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Thread: Napoleonic Naval trivia.

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    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Default Napoleonic Naval trivia.

    Feel free to add any bits of trivia that you come across which may be useful involving our period.

    Naval Tatoos, traditions and superstitions.

    Sailing cultures tend to be rich in traditions. Over time, tattoos became one of the more popular traditions among mariners. Since their introduction, tattoos became a graphic language and a way for sailors to express themselves through body art, as well as a means of visually identifying with a broader social group. The purpose of sailor tattoos was also to record important events or experiences such travels, achievements, naval hierarchy, rank, status, membership, and/or any other significant event in life.
    Examples of popular symbols in the sailor tattooing are:


    • Anchor: Refers to a sailor who has achieved the rank of Boatswain, though also historically indicated sailing across the Atlantic.
    • Dragon: Refers to a sailor that has served in Asia.
    • Fully rigged Ship: Represents traversal of Cape Horn.
    • Golden Dragon: Means a sailor has crossed the International Date Line.
    • Harpoon: Refers to a member of the fishing fleet.
    • Rope around the wrist/"Hold Fast" across the knuckles: Represents a sailor who is or was a deckhand.
    • Swallow: Initially obtained when first setting to sea.
    • Chicken and Pig: Usually tattooed on each foot (pig on the left, chicken on the right) to protect the sailor from drowning in a shipwreck. This is from chicken and pigs said to survive wrecks because their wooden shipping containers kept them afloat.
    • Shark: As a protection against being eaten if the sailor fell overboard.


    Sailor tattoos are also a visual way to preserve the culture of the
    sailors' superstitions. Throughout history sailors were a very superstitious group and believed that certain symbols and talismans would help them in when facing certain events in life. They thought that those symbols would attract good luck or bad luck in the worst of the cases. For example, the reason that the images of a pig and a hen were considered wards against drowning was because although both animals are not capable of swimming, during shipwrecks, the only survivors would be the animals caged in wooden crates, hence they would float. Another example is the North Star (Nautical Star or compass rose); sailors had the belief that by wearing this symbol it would help them find their way home.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  2. #2
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Here are a few examples of some of those tatoos.
    Rob.
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    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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