Trireme Ships: Trireme was the name given to ancient Greek ships used in warfare. Also used by the Romans and Phoenicians in the Mediterranean, these ships were built with great finesse and sophistication.
Greek Ship Names
The word trireme literally means three areas. It was so named because of the three rows of oars that existed on the ships on each side. Known for their agility and high-speed motion, these ships were extensively used between 4th and 7th century BC.
These triremes are believed to have developed from ancient warship named penteconters. Instead of three rows, this ship had a single row of 25 oars. Then came the bireme consisting of two rows of oars. These ships could not maintain the speed in stormy waters, hence the trireme was designed
Structure of Trireme Ships:
The Greeks are known to have maintained a fleet of 200 triremes. Fine quality oak wood was used for constructing these ships. Varying from 37 to 38 meters in length, a trireme was rowed by 170 men.
There were 27 men in the lowest tier, named Thelemites. The middle tier also had 27 men and was named Zeugites. The topmost layer had 31 rowers called thranites. These 170 men together were capable of moving the boat with a speed of 13km/h.
Trireme Ancient Greece Ships had a square-shaped sail, and the galley was 3 meters deep, 1-meter long draft and 6 meters of a beam.There were 30 others on the ship, apart from the 170 rowers. These 30 consisted of 10 marines, pipers, helmsmen, carpenter, sail-crew and the captain.
All the papers were trained before their stint on the ship began.These men are said to have 8 months on the ship and at one time 90 ships stayed on duty. During the war with Egypt, there were 200 Greek triremes on the sea.
Ancient Greek Trireme Ships Use in war:
Sea battles were very common before the 5th century. The trireme was used to ram into the enemy ship and render it unstable without losing its own stability. The soldiers would then board the enemy ship and fight like soldiers do on land.
The Greeks had the strongest and the most skillful fleet of ships in their era. One particular Peloponnesian commander in the name of Phormio sailed right into enemy ships and encircled them with his own fleet. This happened at the battle of Naupactus when ultimately Phormio attacked and defeated the enemy.
Drawbacks of Trireme Ships in Ancient Greece:
Triremes were very unstable when there were storms in the Mediterranean. Drowning of crew members was very common. When the trireme rammed the enemy ship, the rowers in the base had a terrible time full of havoc.
Many of them either died in the wreckage or were held prisoners by the enemy.A reconstruction of ancient Greek trireme named Olympias was done. However, the ancient speed records of the trireme still remain unbroken.
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