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date: 20 October 2021



  • Philip de Souza


Quinquereme (Greek πεντήρης, Latin quinqueremis), was a warship rowed by oarsmen arranged in groups of five, perhaps with three banks of oars, one above the other, the top two each pulled by a pair of men, the bottom by one. The details of particular ships are unclear and other possible variations may have been developed. Its origins are uncertain, but it first appears in Athenian naval lists in 325/4 bce (IG 221629. 811), and by the end of the 4th cent. bce it could be found in the navies of most Hellenistic states. Larger and heavier than a *trireme, it offered space for more marines, missile weapons, and the Roman boarding-bridge (Latin corvus, raven). The Romans adopted it as their main warship in the *Punic Wars, modelling their fleets on captured Carthaginian vessels (Polyb. 1. 20 and 59). After the battle of *Actium it was superseded by smaller vessels.


  • Greek Material Culture
  • Roman Material Culture

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