Talk:Tessarakonteres

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Mythological, fictional, both or neither?[edit]

Right, to explain my logic in reverting this article's categorisation as Category:Mythological ships. Mythology/mythological is (and I quote the mythology article) "either the body of myths from a particular culture or religion" (my bolding). Now, that is not what we are looking it here. If, by saying that the ship appears in Callixenus, Athenaeus and Plutarch, but that these works drew on a fictional story of a 40-decker, and so the ship did not exist, that does not make it mythological. There is simply not the correct religio-cultural element present to speak of the story of this ship being a myth, nor the right antiquity (we are not talking of the centuries between, say, Alexander and Homer, but only a relatively short time, and a more recent one, in which "myth" is already established, and does not include recent events) - a fiction within historial works, perhaps, but not a myth within mythological ones. (Thus Category:Fictional ships would be closer, though that is not watertight - that cat is closer to 'ships in fiction'.) Plus Category:Mythological ships is winding down, or at least coming up for a serious overhaul/renaming in terms of definition. Neddyseagoon - talk 01:09, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

I may as well post the same thing as I did over at Treasure ships. This ship is a myth using the following definition from the Oxford English Dictionary, the foremost dictionary in the English Language:

A widespread but untrue or erroneous story or belief; a widely held misconception; a misrepresentation of the truth. Also: something existing only in myth; a fictitious or imaginary person or thing.

We do not mean myth in the form of something of supernatural origin. This ship is a myth, because it is a widespread story with no supporting documentation, save for some burned documents limited documents. There has been no archeological or historical proof of its existence. Hence it is mythological. Orangemarlin 01:30, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
They may be limited documents, but they do exist, and cannot be ignored/discarded without explanation. But, more to the point, that is a selective reading of "myth" and of its definition. The one you give is only one of six given in the OED, and it is only 2a, as the "popular" (I quote the second meaning on the article myth) meaning ascribed it in more modern times rather than the more correct one. 1a, surprise surprise, is the religio-cultural one which you are leaving out, and it is this (rather than the 2a meaning) which is the meaning generally meant by mythological, as this OED quote shows:

1 Of or relating to mythology or myths; of the nature of or based on mythology or mythical narrative. 2 Of a writer: myth-making; creating or concerned with mythology or myths. 3 Appearing or celebrated in mythology; existing only in myth; imaginary.

Only the second half of meaning 3 is yours, meaning 2 is irrelevant, and meaning 1 is clearly the principle one and (more to the point) the one used by the article mythology. The correct adjectival form of "widespread but untrue...stories" is not "mythological". Neddyseagoon - talk 09:15, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Not to burst your bubble, but the OED does not go in order of "preference", it is chronological. Hence, definition 1 was used first in English, definition 2 second, etc. It is, as is any good dictionary, descriptive not prescriptive, and hence no priority is given to definition 1 over definition 2. •Jim62sch• 11:31, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Ok, so I overstated my case on that, but only to back what seems to be the Wikipedia use of "mythological" ie not of any tall tales like this, but of specific religio-cultural mythoi. Neddyseagoon - talk 13:34, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
I am marginally involved in this because the category was discussed at WP:CFD. I think of "mythological" as "of or relating to mythology or myths " as given by http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/myth. The first definition of "myth" from http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/myth is "a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon". Using this description, I do not think that tessarakonteres qualifies as a "mythological" ship, as it is known not through traditional stories but through a historical document (although the accuracy of the document is questionable). The article should be categorized as a real ship (although one whose existence is uncertain), not a mythological ship and certainly not as a fictional ship. Dr. Submillimeter 12:06, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
I would agree wholeheartedly with this solution. Traditional is the keyword here.Neddyseagoon - talk 13:34, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Tradition? So we're going to redefine words based on "tradition." Before I break out into a broadway song, when I went to the OED, I did not choose the definition that fit my needs, I chose the one that the most modern in usage. Hence, above. Orangemarlin 14:24, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

The quoted features of this purported ship are so outrageous that this ship clearly falls in the realm of myth. And just because something is written, it is not myth? The Greeks did not write down myths? Please....--Filll 13:07, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

"And just because something is written, it is not myth?" That was not my point. "The Greeks did not write down myths?" Nor was this. The Greeks did write down myths, but the myths they wrote down were "mythoi" of deities, heroes, etc not tall-tales on historical events like this one.
And "the realm of myth" is a wooly phrase - we have a myth as tall tale (and things appearing in them are not mythological by the definition at mythology, which this article may go into) or we have myths (and things appearing in them which are mythological, by the definition at mythology), period. I feel it's better to leave it out of Category:Mythological ships, not because it isn't mythological (though I believe it isn't) but because it's so contentious. Rather that than wear ourselves out with revert wars and long discussions like this where the mythology side is generally more vocal.Neddyseagoon - talk 13:34, 31 May 2007 (UTC)


We might need more precise categories but this will become far more tedious than necessary very quickly, and I am not sure that the number of ships we have to categorize would warrant it. However, does anyone really believe that this ship existed in the proportions claimed? Or is it closer to legend, myth, tall tale, exaggeration, fiction, etc?--Filll 14:03, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

By the way, I replaced the tag for this mythical ship. As an editor, that's my right, and I placed it there originally. To revert it without consensus is not appropriate. If you want to throw a dispute tag somewhere, be my guest. I will follow the consensus here whichever way it lies. At this time, there is no consensus, so please do not remove the category tag. Let's play fair here without an edit war. Orangemarlin 14:29, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

mea culpa - thought it was as well to keep it off until consensus, but you are right - keeping it on is far better. Neddyseagoon - talk 15:06, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

