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Old January 25th, 2011, 05:53 PM   #1

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Historical ship size comparisons


I was not sure which area to post this thread in but decided this fits the topic best. My goal was to make a visual representation for ship sizes. Sometimes just reading the numbers on paper does not properly convey the scales.

Click the image to open in full size.

1)HMS Titanic - 269 meters

2)USS Nimitz - 332 meters

3)Noah's Ark - 135-157 meters?

4)Ptolemy Philopater's "Tessarakonteres" (Forty) - 128 meters

5)Emperor Caligula's "Giant" ship - 95-104 meters

6)Zheng He's "Treasure ships" - 120-140 meters

7)Byzantine Dromon warship - 45-50 meters

8)Viking Busse Longship - 45 meters

9)"Average" Trireme - 37 meters


It could get a little tricky trying to tweet everything right in Photoshop, and the sizes of some of the ships may be arguable given sources. This was the best possible visualization given sources and means. Actually after I was done with my picture I realized that some of my estimates were off, the Zheng He treasure ship should be larger, and perhaps also the Ark. It is really difficult to say, but we get the idea. Ship sizes, unless they were a one-of-a-kind, tended to vary from ship to ship. Enjoy!
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Old January 25th, 2011, 05:56 PM   #2

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Very interesting chart, Phil! I don't have much to say about the topic at hand - but well done! It's fascinating to see how much bigger and better mankind's seagoing vessels have gotten over the centuries.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 06:00 PM   #3

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Yup, as we can imagine, they started out small with early ships, especially the early Greek triremes being made fragile and light to be agile. In the hellenistic age the successors went crazy and made big everythings from the "forty" to the giant "helepolis" siege tower.

By the middle ages the Chinese were very good at building sea worthy ships from their centuries of exploration, and in the modern age with better materials and techniques there are much better options available for sizes that won't make a ship fall apart.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 06:03 PM   #4
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Excellent... chart!
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Old January 25th, 2011, 06:06 PM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by philhellene View Post
In the hellenistic age the successors went crazy and made big everythings from the "forty" to the giant "helepolis" siege tower.
Not to derail your thread, but I've always found this amusing and slightly puzzling. The Diadokhi did indeed seem to think bigger was better - giant siege engines, giant ships, war elephants, and some very colorful mercenary troops.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 06:15 PM   #6

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Could you add an average sized ship-of-the-line used during the Napoleonic wars? That is the one I would be most interested in seeing compared to the others.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 06:17 PM   #7

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Very fun thread, best one in days! Fun to see how far maritime developments have come. Thanks Phil.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 07:39 PM   #8
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Seawise Giant, supertanker, 458m
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Old January 25th, 2011, 08:11 PM   #9

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I've seen this one on a book. Carriers are truly gigantic!
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Old January 25th, 2011, 10:37 PM   #10

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Great chart, definately worth expanding.
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