Ships in The King’s Mirror, 1250’s

Chapter 12


[...] tar you ship well in the fall and if you can, let it stand over the winter with the tar. But if your ship is put up on the rollers so late that you cannot tar it in the fall, then do it at the onset of spring and make certain that it dries well. Make sure that the ships of which you are part owner are good; otherwise there is no point in ownership. If you make it attractive, competent men will want to work on it and you get a good crew. Make your ship ready for sailing at the beginning of summer [mid-April] and sail during the best part of summer and always see to that your tackle is in good condition. If you can help it, do not venture out on the sea in the fall. If you observe all this you can expect that with God’s will all will go well. [...]

Chapter 13


[…]There are other matters you should observe. Each time you go to sea, you should bring onto the ship two or three hundred yards of vadmal [woolen cloth] which can be used to improve the sail, should it become necessary. You should also bring plenty of needles, thread, and laces. Although these are small things, it often happens that they come in handy. You should also bring lots of nails with you, of the size fitting you ship, both regular nails and clench nails, good ...... work axes and augers and all other tools one needs to build a ship. All these things you should remember to take with you on the ship when you are making trading voyages and you yourself owns the ship.[…]

Source: Finnur Jónsson. trans., "[Ships in] Kongespejlet — Konungs skuggsjá [The King's Mirror]" (Copenhagen: Gyldendalske Boghandel, Nordisk forlag, 1926), 10. Notes: Translation into English by B. Wallace

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