A long galley or longship, propelled by oar or sail, used by Scandinavian seamen as a warship probably between the 5th and 11th centuries. It is generally described as having twenty rowing benches, but occasionally up to 30 were fitted. The Scandinavian meaning of the word was snake, probably in reference to its extra length in comparison with the normal longship. No illustration of an esnecca is known to exist though it has been suggested that the ship incorporated in the seal of the city of Monmouth may be one.
Later, the word was used in England to describe a vessel belonging personally to the king in which he made voyages of state. Both Henry I and Henry II are recorded as having esneccas during the 12th century, the equivalent of a royal yacht.
Subjects: Maritime History.