Venetian galley


The Venetian military galley, heir to both the mighty Byzantine Dromons and the distant Roman Imperial Triremes, was one of the best examples of their evolution, at a time when the still-rising galleons had not eclipsed them. Compared to the carracks, which boasts a powerful artillery, the galleys are less armed but quicker, and independent of the wind.

Naval battles are always solved by boarding as in the past, but firearms give the embarked troops the possibility to engage the enemy at better ranges. The Galley presented here is already imposing, signaling itself as a command galle. It is a "trireme", in the sense that it is given three rows of oars, but at the same level.

On the other hand, these oars are handled by three to four men each. It is the "a scaloccio", rowing style, a term invented by the Italians in the Middle Ages but often used to describe antique swimming systems. The latter, with its 84 oars handled by 336 men, had in front a chasing cannon of large caliber (bombard), and four lighters pieces, sheltered inside the forecastle. To the ballistae have succeeded the lighter culverins on articulated side poles. Inevitably, the rigging is Latin, and most of the time on a single mast.