Author Topic: Ram Sizes at Actium  (Read 4008 times)

Erpingham

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 5319
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Medieval warfare, Old School, home made rules
Re: Ram Sizes at Actium
« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2019, 02:39:45 PM »
We have discussed Egadi before but the reports here are useful.  The site has a number of pieces on construction too here .

To add to the physical remains, we also have a proembolon, the small beak that fits above the ram.  I don't know if they have found any of these at Egadi.

For Mariano, the trick to inserting pictures into the text is you copy the image location from the internet, rather than the image itself.  Drop the image location url between the [img] markers generated by the Mona Lisa button and job done.
  • Anthony Clipsom

Patrick Waterson

  • Administrator
  • Society Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6985
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Pretty much everything to do with warfare, especially how military systems actually work.
Re: Ram Sizes at Actium
« Reply #31 on: May 20, 2019, 07:35:29 PM »
My mistake,  my first sentence was wrong;  simply I forgot to replace  the end of it.
I hope I will not beheaded for this !

-Athenian later navy  3 -------->  to 4 ,

I began to wonder if that is what you meant; thanks for confirming.  And do not worry: unlike the Romans we do not use the axe and rods here!

Quote
The beam of Olympias  is 5.50 m.,  a photo of its interior ( I see it but I cannot posted it here  for known reasons)
shows that there is no place  for a fourth man and a fourth oar in each of its section.
Put a further tier of oars over the existing one need a larger hull,  a beam wider only  a half a yard over dont' permit the recovery of the ship in
a 6 m wide historical shipsheds,also ignoring the fact that a oar in that position have an angle
on water that oar is useless.

I think Coates, despite having been the DNC (Director of Naval Construction) for the Royal Navy and thus being excellent at ship design, made a mistake when planning the Olympias.

He arranged three oar banks in three tiers.  A more effective arrangmeent - and one which I think the Atheninas themselves used - would be to have three oar banks in two tiers, the top tier having two banks of oars, the men of the inner bank being seated on the same level as those of the outer bank.

Quote
But without outrideges there is the place for 4 men manning  two oars a two level:
so 90 oars against 172,  a more efficent ship with only a slightly reduced performance in speed.

I read somewhere (cannot find the reference, sorry) that a quadrireme was mentioned as having fewer oarsmen (160) than a trireme (170).  I rationalise this as having four oar banks in two tiers, repeating the thranite+zeugite arrangement (of two oar banks in a single tier) with the lower tier of oars, putting another bank of 'zeugites' in on the same level as the thalamites.  The result would be a shorter and handier ship with 160 oars, probably a bit lighter, and able to outmanoeuvre a trireme even though the shorter length (20 oarsmen per bank instead of 28-31 oarsmen, so the ship would be 30 feet or about 9 metres shorter) would make it difficult to match the trireme's speed.

The Rhodians particularly favoured the trireme, and their skill with these highly manoeuvrable ships was legendary.

I supect that quadrireme sizes varied, perhaps between 160 and 320 oarsmen, the longer versions being faster but less handy.

Quote
I repeat that if someone dont' agree about the fact that ancient ships with more than three tiers of oars are  preposterous and dont' furnish  any  valid proof of the contrary is as to debate about the sex of angels.

Plutarch, Life of Demetrius, 43.4-5:

"Up to this time no man had seen a ship of fifteen or sixteen banks of oars. At a later time, it is true, Ptolemy Philopator built one of forty banks of oars, which had a length of two hundred and eighty cubits, and a height, to the top of her stern, of forty-eight; she was manned by four hundred sailors, who did no rowing, and by four thousand rowers, and besides these she had room, on her gang-ways and decks, for nearly three thousand men-at-arms. [5] But this ship was merely for show; and since she differed little from a stationary edifice on land, being meant for exhibition and not for use, she was moved only with difficulty and danger. However, in the ships of Demetrius their beauty did not mar their fighting qualities, nor did the magnificence of their equipment rob them of their usefulness, but they had a speed and effectiveness which was more remarkable than their great size."

Plutarch tells us that the ships built by Demetrius had 15 or 16 banks of oars (pentekaidekere and kekkaidekere).  He also notes their speed and handling qualities.  That is sufficient evidence for me.

Quote
I read  the spanish notes about Actium (no problem for me with spanish),not very interesting:
 stated only that:
- in a temple at Nikopolis were a collection of 36 "rostra" from  Antony's ships (no one remain),
- reliefs from "Ara Pacis" are basically  not commented and related to contemporay coins as " celebratory"
- some notes about historial references Floro,Cassio Dione, Plutarch , that everyone knows.
- Nothing about tecnology.
After all, hot air.

