Saturday, November 28, 2009


The trireme is a class of warship used by the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean, especially the Phoenicians, ancient Greeks and Romans. In English, no differentiation is made between the Greek triērēs and the Latin triremis. This is sometimes a source of confusion, as in other languages these terms refer to different styles of ships.

The trireme derives its name from its three rows of oars on each side, manned with one man per oar. The early trireme was a development of the penteconter, an ancient warship with a single row of 25 oars on each side, and of the bireme (Greek: διήρης), a warship with two banks of oars, probably of Phoenician origin. As a ship it was fast and agile, and became the dominant warship in the Mediterranean from the 7th to the 4th century BC, when they were largely superseded by the larger quadriremes and quinquiremes. Triremes played a vital role in the Persian Wars, the creation of the Athenian maritime empire, and its downfall in the Peloponnesian War.

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