The pentikontoros were "monokrota" (greek: "μονόκροτα") ships, which means that they had one row of oars in each side, where there were 25 oars (50 oars overall, as "pentikontoros" means in ancient greek). They had 38 meters length and 4,5 meters width. These ships were suitable for war expenditions, for invasions, for piracy, and for the transmittion of goods and military units. Pentikontoros were used by Fokeans in their distant travels, in the central and west Mediterranean, according to Herodotus. By using these ships, Achilles and Filoktetes transported their troops from magnisia of Thessaly to Ilion (Troy).
Since 7th century BC, the pentikontoros are used clearly only for war purposes. Their role was very important, just because of their ability to sail in opposite sea streams and to confront hostile ships along dangerous shores and passages. They were regarded as per excellance war ships before the appearance of the trireme (according to Thoukydides). Pentikontoros is lost from the naval foreground after the first century BC. Moreover, Greeks used triantakontoros, which is like pentikontors, but with 30 oars.