Starting with Ancient Mesopotamia (my personal favorite) there are very many different ways that the Mesopotamians changed their method of travel to accommodate their growing needs for certain goods. Starting by traveling on foot, Mesopotamians would take sling bags and fill them with their goods when they only had a few small items to transport. Maybe a small amount of Barley or wheat to make some bread with or some pickled or dried, salted fish would fit into most sling bags and the person would hang it over one shoulder like the way women carried babies in slings and just walk their route to get the goods t their destination.
When they needed to carry moderate loads they would wrap a cloth around their bundle of goods that might also include some meats from beef, sheep, or goats and wrap the bundle onto their back and use their forehead as a balancing point to hold the package of goods steady and keep themselves balanced to be able to walk without problems. Heavier loads however, were loaded onto a quite large pallet and covered in a cloth and tied down with rope. Then the pallet was loaded onto the carrier’s back and carried that way.
Due to the strain and limited space, they usually only kept meats and fish within the same or very nearby cities to avoid spoiling. In 3000 BC the Mesopotamians began utilizing donkeys as a mode of travel to carry goods. This enabled them to carry more and heavier items, and also they were able to carry different items as it was not as taxing on the individual traveling and the donkey could bear the weight instead. With the introduction of donkeys as domesticated animals the Mesopotamians were able to transport textiles (cloth and/or fabric).
While this is too heavy for a human to be able to carry enough to make the trip lucrative for all involved, using a donkey made it a lot easier to transport. Tied to the back of a donkey in bundles, the ass could walk for miles without needing a break and was able to bear the heaviness of the load. Donkeys enabled Mesopotamians to be able to travel and carry goods as far away as Kanesh in Turkey. The donkeys were also able to transport items such as gold, silver, and precious stones.
In order to make the stones enough to make the trip worthwhile, they could not just carry it on foot because it was too heavy once you had enough of these metals to prove enough to accomplish all needs. They could carry more grains also. The donkey was also able to carry wine and lapis lazuli (Mined in Afghanistan large chunks of it were able to be transported to make jewelry to trade. Without donkey assistance they would not have been able to carry enough back at once to make the amount of items needed to trade for survival or profit).
Which were both very heavy and needed to be carried by an ulterior method to get to where it needed to go efficiently and effectively. Around 2500-2350 B. C. , boats began being introduced to the Mesopotamians for a way to travel and transport their goods from place to place. Starting with gulf boats, they were Stronger than common river boats, used to transport goods from South Mesopotamia to the Gulf. Made out of reeds and other woods covered in bitumen (A natural tar-like substance that is derived from petroleum to make the wood waterproof).
The Mesopotamians were able to continue to transport barley, wheat, and textiles, but now, more of them and much faster. They also became able to transport stone. Mesopotamian Kings sent expeditions in search of unusual stones and carried from the gulf into Mesopotamia. Special woods like pine and cedar from as far away as India were traded in Southern Mesopotamia in trading posts. Pearls, known as fish eyes to the Mesopotamians were also able to be harvested and transported. Pearls were used to make jewelry and were exchanged for Babylonian goods.
Carnelian, a red or reddish white mineral that usually came from India was used to make jewelry and to decorate objects was also moved this way first. Copper, mixed with Tin and Bronze, being one of the most important traded goods traded, it came from Anatolia, Iran, and the Gulf. Ivory became available to be moved with the use of the gulf boat as well. Also, reeds cut from along the river banks and woven into mats or tied together as bundles for building boats and houses. Reeds were easier transported by water than by land.
Another form of boat that was used later on as needs became greater and more abundant amounts of goods were needed to survive this period was the coracle. The coracle is a small round boat made of animal skins and covered with the bitumen and were paddled or drifted downstream. They mostly used these coracles for moving and transporting fish, (more of it, and some of it was even transported alive in large post. Reeds, grains, and meat from beef, goats and sheep were also moved using coracles.
Although the type of goods did not change, the amounts and condition of some of these goods were very different as opposed to the foot or donkey method of traveling. Rafts which were simply logs tied together and placed on top of inflated animal skins. Was good for easy storage of the equipment used for making the rafts as they could be floated downstream and then dismantled upon arrival and the wood could be sold. With rafts the Mesopotamians were able to move more and heavier logs by lashing them together and floating them in the river along with side raft.
Larger amounts of reeds and grains for beer and wine were able to be moved easier this way and then the trip was even more advantageous. Assyrians used rafts to move large flat stone slabs to use in decorating their palaces. River boats that were made of reeds bundled and lashed and often covered in bitumen also to waterproof just the same as the coracle and gulf boats were. Usually drifted downstream with the current but then needed to be towed back upstream by various means such as donkeys, oxen or even people. The Mesopotamians carried all of the usual items on these river boats (grain, reeds, logs, wool, wine, and beer).