Thank you, Mariano; very useful to have you with us.

Quote
We know that:
-at  battles between Agrippa and Pompeus, the first fleet was composed with 5-6 and the second one primary with 4 .
 and that ships of Agrippa were higher than ships of the enemy and were immune from ramming.

Higher ships imply more oar banks, in the case of a 6 it would presumably have had three tiers each of two oar banks (side by side).  Immunity from ramming implies much more solid construction.

Quote
-The ships from reliefs "batalla-naval-de-actio-colec-duques-de-cardona" have a single tier of oars.

We are not sure how far that reflects reality, given the disproportionate nature of the ship depictions.

Quote
-No ancient source stated incontrovertibly how many men manned an oar for ships excluding trieres.

Absolutely correct; if any had, we would not be having this discussion: we would instead have the solution.

Quote
It's tecnically possible that an ancients classical ship could had  5-7 men to a single oar?
The answer is YES , because renaissance standard galley ,manned with "scaloccio " system ,had five and galeasses had 6-7.

'Technically possible' is not the same as good practice. Galeasses were useful but slow and unhandy and very, very inefficient, not least because they also carried cannon and a full set of sails. As a result, they could do nothing well.

The point I would make is that galeasses and scaloccio system ships were rowed by slaves. If you have slaves rowing, the more men to an oar the better, because if one collapses the effectiveness of the remainder is not much reduced and because it is much harder for 5-7 men to agree to go on strike than for one man to stop rowing and throw the whole ship into confusion.  Free men row one to an oar, even in the Renaissance period (the alla sensile system), and this seems to be constant throughout history.

Quote
For which reason ancient greek, carthaginian or roman  must be different from french or venetian shipbuilders?

As mentioned, classical period ships used the alla sensile system because they were rowed by free men.  Shipbuilding techniques anyway differed because the French and Venetiuoans were using a framework and strakes system in which the wood was bent into shape while the classical shipbuilders preferred a monocoque dowel-fastened hull with tool-shaped strakes.  This made French and Venetian (and everyone else in the Renaissance period's) ships stronger but less handy than their classical counterparts.

Quote
Why dont' think to compare  a deceres to a galeasse ? ( perhaps manned at two-three levels)
The purpose to do them was the same.

As alreayd mentioned, the galeass was designed in a very different way as a sail-and-oar combat vessel.  Dekeres could not hope to be effective let alone fulfil a line-breaking role if they were as slow and unhandy as galeasses unless their opponents were similarly slow and unhandy.  Otherwise their targets would just get out of the way and then periplus them.  Logic therefore requires the dekeres to be as fast and as manoeuvrable as their opponents, which seems to be supported by the fact that Philip V's dekeres at Chios managed to catch and ram a trihemiola.

Quote
The only possible way to have some idea about decere's ram is compare the exisisting evidence
with the supports in the wall of nikopolis sanctuary.
One my personal note: ancients galley dont' sunk I prefer to use CTL.
I have a my idea about 12 to 2 ratio, simply the roman ships lost their ram ramming.

That is a good idea worth further consideration.  It is a much simpler explanation than the one whereby the Carthaginians are supposed to have used captured Roman ships.
  • Patrick Waterson
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." - Winston Churchill

Erpingham

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 5319
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Medieval warfare, Old School, home made rules
Re: Ram Sizes at Actium
« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2019, 10:23:26 AM »
Quote
As mentioned, classical period ships used the alla sensile system because they were rowed by free men.

I think you are confusing alla sensile - it doesn't mean "one man, one oar", though that is the effect.  Its a system of having rowers with multiple oars on the same, angled, bench.  So, a classical trireme with three men on separate benches at different levels isn't alla sensile

Can I also suggest we are careful with terms like "banks" of oars?  Noting that there were ships with 16 banks of oars as if this is a refutation of the statement that no late classical ships were rowed on more than three tiers is particularly confusing, as this implies that a bank and a tier are the same thing.  Most naval historians in modern times don't relate banks and tiers, treating them as independent elements of ship design.
  • Anthony Clipsom

Patrick Waterson

  • Administrator
  • Society Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6985
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Pretty much everything to do with warfare, especially how military systems actually work.
Re: Ram Sizes at Actium
« Reply #33 on: May 21, 2019, 10:44:00 AM »
I think you are confusing alla sensile - it doesn't mean "one man, one oar", though that is the effect.  Its a system of having rowers with multiple oars on the same, angled, bench.  So, a classical trireme with three men on separate benches at different levels isn't alla sensile .

