Greek Trireme Essay

498 WordsNov 14, 20112 Pages
Merrick Isley Isley 1 Ms. Fluegel World History November 18, 2010 The Greek Trireme The Greek Trireme was the most important naval invention of ancient Greek times. A trireme was a war vessel that originated around the 5th century B.C. Shipbuilding and oceangoing were very important aspects to ancient Greek life. Ships and the water they traveled provided the needed connections between Greek cultures. During its time, the trireme was the most valuable and technologically advanced ship in the ancient world. A trireme was approximately one hundred and twenty-one feet long and had a beam of eighteen feet. Even though there was a large sail, one hundred and seventy oarsmen provided the main source of power, and were only spaced two feet, nine inches apart. They all rowed in unison or the oars became snarled, and the crew could lose their lives. There were three tiers of oars called the thalamites, the zeugites, and the thranites. Each man commanded one oar that was almost fourteen feet long. The ship could travel one hundred and eighty-four nautical miles at speeds close to eight knots. The overall top speed regularly exceeded 10 knots. The boat itself was fast, nimble, and also powerful. A captain directed the crew from the back. It also carried a small troop of hoplites, which were soldiers. They attacked and boarded enemy ships. The predominant form of attack was the large, bronze ram in front of the boat that would pierce into the hull of enemy ships. The trireme would have to reach a pivotal speed of at least ten knots or it the ship would Isley 2 crumple itself and the enemy vessel would be unharmed. After a ship sank, the captain ordered the soldiers to attack the remaining enemy soldiers in the water. Trireme crewman also boarded ships and took them over. The Athenian Trireme was very influential during the Persian War. At

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