). Though the earliest
efforts of mankind in navigation are pre-historic, yet the characteristics
of these efforts, and many stages in their development, are sufficiently
evident from the methods in vogue among savage races in various parts of the
globe at the present day. (See article “Ship,”
1888.) There is sufficient evidence to show
that a point far in advance of the primitive types of navigation and ship
construction had been reached by peoples inhabiting the littoral of the
Mediterranean at a very early period. (Chabas, L'Antiquité
Dardanians, Mysians, Lycians, and Maeonians figure on the wall-paintings of
Egypt, as combined against Pharaoh in the 13th century B.C., and in the 12th century a still more powerful league of
Pelasgians, Teucrians, Etruscans, Daunians, and Oscans appears to have
invaded Egypt and to have suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Rameses
III. The bas-relief of Medinet Habou, which represents the great victory of
this Pharaoh over the marauding “Northmen” of the
Mediterranean, is the earliest known representation of a naval battle. In
this bas-relief two distinct types of vessels
Naval battle of Rameses III. (Medinet Habou.)
are apparent: first, the Egyptian, which have stem and stern
following the curved line of the keel, the stem ornamented with a lion's
head or some other device, the stern sharppointed and rising somewhat higher
than the stem. At the bows is shown a kind of platform or forecastle, and
the bodies of the rowers, whose heads are visible, are protected by a
sideplanking, from under which the oars, the ports of which are hidden,
project. At the stern there is a raised platform, from which archers are
discharging their arms, and the steersman is there also seated, with his
hand on the broadbladed steering paddle. A mast with a crow's-nest look-out
man, and a yard with the sail brailed up, are also shown. The number of
rowers indicated is usually ten on one side; but, owing to want of space,
the artist, limited in this respect, has probably contented himself with
depicting a conventional number.
The vessels of the allies, which presumably have crossed the Mediterranean,
present a striking difference in type. They show much less camber of keel,
with stem and stern post rising abruptly, and at a considerable height above
the water curving outwards, and finishing (though without any such
ornamentation as is apparent in the Egyptian ships) in a rudely-shaped
swanor goose-head. The bow is in fact very similar to the στόλος
of the old Greek type, seen on the coins
of Chios, Megara, and Sinope. Their vessels have also raised fighting decks
fore and aft, and side planking as a protection for the rowers. These
details, slight as they may appear to be, are valuable as giving indications
of maritime enterprise and naval construction in the Mediterranean some
centuries before the Trojan War, of which the ordinary date given is 1184
(For the whole subject of Egyptian boats and shipping, the student should
consult the works of Rosellini and Lepsius, in which he will find numerous
representations of ships and boats, ranging from the time of the Fourth
Dynasty, or more than 3,000 years before Christ: and besides these,
Duemichen's Historische Inschriften
and Die Flotte
einer Aegyptischen Königin,
and especially an essay by
Bernhard Graser, Das Seewesen der alten Aegypter,
Duemichen's Resultate der auf Befehl S. R. Majestat des
Königs Wilhelm I. von Preussen in Sommer
nach Aegypten entrendeten,
&c., Berlin, 1869.)
In the fleet of an Egyptian queen, her Red Sea fleet, several vessels exhibit
apertures as if
Egyptian Ship. (Duemichen.)
for a second tier of oars, though no oars are shown in them. If
this be so, the invention of the bireme must be referred to a very early
date (B.C. 1700). It is probable, however, that [p. 2.209]
the Red Sea fleet differed in many particulars from the Mediterranean
fleet, and of this latter unfortunately we have no similar record. It is,
however, not unlikely that the fleets of the Pharaohs, at different times,
swept the northern sea and penetrated as far as Sardinia.
It is clear from the legend of Danaus that intercourse between Egypt and
Greece was frequent at a very early period, and it is noticeable that the
marauding expeditions, such as may have led to battles similar to that
depicted at Medinet Habou, find an echo in the Homeric poems. In the feigned
narrative of Ulysses, a raid upon Egypt is described as undertaken and
carried out, quite in the ordinary course of things (Od. 14.245
δέ με θυμὸς ἀνώγει ναυτίλλεσθαι
νῆας εὖ στείλαντα σὺν ἀντιθέοις ἑτάροισι
ἐννέα νῆας στεῖλα θοῶς δ᾽ἐσαγείρατο
Five days bring them from Crete to one of the mouths of the Nile, and the
feigned tale presents the typical behaviour of the buccaneers, with a
typical disaster to follow. It is worthy of remark that the same story, a
fictitious story, is twice repeated, from which we may infer that the
narrative was such as would be readily accepted as true in the Homeric age,
and founded on an ultimate basis of fact.
A list with dates is given by Eusebius, “ex Diodori libris breviter de
temporibus maria imperio tenentium,” in which Lydians,
Pelasgians, Thracians, Rhodians, Phrygians, Cyprians, Phoenicians,
Egyptians, Milesians, Carians, are named in order, extending from the date
1186 B.C. to 731 B.C., or for a period of about
450 years, as exercising thalassocracy or mastery of the seas. The names
that follow--Lesbians, Phocaeans, Samians, Lacedaemonians, Naxians,
Eretrians, Aeginetans--bring the list down to the year 485 B.C. But in these
cases hardly more than a local superiority can be intended. The earlier
names, however--Lydians, Pelasgians, Thracians--corroborate the evidence of
the Egyptian monuments, and point at any rate to the maritime activity and
seafaring habits of these peoples at a very early period. (For Lydians, cf.
; Strabo v.
; Dionys. A. R. 1.28
;--Pelasgians, Dionys. A. R. 1.22
; Strabo ix. p.401
, xiii. p. 582; Hdt. 4.145
; Apoll. Rhod. Arg.
4.1760;--confused with Tyrrhenians, Soph. Inach. Fr.
; Diod. 5.50
Strabo, xiv. pp. 652-654; Colonies, Diod. 5.53
It is surprising, considering the fame and activity of the Phoenicians, that
we have so little evidence regarding their vessels in early time. Herodotus
in his opening chapter speaks of them as migrating from the Indian Ocean to
the Mediterranean coast, and at once venturing on long voyages, carrying
Egyptian and Assyrian wares to Argos and elsewhere. To their kidnapping
propensities was ascribed the beginning of troubles between Europe and Asia
by the Persian historians; and this statement may be illustrated by the
jealousy and dislike with which they are mentioned in Homer (Hom. Od. 15.415
cf. Ezek. 27.13). Their vessels seem to have
been only half-decked, if we may judge from Od.
: these were probably traders, φορτίδες εὐρεῖαι.
And yet to the Phoenicians in all
probability, if not to the
Assyrian (? Phoenician) Bireme. (From relief in British
Egyptians, must be ascribed the invention of the bireme, and consequently of
the system of banked vessels. To them also probably belongs the invention of
the Ram. The representation of the war-galley in motion (copied from a
bas-relief in the British Museum from Kouyunjik (?)) cannot be much earlier
than 700 B.C. It is a bireme, aphract, with fighting deck and fishlike snout
for ram, similar in construction to those which are depicted upon the
Graeco-Etruscan vases of the following century, but plain and without the
ornamentation exhibited in these latter. Some few representations of
Phoenician vessels are also given in Layard and Rawlinson. These all have
this drawback, that the Assyrian conquerors, for whose glory the
representations were made, were not a maritime people, and that therefore
details and proportion were not likely to be criticised, or accuracy to be
studied in their sea-pieces. Hence we can learn but little from them as to
any distinctive features of the Phoenician marine.
Piracy, as Thucydides points out in the opening chapters of his history, was
the curse of the Archipelago from very early times, the antagonistic force
opposed to all progress in civilisation. Piracy implies the possession of
sea-going craft and familiarity with maritime enterprise. It implies also,
to a certain extent, a contemporaneous commerce upon which it may prey. And
again, being antagonistic to commerce, which strong rulers and organised
states are anxious to develop and protect for their own use and benefit, it
is naturally followed by efforts on the part of such rulers and states to
put it down. Thus we have from early times, corresponding to these
influences, three types of vessels:--
- 1. The trader, wide and roomy, trusting
[p. 2.210]mainly to sail for movement.
- 2. The pirate vessel, sharper but still capable of stowing
plunder, and of using sail as well as oars.
- 3. The long ship, the ship of war (ναὺς
μακρά), the business of which was not plundering, but
Pirate Ship. (The above are from vases in the British
The development of the latter, which was slow, finds its highest
expression in the swift and handy Attic trireme, and terminates in the huge
many-banked vessels of Demetrius Poliorcetes. The trader, of which
illustrations from the early Graeco-Etruscan vases are sufficiently clear,
varied but little in type, and the same type survives in the coasting
vessels of the Levant to this day.
The chief points noticeable are the height of the hull above water as
compared with the pirate vessels of the same date, and the form of the bow,
which curves upwards and outwards, terminating in a point, which, though not
fashioned into a figure-head, has immediately behind it the eye of the
vessel, serving probably for a hawse-hole. Strong bulwarks run the whole
length of the ship, which has two broadbladed paddles for steering purposes,
and a landing ladder fastened to a high prolongation of the stern-post. The
sail is attached to a yard, which is secured by a number of braces; the
mast, which for the size of the vessel is shorter than that of the pirate,
is kept in its place by two stays.
