After completing his studies at Trinity College, Oxford, John Charnock (1756-1807) joined the Royal Navy as a volunteer. Though details of his career at sea are lacking, he is known to have embarked on assiduous research into historical and contemporary naval affairs, and he cultivated contacts with many serving officers. His six-volume Biographia Navalis (1794-8), flawed yet still useful, is also reissued in the Cambridge Library Collection. Published in three volumes from 1800 to 1802, the present work stands as the first serious study of naval architecture in Britain in particular, while also noting major developments in Europe and beyond. The volumes are illustrated throughout with numerous designs of vessels. Volume 1 (1800) traces the origins of marine architecture and how it was affected by commerce and war, from the ancient Chinese and Egyptians, through the Greeks and Romans, up to the death of Richard III.
Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:
Series: Cambridge Library Collection - Naval and Military History
28 July 2016
Professional and scholarly
Dedication; Preface; 1. Introductory chapter; 2. The science of shipbuilding; 3. Of the different vessels; 4. Of commerce; 5. The advancement of the art; 6. The different species of timber used by the ancients; 7. Description of the vessels employed by the Grecians; 8. The construction and proportions adopted by the ancients in building commercial vessels; 9. Cursory remarks on the rapid improvement of marine architecture; 10. The conduct of Genseric; 11. Remarks on the account of the expedition of Belisarius; 12. Principal causes of the want of scientific information in respect to the marine architecture of the ancients; 13. Causes of the decline and contracted pursuit of naval war as well as commerce; 14. Description of the gallies or vessels built for the emperor of the east; 15. The sudden appearance of the Normans as a naval power; 16. Insignificant state of the Genoese previous to the tenth century; 17. Rapid decline of the eastern empire.