I'm willing to follow reason here, but right now we're arguing semantics of the word myth and mythological. Do reasonable people here really expect to come to a resolution on a definition, especially when said words have definitions that meet the needs of both sides? Orangemarlin 14:29, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

True, we are going round in circles rather. I think the crux is that both definitions are valid, but that then which one (tall tale/religio-cultural) is the right definition for Category:Mythological ships?Neddyseagoon - talk 15:06, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
After being involved in many contentious articles here's what I see. Consensus is formed by reasonable people coming to reasonable conclusions. We have to discount the one's who are not reasonable. Almost everyone on here appears to be intelligent, so let's see if we can find a consensus. I think we've gone round and round about the definition, and whether it applies to this ship. I think what we need to do is first come to a reasonable conclusion whether this ship was real or a figment of the imagination. The former, then it's not mythical or mythological. The latter, I'm sorry, but I stand by my category tag. Right now, there just appears to be no evidence for its existence, short of the writing of a couple of ancient writers. There must be a couple of references that actually have analyzed this existence or non-existence of the ship. That would settle that question for all of us. Then we can argue if the myth applies or not. What do others think? Orangemarlin 19:25, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
BTW, I'm not sure we're having a factual dispute, the bigger problem is a POV dispute, meaning is this mythological or not. Of course, the article is so poorly referenced, it probably requires a original research tag too. Orangemarlin 19:27, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
"short of a couple of ancient writers" - well, it's an extreme example I know, but we only have Caesar's word for it that he invaded Britain, with all other surviving sources for it deriving from him.
But more to the point, if consensus is reached that it is the latter, it is certainly a myth/tale-tale/etc, and probably mythical, but it is forever going to be contentious as to whether it is mythological. Mythological implies a link to mythology which is not present here. Mythical would be a better adjective here for this tall-tale kind of myth - I know it seems ridiculous to have to have both a Category:Mythological ships and a Category:Mythical ships, but that might be the only way to make the difference clear. (Personally, I believe they'ld both be so contentious as to be unusable, but that's by the by.) I'm sorry to get back into semantics, but there it is. (And for the record, I believe it probably did exist, but may have been exaggerated - I'm trying to find some secondary literature now. - I'm sure it's in here [1] or something similar, plus the secondary source that I've already put up.)Neddyseagoon - talk 14:10, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
If I understand correctly, it is somewhat disputed whether Caesar himself actually set foot in England. However, from a wealth of archaeological and textural evidence, it is clear that the Romans were in the British Islands at that time. By contrast, this reputed ship's dimensions and claims about it cast it more into the realm of myth than reality. Of course, such a ship could have existed, but maybe at 1/4 the scale or something, and the dimensions are just exaggerated. But the claims about the ship are what put it in the realm of myth, not reality or history. Caesar's claim is far less difficult to believe, but if Caesar had claimed to have sailed to China or the moon, we would then probably be more inclined to put those claims in the realm of myth.--Filll 16:15, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
True, it was an extreme rhetorical example, Caesar is never disputed to have landed in Britain, and I was expecting it to be shown to be full of holes. But the underlying point stands, that - despite the lack of archaeological evidence - the ship is/may be a tall-tale myth, not a mythos religio-cultural myth, and so is not mythological. Neddyseagoon - talk 16:29, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but there were more than two writers who spoke of Caesar in Britain, there is lots of circumstantial evidence, and many smart researchers buy into it (although that probably won't convince me). Since there are just three of us who care, rock, paper, scissors? Orangemarlin 16:43, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

<undent>We are just caught up in some disagreement about definitions, as pointed out above, so we are talking past each other. This is silly.--Filll 17:16, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Though "myth" also has the meaning of "untrue story" (which however is not its primary denotation - "fiction" covers it therefore better), mythology hasn't. Mythology is the collection of various accounts (myths) involving origins, heroic deeds, supernatural etc. usually located in a long-gone past. Here we have simply a ship that is too big too be believable (at least so many say).

There is no myth involving the Tessarakonteres - no great story associated with it.

Archeology is utterly irrelevant on our issue: it even does not play the decisive part in the issue whether these ships ever existed - it certainly cannot redefine what mythology is.
Any talk what might be believable is totally irrelevant. The Argos is a ship in mythology (and it is not very big) and Noah's Ark might also be classified as such - regardless of whether either existed. And the Tessarakonteres is just as much a mythological ship as the Vietnamese ship that attacked the American ship in the Gulf of Tonkin. Str1977 (smile back) 08:00, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
It seems the Isis needs to be classified as a mythological ship. Unless anyone has any physical evidence that it existed. --Taiwan boi 13:52, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
Quoting Category:Mythological ships - "Ships that are part of the mythology of particular cultures, religions or belief systems." This ship does not fit that definition, period. It is attested in historical documents - these historical documents may (or may not) be dodgy, but that makes it historical vs fictional, not historical vs mythological. Neddyseagoon - talk 09:35, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Measurements[edit]

The article currently references Casson for the dimensions.[2] He records, I would assume, the correct measurements in cubits; however, the conversion from cubits to modern measurements (or, at least, feet) appears to have been done on the assumption that a cubit is exactly 18". I know nothing about cubits, but that seems unlikely. However, he's a reliable secondary source and may well be correct; likewise, it may be common shorthand, given the possibility the possible uncertainty over the precise measure of a contemporary Egyptian cubit.

If anyone has a source that provides those details currently supported by the Casson cite, but which uses a longer cubit, then feel free to swap the cite and update the list. Bromley86 (talk) 10:22, 3 December 2015 (UTC)