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The name of a small square sail set on a yard. It was carried below a sharply steeved spar over the bows of Roman merchant vessels from about 200 bc to the decline of Roman shipping at the fall of the empire. The sail's function was largely as an aid to steering, while its spar, called an artemon mast, could be described as the forerunner of the bowsprit. The artemon was virtually identical with the spritsail of the 14th–17th centuries. The name was also used, somewhat loosely and erroneously, to describe the mainsail of ancient ships.

Oddly enough, the French word for mizzen is artimon, and the mizzen-mast is mât d'artimon, which is of course at the stern of a ship not the bows. It is from the French word, and not the original, that the fourth mast of ships built with four or five masts during the 19th and early 20th centuries was sometimes known as the artemon mast.

See also mast.

See also mast.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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