Although, they were also able to carry and transport bricks with much more ease than was available before these boats were used. Bricks were made of mud of baked used to build structures. Normally made near the place to be used, but sometimes needed to be transported to different cities. Moving on to Medieval Europe we have a very simple people. They usually did not go very far if they did leave because everything was so far away that they had to venture for days or even weeks to simply thirty miles and back. Most of the civilians that did travel did so on foot.
Most people in Medieval Europe stayed near the places where they were born. Whenever one did venture out, the person would usually be able to walk up to ten or twenty miles to a village, work all day and then walk back again at the end of the day. If the road was well maintained, they could walk further, however, it was uncommon unless need was emergent to go further. If not traveling on foot, the second most available choice after 2500 CE was on horseback. Horses could go much faster and further than a human simply walking to and from a destination.
Horses could go as far as thirty miles without needing a break. Would leave it to where the rider was able to accomplish much more with his day and even be able to bring with him some goods to trade where he ended up riding to. When they needed to move more than just a small amount of goods such as locally grown foods to sell or trade or things like wool. Wool was very heavy and a horse could not carry a very large amount on just horseback. They used covered wagons pulled by horse or oxen able to transport silk, wool, and grown foods to trade.
Could only go 20 Miles at a time when using horses for pull the wagon or 10 miles at a time (when using oxen oxen) before needed to stop and rest, or repair wagon due to condition of roads. Although this did make the trip take longer that with just one single horse, and also the trip was more lucrative because of the goods that could be carried back using a covered wagon. If there was more than just a moderate amount of supplies or goods they would use sailing ships to transport them. There were a few different types of sailing ship that was used, each one having its own purpose.
The first type of sailing ship that was used was a Knarr. This was the most common type used for most people. The Knarr had a sole square rigged sail and was mainly used to move light cargo. The next most available type of sailing ship used was the trade cog. These were single mast, flat bottomed ships with steep sides. The flat bottom allowed the sailors to come into port easier and go right up on land to be able to load and unload the goods and cargo better, faster, and easier. One more type of sailing ship that was used by Medieval Europeans was a hulk.
Also having a flat bottom like the trade cog, this ship was easy to dock on land to make boarding and de-boarding of cargo and persons easy. However, unlike the previous ships, the hulk had no mast making oceanic travel impossible in this craft. The hulk was used mainly in canals and rivers due to the limited controllability when attempting ocean traveling. The final two types of sailing ships that were used were the caravel and carrack. Both of these ships were mainly created by the Portuguese for exploration voyages.
The caravel had either both square and lateen rigged sails, or simply just lateen rigged sails. The carrack was a rather large ship, much larger than the caravel was. With six sails (a mizzen, a bowsprit, a spritsail, a foresail, and two topsails) this ship was very easily controlled no matter what the conditions. The many different sails made it so that the carrack could sail against the wind. In the Ancient Roman Empire transportation of goods didn’t really pick up too much until the Romans began using ships to move things, on account of how taxing everything was.
The invention of their roads did however help with the traveling but the items they had to trade and transport were so far away that they needed to be able to use shipping methods via waterways to get the items moved efficiently and in a method that was worthwhile to the people moving the items and the amounts of goods they needed to move The Romans started using ferries for transportation for crossing and traveling shallow passages. Although these passages could have been waded across, rivers like The Euphrates River had already begun to be inhabited by crocodiles and other harmful creatures.
Making it undesired to cross without being on a protecting contraption of some kind. Horse drawn chariots were two wheeled vehicles drawn by three or four horses (later on in history to be drawn by 2 horses) that were hitched side by side. This was a preferred method of transportations for Emperors and other royal persons. They were often made out of wood for the basket and wheels. The chariot was strengthened in some places by bronze or iron. The tires were also made of iron or bronze and the wheels had anywhere from four to eight spokes.
Sledges, pulled by oxen were used mainly to transport things that were very large and/or heavy. Sledges were known to carry large statues, animals, bricks and sunbaked soil. Sledges were made of Wood as well, but constructed much sturdier to be able to bear the weight of the large and heavy items that they were carrying. Last but not least, the Romans used ships to transport salves, silk from China, perfumes, cotton, precious stones, spices, and precious metals.
The romans differed on which ones they used the three most common types of ships that were used were rafts, sailing ships, and merchant ships.
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Singman, Jeffrey L. Blaine, Bradford B. Daily Life in Medieval Europe Speculum Vol. 76, No. 2 (Apr. , 2001), pp. 523-524 Published by: Medieval Academy of America Stable URL: http://www. jstor. org/stable/2903521 Nelson, Eric.
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