NAVIS (ναῦς). 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,” Encycl. Britan. 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 historique, p. 120.)
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 B.C.
(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, in Duemichen's Resultate der auf Befehl S. R. Majestat des Königs Wilhelm I. von Preussen in Sommer 1868 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 sqq.; 17.425): Αἴγυπτόν δέ με θυμὸς ἀνώγει ναυτίλλεσθαι
νῆας εὖ στείλαντα σὺν ἀντιθέοις ἑτάροισι
ἐννέα νῆας στεῖλα θοῶς δ᾽ἐσαγείρατο λαός.
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. Hdt. 1.94; Strabo v. p.219; Dionys. A. R. 1.28, 27;--Pelasgians, Dionys. A. R. 1.22; Strabo ix. p.401, xiii. p. 582; Hdt. 4.145, 6.137, 138; Apoll. Rhod. Arg. 4.1760;--confused with Tyrrhenians, Soph. Inach. Fr. Τυρσηνοῖσι Πελασγοῖς; Thuc. 4.109; Aesch. Supp. 237-246;--Thracians, Hdt. 7.75; Strabo xii. p.541; Diod. 5.50;--Rhodians, Strabo, xiv. pp. 652-654; Colonies, Diod. 5.53, 54.)
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 sq.: cf. Ezek. 27.13). Their vessels seem to have been only half-decked, if we may judge from Od. 15.479: 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 Museum.)
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 Museum.)
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 pirate vessels.”
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:--
|1. EPITHETS OF COLOUR.|
|2. EPITHETS OF SHAPE AND QUALITY.|
|EPITHETS PECULIAR TO THE ILIAD.|
|EPITHETS PECULIAR TO THE ODYSSEY.|
Of these epithets we may observe that the two which concern colour and shape as seen from the outside preponderate, viz. μέλας and θοός (black and sharp); and next in frequency [p. 2.211]are two which, as it were, regard the vessel from within (κοῖλος, γλαφυρός), 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; 13.20.)
Of the other epithets ἀμφιέλισσα (which 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 and the ἄφλαστον of later time) which makes apt the epithet ὀρθόκραιρος, strictly applicable to the horns of oxen. (Cf. Il. 18.3, 573, 19.344; Od. 12.348.)
In ἐΐση and ἐΰσσελμος 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, ἑκατόζυγος), and yet they are not frequent. Commonplace epithets are absent; καλὸς is only once used. It may also be noticed that the epithets μιλτοπάρῃος (Il. 2.638; Od. 9.125) and φοινικοπάρῃος (Od. 23.271, 11.124) 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 (Od. 12.420), 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 τοῖχοι or walls of the vessel attached to it (cf. ὀφρ᾽ ἀπὸ τοίχους λύσε κλύδων τρόπιος). The ribs are not mentioned, unless δούρατα, δόρυ νήϊον cover them. Cf. also πίνακες (Od. 12.67) 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 (Il. 15.716) or 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), while his crew are rowing to pass the dreaded Scylla, arms himself and passes from the stern to the forecastle. (Cf. Apollon. 4.1661, 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 πρώρης, 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; 15.282, 557), 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. 15.716): “ 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.
This θρῆνυς, 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 ἄφλαστον 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 τρόπιν), and was raised so as to rest in and against a “tabernacle” (μεσόδμη), fitted as the name implies amidships. It was kept in its place by fore-stays (πρότονοι), by which also it was lowered, and rested on a crutch (ἱστοδόκη, Il. 1.434). A back-stay (ἐπίτονος) is also mentioned as attached to it (βὸς ῥινοῖο τετευχώς, Od. 12.423).
The sail was hoisted upon a yard (ἐπίκριον, Od. 5.254), 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 σπάρτα mentioned in Il. 2.135 may have been of hemp or rushes.
Large poles for pushing the ship (περιμήκεα κοντόν) were also in use; and the weight and bulk of the vessel receive illustration from the
Penteconter. (From the François vase at Florence.)
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. 15.388, 677: “ 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 (Od. 12.218), 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 κώπη, the handle, and πηδόν, the blade--were made of fir (cf. Apoll. Rhod. Arg. 1.1188; ξεστῇς ἐλάτῃσι, Od. 12.172). 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). The oars amidship were probably the largest, to allow for the curvature of the vessel's sides (cf. Apollon. 1.395, where 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. Arg. 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. Arg. 1.378; Od. 8.34). The 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 δὲ πάντα
εἰς ἄντλον κατέχυνθ᾽: ὁ δ᾽ἄρα πρύμῃ δ̓νὶ νη̈́ι
πλῆξε κυβερνήτεω κεφαλήν,
ὁ δ᾽ἄρ᾽ ἀρνευτήρι ἐοικὼς
κάππεσ᾽ ἀπ᾽ ἰκρίοφιν.
