BUILDING THE SHIP
Building the real size Sagitta, first time after 800 years on the river of Cetina
Shipyard as interactive museum with process of building the ship and historical overview of Sagitta
Real medieval pirate nest on the Adriatic sea that fought for its independence from much bigger forces of the time
Prof. Velimir Salamon made scientific research.
Here are technical drawings as a result.
During my childhood in Omiš, I was listening stories about Omiš pirates and their ship called Sagitta that sounded more like legends. This ship was never properly researched, and we didn't have any visual artefact survived from the time.
So, we were wondering what is the real story about these Sagitta ships? And how they actually looked like?
Inspired by a trip to the ship festival in Brest 2008, we decided to reconstruct Sagitta, and over 800 years later to make her sail again!!! Together with my childhood friend Pero Juričević, we gathered the multidisciplinary team and started to research the subject in collaboration with professor. Velimir Salamon: one of leading experts for traditional shipbuilding and maritime heritage in Europe. Eventually, our research on the ship was extended to the whole county of Omiš, its pirates and relations with other cities...
12th-CENTURY PIRATE SHIP
OMIŠ / CROATIA
OMIŠ PIRATE SHIP
800 years later she will sail again
Sagitta is called the
"Sagitta" means "arrow" in Latin, which describes the function and shape of the ship.
The documents mention that they were: „as fast and as light as an arrow. “
The only visual representation of the ship is the graffito on the wall from the church of St. Luke near Donji Humac on the island of Brač. This graffito served us as the main visual point in the further research. It confirmed Sagitta's descriptions from the documents, where she was mentioned to be a rowing boat with a shallow beam, narrow and fast as an arrow. She had 15 oarsmen on each side, a total of 30. Two Latin sails,
a curved stern, paddle on the side of stern for control, and at the front part a bow bridge – as rostrum.
So, Sagitta was a very specific ship, different from all other types of ships we know in the Adriatic.
The greatest specificity of the ship is that Sagitta was attacking enemies with the BOW - by breaking through the side of enemy ship with the ROSTRUM. Rostrum was probably iron-bonded to be stronger.
So, then pirates would cling to it with an anchor - type cat, and cross over this bridge to the enemy ship!
In this way they would actually transform the naval battle into a land battle. As evidence, In the agreements
with the Republic of Dubrovnik and Venice it is mentioned that the Omiš ships must not approach their ships with the bow of the ship, but only with the stern; because approaching with the bow of the ship will mean an attack !
For that purpose they used the illusion with curved stern, so you are not sure which side is bow, and which
side is stern. This bow bridge and speed of sagittas gave to the pirates an advantage in all maritime battles.
Sagittas used paddle on the side of stern (like rudder). Before the ships got the rudder in the central part,
hey were controlled by a special paddle on the side of the stern. All ships from that period had that paddle.
The central rudder is mentioned only from the 13th century.