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Angels And Demons Of Overseas Shipping

Aug 7, 2008
Seafaring folk are generally a superstitious lot and the legends of good and evil forces affecting overseas shipping go back thousands of years. The ancient Greeks believed that there were monsters in the sea like the Kraken and fearsome gods like Poseidon who would punish them if they did not offer proper tribute for a successful voyage. Their views were shared by other cultures around the world which are actually remarkably similar in their belief systems.

Every race has their list of angels and demons. The practice of explaining the concept of good and evil has given rise to countless legends that were originally comprised as hypothetical explanations to the masses. These fantasies, particularly in ancient times when people had little or no formal education, were taken literally and the gods of Olympus were born.

Overseas shipping at the time was a dangerous occupation in a virtually unknown world so unexplained occurrences were blamed on supernatural forces. The same held true when certain men surpassed human expectations and performed tasks that seemed impossible. Successful warriors like the legendary Achilles were said to have been the offspring of the gods of Olympus.

The rise of Christianity and the concept of one God are widely attributed to the social and educational influences of the time when Christ was reputed to have been born. The world was maturing and the pantheon of Greek gods that had been adopted by the Romans was becoming a legend that was less and less believable as time went on. Good and evil became personified in God and the Devil. The sailors involved in overseas shipping began praying to a different higher power.

During the reign of the Roman Empire, civilization spread across the known world and overseas shipping became a more stable profession. As trade routes became more crowded and unexplained occurrences less frequent the captains and crews of overseas shipping vessels began to lose their fear of sea monsters and the wrath of Poseidon or his Roman equivalent Neptune.

After the fall of Rome in the Middle Ages when European kingdoms fought for control of overseas shipping, the God and Devil of Christianity were blamed or credited for the success or failure of a voyage. If a sailor went mad at sea from a strange ailment it was blamed on a demon and miraculous events were said to be the work of an angel. The beliefs of the people hadn't changed, just the names of the forces of good and evil at work.

Today, overseas shipping is done with modern technology, massive cargo ships powered by petroleum, and men and women who pray to dozens of gods and believe in evil forces personified by demons and catastrophic storms. Though not as superstitious as the seafaring folk of old, the wily old veterans of many a voyage will always be able to tell you at least one story about the angels and demons of overseas shipping. The mystery of the sea and the forces at work out there has to be preserved somehow.
About the Author
Nir Dotan is a writer and promoter of
International Shipping
services, and
Auto Shipping
Local as well as International Moving
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