek, the ancient Aegean tradition of seafaring must be indigenous without influence from any Near Eastern source. This ancient source is investigated in this article, from the standpoint of historical linguistics and cultural history.

   Download PDF