Yes, to an extent I am, but perhaps unintentionally also expressing that polyremes may have used an alla sensile type of system, one man to one oar, but more than one oarsman to one (angled) bench.

Quote
Can I also suggest we are careful with terms like "banks" of oars?  Noting that there were ships with 16 banks of oars as if this is a refutation of the statement that no late classical ships were rowed on more than three tiers is particularly confusing, as this implies that a bank and a tier are the same thing.  Most naval historians in modern times don't relate banks and tiers, treating them as independent elements of ship design.

I read a 'tier' as being a ship deck.  A trireme, quadrireme, quinquereme or polyreme may have had multiple oar banks (longitudinal lines of rowers) in one tier (oar deck), seating them alle sensile.  You are right about such usage needing careful clarification. :)
  • Patrick Waterson
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." - Winston Churchill

manomano

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 79
  • Country: it
  • Interests: Military history. Napoleonic, ancient ,WW2 pacific wargames.PC mod
Re: Ram Sizes at Actium
« Reply #34 on: May 21, 2019, 11:46:35 AM »
There are only two examples of ancient rams:
One from Athlit and several from Egadi site.
And a ram from "ara Pacis" relif.

And the Belgammel ram (alias "Fitzwilliam ram"), though that's a lot smaller and not all that much use for discussing the ram of a dekeres.

 Why discard it? I don't reject anything.
I did not know this ram.
At first sight it seems builted with a different technique compared with others.
Rams from Egadi were certainly  builted with lost wax process and had a single case.
One was recycled.
It's seems only a litte more primitive, but dimensions are not much different from rams of Egadi.

to other messages I'll answer later.



  • Mariano Rizzi

manomano

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 79
  • Country: it
  • Interests: Military history. Napoleonic, ancient ,WW2 pacific wargames.PC mod
Re: Ram Sizes at Actium
« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2019, 01:57:40 PM »
I hope that this my  post could close finally this story.
Some time.... but I prefer give ever a suitable reference at my sentences.

The words used to describe ancient classical galley are ancient greek words.
Not only modern traductions must be ignored but also latin ones, because are simple
transliteration from greek original or free interpretations of it ignoring the genuine meanings of the original ones.

An example:  "Τριήρης"  in german is "Dreiruderer",
 it's a shame that the greek word is  a female noun and in german a male one.
it's worse dont' understand that the original greek word was an adjective,
the real original was  " Τριήρης  ναῦς".
I choose german because use compound words as ancient greek.

Let's start with the begginings.

πεντηκονταετία  or   πεντηκοντερος  ( ναῦς)

πεντήκοντα-  and    headword   of   "ἐρέσσω"

so,  " rowing with fifty "  ...... men or oars?

after:

διήρης   ναῦς
τριήρης  ναῦς
πεντήρης   ναῦς
ἐκκαίδεκαήρης  ναῦς

so    ####-ήρης                                                   

 -ήρης  headword   of   "ἐρέσσω"  or  of   "αρ"

so  "rowing with #####" or "adapted to #####"  .......  ##### may be 2,3,5,16

but go on

μυοπάρων       ( μῦς, μυός «ποντικός» + πάρων «δίστηλο ιστιοφόρο πλοίο)  so may be : " mousebrig"

ημιὅλιο  ναῦς   
ημι-ὅλος    =   " half and one ship"

δίκροτος  ναῦς     δί- κρότος         "ship rattling in two"

τριημιὅλιο  ναῦς   
τριημι-ὅλος    =   " three half and one ship"

after so only

τριήρης  ναῦς   ( note: may be also manned 2x1 , 1 x1  ,Xenophon-Hellenica)

Languages  are strange  ,an example is "quatre-vingt"  in french, but surely
the men that used these words know well what were they talking about.
The only sure thing is that ημιὅλιο was handled with a rank and half of oarsmen.

So, there is no word in ancient greek for a ship with more than three levels of oars.
There is no any historical edvidence of ships handled over three levels of oars and ever most different
from "sensile" way of rowing.

some others notes:

Venetian navy try to use a fourth men in sensile system and found that was senseless,
so put a fourth man on ships and went to the "scaloccio"system.
I reminder  that there is in Venetian a different word for sensile and is "terzarolo".

Immune to ramming means only that the hull was reinforcered at waterline, not necessarily with metal.
Relief proved it. Half a yard of oak wood defeted a 42 lbs shoot.

It's not a good idea discard the work of an other man only declaring that is " a mistake",
On Olympia I make only an observation: his  max speed is 9 kn ,perhaps ancient ships were better,
 but we have to to consider that was builted with commercial wood   for reasons of cost and productivity.
In Pisa harbour archelogists found a little warship  of I centurty A.D  builted with much different woods (- s is intentional).

