Introduction

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EXHIBITS    >    The nautical technology of the ancient Greeks    >   

Introduction


The naval technology of the ancient Greeks

The island cluster of the Aegean Sea and the nautical trade character of its residents led to the naval Greek marvel and made the Greeks absolute masters of the seas. Since 9000 B.C., with the discovery of obsidian from Milos island to the Frachthi cavern in Argolida, the most ancient commercial travel in human history is proven. Until 1500 B.C. the sea-going ships (oared- sailed) of exceptional perfection of the Minoan Crete (master of the seas) sailed the Mediterranean (and not only). In the years that followed "round" commercial ships with their square sails continued being the transporters of products and culture to each corner of the world. At the same time, with the military conflicts in the crossroad of Aegean Sea, the Greeks realised that in the sea speed was a powerful military advantage. The fastest ships could approach the rival ships from the side, ram them and sink them. Thus, the development of war ships was changed into a fight for a greater speed. The ships from "round" as were the commercial ones became "long" that is to say acquired a shallow keel and an oblong form so that they were hydrodynamic and many oarsmen could be deployed (with minimal soldiers). The sails were henceforth supplementary. The triantaconter, the penteconter, the bireme and the fastest the trireme constituted the peak of naval technology each in their era. The colossal commercial - recreational ships of the successors of Alexander the Great (such as the "Syracusea") led the naval art to its limits and needed 1500 years in order to be exceeded.