Caesar would represent a naval fight,
For his own honour and for Rome's delight.
From either sea the youths and maidens come ;
And all the world was then contain'd in Rome.
In this vast concourse, in this choice of game,
What Roman heart but felt a foreign flame ?
Ovid, The Art of Love
Translated by Mr. Dryden

 

 

 

Battleship

 

Naumachia is a spectacular representation of a mock sea fight which the Roman emperors recreated in arenas or basins of water dug up for the purpose. It seems to be that a similar spectacle is still recreated nowadays every summer in the bays of Antibes or St-Tropez, as in all privileged places of the world of yachting. With this series called Battleship, I try to transcribe this impression in the most realistic way possible : necessarily spectacular..

But to be complete, it would be appropriate to imitate the letter to the Minister of Marine written by the French Commander -in -Chief admiral Villeneuve
on the 5th of November 1805 .

"At midday I signalled to the fleet to begin
firing as soon as the enemy was within range and
at a quarter past twelve the opening shots were
fired by the INTREPID and the EAGLE II at
the PERFECT PERSUASION, which led the enemy's star-
board column, with the flag of GEORGE TOWN.
 The firing broke off for a brief interval,
after which it reopened fiercely from all the ships
within range. It could not, however, prevent the
enemy from breaking the line astern of the OFFICE.
The port column, led by the KAISER, with the
flag of GEORGE TOWN, came on in much the same
way. She appeared as if she was aiming to break
the line between the FIRECRACKER and the
bows of the STORM I. Whether, however,
they found our line too well closed up at that
point, or from some other reason, when they were
almost within half pistol-shot while we, for our
part, prepared to board and had our grappling-irons
ready for throwing they swung off to starboard
and passed astern of the STORM I. The ALLIGATOR 
had the station of the DOMINATOR, which had
fallen to leeward, and she heroically fulfilled the
duties of the second astern to the flagship.”