Cargo standard of the Roman merchant fleet, the Oneraria inspired the Corbita, much more massive.

In some respects, antiquity still surprises us by certain aspects of a great modernity. For example, it is generally believed that in the maritime field, container ships date from the 1950s. However, the concept of boarding food of all kinds, liquid and solid in identical terracotta jars, standardized to the extreme, is indeed a very old practice, born of the practice of the Phoenicians, taken over by the Greeks , Then the Romans. Certainly an amphora is more modest than a modern container, but still well suited to storage in the frail merchant ships of the time.

The Oneraria was signaled well before the imperial era as the standard "cargo" Roman, it is even in some respects a generic term that intersects sub-variants, like Corbita, cargo of heavy wheat. These heavy-tonnage ships, capable of carrying more than 3000 amphorae, originated from the Greek cataphract cargo vessels which ensured trade between the Hellenistic empires in the Mediterranean basin. They were distinguished by Roman characteristics, such as the abandonment of the ladder at the rear and a strong draft, revealing modern deep-sea ports with jetties, a quarter-deck Terrace often accompanied by an awning, a bridge superstructure, a figure of gooseneck stern.

They were also massive vessels, sometimes double-decked (two superposed bridges), inevitably endowed with a bowsprit for maneuvering, and a mainsail sufficiently effective to dispense with any other means of locomotion on Well-known trains, but not only specifically in cabotage: Their solid oak hull allowed them to "rub" themselves on the links in the open sea, the locating being done, as always at night, by the stars. With the imperial era, after Rom., The Romans had access to the great forests of Gaul and Germany, and disposed of massive lumber of quality to build cargos even more voluminous. An Oneraria like this one had to measure 35 meters for almost 10 of width. His crew was reduced to 10 men at most, versatile.