Copyright Dr. Elizabeth Garner and Gary Hind June 8, 2014

More sailing vessels  are found in Melencolia  on the left side in the landscape under the arc.

The 5 boats in Melancholia
The 5 boats in Melancholia


These sailing vessels are not vessels that would withstand ocean travel, they are boats, not ships. Which makes their meaning different than the 7 ships we found in Melencholia’s dress drapery.

The first is a small sailing boat on the horizon outlined in the orange box with the red arrow pointing to it.

The other four are in the harbor. Two have a mast in each and two do not show masts at all, like dinghies.  The are pointed to by the different colored arrows in the blue box.

These 5 boats are on the “present or future” side of the print, the left side.  Since they are not ocean going vessels, it would seem to indicate that “5” of something stayed in Europe and were not sailing away to the east.


We have to ask ourselves, why would the Duerers put  sailing vessels in this monumentally encoded image, and why would they hide in plain sight the ocean going ships in Melencolia’s dress and make the other boats that were not ocean going vessels prominent enough to see easily?  Since they were crypto-Jews, the first thing that comes to mind would be some representation of the 12 or 13 tribes of Israel, depending on how one counts the information given in the Hebrew bible.

We know at least 4 tribes that have survived through all of history’s slaughter of Jews from DNA evidence and from tombstones found in Jewish cemeteries.  These four  would be the two Jewish Priest tribes, the Cohanim and the Levites, and those tribes that identified with the medieval heraldic symbols of the Lion of Judah (whether the lion correctly represented the tribe of Judah or not) and those associated with the Magen David, the Star of David.


But we also have to ask ourselves why  ocean going vessels are directed in an easterly direction and encoded in Melencolia’s drapery, which represented the past?  These  ocean going ships would represent those Jews that fled east, known as the Ashkenazim today, and east was toward Eastern Europe or Byzantium.  Which brings up the biggest mystery of all


The Ashkenazim that fled toward Eastern Europe went mainly by foot, ending up in major concentrations in Poland, Czech, Slovakia, Slovenia, Moravia, etc.  They didn’t need ocean going vessels to get to these locations.  Which would imply that some of these groups needed to escape by ocean going or at least was sea worthy vessels.  Where would they have been going to?  It could only imply either areas around Italy or around Byzantium and Constantinople, which history tells us is exactly what occurred. The Jews who needed ocean going vessels were the Iberians, the Sephardim.


If you have further input into this mystery, your observations and comments are welcomed.  More surprises to come.

Share the postShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Facebook