The figures on the vases, to which we shall revert hereafter, may possibly
give us the representations of vessels of the 6th or 7th century B.C. But
for the description of the early Greek vessel of the pirate type we must
turn to Homer, whose familiarity with the sea and with ships is everywhere
apparent in his poems. Thucydides (1.10
), in his
reflections upon the relative magnitude of the Greek fleet that went to Troy
and the fleets employed in the Pelopolnesian War, touches the salient
points: “1200 ships, the largest holding 120, the smallest 50 men, the
warriors being the oarsmen; no room for supernumeraries (περίνεω
) except the kings and great chiefs,
especially as they were to cross the open sea, with arms, &c.
for the war; the vessels unfenced (not κατάφρακτα
), and in the old fashion fitted out more like
And further he observes (1.14) that even many centuries later the triremes
possessed by the naval powers were few in number, and the greater part of
the vessels in use were penteconters and long ships (? biremes), fitted in
the same way as in Homer's time. The Sicilian tyrants and the Corcyraeans
were the first Greek powers who possessed any large number of triremes. Even
the vessels built by the Athenians under the advice of Themistocles, which
ultimately fought at Salamis, were not decked throughout. Thus, if we take
the Homeric ship to give the type of the ancient Greek sea-going vessel of
the pirate class, as distinct from the trader (φορτίς
), we shall not go astray.
In two points only are developments to be traced, which will be mentioned in
their place, viz. in the form of the bow and in the arrangement of the oars.
We shall best obtain an idea of the Homeric vessel by comparing Homer with
himself, and afterwards with what we are able to ascertain of the epochs
that followed. If it be a question how far the ship-lore of Apollonius
Rhodius, and of the so-called Orphic Argonautica,
is drawn from early and trustworthy sources, yet in
many instances it is useful as throwing light upon details.
In the Iliad and Odyssey we find certain epithets of ships common to both,
which may be classified as follows:--
Of these epithets we may observe that the two which concern colour and shape
as seen from the outside preponderate, viz. μέλας
sharp); and next in frequency [p. 2.211]
are two which, as it
were, regard the vessel from within (κοῖλος,
), hollow, hollowed out, and so roomy. There can be
no doubt that the first two epithets give the main characteristics seen from
without. The black sharp hull (like those of the Northmen in later times)
inspired thoughts of terror and swiftness; seen from within, it satisfied
the mind of the Greek buccaneer that the vessel was roomy, one in which much
plunder could be stowed, (Cf. Od. 4.81
Of the other epithets ἀμφιέλισσα
cannot not mean “rowed on both sides,” but might possibly mean
“rocking from side to side” ) presents probably the
curvature of the ship's side when seen either stem or stern on, from in
front or from behind; κορωνίς,
on the other
hand, is of the curvature upwards of bow and stern, such as we have seen in
the bas-relief of Medinet Habou (p. 208), and such as appears on many of the
early coins--that upward lift and prolongation of stem or stern post (the
highly ornamented ὰκροστόλιον
of later time) which makes
apt the epithet ὀρθόκραιρος,
applicable to the horns of oxen. (Cf. Il.
; Od. 12.348
we have probably epithets that refer to
material,--gallant, good, well-timbered (not well-benched). The
cross-pieces, thwarts, that tied the vessel's sides together and fitted on
them like yokes, were too important, both structurally and as serving as
benches for the rowers, not to furnish descriptive epithets (such as
πολυκλήις, πολύζυγος, εὔζυγος,
), and yet they are not frequent. Commonplace epithets
are absent; καλὸς
is only once used. It may
also be noticed that the epithets μιλτοπάρῃος
; Od. 9.125
) and φοινικοπάρῃος
) belong apparently to vessels of
or from the western isles of Greece. In the Catalogue of the Ships it is the
distinctive epithet of the vessels of Ulysses.
With regard to the construction and parts of the vessel, we have mention of
the keel, τρόπις
), which probably was first laid upon the δρύοχοι,
short upright baulks of timber ber laid
level at intervals, of sufficient height to enable a man to work at the keel
and its fittings (Od. 19.574
), and the
or walls of the vessel attached
to it (cf.
ὀφρ᾽ ἀπὸ τοίχους λύσε κλύδων
). The ribs are not mentioned, unless δούρατα, δόρυ νήϊον
cover them. Cf. also
) for planking. From the keel sprung the στεῖρα
or stem-post, carried upwards and
finishing high in the ἀκρὰ κόρυμβα.
Similarly, the stern-post must have run up into the ἄφλαστον
stern ornament. As yet no spur or ram seems to have been attached to the
bows of the vessel: “
ἀμφὶ δὲ κῦμα
στείρῃ πορφύρεον μεγάλ᾽ ἴαχε νηὸς ἰούσης.
The sides (τοῖχοι
) were tied together by the
thwarts (ζύγα, κληῖδες
), which served as
seats for the rowers, and lengthways amidships there must have been a
gangway: for Ulysses (Od. 12.228
his crew are rowing to pass the dreaded Scylla, arms himself and passes from
the stern to the forecastle. (Cf. Apollon.
, where Jason gives his hand to Medea, as she passes through
the vessel, διὰ κληῖδος ἰοῦσαν.
) At the
bows there was a raised platform, or deck, the ἴκρια
upon which armed men could stand and fight; and
similarly there was a deck at the stern, upon which the chiefs had their
place, and laid their weapons (Od. 13.72
), and under which was room for stowage (Od. 15.206
In a remarkable passage (Il. 15.680
) we have
the description of a warrior (Ajax) passing from vessel to vessel: “
Ἐπὶ πολλὰ θοάων ἴκρια νηῶν
φοίτα μακρὰ βιβάς:
” the ships evidently being hauled up quite close to each other, and
the height is in a measure indicated, for the attacking warrior (Hector)
seizes hold of the stern of the ship (Il.
πρύμνηθεν ἐπεὶ λάβεν οὐχὶ μεθίει
ἄφλαστον μετὰ χερσὶν ἔχων:
” while Ajax, forced to give way, being in an exposed position,
ἀνεχάζετο τυτθὸν οἰόμενος θανέεσθαι
θρῆνυν ἐφ᾽ ὲπταπόδην λίπε δ᾽ἴκρια νηὸς ἐΐσης.
in all probability, was the
stretcher, as we should call it, of the stroke oar. Some interpret it of the
steersman's seat, but less well, as θρῆνυς
in Homer is in all other passages ὑποπόδιον,
something to rest the feet upon. This would give us
the normal beam of the Homeric ship, nearly at the point where the stern
deck began; while, allowing to Hector heroic stature, the height of the
would, we may fairly
conjecture, be from 7 to 9 feet, and the ἴκρια
themselves some 5 feet from the ground, when the vessel
was drawn up on land. Taking the normal interspace for the rowers (σχῆμα διπηχαΐκον
) at 2 cubits, the rowing
space of the penteconter gives a length of 75 feet, to which must be added
some 6 feet for the bows and 9 or 10 for the stern, with their respective
decks. We should have thus a long low galley, about 90 feet from stem to
stern, and from 10 to 12 feet broad amidships. The length would of course be
reduced if the interspace between the rowers was less.
The Homeric galley was propelled by sail as well as by oars. The mast could
be raised and lowered. It had a step (? ἱστοπέδη
: cf. Alcaeus, Frag.
) above the keel
(cf. ἐκ δὲ οἱ ἱστὸν ἄραξε ποτὶ
), and was raised so as to rest in and against a
fitted as the name implies amidships. It was kept in its place by fore-stays
), by which also it was
lowered, and rested on a crutch (ἱστοδόκη,
). A back-stay (ἐπίτονος
) is also mentioned as attached to it
(βὸς ῥινοῖο τετευχώς,
The sail was hoisted upon a yard (ἐπίκριον,
), which had braces (ὑπέραι
) and halyards (κάλοι
) attached to it. The sails were white, and square in
shape. To the ends (πόδες
) sheets were
attached, which were either fastened or held in the hand. The ropes with
which the sail was hoisted and the stays appear to have been of plaited or
twisted thong (εὐστρέπτοισι βοεῦσι
Larger cables (ὅπλα, πείσματα
) were made
of byblus (Od. 22.391
). “The twisted
teaching of Egypt” (Eur. Tro. 129
πλεκτὰν Αἰγύπτου παιδείαν
) seems to
have [p. 2.212]
come in later for smaller tackle. The
mentioned in Il. 2.135
may have been of hemp or rushes.
Large poles for pushing the ship (περιμήκεα
) were also in use; and the weight and bulk of the vessel
receive illustration from the
Penteconter. (From the François vase at
passage in which Ulysses single-handed pushes her off the shore
with a pole (Od. 9.487
). There were also
long poles or spears used for fighting. Cf. Il.
μακροῖσι ξυστοῖσι τὰ ῥά σφ᾽ ἐπὶ νηυσὶν ἐκεῖτο
ναύμαχα κολλήεντα κατὰ στόμα εἱμένα χαλκῷ.
The ship was steered by paddles (πηδάλια
which, as the representations on the early vases indicate, were of various
patterns. They were generally two in number, fastened to either side of the
vessel. Some are merely broad-bladed oars; others approach more nearly in
form to the modern rudder. They differed as a rule from the oar in having
the blade unequally divided, the front part being narrow, the hinder part
broad, so as to have more power. When at rest, the steering paddles were
kept parallel to the longer axis of the vessel. At the upper end of the loom
was a projecting handle, οἰήιον
), by which the steersman could
turn the blade of one or both at an angle to the vessel's course.
The oars, ἐρετμά
--of which the parts were
the handle, and πηδόν,
the blade--were made of fir (cf. Apoll.
1.1188; ξεστῇς ἐλάτῃσι,
). The breadth of the blade is
illustrated by its comparison on the part of a landsman ignorant of the sea
to a winnowing shovel (Od. 11.128
oars amidship were probably the largest, to allow for the curvature of the
vessel's sides (cf. Apollon. 1.395
the midship oars are re served for Hercules and Ancaeus as being the
strongest of the heroes). The result of breaking an oar while rowing hard
seems to have been similar to that of later times. Cf. Apoll. Rhod.
1.1167, where Hercules “
μεσσόθεν ἄξεν ἐρετμόν, ἄταρ τρύφος ἄλλο μὲν αὐτὸς
ἄμφω χερσὶν ἔχων, πέσε δόχμιος.
