Beep! .We've reached the roman
naval base. We hope you enjoy your tour.
WELCOME TO ANCIENT
ROMAN NAVY !!!
The Roman Navy was always considered an inferior arm and was
strictly under army control. But the, Romans proved itself
capable of launching a fleet capable of checking an established
naval power such as Carthage.
Romans were no sailors though. They had no knowledge of ship
building. Their ships were in fact built copying the example of
captured Carthaginian vessels, combined with the expertise supplied
by the Greek cities of southern Italy.
Rather unexpected success in battle was obtained by a logical Roman
idea that a warship was little more than a floating platform on
which the soldiers could be brought into close contact with the
this purpose they invented a huge boarding plank with a large spike
on the end, which could be raised and lowered like a drawbridge.
Before battle it would be raised and then dropped onto an enemy's
deck. The spike would embed itself into the opponent's deck planking
and the legionaries could board the enemy vessel across it. This
elaborate contraption was called 'the raven' (corvus) This
invention gave Rome five victories at sea. However, it is believed
that it's weight, carried above the water line, also made the ships
unstable, and could in rough seas cause them to capsize.
The (classis) (naval
fleet) provided the Roman army with sea power and logistical
support. Initially, ancient Romans had no great love of the
sea. It was during the first Punic War that it became a necessary
for a strong navy to be built. Rome were surrounded by other
Mediterranean nations who had already had large fleets and much
experience in seafaring. The Romans relied on the accomplishments of
foreign navies in developing their own.
Contrary to popular belief, the navy did not use slaves. The rowers,
sailors and soldiers were auxiliaries receiving citizenship after
serving for 26 years. Though most came from a seafaring community,
this was not a requisite to join. The officers came from the Roman
equestrian class. In Imperial times they often were freedmen from
the Imperial household.
An ancient galley (originally Greek, afterwards also Roman) with three ranks of oars one above another, used chiefly as a ship of war. This is the main type of the warship of Mediterranean. Some researchers attribute the invention of trireme to Phoenicians, other name Corinthian Amenocc. The main weapon of trireme was battering ram - a prolongation of a keel beam. The displacement of a vessel reached 230 tons, length - 45 meters. The oars on triremes were of various length. Most strong oarsmen were placed on the upper deck. It was high-paid and privileged caste. Oarsmen of an average and lower ranks named differently. The commander of a
trireme was trierarch. To him were obeyed helmsman and oarsmen chief - hortator (one who exhorts or encourages). The rate of movement of a trireme on oars came to 7 - 8 knots, but all three ranks of oars worked only during the fight.
The crew of a Liburnia consisted of about 50-80 oar-men (remiges)
and a unit of about 30-50 marines, depending on the size of the
ship. Liburnias were used everywhere in the roman empire, for example on the Nile, Rhine and Danube rivers. The Liburnia was a powerful ship especially when ramming an
enemy ship. With a closed deck it could take more marines as
any other ship this size for the purpose of hand to hand combat
helping insure a victory when fighting at close quarters with
a ship of the same size.
effect, much of this achievement of their sea victories was
minimized by the losses the Romans hence suffered at sea. Partially
the raven might well be responsible for some of these
losses. But generally it was the inept way the Romans handled their
vessels as well as their ill fortune in running into several
is possible that Rome's losses at sea through lack of seamanship and
ignorance of navigation had Rome rely completely on the Greek cities
to provide ships when they were required. But as Rome gained control
of the lands of the eastern Mediterranean, the sea power of the
Greek cities declined. Suddenly making Rome the most powerful sea
power in its region.
Our Next Stop Will Be the Ancient
Viking Museum in Sweden , Today We Will be visiting the Ancient Trades
and Raids Department.