Syria - Mesopotamia   :|:   Analysis

The Phoenicians biremes

ref. : EN.534.2012 | 17 September 2012 | by Francis Leveque
VIe - VIIe century BC
Phénicie ( Liban )
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The bireme (a ship with two banks of oars), as featured on the obverse of coins, was introduced by the Phoenicians in about 700 BC. These war vessels became very large, some reputedly having as many as 40 banks of oars, but smaller vessels were again common by the 1st cent. B.C.

The length was about 30 meters with a width of some 5 meters. The narrow prolate hull of this Phoenician bireme of around 100 BC consisted of two floors and the upper one was again for the helmsmen and warriors. For greater stability of the ship the Phoenicians lowered the crinolines (platforms where oarsmen sat).

A massive bronze covered battering ram was the main weapon of this narrow high speed bireme. The traditional removable rig was typical. A decorative poop extremity of stern was abruptly bent, similarly to a tail of a scorpion, and the balustrade of the battle platform was covered with the shields of warriors.