The oars were fastened to thowls (σκαλμοὶ
by thongs (τροποὶ δερμάτινοι
), and, when
not in use, drawn in and fastened with the blade projecting (Apoll. Rhod.
1.378; Od. 8.34
rowers are described as taking their places, with their arms laid (Apollon. 1.527
) in order by them, which flash
in the sunlight (1. 100.540 ff.) as the vessel speeds onward. (Compare the
shields hung at the side of the Vikings' vessels.) The κυβερνήτης
had his place on the ἴκρια πρύμνης,
where he could handle both steering paddles
and see over the heads of the crew. Hence there was nothing to intercept the
falling mast (Od. 12.409
) when the
forestays snapped:-- ἱστὸς δ᾽ὀπίσω πέσεν, ὅπλα
εἰς ἄντλον κατέχυνθ᾽: ὁ δ᾽ἄρα πρύμῃ δ̓νὶ
πλῆξε κυβερνήτεω κεφαλήν,
ὁ δ᾽ἄρ᾽ ἀρνευτήρι ἐοικὼς
κάππεσ᾽ ἀπ᾽ ἰκρίοφιν.
From the foregoing and similar passages we learn that the bilge was open
). The place for stowage was
under the thwarts against the sides of the vessel. (Cf. Theognis, 513:
νηός τοι πλευρῇσιν ὑπὸ ζύγα θήσομεν ἡμεῖς
) The ξεστὸν
) may have
been the landing ladder (κλῖμαξ
), which is
so conspicuous upon the vases (Grashoff, Schiff.
vessel was moored by means of stones (εὐναί,
), which served both as ballast and as anchors.
The following passages illustrate the seafaring faring life as depicted in
Homer:--Preparation for starting, Od. 4.780
. Setting sail, Il. 1.480
. Storm, Il. 15.625
; Od. 9.70
. Coming into harbour, Il. 1.433
. A safe harbour, Od. 9.125
. Crew grumble at not being allowed
to land, Od. 12.281
. Arsenal, Od. 6.263
. Housing ship for winter, Hes.
The post-Homeric period receives its best illustration from the early Greek
or Graeco-Etruscan vases that remain. In these the space is necessarily
restricted, so that accuracy as regards details is hardly to be expected,
yet the evidence they afford is extremely valuable, and without them the
information drawn from the poets would, in many cases, be much more obscure
than it is at present. Between Homer and Herodotus there is but little
information to be gathered. Hesiod disclaims all knowledge of seafaring life
647), though his father had been a merchant
venturer. The Homeric Hymn to Apollo and the story of Dionysus and the
Pirates (if rightly ascribed to this period) contain a few interesting
details (42, πάντες δὲ δκαλμοὶ στεφάνους
). One valuable fragment of Alcaeus preserves the vivid
picture of a storm-tossed vessel, and a much-disputed line (παρ᾽ μὲν γὰρ ἄντλος ἱστοπέδαν ἔχει
be the mast step,--a solid
block of wood placed above the keel,--with a shallow socket cut in it,
wherein the foot of the mast rested, then the progress of the water
increasing in the hold of the vessel would be marked [p. 2.213]
by its rising to the level of the top of the mast step.
Dionysus Vessel. (Gerhardt, |
The unseaworthy character of the early Greek vessel is amply testified by the
use and application of the word ἄντλος,
Baling, if the weather was at all rough, was the
constant and toilsome duty of the sailor, and the term became expressive of
labour and sorrow. Sometimes the crew, from weariness or fright, refused to
persevere (ἀντλεῖν δ᾽οὐκ ἐθέλουσιν, ὑπερβάλλει
δὲ θάλασσα ἀμφοτέρων τοίχων,
Theog. 673). The point is
important, as illustrating one of the chief necessities of construction in
the early Greek vessel. It had to be built as light as possible, because it
was necessary to draw it up on shore. It was frequently subjected to the
rack and strain which this process implies. Hence it is not surprising that
it was liable to leak. There ensued naturally the desire to run ashore as
soon as possible out of a seaway, an operation which the numerous creeks and
bays on the coastline of the tideless sea facilitated. This lightness
Stern of Bireme, with κλῖμαξ.
(From Figaroni Cista.)
of construction, and the necessity (for so it appeared to the
Greek sailor) of drawing up the vessel on shore, must not be lost sight of
when we come to consider the trireme. It is one which apparently has been
entirely over-looked by those who wish to identify the problem involved in
the construction of ancient ships with those of the mediaeval galley and of
ocean-going wooden ships of comparatively modern date, which were not
subject to this requirement.
The epoch of the vases introduces us to the Bireme, and it is possible that
in this department of archaeology fresh discoveries await us, which may
contribute largely, after their kind, to the knowledge of the subject. The
bireme of Phoenician type represented on the walls of Kouyunjik (Rawlinson,
vol. ii, 176) is possibly of an
earlier date than the vasepaintings. At any rate, we must, in all
probability, refer the invention of the bireme to the shipwrights of Tyre
and Sidon, if not to Egypt (see above). And here it is necessary to inquire
into the character of this invention, which gave a new power to early
navigation and led the way to the trireme, and so on to the
many-banked vessels, of later date.
It is clear that the penteconter was the typical vessel of the pirate type.
(benches, thwarts), twenty-five in
number, seated two men on either side. The longest
War Ship of the pirate type. (From Etruscan vase.)
oars were wielded by those who sat amidships (Apollon. 1.395
ff.). We may take the normal
or measure of interval, between
thowl and thowl, to have been 2 cubits (Vitr.
, “in navibus ex interscalmio quod διπηχαϊκὴ
dicitur” ). Efforts had been made to
increase speed by adding to the number of rowers, but the increased number
of benches involved also an addition to the length and weight of the vessel.
The term ἑκατόζυγος
seems to point to the
limit which this effort had reached. Such a galley, even if we take the
epithet to mean simply 100 rowers, and therefore really only 50 benches,
would have upwards of 150 feet for its length, and presents difficulties at
once as to hauling on shore and turning which can easily be imagined. Some
clever shipwright, when construction was thus confronted with the difficulty
of the additional length and weight exceeding in disadvantage the advantage
gained by increase of man-power, conceived the design whereby the motive
power might be almost doubled without increasing the length or beam of the
vessel. Dividing the 3-foot space between the zyga, and perhaps raising
these a little, he placed a rower with a shorter oar, to work nearer the
water-line, on a lower level than the men on the zyga. [p. 2.214]
In fact, he seated these lower oarsmen more in the hold of the
), whence they got their
name of thalamite.
It would be necessary to keep
them in the same line vertically, parallel to the axis of the vessel, as
there was no room to spare, and so the thalamite sat immediately behind his
zygite, with his head just a little above the level of the latter's seat
(cf. Aristoph. Frogs 1074
experiment was tried and found feasible, and the thing was done.1
Once approved and known, the principle was sure to be widely adopted. The
representations of biremes are sufficiently numerous to indicate that in the
early vase period they were the typical vessel. It is remarkable that on
some coasts they were never superseded. Of the famous galleys that turned
the scale at Actium we read, “Ordine contentae gemino crevisse
Liburnae;” and it is also to be observed that they outlived the
larger rates far into the Byzantine period, as is seen in the
of Emperor Leo. The invention of the bireme was
really a much greater step in the art of naval construction than any of the
subsequent improvements, which increased the numbers of banks, till the
in their turn became “inhabilis prope
magnitudinis.” The motive power was doubled; the length and bulk
of the vessel hardly increased.
From the bireme to the trireme was but a small step in advance. Where this
was made is not at all certain; probably in the dockyards of Tyre or Sidon.
But the Greeks were quick to adopt the inventions of their Oriental rivals.
Wealthy Corinth was naturally the first place in Greece to exhibit the new
model, and to use its superior powers for the purpose of clearing out
pirates and protecting its growing commerce (Thuc.
). The Corinthian shipbuilder Ameinocles made a name and fame for
himself, and marked an epoch in the maritime history of Greece, when, about
the year 700 B.C., he constructed four of the new
sea-going three-banked type of galleys for the Samians.
Coin of Cydonia. 450 B.C.
Coin of Pharnabazus. 400 B.C.
Before proceeding to the description of the trireme, it is necessary to
insist on the fact that, according to the evidence to be gathered from
ancient authorities, the principle of one man to each
was always observed. The question of the arrangement of the rowers
has been complicated by the neglect of this principle on the part of
authors, who have sought for a solution of difficulties by reference
to<*> mediaeval galley with its long sweeps
wor<*> by three or, more oarsmen apiece. The
ancie<*> knew nothing of such a system, nor has
a<*> sufficient evidence been brought forward<*>
support it. When we reflect that to the e<*> shipwright
sharpness and length (cf. epit<*> θοή,
) were the essential ideas in the<*>
struction of the fighting galley, and t<*> increase of beam
involved increase of bulk, i<*> not surprising that the
narrowness of the vessels should ab initio
restricted the length of the oar, and have, so to speak, prevented the idea
of double-banking the oars from entering into their heads.
When in early mediaeval times the Parodus
was superseded by
then the system of long heavy
oars, worked by two or more men, came into vogue, but not before.
