Roman Triremes and the Outriggerless Phoenician Trireme

By Lucian Basch, published November 1979


Although there has been no agreement on how the oars were arranged on board the Athenian trieres, it was generally accepted that there had always been one single type of trireme in ancient times. However, iconographical evidence confirms that the Romans built and employed two types of trireme with different systems of oar arrangements and these had nothing in common with the Athenian triere of the 5th and 4th centuries BC. The Phoenicians developed more or less in parallel a further variant of the trireme which differed from Greek and Roman designs. Both used outriggers to support the oars, but outriggers were noticeable by their absence in the Phoenician trireme.

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Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Shipbuilding & Design

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