THE VIKING AGE
Olaf Tryggvason's vessel, the Long Serpent, had thirty-four benches of oars, while Knut the Great had one of sixty-nine pairs of oars. The rudder was placed on the starboard side ,of the ship, hence called the steer or starboard side, while the gunwale was adorned with a row of shields painted alternately in different colours. The stem often ended in a dragon's
head, done over with gold, whilst the stern was frequently shaped like a dragon's tail, so that the vessel itself was often called a "dragon". On going into action the ships were lashed together so that the fight resembled an engagement in the field. When at anchor, especially in harbour, tents and pavilions were erected on deck for the accommodation of the leaders.