It should here also be observed that the terms Aphract
are of importance as denoting a difference and
an improvement in the construction both of biremes and triremes,--a
difference which has not to do with the deck (κατάστρωμα
), but with the sides of the vessel. In the
Aphract vessel the upper tier of rowers were unprotected and exposed to
view, and consequently to the enemy's missiles, though in some of the
earliest vessels we do see some attempt at protection in the way of
planking, or (as commonly in the Vikings' ships) shields set up round the
bulwarks to afford a covering to the crew. But in the Cataphract class, the
rowers of the upper tier were entirely under cover, behind the wall of the
Parodus, a projecting gangway, which screened them both from the sight and
from the missiles of the enemy. The speciality of the construction was
sufficiently important to differentiate the two classes, as Aphract and
In the detailed description of the trireme which follows, amid a multitude of
conflicting opinions we have in the main followed Graser and Cartault as the
most trustworthy authorities. The subject, as is well known, has a vast and
still accumulating literature of its own. Since the discovery in 1834 of a
number of inscriptions which proved to be inventories of galleys and their
gear, belonging to the dockyard at the Piraeus, dating from a period
possibly not more than fifty years after the Peloponnesian war, the whole
question has been placed upon a new basis by the labours of Boeckh and
Graser, and after them of Cartault and Breusing. The evidence that we have
to rely upon as regards ancient ships of war consists--(1) of passages from
ancient authors, and (2) of explanations of terms in the scholiasts and
lexicographers. Besides these, there are (for penteconters and biremes, but
not for triremes) the representations on vases. The representations on
coins, though numerous, are useful only as regards types, the scale being
too small to give certainty as to details. But very few bas-reliefs or
marbles or frescoes have survived which throw any light upon naval
construction. As a rule, in the representations the artist, anxious to
glorify the human figure, has treated all the accessories in a conventional
manner, dwarfing the rest out of all proportion. We are therefore chiefly
dependent for our information upon ancient texts, and must accept with
caution any [p. 2.215]
theories, however plausible, which
cannot find support in these, or in any way contradict their evidence.
In the classification of ancient vessels we find the termination -ορος
referring to number of oars--e. g. τριακόντορος, πεντηκόντορος
: whereas the
refers to banks of oars-e. g. μονήρης, διήρης, τριήρης,
up to the ἑκκαιδεκήρης
of Demetrius Poliorcetes and τεσσερακοντήρης
of Ptolemy Philopator; μονόκροτος, δίκροτος, τρίκροτος, κ.τ.λ.
this question of the superposition of the banks of oars which is the main
problem to be solved. These banks or ranks of oars were called στίχοι
(Poll. 1.93). In the trireme there were three, called
respectively θρανῖται, ζύγιοι
these the thranites rowed with the longest oars, and were the highest; the
zygites occupied the middle stage; the thalamite the lowest, and these used
the shortest oars, and earned least pay because they rowed with short oars
(διὰ τὸ κολοβαῖς χρῆσθαι κώπαις,
). That the rowers in three ranks in
the trireme cannot have been separated by decks, as some authors have held,
is sufficiently proved by the passage in Aristophanes (Aristoph. Frogs 1074
). The thranite sat
nearest the stern, the zygite next behind him, and the thalamite nearest the
prow in each set of three, which was thus arranged obliquely, probably,
though not certainly, in the same vertical plane.
In the trireme the number of thranites was 62; of zygites, 58; thalamites,
54. This gives on each side the series of 31, 29, 27; the reduced number in
the lower ranks being necessitated by the contraction of the space nearer
the water-line, owing to the curvature of the vessel's sides. Hence at each
end of the vessel we find in the ἔγκωπον,
or rowing space, one zygite and two thalamites less than the thranites. The
whole ordinary rowing strength of the triremes was 174. Sometimes the
) had to help with
oars, the length of which is given in the Attic tables: these are supposed
to have rowed from the Parodus, and to have struck the water beyond the
thranite oars. Their length is given as 14 1/2 feet. We have said that the
oarsmen sat probably in the same vertical plane, disposed obliquely one
behind the other, the thranite of each set of three being nearest the stern.
It is probable that the thranite oars were a little shorter than those of
mentioned above. They would in
fact be not very much longer than the oars ordinarily in use in our
Complexus Remigum. (From Cartault.)
The horizontal space between two men of the same bank was 3 feet. The zygite
seat was 1 ft. behind the thranite; the thalamite the same distance behind
the zygite. The zygite seats were 2 feet below the level of the thranite,
and the thalamite the same below the zygite. This disposition of the rowers
as illustrated by the figure seems at first sight to be crowded, but the
practical experiment, tried as above mentioned, showed that the oarsmen had
plenty of room for the movement of their oars, and that there was no danger
of clashing with the oars of separate banks. The motion of rowing was, as
shown in the bas-relief of the trireme figured below, with very little
forward inclination of the body. The arms were well extended, and then the
weight of the body thrown on the oar, the course of the stroke following the
or the ῥυππαπαί,
with the incidence of the blade in the water at
the last sound (e. g. ὠὸπ
Acropolis Trireme. (From Baumeister.)
In rowing the zygites fell back between the knees of the thranites, and the
thalamites between those of the zygites; the two upper banks having an appui
for their feet on either side of the man in
front of them in the next bank below. The port-holes for the thalamite oars
are placed by Graser at 3 feet above the water-line (Cartault reduces this
distance to 1 ft. 6 inches); and if we allow 1 foot above the heads of the
thranites (including the thickness of the deck and the cross timbers
supporting it), we have the deck of the trireme 11 feet above the
water-line. The zygite port-holes were vertically 2 feet above the
thalamite, and the thranite the same distance above the zygite; the zygite
port-hole was horizontally 1 foot nearer the bows than that of the thranite
of the set of three to which he belonged, and the thalamite port-hole I foot
nearer the bows than that of the zygite of his set. Taking the Vitruvian
interscalmium of 2 cubits as the normal scale, we shall thus have 94 feet
for the ἔγκωπον
or rowing space of the
Viewed from within, if we adopt Graser's hypothesis, the trireme must have
had, when ready for sea, and before the crew had come on board, the
appearance of a long cloister, a central space of 7 feet, and on either side
uprights corresponding to the vessel's ribs 3 feet apart and forming the
support of the deck. From the foot of each of these uprights a strong piece
of timber, probably cut plank-wise, inclined at an angle of about
62°, reached to the head of the upright next to it nearer the stern.
Between these and the vessel's sides were attached the zyga or rowers'
seats. These seats were part of the ship's furniture, and removable, as is
seen from the Attic tables. A vessel fitted with them was said to be
: not fitted, ἄζυξ.
To the system of upright and inclined
timbers thus constituting the rowing quarters of the crew, Graser attaches
the term διαφράγματα.
(Boeckh, 14.6, 145;
3144, 3271, 3124.) [p. 2.216]
The crew was so densely packed that, as we learn from a passage in Cicero,
there was not room for one man more. They entered in a regular order and
took their places in accordance with the strictest discipline, and similarly
disembarked. Each man had a cushion (ὑπηρέσιον
) to put upon his bench. The oars appear to have been
graduated as regards length inboard, so that those amidships were longer
inboard, though striking the water in the same line parallel to the axis of
the vessel with those of the same bank. (Hence the comparison of Aristotle
and Galen to the fingers.) This confirms the opinion that the oarsmen in the
trireme sat all in the same vertical plane, or nearly so; the thranite seat
in the trireme being about 7 ft., the zygite 5 ft., and the thalamite 3 ft.
above the water-line. This would give us 13 ft. 6 in., 10 ft. 6 in.; 7 ft. 6
in. respectively for the average length of the three banks; the midship oars
having somewhat more inboard, and possibly a heavier blade than those fore
and aft. The Virgilian “triplici pubes quam Dardana versu Impellit,
terno consurgunt ordine remi” (Aen.
an exact picture of the stroke (versus
the work of the oar in the water, and the recovery (consurgunt
). In the trireme the triple versus
were 2 ft. 6 in. apart, on a line at right angles to
the vessel's side. The recovery would exhibit the oars rising in three
banks. The rowing port-holes were protected by leathern bags (ὰσκώματα
), through which the looms of the oars
passed. These, if the sea was at all rough, prevented the wash from coming
through the oarports. The oars were apparently, if we may judge from the
representation from above (p. 215 b
with the lower hand over and the upper hand under the oar. This implies a
considerable angle to the water. Perhaps the thalamite had both hands over.
It is a moot point whether they rowed against the σκαλμός,
the wooden pin or thowl, or against the thong
) by which the oar was
fastened to it. Looking at the weight to be moved, it seems not improbable
that the latter was the case. At any rate, it is very frequently so in the
Levant at the present day. They would certainly have been less liable to
breakages at starting. The position of the oars, as shown in the woodcut
above (p. 212), would seem to indicate that this was the case in the
According to Graser, the floor of the vessel (ἔδαφος
) was 1 foot above the water in the Cataphract class.
Below this was the hold, and through the floor a hole through which the
buckets used in baling were passed. The keel (τρόπις
) had considerable camber. Under it was a strong false
), very necessary for vessels
which were frequently drawn up on shore. Above the keel was the kelson
), under which the lower ends of the
ribs, probably 3 feet apart, were fastened. Above the kelson lay an upper
false keel (δευτέρα τρόπις
), into which
the masts were stepped.
The stem-post (στεῖρα
) rose at an angle of
69° to the water from the keel; within was an apron (φάλκης
), giving solidity to the bows, which had
to bear the weight of the beak and of concussion. The stem was carried
upwards and curved sometimes forwards, but generally back, terminating in an
ornament called the acrostolium
). Of this every variety is to be
seen upon the coins.
The stern-post was carried up at about the same angle as the stem, curving
upwards and forwards, and terminating in an ornament called ἄφλαστον,
Sometimes, as shown chiefly in later
instances, the stern-post was ornamented by a swan or goose head (χηνίσκος
), curving downwards behind the
prolongation of the stern-post, symbolising no doubt the floating powers of
Round the hull of the vessel, horizontally at about the level of the feet of
each bank of rowers, stretched waling-pieces (according to Graser, νομεῖς
: Cartault, ζωστῆρες
), and in the case of the Attic triremes the sides
of the vessel were again strengthened by long cables (ὑποζώματα
), which were bound round the ship from stem to
stern. These tightened by shrinking when wet, and gave additional security
to the vessel, which from her length and narrow beam and lightness of build
was apt to strain in bad weather.