From the foregoing and similar passages we learn that the bilge was open (ἄντλος). The place for stowage was under the thwarts against the sides of the vessel. (Cf. Theognis, 513: νηός τοι πλευρῇσιν ὑπὸ ζύγα θήσομεν ἡμεῖς οἷ᾽ ἔχομεν.) The ξεστὸν ἐφόλκαιον (Od. 14.350) may have been the landing ladder (κλῖμαξ), which is so conspicuous upon the vases (Grashoff, Schiff. 22). The vessel was moored by means of stones (εὐναί, Il. 1.436; Od. 14.498), 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, 8.51, 15.282. Setting sail, Il. 1.480, 7.44; Od. 2.412. Storm, Il. 15.625; Od. 9.70, 5.313, 12.405, 14.295. Coming into harbour, Il. 1.433; Od. 3.10, 15.496. 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. Op. 622.
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 (Op. 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 φέρον). 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). If ἱστοπέδη 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, ἀντλεῖν. 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, Ancient Monarchies, 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 Polyeres (πολυήρεις), the many-banked vessels, of later date.
It is clear that the penteconter was the typical vessel of the pirate type. The ζυγά (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 interscalmium, or measure of interval, between thowl and thowl, to have been 2 cubits (Vitr. 1.2, “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 vessel (θάλαμος), 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). The 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 Tactica 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 Polyeres 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. 1.13). 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 oar 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, μακρά) 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 have 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 the Apostis, 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 and Cataphract 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 Cataphract.
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 termination -ήρης or -κροτος 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. It is 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 or ταρσώματα (Poll. 1.93). In the trireme there were three, called respectively θρανῖται, ζύγιοι or ζυγῖται, and θαλάμιοι, θαλαμῖται or θαλάμακες. Of 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, Schol. ad Thuc. 6.31). 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 supernumeraries (περίνεω) 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 the περίνεω, mentioned above. They would in fact be not very much longer than the oars ordinarily in use in our University eights.
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 ὠὸπ ὄπ, or the ῥυππαπαί, with the incidence of the blade in the water at the last sound (e. g. ὠὸπ marking the recovery, ὂπ the stroke).
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 trireme,
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 διάζυξ: 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; Inscr. 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. 5.120), gives an exact picture of the stroke (versus), i.e. 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), rowed 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 (τροπωτήρ) 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 penteconter.
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 keel (χέλυσμα), very necessary for vessels which were frequently drawn up on shore. Above the keel was the kelson (δρύοχον, columba), 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 (ἀκροστόλιον). 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, aplustre. 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 the vessel.
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, fori), 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 (cilicium), 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 (ἀντηρίδες, Thuc. 7.36) 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 Museum.)
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, rostrum, 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.
Quarter-decks.--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. Iph. A. 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.
Steering gear.--The trireme was steered by two paddles, which worked in sockets attached to either side of the vessel. These had tillers (οἴακες) in the upper part of the loom (αὐχήν), 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, ἱστὸς ἀκατεῖος), 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.
The μεσόδμη of the Homeric vessel had its place taken by παραστάται, uprights, which had their footing on either side of the ληϝὸς or mast-hole, into which the heel or foot of the mast (πτέρνα) was stepped. The παραστάται were attached to the mast by a collar (κλοιός). The aperture in the deck through which the mast passed was sometimes called ἱστοδόκη. Wedges (σφῆνες） 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 breastwork (θωράκιον). Above was a small mast (ἄτρακτος), which carried the pennant (ἐπισείων). 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 διπλῆ); 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, κάλωες, 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 of 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, 37, 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 (πρόποδες). [p. 2.218]
The ancients, instead of reefing, appear to have brailed up their sails (στέλλειν, παραιρεῖν, συστέλλειν), so 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,
Prob. 7; Ar. Eq. 434, Schol.). (See Graser, Gemme, for numerous instances.) The word ἀναστέλλειν seems to have been used for unbrailing the sail, where we should “shake out a reef” (cf. ἐξιέναι, Pind. P. 1.176).
