Copyright Dr. Elizabeth Garner June 19, 2014

The boat and circle in the putto's hair
The boat and circle in the putto’s hair

If anyone is paying attention to what is really occurring in Melencolia, and especially the putto, Margret, one would think that other researchers would have easily found the one-masted boat in the putto’s hair sitting on top of the circle. It’s really not that hidden, in fact it’s sitting in plain sight, you just have to look for it. And it’s sitting on a circle, one that has identified Jews for centuries, a circle required to be displayed on the clothing of Jews since the early Middle Ages.

The once prevalent interconnected roads and bridges system collapsed with the fall of Rome and even those roads that remained from the dynasty of the Roman Empire had long fallen into poor conditions. The roads reverted to uneven and furrowed dirt paths, which was disadvantageous in inclement weather. Ships were also renovated both in building techniques and design in order to fit larger quantities of cargo and transport said cargo (or people) over longer distances. The rise in transportation in the Middle Ages allowed for an increase in trade and travel throughout Europe.  Merchants of all types of goods were able to gain access to foreign markets and take more products with them, which highly benefited the economy. In the Early Middle Ages, the sailing ship used the most was a Knarr, which was a kind of vessel used for cargo.  In order to propel, it used a sole square-rigged sail.

In the High Middle Ages, two types of ships were used for local shipping: the Trade-Cog and the Hulk.  The Trade-Cog had only one mast, steep sides, and a flat bottom, which allowed them to settle flatly in harbor, facilitating loading and unloading of cargo.  They were also frequently used for military transportation and as warships because the steep sides made it difficult for pirates and other intruders to board. The Hulk was also flat-bottomed like the Trade-Cog but had neither a stern nor sternposts.  It was chiefly used as a river or canal boat as it had limited ability for oceanic transportation. The boat in the putto’s hair is not of complicated construction.  It’s one masted, so it designed to sail directly to it’s location and not far distances.

a Phoenician type boat

It is closest to what would have been known in ancient Israel, a phoenician type design as shown above. So what is the boat symbol say to us?  That the putto was on it’s “last journey” to heaven and not leaving “port” except to sail the last journey or something completely different?


The red box outlines the boat sitting on top of the circle, with the two turquoise arrows pointing to the boat’s hull and mast, and the yellow arrow pointing to the circle. The circle was the symbol forced upon Jews by others as a symbol of their Judaism.   This putto, Margret, a Jewess, was on her last journey to meet her maker.  And we find out who that is by the “bent nail” in her dress, which will be published later. And if anyone looks close, there is a Jewish star on the putto’s nose, further identifying her as Jewish.

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