On either side of the vessel, about the level of the thranitic bench,
projected the gangway (πάροδος,
), giving probably a passage of about 3 ft.
wide. The Parodus was supported by brackets, the lower ends of which found a
footing in the waling-piece below, and probably an attachment to the ribs.
It was also fenced in by an upright bulwark extending the whole length of
space occupied by the rowers. The ribs from a point below the Parodus curved
upwards and inwards to a level 10 inches above the heads of the thranites.
Upon them at this height were placed the cross-beams (στρωτῆρες
) which supported the deck (κατάστρωμα
). This was a clear 3 feet above the πάροδος,
thus allowing the marines (ἐπιβάται
) in action free play for their weapons
over the heads of the supernumeraries (περίνεῳ
) and seamen whose place was in the πάροδος.
On either side the main deck rose an open lattice-work (cancelli
), seen as such in Aphract vessels, but in the
Cataphracts usually covered with hides, or with goat's-hair curtains
), such as St. Paul may have
worked at with his hands.
Beyond the space occupied by the rowers there was the παρεξειρεσία
of 11 feet at the bows and 14 feet at the
stern, which took the place of the ἴκρια,
noticed in the Homeric vessels. In the bows there was an elevated
forecastle, serving to protect the vessel in a seaway from the waves, and as
a station for fighting men in combat. On either side of the bows was a hawse
hole which figured as the eye (ὀφθαλμός
of the vessel. Here also was the παράσημον
or badge of the vessel. Behind this projected the catheads (ἐπωτίδες
) on either side, which in the case of
the earlier Attic triremes seem to have been merely sufficient to hold the
anchor. They afforded, however, a natural protection to the parodus. In the
Corinthian build these were greatly strengthened and backed with stays
) within and without, so as to receive
the impact of the light Athenian trireme, and to inflict the damage they
were intended to suffer.
In front of the stem the prolongation of the two upper waling-pieces, meeting
from either [p. 2.217]
side, projected one above the other
and were called προεμβολίς, προεμβόλιον,
respectively. The purpose of these seems to have been to give a vessel when
pressed by the beak a racking
Prow of Trireme. (From Greek terra-cotta vase in British
blow above, thus making her heel over and easing her off, so that
the attacking vessel might more readily disentangle herself by backing
water. Underneath the prolongation of the lower waling-pieces, and probably
of the keel itself, met and formed the ἔμβολον,
or beak, at about the water-level (in
the early times a little above, later below): this was generally cased with
metal. In the earlier Attic vessel it projected about 10 feet. The success
of the Corinthian build seems to have led to a shorter form, and a division
into three teeth, which took the place of the long sharp spur. The elevation
of the spur was necessary in the lighter vessels, which were frequently
beached and drawn up on the shore. In the larger rates, with which this was
no longer feasible, the spur came to be depressed, and, when thus shown in
artistic representations, indicates a later date.
--At the stern was a raised quarter-deck on
which the helmsman (κυβερνήτης
) and the
trierarch or captain had their place. The quarter-deck was the sacred part
of the ship. Here was the image of the patron god or goddess (Eur.
209). Here also near the stern rose the
flagstaff, on which was hoisted the pennant, and from which, in the case of
the admiral's ship, the red flag gave the signal for action, and such other
signals for manœuvring as were from time to time required.
--The trireme was steered by two paddles, which
worked in sockets attached to either side of the vessel. These had tillers
) in the upper part of the loom
), by which the helmsman could
turn the blades at an angle to the vessel's course. In the larger ships,
quinqueremes and upwards, it is probable that the steering was effected by
means of a rope (χαλινὸς
) attached to the
tillers, and passing over wheels (τροχιλίαι
), which gave the helmsman the power to turn both
rudders by a single effort simultaneously.
The trireme had at least two masts (ἱστὸς μέγας,
), but it is to be remembered that the use
of sails was auxiliary, and not its normal mode of propulsion. When any
fighting had to be done, it was relieved, if possible, of the weight of
large mast and sails, which were left ashore. Hence it is difficult to agree
with Graser in his restoration of a full-rigged trireme with three masts,
and enough canvas spread for a modern man-of-war.
of the Homeric vessel had its
place taken by παραστάται,
had their footing on either side of the ληϝὸς
or mast-hole, into which the heel or foot of the mast
) was stepped. The παραστάται
were attached to the mast by a collar
). The aperture in the deck
through which the mast passed was sometimes called ἱστοδόκη.
were driven in round the mast so as to keep it tight (Ap. Rhod. 1.1204). The
mast when lowered rested upon a crutch aft (ἱστοδόκη, κάπηξ
). At the top of the mast was the ἠλακάτη,
which was encircled at its. base by
the top (καρχήσιον
), itself surrounded by a
). Above was a small
), which carried the pennant
). The sail was carried on a
yard (ἐπίκριον, κεραία
), sometimes made
of two pieces (Athen. 11.475
It does not appear anywhere that more than one yard was carried by any mast,
though spare yards were supplied. to the Athenian navy. The yard was
attached to the mast by a collar (ἄγκοινα, ἄγκοινα
); and if we can take Servius (Serv. ad Aen. 5.489
) as an authority, the
ancients were not unacquainted. with “parrels,” wooden balls,
which enabled the collar to be run up and down the mast without sticking (
“malus quibusdam malis ligneis cingitur quorum volubilitate vela
facilius elevantur” ). The yard was hoisted by halyards (ἱμάντες
), which passed over τροχιλίαι
in the καρχήσιον.
The terms κάλοι,
were generally applied to all the cordage of the rigging,
and specially in larger vessels to the shrouds which served to, keep the
mast in its place.
The sail (ἵστιον
) was often made up of
pieces made separately and stitched together (whence the plural ἵστια
often means only a single sail). The only
kind of sail known by the Greeks, according to Boeckh (Urk.
141), was the square sail. The velum triangulare
the Alexandrian corn ships was of later date. The sails were often
strengthened, when made of separate pieces, by strips of leather sewn over
the stitching. (Cf. bas-relief from Pompeii, Smith, Voyage and
Shipwreck of St. Paul;
J. AJ 4.8
παρὰ τὸν ἱστὸν ἐπὶ πολὺ ἔστημεν
ἀναβλέποντες ἀριθμοῦντες τῶν βυρσῶν τὰς ἐπιβολάς.
The sail was fastened to the yard by the περιτόνιον,
which passed through eyelets (κρίκοι
) made in the border of the sail (cf. παρακρούειν
). At the lower extremities of the
sail were the sheets (πόδες
) and tacks
). [p. 2.218]
The ancients, instead of reefing, appear to have brailed up their sails
(στέλλειν, παραιρεῖν, συστέλλειν
as to reduce the area exposed to the wind; and thus either from the side, or
from underneath along its whole length (Arist.
Brailing the sails of a moneris. The
ἐπισείων is shown at the
stern. (Mazois, |
7; Ar. Eq.
434, Schol.). (See Graser,
for numerous instances.) The word ἀναστέλλειν
seems to have been used for
unbrailing the sail, where we should “shake out a reef” (cf.
Pind. P. 1.176
The yard in good weather was hoisted to the top of the mast (Ar.
999), but, if the wind freshened, was lowered. Braces
) were in use in order to give
the yard a position oblique to the keel (cf. Verg.
, “Obliquatque sinus in ventum” ). The
representations show also “lifts,” but the proper term is
Luc. Phars. 8.177
) is perhaps right.
The trireme carried two masts, the main mast (ἱστὸς
) and a
small foremast, placed near the forecastle, and more nearly related to the
modern bowsprit than to the modern foremast. Later the ἵστιον ἀκατεῖον,
spritsail, was called ὁ δόλων,
and later still ὁ ἀρτέμων
(Acts xxvii.). In all probability the Greeks
never used sails for combat. The manœuvres depended on the oars
for motive power. The attempt to combine the use of the sail, where great
agility in turning and much backing water (πρύμνην
) were constantly required, could only have
complicated matters unnecessarily, and led to disaster (Xen. Hell. 6.2
; Liv. 26.39
). Ramming tactics would
hardly have been pursued with mainmast and its gear standing. It is
probable, however, that the ἱστὸς
was used with its yard for the employment of the
a heavy weight, which, on
coming alongside of the enemy's vessel, could be dropped on his deck (cf.
, where the bowsprits are used to
draw the piles in the port of Syracuse).
The sprit-sail might be used to ease the rowers, but would be furled on
approaching the enemy. In the same way it might be set for the purposes of
flight, whence the expression in Plutarch, τὸ
“to slip out of danger.” (Cf. Suid. s. v. δόλων
: Diod. 20.61
; Liv. 36.44
; Eur. I. T.
--For anchors, the Homeric vessels used stones
), perforated so that a cord
could be passed through them. Anchors properly so-called are said to have
been invented by Anacharsis (Strabo vii.
; Schol. ad
Ap. Rhod. 1.1277). The
anchors were furnished with flukes (ἄγκιστρα
), and from the representations it is clear that in
most cases they had stocks and crowns. By the ring fastened to the latter
they were buoyed. (Cf. Hesych. sub voce
.) The anchor was carried in the bows, sometimes over the spur
(Pind. P. 4.342
: ἐπεὶ δ᾽ἐμβόλου
κρέμασαν ἀγκύρας ὕπερθεν
Breusing thinks that the ἐπωτὶς
intended by the word ἔμβολον.
war carried more than one anchor. Boeckh (Urkund.
gives four to the Attic trireme. The
Ancient Anchors. (Baumeister, |
heaviest was called ἱερά
(Lucian, Jup. Trag.
