Roman Trireme

Trireme at the time of the Second Punic War. Trier properly "Roman", built according to concepts that will be reproduced on quadrirèmes and quinquérèmes. The one represented here participated in the wars against Carthage, in the colors of Scipii (The Scipios) and the legendary Scipio the African. Apart from recurring aesthetic artifacts, such as specific prow and stern decorations, the factitious counter-rostrum at the head of the wolf (often also of wild boar or lion) one notes the rear archer's tower and the corvus at the front , Immediate signature.


The Diere was the Greek name for this traditional, classical vessel par excellence, which ensured the domination of the Greeks and especially of Athens on the Mediterranean for centuries, until Rhodes began to innovate by creating the tetra towards 300 av. JC. The Trieme was the Roman appellation of this ship, which probably dates from the constitution of a properly Roman fleet, and not a Greek fleet of borrowings belonging to Tarentum or Messina. The first true Roman triremes were apparently built to respond to the Carthaginian threat at the time of the First Punic War (261 BC), and at the same time as the famous quinqueremes. From the outset, this ship was modified to the Roman military standards, and dedicated above all to a collision fight or the superiority of the infantry makes the difference, unlike the Greeks who still favor ramming maneuvers. This particularly affects the weight and dimensions of the trireme, clearly more massive than the frail Hellenes, which could be hoisted on the beach...

The Trieme has a complete bridge, guaranteeing more room for fighters , And possibly possesses some weapons of throw (ballistae). The rostrum is still in bronze and designed for ramming, but quickly it becomes a mere artistic extension of the hull, losing any military vocation.
Some figures: About 37-38 meters (35 for the trire) of length, 6 of width (4.2 - 5 for the trire), 170 rowers (of the lowest social classes, rarely Roman citizens), out of a total of 25 men, including the sailors, and the troop (50 men). Speed ​​of 5-6 knots (7-8 for the trire).

There is always a Diacta (small awning for officers in stern), an archer's tower, introduced by Agrippa on Roman ships according to some controversial sources, two permanently rigged masts and sails (never deposited for combat ). The mainsail was sometimes decorated with a supparum, while the sail of bowsprit was decorated with the name of the vessel and the insignia of its captain. The mainsail was often provided with the motif of the Republic, restored under the influence of the eagle wings spread on laurels, sometimes embellished with lightning or symmetrical motifs, and "SPQR" (Senatus Populusque Romanus) . The Legion's sign-bearing tree was found at the back, embedded in the shield of the stern figure. They were equipped since the first Punic war of "ravens", the bridges of collision (quadrirèmes-quinquérèmes). La Trière will continue for many years thanks to its reduced size and modest cost compared to the "4" and "5" of the fleet, but remained less useful against piracy than small units such as liburne. Triremes were, however, engaged in all naval battles, or were involved with the Romans. It was to be renounced only at a late date, about 400 AD, in favor of large galleys with multiple swimming, but whose name remained "trireme" for a moner with three rowers by rowing, at the origin of some Byzantine ships.