"The men cast the hawsers off, climbed in, and took their places at their oars"
The hawsers were the thick ropes used to moor the ship. Homeric ships
are described as swift and hollow, meaning that there was no ‘below deck’ or living quarters on board. Instead, the men would camp on shore at night, dragging their ships onto the beach. This meant that it was more practical to sail close to the coast at all times, rather than venture far out into open sea. Homeric ships had both sails and oars, and are described as having black hulls.