The Dubrovnik carrack
The carrack was a merchant vessel, and the largest cargo sailing ship in the 15th and 16th centuries. The carracks were armed with forty cannons to fight off pirates at sea. The fore-mast had a spar sail, the main-mast had two spar sails and the mizzenmast had a Lateen sail.
Dubrovnik’s carracks were even immortalized in Shakespeare’s plays The Taming of the Shrew and The Merchant of Venice, as magnificent argosy boats. The carracks of Dubrovnik were known in England as argosy boats. Shifted vowels in the original Romance word for Dubrovnik Ragusa resulted in the words Argus > Argos > Argosy. In this way the carrack is made into the symbol of Dubrovnik; the carrack is the city of Dubrovnik at sea. She is a symbol of the Republic of Dubrovnik’s economy, its prosperity and survival as the Adriatic trade hub between the Mediterranean Sea and the Balkan hinterland.