EXHIBITS > The nautical technology of the ancient Greeks >
The triantaconter (and the penteconter)
It was a high speed oared warship with one row of 15 (or 25) oars on each side. It was oblong for the placement of 30 (or 50) oarsmen, with a shallow keel and exceptionally more versatile and faster than the equivalent "round" commercial ships. It was widely used by the Mycenaeans and first referred to by Homer as the main ship in the Trojan War. The oars were tied with loops to the oarlocks of the gunwale and the oarsmen sat at a distance of 80 cm from this so that it ensured the required torque. For steering, they used the two big oars of the stern. In the prow it brought a large bronze coated ram for the ramming of rival ships. Complementarily, it had a large square sail. The length and width reached 25 (or 35) and 4,5 metres respectively. It did not have a main deck but two side ones (in the prow and in the stern).
SOURCES: "The History of the Greek Nation, Ekdotiki Athens", "Deligiannis Pericles, Naval History", "Homer, Iliad", "Aelianos Taktikos, Tactic theory".