The man-of-war (pl. men-of-war; also man of war, man-o'-war, man o' war, or simply man) was a British Royal Navy expression for a powerful warship or frigate from the 16th to the 19th century. The term often refers to a ship armed with cannon and propelled primarily by sails, as opposed to a galley which is propelled primarily by oars. The man-of-war was developed in England in the early 16th century from earlier roundships with the addition of a second mast to form the carrack. The 16th century saw the carrack evolve into the galleon and then the ship of the line. The evolution of the term has been given thus:
Man-of-war. "A phrase applied to a line of battle ship, contrary to the usual rule in the English language by which all ships are feminine. It probably arose in the following manner: 'Men of war' were heavily armed soldiers. A ship full of them would be called a 'man-of-war ship.' In process of time the word 'ship' was discarded as unnecessary and there remained the phrase 'a man-of-war.'"—Talbot in Henry Fredrick Reddall Fact, fancy, and fable, 1892, p. 340
Description[edit | edit source]
The man-of-war design developed by Sir John Hawkins had three masts, each with three to four sails, which could be up to 200 feet long and could have up to 124 guns: four at the bow, eight at the stern, and 56 in each broadside. All these guns required three cannon decks to hold them, one more than any earlier ship. It had a maximum sailing speed of eight or nine knots.
See also[edit | edit source]
|Look up man-of-war in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Ship of the line
- Rating system of the Royal Navy, which classified warships into six "rates", based on their armament. strongest as 1, weakest as 6.
References[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- Nautical References
- Project Gutenberg: The World of Waters
- Gallery of photos of men-of-war (Museo delle Navi, Bologna, Italy)
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