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date: 31 January 2023



  • Philip de Souza


The oldest navy in the ancient world was probably that of the Egyptian pharaohs; see egypt. Very little is known about Egyptian naval development, however, until the *Saites (672–525 bce), one of whom, Necho II (610–595), reorganized the navy to protect Egyptian interests against the Babylonians. The introduction of *triremes, probably under *Amasis (570–526), further strengthened Egypt's navy prior to the Persian conquest.The Persian navy was created under *Cambyses (530–522). It utilized triremes and was crewed by the king's maritime subjects, arranged in territorial or ethnic squadrons (e.g. Egyptians, *Phoenicians, *Ionians). During much of the 5th cent. bce this navy fought in the eastern Mediterranean against the Greek city-states, led by Athens, whose ships were crewed by her citizens and subject allies. From the battle of *Salamis (480) to the battle of Aegospotami (405) the Athenians were the dominant naval power in the region.


  • Near East
  • Roman Material Culture

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