Page 471. " her three, firm-seated graceful masts erectly poised upon her long, ribbed hull, seemed as the three Horatii pirouetting on one sufficient steed. "

The Horatii were male Roman triplets who fought a battle against the Curiatii, male triplets from Alba Longa. It was decided that the fight would settle the war being fought between Rome and Alba Longa during the 7th century BC. Two of the Horatii were killed but the third managed to slay the Curiatii and so bring victory to Rome.

Page 475. " when God's burning finger has been laid on the ship; when his 'Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin' has been woven into the shrouds and the cordage. "

'Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin' (the handwriting on the wall) is a portent of doom or misfortune originating from the Biblical Book of Daniel in which a supernatural hand writes a mysterious message on the wall in the presence of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, predicting his demise.