The yard in good weather was hoisted to the top of the mast (Ar. Ran. 999), but, if the wind freshened, was lowered. Braces (ὑπέραι) were in use in order to give the yard a position oblique to the keel (cf. Verg. A. 5.16, “Obliquatque sinus in ventum” ). The representations show also “lifts,” but the proper term is doubtful. Κερουλκός (Lat. “ceruchus,” Luc. Phars. 8.177 ) is perhaps right.
The trireme carried two masts, the main mast (ἱστὸς μέγας or γνήσιος) 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 ἀνακρούειν) were constantly required, could only have complicated matters unnecessarily, and led to disaster (Xen. Hell. 6.2, 27; Liv. 26.39). Ramming tactics would hardly have been pursued with mainmast and its gear standing. It is probable, however, that the ἱστὸς ἀκατεῖος was used with its yard for the employment of the δελφίς, a heavy weight, which, on coming alongside of the enemy's vessel, could be dropped on his deck (cf. Thuc. 7.25, 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 ἀκάτιον αἴρεσθαι, “to slip out of danger.” (Cf. Suid. s. v. δόλων: Diod. 20.61; Liv. 36.44; Eur. I. T. 1132.)
Anchors.--For anchors, the Homeric vessels used stones (εὐναί), perforated so that a cord could be passed through them. Anchors properly so-called are said to have been invented by Anacharsis (Strabo vii. p.303; 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 σαργάναι: Paus. 8.12.) The anchor was carried in the bows, sometimes over the spur (Pind. P. 4.342: ἐπεὶ δ᾽ἐμβόλου
κρέμασαν ἀγκύρας ὕπερθεν):though Breusing thinks that the ἐπωτὶς is here intended by the word ἔμβολον. Vessels of war carried more than one anchor. Boeckh (Urkund. p. 166) 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. Gall. 3.13).
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||124|
|Breadth at water-line||14|
|Space between diaphragmata||7|
|Deck in Cataphract class above water||11|
|Depth of hold||10 1/4|
|2Capacity of trireme||232 1/2||tons.|
Measurements, &c., according to Cartault:--
|Length of ἔγκωπον||94|
|Breadth at water-line||12|
|Breadth at Parodus||15.31|
|Deck above water||10|
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, 1 πεντηκόνταρχος, 2 τοίχαρχοι, 1 πρωρεύς, 1 κελευστής, 1 τριηραύλης, 1 ἐσχαρεύς, 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 (Diecplus and Periplus), the unfortunate Athenians found themselves obliged to imitate their enemy's tactics with disastrous results to themselves (Thuc. 7.70).
The bulk of the rest of the ship's company consisted of the sailors, who were under the orders of the κυβερνήτης,, and 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 (Ar. Eq. 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 (κυβερνητική) in the philosophers are sufficient to show the high estimation in which it was held (Plat. Rep. vi. p. 448 E; Gorg. p. 511 D; Arist. Rhet. 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. 5.8, 20; Econ. 8, 14.)
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 unison.
Besides these an important personage on the staff of the trireme was the πεντηκόνταρχος, who was immediately under the trierarch. (Dem. c. Polycl. pp. 1212, 1214, § § 19, 24; Plato, Leges, iv. 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; Lycurgus, Leocr. 17 and 70; Thuc. 2.97). 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) in 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 τριήρεις 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]Tuscan pirate, 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 σίμωμα).
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 the παρεξειρεσία and parodus, and exposed the ἔγκωπον.
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 κέρως),
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 παράταξις. 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 (lunata classe, μηνοειδεῖ στόλῳ) was also common (Hdt. 8.16; Lucan 4.45; Prop. 4.380; Veg. 4.45). The common manœuvres of attack were: first the diecplus (Hdt. 6.12, 15; Thuc. 1.49, 7.36), 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, 31; 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 flank.
Ships lightened before naval action.--Plb. 1.61; Liv. 22.14, 36.43.
Action only in calm weather.--Veget. 4.43; Lucan 3.522; Liv. 25.27, 26.39.
Action avoided in narrows by superior fleet.--Veget. 4.46; Thuc. 2.83 ff. (Phormio); Appian. B.C. 5.96 (Calvisius); Plb. 1.49 (action of Romans with Adherbal); Liv. 28.40; Diod. 13.49 (Athenians and Mindarus); Polyaen. 4.6 (Nicanor).
