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DELPHIS (δελφίς), a mass of lead armed with bronze or iron, perhaps in the shape of a dolphin, used for sinking an enemy's ship. (Aristoph. Ep. 759; Thuc. 7.41; Schol. ad loc.; Hesych. sub voce) In action, the delphis was hauled up from the deck to the point of a yardarm, which was swung round by braces till over the hostile deck; the machine was then instantly let fall, after which it was again drawn up and deposited on board. The νῆες δελφινοφόροι were probably only of the transport class (ὁλκάδες), as swift (ταχεῖαι) triremes would have been impeded by the great weight. (B. Graser, de Veter. Re Navali, pp. 82, 83: cf. fistucae, Vitr. 3.3, and 10.3; machinationes, Caes. Gal. 4.17.)


hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 7.41
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 4.17
    • Vitruvius, On Architecture, 3.3
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