|On the ship itself, conditions were hardly more
pleasant. Punishment for reluctant sailors took many forms.
The most dramatic was that we know in English as
"keel-hauling" (I think this is right, but in French it is
"passer en cale"). It involved throwing the man from the
forward mast some 25 meters into the sea. Tied to a rope, he
was then dragged under the keel of the boat for reasonable amount of
time. Almost all the sailors treated thus died, but the measure
encouraged all its witnesses toward discipline and obedience.
Everything about the ship was designed for war, including the red paint on the deck and in the surgeon's chamber. It was hoped that sailors used to the color in ordinary times would be less excited by the blood that would inevitably be spilt on these surfaces when battle was engaged.
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This page last updated on 6/19/2001 8:18:33 PM.