51) and used in the last resort. We find
chain cables for anchors mentioned as used by the Veneti (Caes. Bell.
We have now mentioned the principal details of equipment in the Greek
man-of-war. For other nautical terms and their meaning, the reader is
referred to the Glossary appended to this article.
The dimensions of the trireme were, according to Graser:--
|Length of ἕγκωπον
|Breadth at water-line
|Space between diaphragmata
|Deck in Cataphract class above
|Depth of hold
|2Capacity of trireme
Measurements, &c., according to Cartault:--
|Length of ἔγκωπον
|Breadth at water-line
|Breadth at Parodus
|Deck above water
M. Cartault reduces the height of the thalamite port-holes above the water to
1 1/2 ft., so as to diminish the instability which forms the obvious
objection to Graser's dimensions given above.
Taking the proportions in the Acropolis trireme to be exact, and the distance
from seat to seat [p. 2.219]
and hand to hand to be the
normal 3 feet, and applying the scale thus obtained, the height of the
Aphract trireme would appear to be even less than that assumed by M.
Cartault; that is to say, apparently not more than 8 feet, if so much, from
the under-side of the deck to the water-line.
As all the Attic triremes seem to have been made on the same model, their
gear was interchangeable, an arrangement which, in a fleet of from 300 to
400 vessels, was of the utmost importance for refitting.
The regular crew of the Attic trireme consisted probably of 220 persons. Of
these 174 were rowers, viz.: 62 thranites, 58 zeugites, 54 thalamites. To
these must be added 10 epibatae, 17 sailors, 1 trierarch, 1 κυβερνήτης,
making the total number 220.
The number of epibatae varied greatly, and depended on the style of fighting
preferred. The Athenians held to speed and dexterity in the use of the ram,
and so carried but few fighting men. Xerxes' great fleet carried 30 marines
to each trireme. Each Chian vessel at the battle of Lade had 40 picked men
as marines on board. The Corinthians and Corcyreans had their decks crowded
at the battle of Sybota; and in the great harbour of Syracuse, where there
was no space for their favourite manœuvres
unfortunate Athenians found themselves obliged to imitate their enemy's
tactics with disastrous results to themselves (Thuc.
The bulk of the rest of the ship's company consisted of the sailors, who were
under the orders of the κυβερνήτης,
whose duties were connected with the mast and sails and tackle of the ship,
and who are supposed sometimes to have manned the oars called περίνεω
in the Attic Tables.
Besides these were the officers, five of superior rank, viz.: 1. The
Trierarch or captain was supreme on board his own vessel, though under the
orders of the στρατηγὸς
when in company
with the fleet (Dem. c. Polycl.
p. 1212.19). Many Athenian
trierarchs were no doubt practised seamen, but the state burden of
trierarchy must constantly have fallen upon men less competent to command a
vessel. Hence the great need of having as second in command a professional
seaman. This was (2) the κυβερνήτης,
originally the actual helmsman, but in later times the master of the vessel,
under whose orders were the seamen and the whole crew. He had probably risen
from the ranks, and passed through all the various stages of promotion, so
as to have intimate and special acquaintance with his professional duties
541). It is probable that the trierarch had to find
the officers, though he might have the crew furnished by the state ἐκ καταλόγου.
Naturally it would be of the
greatest importance to him to obtain the services of a first-rate κυβερνήτης,
on whose skill depended the
navigation of the vessel and its safety at sea. The references to his art
) in the philosophers are
sufficient to show the high estimation in which it was held (Plat.
vi. p. 448 E; Gorg.
p. 511 D; Arist.
2, 21). The inferior officers were immediately
under his command, and through them the crew, especially that part which was
towards the stern of the vessel. (Xen. Anab.
Next under the κυβερνήτης
of the navigating
officers was the πρωρεύς
(Plut. Agis 101
), who had charge of the crew in
the forepart of the vessel, and was also responsible for the look-out. Under
him two τοίχαρχοι
superintended the two
lines of rowers, one on each side; the discipline of the motive power of the
vessel being thus provided for, while the voice of the κελευστὴς
and the flute of the τριηραύλης
provided the harmony to which the pulsation of
the stroke and the throb of the recovery against the thowl-pin responded in
Besides these an important personage on the staff of the trireme was the
who was immediately
under the trierarch. (Dem. c. Polycl.
pp. 1212, 1214,
§ § 19, 24; Plato, Leges,
p. 507 A.) His function was to buy all the necessary stores, and to feed and
pay the crew, and, in a word, to attend to the general economy of the
vessel. Under his orders for these administrative purposes the κελευστὴς
seems to have been placed.
An interesting question arises after the consideration of the construction
and the motive power of the trireme; viz. what rate of speed could be
obtained? Unfortunately the instances from which any deduction could be
drawn with certainty as to this matter, are rare and inconclusive. The pace
of sailing vessels has indeed numerous illustrations (Ap. Rhod. 1.602;
17 and 70; Thuc.
). The conclusion drawn as to these may be stated as giving them
from six to eight miles an hour, under favourable circumstances. Now the
trireme must have been able to overhaul the sailing vessel. It was a cause
of terror to its enemies and admiration to its friends by reason of its
speed (Xen. Oecon.
8, 8). Yet measuring the
man-power as compared with horse-power even at the ratio of 8-1, which would
give, with Graser, about 24 horse-power for the propulsion of the trireme,
it is difficult to obtain a very high rate of speed as a result. Graser
cites an instance (Xen. Anab. 6.4. 2
which it is stated that from Byzantium to Heraclea in Bithynia (a distance
of about 150 nautical miles) could be rowed in a day by a trireme, and was a
very long day's work. From this he deduces a pace of from 9 to 10 miles an
hour. But the passage does not absolutely exclude the use of sails as an
auxiliary motive power. Given a long vessel with fine lines, strongly built
in its lower parts, with all the lines of resistance converging to the beak,
which would receive the shock in ramming, while the upper works were built
as lightly as would be consistent with carrying the weight of the crew and
the mast and sails and their gear, we may conceive a pace of 8 or 9 knots to
have been possible with a strong and well-trained crew. Such speed, if at
any time, was attained by the καλαὶ
of Athens in the days of her glory, when her maritime
superiority was acknowledged by friends and foes alike.
At this point, before quitting the trireme, we may touch on the development
of the ram or beak, and its effect upon naval tactics. Pliny refers the
invention of the ram to Piseus, a [p. 2.220]
but there is not much to support his statement. The indications given in the
Egyptian wall representations (cf. p. 208) incline us to infer that the East
and not the West was the parent of the invention. As we have seen, there is
no indication of its existence in Homer. The Assyrian bireme given above is
perhaps the earliest actual representation of the beak. In Diodorus,
Semiramis is credited with the construction in Bactria of vessels of war
with brazen beaks, the crews of which were furnished from Phoenicia and
Syria. The early Greek
Coins of Phaselis. B.C. 480.
types as shown on the vases present a projecting beam for a beak
often fashioned into the likeness of some sea-monster's head. Behind this
the line of the forecastle ascends sharply at almost a
Coin of Samos. B.C. 494.
right angle. We trace in the coin of Phaselis and in the coin of
Samos figured here, a tendency to fill up the angle thus formed, and the
fore-part of the vessel thus assumes the look of the boar's head (cf. Hdt. 3.59
), which became typical of the Samian
navy. Hence the Samaena
with which the Samian prisoners were
branded by the Athenians (440 B.C.), which Plutarch explains to be the image
of a kind of vessel invented by Polycrates, low in the fore-part, wide and
hollow in the sides, light and expeditious for sailing, and with a curvature
of prow like a boar's head (ὑόπρωρος τὸ
The Attic trireme was on finer lines, the lowest waling-pieces on either side
prolonged to meet a strong timber projecting from the end of the keel, which
still had considerable camber, met so as to form a strong beak just above
the water-level. The shock of ramming would thus be received along the line
of greatest resistance. But with this exception the lightness necessary to
the speed of the Athenian trireme forbade any accumulation of heavy timbers
elsewhere. Hence when the Corinthians, cutting down the bows of their
vessels, shortening the beaks, and greatly strengthening the two catheads on
either side, determined to meet the Athenians stem--on (προσβολή
), which was thought by the latter a
clumsy and unseamanlike manœuvre, the solid work of the Dorian
vessels was sufficient to receive the blow of the Athenian beak and to break
up the light work behind it, while the great catheads served to tear away
and parodus, and exposed
From this time, whatever might remain for skill and speed to do by way of
manœuvring the trireme in the open sea, yet the increase of weight
naturally led to the attempt to increase the motive power; and first,
quadriremes, then quinqueremes, and then in quick succession hexeremes,
octeremes, and from ten up to sixteen
Demetrius. B.C. 294-287.
banks of oars ( “inhabilis prope magnitudinis” ) came
into vogue, culminating in the gigantic toy of Ptolemy, the TESSERACONTERES
The manœuvring of a fleet can only be glanced at briefly here.
Sailing in “column line ahead” (ἐπὶ
Antigonus. B.C. 292.
in as many lines as the admiral (στρατηγός
) ordered, the fleet came when in view of the enemy
into “column line abreast” by the manœuvre called
The formation of a circle,
especially by those who wished
Leucas. B.C. 200.
to stand on the defensive, is not without instances; but this
formation had manifold disadvantages, as the Peloponnesians discovered to
their cost in the battles against Phormio in the Corinthian Gulf (Thuc. 2.83
). The formation of a semicircle
) was also common (Hdt. 8.16
; Lucan 4.45
; Veg. 4.45). The common
manœuvres of attack were: first the diecplus
; Thuc. 1.49
), rowing through the enemy's line, doing what damage was
possible with missiles in passing, and then turning suddenly and ramming him
before he could get round. To effect this successfully was regarded as the
acme of skill. Second, the periplus
(Xen. Hell. 1.6
; Thuc. 2.84
; Ar. Ran.