Sails taken in before fighting and masts lowered.--Liv. 36.44; Plb. 1.61; Xen. Hell. 6.2 (Iphicrates).
Small sails used in flight.--Liv. 36.45 ( “sublatis dolonibus effuse fugere” ); Hdt. 6.14 (Samians, from Lade); Plb. 16.15. [p. 2.221]
Orders of battle.--Liv. 36.44, 37.23; Plb. 1.49, 61; Diod. 13.97.
Semicircle.--Lucian, 4.45; Silius, 14.367; Polyaen. 3.10 (Timotheus); Propert. 4.380; Hdt. 8.16; 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. 7.57; Diod. 14.41, 42, 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, 7), 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||14||16||18|
|Height of deck above water-line||11||13||15|
|Draught||8 1/2||10||11 1/2|
|Total height||19 1/2||23||26|
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; deceres, 720.
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, 2.1, 6.2; Plb. 16.2-9.)
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 cross-pieces.
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 (Plb. 1.22, 23)--a swinging bridge with a heavy iron spike, which, when let fall on the, enemy's deck, not only grappled his [p. 2.222]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, the δελφίς, 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. Gal. 3.14), 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 Agrippa is
Bireme. (From Winckelmann.
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;--Liv. 36.44, 45; 37.24, 30.)
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 ( Lucan 3.534: “ordine contentae gemino crevisse Liburnae” ). According to Suidas, Λιβυρνικαὶ
Coin of Hadrian.
ἦσαν οὐ κατὰ τὸν τριηραρχικὸν (lege τριηρικὸν) ἐσχηματισμέναι τύπον, ἀλλὰ ληστρικώτεραι χαλκέμβολοί τε καὶ ἰσχυραὶ καὶ κατάφρακτοι καὶ τάχος αὐτῶν ἄπιστον. The 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. proem.; Vegetius, 4.57.)
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 (Tactica), are called γαλαῖαι, “galleys.”
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 which 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 men-of-war.
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. Athen.) 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, 133, “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]might at any time be drowned or burnt, or as at Sybota (Thuc. 1.50) 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,” Liv. 22.56; Plb. 6.17. Allies: Liv. 32.8; 36.4. Libertini, Liv. 40.16; 42.27. Servi: Liv. 24.11; 26.35. Criminals: Val. Max. ix. ult.; Appian, bk. v.]
Smaller vessels.--Ἄκατος, ἀκάτιον, cutter, (?) yacht: Schol. Ar. Lys. 64, εἶδος πλοίου ἁλιευτικοῦ; Thuc. 4.67; Etym. Magn. s. v.; 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 δυνάμενα.
Κέρκουρος, cercurus, cutter: Plin. Nat. 7.56, invented by Cyprians. Not small: Diod. 1. 61; with a long stern, Schol. Ar. Pax, 142; smaller than penteconter, Hdt. 7.97.
Καράβια, κάραβοι, shallop; the name origin of mediaeval caravel, and our carvel-built (Hesych.; Etym. Mag. s. v.).
Λέμβος, lembus: Liv. 33.33. Next in size to cercurus, used as scouts: Plb. 1.53, 9; Thuc. 2.83, Schol. Swift, with fine bows and light draught: Ar. de animi incess. 10; Plb. 20.85; Liv. 34.25. Sixteen oars, generally more. [LEMBUS]
Κέλητες, celoces, avisos: Xen. Hell. 1.6, 26; Thuc. 4.9. Pirate craft: Thuc. 4.9; Plb. 5.62, δίκροτα καὶ κέλητες, “narrow and swift.”
Ἐπακτροκέλητες, 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 κουφότατος.
Μυοπάρωνες, myoparones, small pinnaces chiefly used by pirates: Cic. in Verr. passim. Sails and oars, generally more than six.
Actuariae.--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.”
Phaselus = 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.
Γαῦλοι, onerariae: Ar. Av. 592. Phoenician originally: Callim. Fr. 217; Hdt. 3.136, 8.97.
Ἡμιόλιαι. Furnished with 1 1/2 banks of oars.
Τριηρημιολία, with only half the thranitic bank. Cp. Pol. 16.2, where a vessel of this class is pierced under the θρανιτικὸς σκαλμός, not decked throughout (Hesych.): so more room obtained for the ἴκρια, by the reduction of the upper bank, which rowed only amidships.
Glossary of certain Naval Terms, not explained above.
Ἄγκοινα, anquina: Isid. 19.47, “Anquina funis quo ad malum antenna constringitur;” Attic. Tab. 3122, ἄγκοινα[ν] διπλῆν.
Ἀκροστόλιον: used of ornament both at bow and stern (cf. ἀκροκόρυμβα); but more properly of the bow ornament: ἄφλαστον and κορώνη of the stern.
Ἄσκωμα. 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. 367; Acharn. 97.
Δρύοχοι. Etym. Mag. 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 ἰσότητα. Plat. Tim. p. 81 B, στηρίγματα τῆς πηγνυμένης νεώς. Hesych., 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 (19.574)).
Ἔδαφος, floor, either actual of the vessel (Dem. Zenoth. 883) or the lowest deck above the bilge--our orlop deck.
Ἐπίσειον, 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.）
Ἠλακάτη, the stem part of the mast, above the καρχήσιον. (Ap. Rhod. 1.565, Schol.)
Κατάβλημα. Probably an awning, possibly of skin, to keep off missiles from deck. (Cf. Athenian preparation against grappling irons at Syracuse.)
Κρίκοι. 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.
Νομεῖς. Graser, “waling-pieces;” Cartault, “couples.” Phot., ἐγκοίλια πλοίου: 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.
Παραβλήματα: Xen. Hell. 1.6, 19; vid. seq.
Παραρρύματα. Suid. δέρρεις, σκεπάσματα. Two kinds appear in the Attic Tables, τρίχινα [p. 2.224]and λευκά. The 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, Supparum. Isid. Orig. 19.32: “Siparum genus veil unum pedem habens quo navigia juvari solent in navigatione quoties vis venti languescit.” Sen. Ep. 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. 327; Lucan, Phars. 5.429; Schol. “vela minora in modum Δ litterae.”
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.
Τέρθριοι. 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 ἕλκουσι.
Τέρθρον. Galen. ii. p. 645: κυρίως μὲν οὕτως ὀνομάζεται τὸ ἄκρον τῆς κεραίας.
Τράφηξ. Hesych.: τὸ τῆς νεὼς χεῖλος. So Etym. Mag. and Tzetzes, ad Lyc. 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. Traj.
Τροπός, τροπωτήρ. The thong which fastened the oar to the thowl (τροποῦσθαι). (Hesych. sub voce Aesch. Pers. 376; Hom. Od. 4.728; Thuc. 2.93.)
Ὑπηρέσιον. The oarsman's cushion. (Cf. Ar. Eq. 785, Schol.)
Ὑπόβλημα. (?) A tarpaulin used to cover the oar-ports when sailing. (Graser, R. N. 82.)
Ὑποζώματα. 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 Tables.--1 ἱστὸς μέγας, 1 ἱστὸς ἀκάτειος, 2 κεραῖαι μεγάλαι, 2 κεραῖαι ἀκατεῖοι, 1 ἵστιον, ταρρὸς ἐντελής, 2 πηδάλια, 2 κλιμακίδες, 3 κοντοί, 2 παραστάται, 2 ὑποζώματα, 1 ἄγκοινα, 2 ἱμάντες, 2 πόδες, 2 ὑπέραι, 1 χαλινός, 2 παραρρύματα τρίχινα, 2 παραρρύματα λευκά, 1 κατάβλημα, 1 ὑπόβλημα, 4 σχοίνια ἀγκυρεῖα, 4 σχοίνια ἐπίγυα, 2 ἄγκυραι, μηρύματα καλῳδίων, 30 κῶπαι περίνεῳ.
Literature.--Scheffer, de Militiâ Navali Veterum, 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 Münzen, Berlin, 1870; Id. Das Modell eines Alt-griechischen Kriegsschiffes, Berlin, 1873; Cartault, La Trière Athénienne, Paris, 1881; Breusing, Die Nautik der Alten, Bremen, 1866; Jules Vars, L'Art Nautique dans l'Antiquité, Paris, 1887; Serre, Études sur l'Histoire Militaire et Maritime, Paris, 1888; Duemichen, Fleet of an Egyptian Queen; Smith, Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul.
1 The writer had a section of a trireme upon Graser's measurements constructed, and placed in it six oarsmen, two sets of three, to row, and the movements were not only easy, but it was practically shown that the space allowed was too much rather than too little.
2 Graser's calculation of the capacity of the trireme at 232 1/2 tons seems excessive.
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire