Ep. 030 – Trireme 101: How to Build, Sail, and Ram and Ancient Greek Warship

Today we have a lengthy primer focused only on the trireme. After a jaunt through some of the evidence related to when the trireme first came into use on the seas of ancient Greece and the Near East we then take a deep dive into the numerous aspects of the ship itself. We discuss the materials used by ancient shipwrights, the process of building and outfitting a trireme, and the design of this ship that set it apart from the oared galleys of archaic Greece. The trireme was essentially an oar-powered maritime missile, so we then outline the various sailors who made up the typical 200-man contingent of each trireme. The trierarch functioned as a ship captain, and from there we meet the other 199 men, 170 of whom were oarsmen. Much of what we know about the trireme has been confirmed via the reconstruction of Olympias and the ensuing sea trials that she underwent. After a bit about Olympias, we conclude with a look at the naval tactics that developed in the wake of the trireme taking over the naval scene in ancient Greece. All in all, what we've got is a 105-minute ode to the most important ship of the ancient world: the trireme.


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Sources

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