535), in which, while the front line attacked as usual, a portion of the
squadron wheeled round (as in cavalry tactics) and took the enemy's fleet in
Ships lightened before naval action.
; Liv. 22.14
Action only in calm weather.
--Veget. 4.43; Lucan 3.522
Action avoided in narrows by superior fleet.
ff. (Phormio); Appian.
5.96 (Calvisius); Plb.
(action of Romans with Adherbal); Liv.
; Diod. 13.49
Mindarus); Polyaen. 4.6
Sails taken in before fighting and masts lowered.
; Plb. 1.61
Xen. Hell. 6.2
Small sails used in flight.
( “sublatis dolonibus effuse fugere” ); Hdt. 6.14
(Samians, from Lade); Plb. 16.15
. [p. 2.221]
Orders of battle.
; Plb. 1.49
; Diod. 13.97
--Lucian, 4.45; Silius, 14.367; Polyaen. 3.10
(Timotheus); Propert. 4.380;
; Veget. 4.45.
The defeat of the Athenians at Syracuse, and the success of the Peloponnesian
shipwrights in their improvements in the build of their vessels, led to
further innovations. The quadrireme (Plin. Nat.
; Diod. 14.41
, probably invented by Carthaginians and
adopted by Dionysius of Syracuse, about 400 B.C.) added the motive power of
66 more oars to a length and breadth but slightly increased. The
quinquereme, which practically superseded the trireme as the typical man-of-war
in the 3rd and 2nd centuries, had a
complement of 300 oarsmen, according to Polybius (1.26
), while the increase in height and
general dimensions was not very great. The Athenians appear to have had a
certain number of quadriremes in their navy by 330 B.C.; the first
quinqueremes mentioned in the Attic Tables (Boeckh, Urk.
xiv.) belong to 325 B.C.
The following table gives the relative proportions, according to Graser:--
|Breadth at water-line
|Height of deck above water-line
These figures in all probability admit of some reduction, but the proportion
may be regarded as correct.
Graser gives the number of rowers thus:--Trireme, 174; quadrireme, 240;
quinquereme, 310; hexeres, 384; hepteres, 462; octeres, 514; enneres, 630;
The quinquereme was soon exceeded, though not superseded, by larger rates. It
plays the most important part in naval history up to the time of Actium,
when with the victory of the Liburnians the larger rates fell into
disrepute, and the art of constructing them gradually decayed. (The student
will find interesting descriptions of naval actions and manœuvres
in Xen. Hell. 1.6
; Plb. 16.2
The Romans, though not a seafaring people, appear from the treaty with
Carthage to have been familiar with the sea, and to have had maritime
interests as early as the time of the Kings. The existence of duumviri
navales, officers charged with repairing the fleet, the right of electing
whom was transferred to the people in 311 B.C., proves that the state had,
at that time and previously, some naval force. And coins of a date as early
as 350 bear the representation of the bows of a ship, of a type more rude
and bluff than the Greek, but still very possibly borrowed from the Greek
cities in Magna Graecia. In the instances exhibited by the coins, which
belong to the half-century preceding the First Punic War, there are
apparently two varieties of construction. In one the depression of the beak
is remarkable, and the timbers which support it appear to be compacted with
Roman coin. B.C. 350.
These vessels were probably triremes. In the year 303 B.C. a treaty was made
with the Tarentines, by which the Lacinian Promontory was made the boundary
beyond which the Roman
Roman coin. B.C. 320-270.
war--ships were not to pass. L. Cornelius in 282 B.C. violated
that treaty, and was defeated by the Tarentines with the loss of half his
fleet. The Samnite wars seem to have diverted the attention of the Romans
entirely from maritime affairs, and at the beginning of the Punic wars they
were practically without a fleet. They then first seem to have realised the
fact that in the conflict which was before them, the mastery of the
Mediterranean was an absolute necessity, not only for the protection of
their own coasts, which already had suffered from the descents of the
Carthaginian fleets, but also as the first step towards empire (Plb. 1.20
Roman coin. B.C. 216-199.
21). Hence in the year 260 B.C., when a Carthaginian quinquereme which had
been driven on shore fell into their hands, they determined to construct a
fleet of similar vessels. No less than 100 were built in six
Roman coin. B.C. 91.
weeks, while their future crews were practised rowing in
frame-work set up on land. Cn. Cornelius with seventeen of these vessels
sailed in advance to attack
Roman coin. B.C. 38.
the Carthaginians. He as himself attacked and taken with all his
vessels. Duilius, who then took the command of the fleet, by the invention
of the corvus
)--a swinging bridge with a heavy
iron spike, which, when let fall on the, enemy's deck, not only grappled his
vessel, but gave the boarders access to
it--was enabled to neutralise the ramming tactics of the Carthaginians and
their superior naval skill. The battles of Mylae and of Ecnomus, in which
the Carthaginians were defeated with great loss, were the prelude of
maritime dominion to Rome. The importance of the ram was thus much
diminished, and in the coins of the century following we see the ram much
less projecting and apparently less strongly supported. On the other hand,
great beams and great grappling
hooks, iron hands, and falces
with curved steel
heads, such as those with which the sailing vessels of the Veneti were
crippled by Caesar off the coast of Gaul (Caes.
), came into use and favour. Great towers--turres
( “alta navium propugnacula”
)--were placed in the bows,--whence our term “forecastle,”
--from which missiles could be showered on the enemy's deck. Vipsanius
Bireme. (From Winckelmann. |
mon. Ined. 207.)
credited by Servius with an invention by which these could
suddenly be raised when coming into action, so as to take the enemy by
surprise. In all the naval battles in which the Roman fleets engage, the
main object of their tactics seems to be to leave as little as possible to
seamanship and skill, and to come to close quarters and a hand-to-hand fight
as soon as possible. In a word, boarding-tactics superseded ramming tactics.
(The student will find interesting accounts of Roman naval actions in Plb. 1.61
As early as 190 B.C. the use of fire (Liv. 37.30
in a naval action is mentioned. Later, Siphons, the precursors of artillery,
launched Greek fire rocket-fashion against the enemy.
The Liburnian galleys were biremes (
“ordine contentae gemino crevisse Liburnae
). According to Suidas, Λιβυρνικαὶ
ἦσαν οὐ κατὰ τὸν τριηραρχικὸν
Coin of Hadrian.
) ἐσχηματισμέναι τύπον, ἀλλὰ ληστρικώτεραι χαλκέμβολοί τε καὶ
ἰσχυραὶ καὶ κατάφρακτοι καὶ τάχος αὐτῶν ἄπιστον.
name seems to have been taken from the vessels of the Liburnians, an
Illyrian race, inhabiting the islands of that coast and much given to
piracy. The name Liburnian, in the same way as the name trireme, came
afterwards to be used for any ship of war. (Appian, Mithr.
In the time of Trajan, some attempt was made to build larger rates than
biremes, and Valentinian had quinqueremes constructed. But in the Byzantine
period no vessels with more banks than two appear; and the tendency is to
return to single banks, which, according to the Emperor Leo
), are called γαλαῖαι,
Under the Emperors two great naval stations were established for the fleets
that were intended to keep the peace of the Mediterranean: (1) at Ravenna,
for the east; and (2) at Misenum, on the Campanian coast, for the west.
There were also guard-ships regularly stationed on the coast of Gaul at
Forum Julii (Fréjus) and Portus Herculis Monoeci (Monaco). But
after Actium there is little to interest us in naval affairs, with the
exception perhaps of Germanicus's operations in the North Sea, and at a
later date the war with the Vandals, for which Procopius is our authority,
until the time of the Byzantine Emperor Leo (800 A.D.). No student of naval
history should omit to read the chapters of the Tactica
refer to the construction and equipment of a fleet. In the following
centuries came the invention of the “Apostis” (a projecting
framework, upon the edge of which were set the thowlpins, thus enabling oars
of greater length to be used) and the birth of the mediaeval galley, which,
with its construction “alla Scaloccio” and its long sweeps
worked by several men, was a vessel quite distinct from the ancient
One point remains yet for consideration, viz. the manning of ancient navies.
In the fleet of Agamemnon, as we have seen, they were αὐτερέται καὶ μάχιμοι πάντες.
The Athenian fleet was
manned in its best days by freemen. Xenophon (de Republ.
) tells us that the seafaring habits of the Athenians were
such that every one knew how to handle an oar, and that the crew of a
trireme could be got together at once. At the time of the Peloponnesian War,
the pay of an ordinary oarsman was three obols a day, increased towards the
end of the war to four obols. The pay of the thranites was higher, their
services being valued at a drachma. Raising the pay of seamen during
hostilities was a favourite expedient with a view to induce the enemy's
crews to desert. There were, however, many causes that led to the employment
of forced labour, and with it to the deterioration and unpopularity of
sea-service. The absolute discomfort in a cataphract ship must have been
extreme. In a hot climate, with little ventilation, the participation with
200 or 300 human beings, all stark naked, packed so closely that there was
not room for one man more (Cic. Ver. 5.51,
, “Ea est enim ratio
instructarum ornatarumque navium ut non modo plures sed ne singuli
quidem possint accedere” ), in a laborious mechanical toil, could
only have been voluntarily endured under the pressure of some great
necessity or sense of duty. The heat, the smells, the drudgery, must have
been terrible; and we can understand the desire of the Ionians at Lade to be
free from the severe discipline of Dionysius. Besides the discomfort, the
actual danger was very great. The crews [p. 2.223]
any time be drowned or burnt, or as at Sybota (Thuc.
) butchered perhaps in cold blood. We have only to think of
the moment of conflict,--the crash of the beak through the timbers, and the
mangled mass of humanity hurled into the bilge, while the water swiftly
followed the blow, the thranites perhaps escaping, but the lower ranks
almost certainly drowned--and it is easy to understand how the service was
avoided by the free and left to the slave.
The Romans manned their fleet by levies from the lowest orders and forced
service of the allies. The greater proportion of the crews were slaves
contributed as substitutes, and it is this fact perhaps which explains the
equanimity with which such wholesale loss of life at sea as is recorded by
Polybius (bk. i.) was endured. Among the Romans themselves, service on board
ship was most unpopular; and it is not surprising to find discontented
classiarii wishing to be transferred to the legions, “in spem
honoratioris militiae” (Tacitus).
[Citizens: “In classem scripti,”
. Allies: Liv. 32.8
. Libertini, Liv.
. Servi: Liv. 24.11
. Criminals: Val.
Max. ix. ult.;
Appian, bk. v.]
cutter, (?) yacht: Schol. Ar. Lys.
εἶδος πλοίου ἁλιευτικοῦ;
; Etym. Magn.
Pind. N. 5.5
. Sometimes carried on board
ship: Agathias, 3.21, 97, νῆες φορτίδες μεγάλαι
μετεώρους εἶχον τὰς ἀκάτους;
Plin. Nat. 9.94
, “acatii modo
carinatam, inflexa puppe, prora, rostrata;” Strabo, λεπτά, στενὰ καὶ κοῦφα ὅσον ἀνθρώπους πέντε καὶ
εἴκοσι δεχόμενα, σπάνιον δὲ τριάκοντα τοὺς πάντας δέξασθαι
cutter: Plin. Nat. 7.56
, invented by Cyprians. Not small: Diod. 1. 61
; with a long stern, Schol. Ar.
142; smaller than penteconter, Hdt. 7.97
shallop; the name origin
of mediaeval caravel, and our carvel-built (Hesych.; Etym.
. Next in size to cercurus,
used as scouts: Plb.
, Schol. Swift, with fine bows and light draught: Ar. de animi incess.
; Liv. 34.25
. Sixteen oars,
generally more. [LEMBUS
avisos: Xen. Hell.
; Thuc. 4.9
. Pirate craft: Thuc. 4.9
“narrow and swift.”
a modification of the
former: Etym. Mag.,
ἐπακτροκέλης συνετέθη ἔκ τε κέλητος, καὶ
ἐπακτρίδος. Πλοῖα δὲ λῃστρικὰ βραχέα ἡ μὲν ἐπακτρὶς ἐκ τοῦ
κατάγειν τὰ συλώμενα ὁ δὲ κέλης εἰς τὸ διώκειν καὶ φεύγειν
small pinnaces chiefly used by
pirates: Cic. in Verr.
passim. Sails and oars, generally more
--All the above-mentioned vessels
belong to this class, μονήρεις μονόκροτοι.
Hence used as a general term opposed both to the πολυήρεις
and to onerariae:
Caes. Gal. 5.1
. Number of oars varied: Liv. 38.38
, “naves actuarias, nulla quarum
plus quam triginta remis agatur, habeto;”
Cic. Ep. ad Att. 16.3
“tribus actuariolis decem scalmis.”
= bark; name used also poetically
(Catull. 4, &c.); might be large or small (Sall. Jug.
3, “cohors una grandi phaselo vecta” ); not a ship of war.
Phoenician originally: Callim. Fr.
217; Hdt. 3.136
Furnished with 1 1/2 banks of
with only half the thranitic
bank. Cp. Pol. 16.2, where a vessel of this class is pierced under the
throughout (Hesych.): so more room obtained for the ἴκρια,
by the reduction of the upper bank, which rowed only
Glossary of certain Naval Terms, not explained above.
Isid. 19.47, “Anquina funis quo
ad malum antenna constringitur;”
: used of ornament both at bow
and stern (cf. ἀκροκόρυμβα
); but more
properly of the bow ornament: ἄφλαστον
of the stern.
Leather bags fitting over the oar
at the oar ports, to prevent the wash of the sea from entering. Zonar. s.v.
Suidas; Schol. Ran.
gives the true interpretation: ξύλα ὀρθὰ ἐφ᾽ ὧν ἡ τρόπις ἐρείδεται τῆς
πηγνυμένης νεώς, ἤγουν στηρίγματα.
Eustath. p. 1878,63;
p. 1879,4, πάσσαλοι ἐφ᾽ ὧν στοιχηδὸν
διατεθεμένων ἡ τρόπις ἵσταται τῶν καινουργουμένων νεῶν διὰ
p. 81 B, στηρίγματα τῆς πηγνυμένης νεώς.
δρύακες τῶν ξύλων τῶν βασταζόντων τὴν
τρόπιν τοῦ πλοίου.
It is clear that they were the pieces of
timber which supported the keel of a vessel while building. They had to be
carefully adjusted in a line, and on a level or slight incline. Hence the
use of the term as regards the setting of the axe-heads in the Odyssey
floor, either actual of the vessel
883) or the lowest deck above the bilge--our
according to Cartault, the piece
between the stern-post and the aphrasta, just as the στόλος
is between the stem-post and the acrostolium.
(Pollux, 1.90, MS. ὑπηρτημένον.
the stem part of the mast, above
(Ap. Rhod. 1.565, Schol.)
Probably an awning, possibly of
skin, to keep off missiles from deck. (Cf. Athenian preparation against
grappling irons at Syracuse.)
Rings set in eyelet-holes for ropes
to pass through, either on the borders or at the corners of sails. Hdt. 2.36
: τῶν ἱστιὼν
τοὺς κρίκους καὶ τοὺς κάλους οἱ μὲν ἄλλοι ἔξωθεν προσδέουσι,
Αἰγύπτιοι δὲ ἔσωθεν.
“waling-pieces;” Cartault, “couples.” Phot.,
: Hesych., ξύλα περιφερῆ: ἐγκοίλια πλοίου
: Herod. i
194, 2.96. The passages seem to leave it doubtful as to whether
“waling-pieces,” i. e. longitudinal pieces from stem to
stern, or “ribs” from keel to gunwale, are intended.
; vid. seq.
Suid. δέρρεις, σκεπάσματα.
Two kinds appear in the Attic Tables,
former probably were of skin, the latter of felt (cilicium
). The former used probably along the πάροδος,
and the latter along the τράφηξ
or deck-rail, as a protection against
missiles. (Boeckh, Urkun.
p. 159.) [PLUTEI.]
“Siparum genus veil unum pedem habens quo navigia juvari solent in
navigatione quoties vis venti languescit.” Sen.
77: “Subito hodie nobis Alexandrinae naves
apparuerunt . . . omnis in pilis Puteolorum turba consistit et ex ipso
velorum genere Alexandrinas intelligit solis enim licet supparum
intendere.” A triangular topsail, which all merchant vessels
except the Alexandrian corn-ships were obliged to strike on coming into
harbour. (Cf. Senec. Med.
5.429; Schol. “vela minora in modum Δ
Ταρρός, ταρρὸς ἐντελής.
Of the whole
equipment of oars for a trireme, Attic Tables; properly of the blade of the
oar, Ar. Nub.
226, Schol. So τάρρωμα.
Kinds of κάλοι
used for brailing the sails. Clue lines, or leech
lines, or brunt lines. Hesych.: οἱ δἰς τὸ κέρας
τοῦ ἱστίου ἑκατέρωθεν δεδεμένοι ἐν οἷς τὸ ἄρμενον
Galen. ii. p. 645: κυρίως μὲν οὕτως ὀνομάζεται τὸ ἄκρον τῆς
τῆς νεὼς χεῖλος.
So Etym. Mag.
641. The gunwale, in which in small vessels the
thowls were fixed. In larger vessels the balustrade or lattice-work, through
parts of which oars were used sometimes. See figures of vessels on Col.
The thong which fastened
the oar to the thowl (τροποῦσθαι
). (Hesych. sub voce
Aesch. Pers. 376
; Hom. Od. 4.728
; Thuc. 2.93
The oarsman's cushion. (Cf. Ar.
(?) A tarpaulin used to cover
the oar-ports when sailing. (Graser, R. N.
Strong cables stretched
lengthwise from stem to stern, which, shrinking when wetted, helped to
tighten the vessel, and relieve the strain upon her from the motion of the
stroke when rowing. Frequently mentioned in Attic Tables. Two apparently
furnished to each trireme. In Egyptian vessels, one apparently from stem to
stern over crutches to prevent vessel hogging (see cut 2 on p. 208). Cf. Ap.
Rhod. 1.367. Plato (Rep.
x. p. 616 C) compares the Milky Way
to the ὑποζώματα
of a trireme.
List of articles of equipment for one trireme from Attic
--1 ἱστὸς μέγας,
2 κεραῖαι μεγάλαι,
2 κεραῖαι ἀκατεῖοι,
2 παραρρύματα λευκά,
4 σχοίνια ἐπίγυα,
2 ἄγκυραι, μηρύματα καλῳδίων,
30 κῶπαι περίνεῳ.
--Scheffer, de Militiâ Navali
Upsala, 1654; Boeckh, Urkunden über das
Seewesen des Attischen Staates;
B. Graser, De
Re Navali Veterum,
Berlin, 1864; Id. Die Gemmen des
Königlichen Museums zu Berlin,
1867; Id. Die
ältesten Schiffsdarstellungen auf antiken
Berlin, 1870; Id. Das Modell eines
Berlin, 1873; Cartault,
La Trière Athénienne,
Breusing, Die Nautik der Alten,
Bremen, 1866; Jules Vars,
L'Art Nautique dans l'Antiquité,
Serre, Études sur l'Histoire Militaire et
Paris, 1888; Duemichen, Fleet of an Egyptian
Smith, Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul.