Home

Danish and Greek archaeologists excavate the ancient Greek harbour town Lechaion

Leave a comment

Republication from  the University of Copenhagen website

01 Aerial photo of the Western Mole (K. Xenikakis & S. Gesafidis)

Underwater archaeology. In Greece, underwater excavations of Lechaion, ancient Corinth’s partially submerged harbour town, reveal the infrastructure of more than a thousand years of flourishing maritime trade. Researchers from the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports and the University of Copenhagen are using cutting-edge methods to uncover the configuration and scale of the harbour.

Corinth ranked among the most economically and militarily powerful, and enduring, cities of the Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods. The city had an exceptional geographical advantage in the North East corner of the Peloponnese and controlled the Isthmus that facilitated land travel between Northern and Southern Greece, and travel by sea between the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.

 

More

Advertisements

QUADRIREME, QUINQUEREME, DECEMEREME &other multumeremes – PART I , The origins of the colossal warships of the Hellenistic Era

2 Comments

  Hepteres

Front, top and side view of a hepteres (septemereme). The diagrams in the upper part (arris of ships) depict the evolution of the arrangement of the oarsmen, from the original Greek penteconter to the Roman imperial trireme (Credit: John Warry / Salamander)

.

By  Periklis    Deligiannis

.
Around 500 BC, the trireme (an invention of the Corinthians) became the basic warship of the Greek, Phoenician, Etruscan, Lycian and other Mediterranean war fleets. The trireme supported the “thalassocracies” of Athens, Carthage, Corinth, Syracuse, Tyre, Caere/Caisra (Cerveteri), Aegina and other Greek, Phoenician and Etruscan city-states.
The campaign of Alexander the Great in Asia and the overthrow of the Persian empire created a new statehood for the Greek world. The new Greek/Hellenistic states (kingdoms) which were created in Asia and Egypt were overwhelmingly more extensive than the old city-states. The new political situation had its impact on warfare, both on land and sea. The old hoplite armies numbering a few thousand hoplites gave way to armies of tens of thousands of soldiers, based on the Macedonian phalanx and the heavy cavalry (mainly Macedonian ‘Hetairoi’ and Thessalians). Similarly, the older fleets of the city-states which used the trireme as their basic warship, were replaced by the fleets of the colossal Hellenistic states in which the main warships were a number of ships larger or much larger than the trireme. This group of warships were called collectively ‘polyeres’ (‘πολυήρης’ in Greek, ‘multumeremes’ in a Latinized term) and the most typical of them were the tetreres (quadrireme in a Latinized term), the penteres (quinqueremenaiseds-type warships wereroup of oars!)), the hexeres (sexereme), the hepteres (septemereme), the hocteres (octoreme) and the deceres  (decemereme). The penteres was the most successful of them.

The tactics of naval warfare were adjusted accordingly. The triremes used mainly their speed and flexibility to prevail in naval conflicts, while the penteres and the other polyeres used their size and displacement. The main element that remained unchanged since the era of the trireme was the use of the ram, although its role in sea battle was reduced.

More

A CONTRIBUTION TO THE STUDY OF THE SPARTAN NAVY – PART II

Leave a comment

aaaaaaaa

An  artistic  depiction  of  a  Greek  trireme. The  Spartans, like  the  Athenians,  relied  for  a  long  time  on  this   type  of  warship (telias.free.fr).

By  Periklis    Deligiannis

.

CONTINUED FROM PART  I

.
On  the  Spartan  triremes,  the  Marine  hoplites (“epibatae”  in  ancient  Greek) consisted  of  Spartans  and  other  categories  of  Lacedaemonians,  the  sailors  were  Laconian  “perioikoi”, and  the  rowers  (“eretae”)  were  Laconian  “perioikoi” and  helots.  The  captains  (“triirarchoi”)  were  Spartans   or   Laconian  “perioikoi”.
After  the  Persian  Wars,  the  army  of  the  Peloponnesian  Alliance  became  essentially  an  organic  part  of  the  Spartan  army.  The  same  happened  with  the  Navy  of  the  Peloponnesian  Alliance.  The  numbers  of  the  Peloponnesian  ships  during  the  Persian  wars,  indicate  that  about  480  BC,  the  total  Peloponnesian  naval  force  consisted  of  120-130  triremes.  After  the  conquest  of  Aegina  by  the  Athenians  and  the  almost  synchronous  economic  decline  of  Corinth,  the  Peloponnesian  fleet  was  reduced  significantly.  The  other  Peloponnesian  naval  allies  (including  the  Spartans)  tried  in  vain  to  fill  this  “gap”.  The  Spartans  raised  the  number  of   their  triremes  in  25  (413  BC).  Despite  the  fact  that  the  Peloponnesian  fleet  remained  significant,  it  could  not  be  compared  with  the  opponent  Athenian  Navy  during  the  Peloponnesian  War (431-404  BC).  The  Athenian  fleet  numbered  around  350-480  embattled  triremes  (including  the  triremes  of  the maritime  allies  of  Athens)  during  most  part  of  the  fifth  century  BC.  From  these triremes,  a  number  of  200-300  could  be  manned. Continue reading

A CONTRIBUTION TO THE STUDY OF THE SPARTAN NAVY – PART I

Leave a comment

aaaaaThe  allied  Greek  fleet  in  the  sea  battle  of  Salamis,  against  the  Phoenicians  and  the  Persians.

.

By  Periklis    Deligiannis

.
The  Navy  of  ancient  Sparta – an  important  Weapon  of  the  Spartan army – remains  in  a  state  of  oblivion  for  most  researchers.  The  Spartans  had  no  naval  tradition,  nor  ever  acquired  one.  But  the  Spartan  navy  was  a  reality,  due  to  the  inhabitants  of  the  coasts  of  Laconia.  Later,  during  the  Classical  era,  the  united  Peloponnesian  Navy  was  provided  mainly  by  the  Peloponnesian  allies  of  Sparta.  After  the  end  of  the  Hegemony  of  Sparta  in  Greece  (371  BC),  the  Spartans  reduced  essentially  their  naval  forces  until  the  time  of  king  Nabis,  who  was  responsible  for  the  last  glimpse  of  the  Spartan  navy.
The  maritime  tradition  of  the  coastal  Laconian  “perioikoi” (subjects  of  Sparta,  mostly  pre-Dorian)  begins  at  least  from  the  Mycenaean  era,  when  the  Lacedaemonian  Achaeans  took  part  in  the  Trojan  War  with  60  ships.  The  founding of  common  colonies  by  Spartan  Dorians  and  Laconian  pre-Dorians  in  Crete,  Melos,  Thera (Santorini)  and  Cnidus  (a  city  of  Asia  Minor),  indicates  that  the  Laconian  maritime  tradition  continued  uninterruptedly  during  the  Geometric  period (11th-8th  centuries  BC).  This  is  also  indicated  by  the  Spartan  naval  operation  for  the  founding  of  Taras  (modern  Taranto)  in  Southern  Italy  (706/5  BC),  which  started  from  Gythion, the  main  port  of  Sparta (Taras  was  a  Spartan  colony).  Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: