Scanned text contains errors.
It is a general opinion that in the Homeric age sailors did not venture out into the open sea, but that such was really done is clear from the fact, that Homer makes Odysseus say that he had lost sight of land, and saw nothing but the sky and water (Od. xii. 403 ; comp. xiv. 302 ; Virg. Aen. iii. 192, &c.), although on the whole it may be admitted, that even down to the historical times the navigation of the ancients was confined to coasting along the shore. Homer never mentions engagements at sea. The Greeks most renowned in the heroic ages as sailors were the Cretans, whose king Minos is said to have possessed a large fleet, and also the Phaeacians. (Thucyd. i. 4 ; Horn. Od. viii. 110, &c.)
* Biremes are sometimes called by the Greeks a (Cic. ad Att. xvi. 4 ; Hirt. Bell A lex. 47.) The name biremis is also applied to a little boat managed by only two oars. (Horat. iii. 29. 62 ; Lucan, viii. 562, x. 56.)
After the times of the Trojan war, navigation, and with it the art of ship-building, must have become greatly improved, on account of the establishment of the numerous colonies on foreign coasts, and the increased commercial intercourse with these colonies and other foreign countries. The practice of piracy, which was during this period carried on to a great extent not onty between Greeks and foreigners, but also among the Greeks themselves, must likewise have contributed to the improvement of ships and of navigation, although no particulars are mentioned. In Greece itself the Corinthians were the first who brought the art of ship-building nearest to the point at which we find it in the time of Thucydides, and they were the first who introduced ships with three ranks of rowers (rp^peis, Triremes}. About the year 700 B.C. Ameinocles the Corinthian, to whom this invention is ascribed, made the Samians acquainted with it (Thucyd. i. 13 ; Plin. H. N. vii. 57) ; but it must have been preceded by that of the Biremes^ that is, ships with two ranks of rowers, which Pliny attributes to the Erythraeans.* These innovations however do not seem to have been generally adopted for a long time ; for we read that about the time of Cyrus the Phocaeans introduced long sharp-keeled ships called irtvrriKovTopoi. (Herod, i. 163.) These belonged to the class of long war-ships (vyes naicpai), and had fifty rowers, twenty-five on each side of the ship, who sat in one row. It is further stated that before this time vessels called (rrpoyyvhcu, with large round or rather fiat bottoms, had been used exclusively by all the lonians in Asia. At this period most Greeks seem to have adopted the long ships with only one rank of rowers on each side ; their name
varied accordingly as they had fifty /?of), or thirty (rpia,K.6vropoi\ or even a smaller number of rowers. A ship of war of this class is represented in the previoiis woodcut, which is taken from Montfaucon, VAntiq. Ecspliq. vol. iv. part 2 pi. 142.
The following woodcut contains a beautiful fragment of a Bireme with a complete deck. (Winckel-mann, Momim. Anticli. inedit. pi. 207.) Another specimen of a small Bireme is given further on.
The first Greek people whom we know to have acquired a navy of importance were the Corinthians, Samians, and Phocaeans. About the time of Cyrus and Cambyses the Corinthian Triremes were generally adopted by the Sicilian tyrants and by the Corcyraeans, who soon acquired the most powerful navies among the Greeks. In other parts of Greece and even at Athens and in Aegina the most common vessels about this time were long ships with only one rank of rowers on each side. Athens, although the foundation of its maritime power had been laid by Solon [naucraria], did not obtain a fleet of arty importance until the time of Themistocles, Avho persuaded them to build 200 Triremes for the purpose of carrying on the war against Aegina. But even then ships were not provided with complete decks (Ka.Ta(rrp(ajji.a,ra) covering the whole of the
vessel. (Thucyd. i. 14; Herod, vii. 144;) Ships with only a partial deck or with no deck at all, were called &<ppaKTOL j^es, and in Latin naves apertae. A fine representation of such a one is figured above from a coin of Corcyra. The ships described in Homer had no decks, and were all &(f)paRToi (Thucyd. i. 10), and the only protection for the men consisted of the 'iicpia or bulwark. (Horn. Od. xii. 229.) Even at the time Nof the Persian war, the Athenian ships were without a complete deck. (Thucyd. i. 14.) Ships which had a complete deck were called /caratppa/croj, and the deck itself Kard^rpw^a. Their invention is ascribed by Pliny to the Thasians. At the time when Themistocles induced the Athenians to build