Ships of the ancient world designed for the open sea were usually long, open craft powered by one large square sail and oars. To maneuver in and out of harbors, or if there was no wind, oarsmen rowed.
The Egyptians steered their ships by manipulating a large oar secured to the right rear of the vessel, the forerunner to the rudder. In about 380 B.C., the Greek historian Xenophon described a Phoenician ship in awe.
“What numbers of oars, stretchers, boat- hooks, marlines, and cleats for bringing the ship in and out of harbor!” he wrote.
“What number of shrouds, cables, hawsers, ropes, and tackle for sailing her! And what a vast quantity of provisions!”