soldiers or marines appointed to defend the vessels in the Athenian navy,
were entirely distinct from the rowers, and also from the land soldiers,
such as hoplitae, peltasts, and cavalry. (Xen.
, § 7, 5.1.11; Harpocrat. and Hesych. sub voce
) It appears that the ordinary
number of epibatae on board a trireme was ten. Dr. Arnold (ad
) remarks that by comparing Thuc. 3.95
with cc. 91, 94, we find 300 epibatae
as the complement of thirty ships, and also by comparing 2.92 with 100.102,
we find 400 as the complement of forty ships; and the same proportion
results from a comparison of 4.76 with 100.101. In Thucydides 6.42
, we find 700 epibatae for a fleet of 100
ships, sixty of which were equipped in the ordinary way and forty had troops
on board. In consequence of the number of heavy-armed men ἐκ τοῦ καταλόγου
on the expedition, the
Athenians appear to have reduced the number of regular epibatae from ten to
seven. The number of forty epibatae to a ship mentioned by Herodotus (6.15
), Dr. Arnold justly remarks (l.c.
) “belongs to the earlier state of Greek
naval tactics, when victory depended more on the number and prowess of
the soldiers on board than on the manœuvres of the seamen
); and it was in this very
point that the Athenians improved the system, by decreasing the number
and relying on the more
skilful management of their vessels.”
The epibatae were usually taken from the Thetes, or fourth class of Athenian
citizens (Thuc. 6.42
); but on one occasion, in a
season of extraordinary danger, the citizens of the higher classes (ἐκ καταλόγου
) were compelled to serve as
epibatae. (Thuc. 8.24
The term is sometimes also applied by the Roman writers to the marines (Hirt.
de Bell. Alex.
11, de Bell. Afric.
but they are more usually called classiarii
The latter term, however, is also applied to the rowers
or sailors as well as the marines ( “classiariorum remigio vehi,”
Tac. Ann. 14.4
(Compare Boeckh, P. E.
3 1.349; gilbert, Staatsalterth.