I finally remark only that it's not necessary to built a ancient ship to prove own personal theories,
It's enough to make a good drawing in cartesian axes  and trasfer the model in a suitable 3D software program who
permit movement of an object on a suitable axe.
Naturally the software will modify your coordinates in floating point numbers, but variations are neligible at this scale.
If it's work ,after you must rate  the materials to use for it.
 I am working on a my model of a six handled at  two level. this is my idea about relief from Praeneste.

I enclose a photo of my old Atlantic model for SHIII game: propellers, undercarriage and hatches run,
it's not easy but possible.




« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 05:36:53 PM by manomano »
  • Mariano Rizzi

Erpingham

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 5319
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Medieval warfare, Old School, home made rules
Re: Ram Sizes at Actium
« Reply #36 on: May 25, 2019, 03:45:40 PM »
I have to confess I have difficulty with ancient languages and I struggle to read Greek (i'm none to hot on modern ones either, for that matter).  If we can transliterate Greek into latin letters I find it easier.
  • Anthony Clipsom

manomano

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 79
  • Country: it
  • Interests: Military history. Napoleonic, ancient ,WW2 pacific wargames.PC mod
Re: Ram Sizes at Actium
« Reply #37 on: May 25, 2019, 05:56:54 PM »
Some help
  • Mariano Rizzi

Patrick Waterson

  • Administrator
  • Society Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6985
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Pretty much everything to do with warfare, especially how military systems actually work.
Re: Ram Sizes at Actium
« Reply #38 on: May 25, 2019, 08:23:58 PM »
Let us pick up these points.


1) Greek wording.

'Pentekonter', as Mariano points out, derives from 'pentekonteros', a compound of 'pentekonta' (fifty) and 'er'-, a stem which could be from eretes (rower) or eretmos (oar); probably not from eiriesia/eirisin (rowing).

The 'hemiola' (a type which appeared in the Hellenistic era and was much favoured by pirates, apparently for speed and versatility) is classed by Arrian as a triakonter, i.e. a 30-oar pattern vessel (it might have more than 30 oars, however; it is essentially a step down from a pentekonter).  This much is known about them.  Modern interpretation speculates that their assumed 30 oars, i.e. 15 a side, consisted of a full bank of 10 and a half-bank of 5.

The 'trihemiola' (another Hellenistic period introduction, much favoured by the Rhodians) was apparently used for chasing down hemiolas and as a line-of-battle vessel.  Modern speculation thinks it had two full oar banks and one half-bank.

I think modern speculation is basically correct.

That said, the reason for having a half-bank of oars, and whether it should be upstairs or downstairs, is not immediately apparent.  My theory is that the configuration would have been a standard decked ship with the additional assumed half-bank of oarsmen added on the top deck, with the sailing crew and marines, so that a hemiola would be a triakonter with the usual 15 men per side rowing below decks plus up to (say) ten per side (exactly 7.5 per side will not work for obvious reasons) actually on the top deck.  If so, one can see how it would be popular with pirates, who could turn the deck oarsmen into boarders the moment ships touched.  By the same logic, the trihemiola (essentially a bireme with added top deck rowers) could convert its deck oarsmen into instant boarding crew and beat the pirates at their own game.


2) Conclusions

I do not understand how Mariano can possibly conclude from this:

Quote
So, there is no word in ancient greek for a ship with more than three levels of oars.

I would mention tetreres, penteres, hexeres, hepteres, octeres, dekeres, etc.  Or have I misunderstood something?

Quote
I finally remark only that it's not necessary to built a ancient ship to prove own personal theories,
It's enough to make a good drawing in cartesian axes  and trasfer the model in a suitable 3D software program who permit movement of an object on a suitable axis.

Well ... yes and no.  I have considerable respect for those with computer modelling skills, but would point out that only when a ship is built (and completed and commissioned) does one find out whether it actually works.  While this was much more significant in the days of HMS Captain (Cowper Coles' design was suspected of instability but not until it was built was it possible to find out that it would indeed turn over and sink in rough weather; the Japanese had the same problem with the torpedo boat Tomodzuru), it also applies to the era of computer design: every class of submarines designed with first-generation CAD programmes (German Type 209, British Upholder, Australian Collins) all leaked at depth and nobody knew why.

Modelling can tell us whether a particular arrangement for oars and rowers looks practicable (and, as Mariano says, whether the oar arcs would interfere with one another), but it cannot tell us whether a ship thus configured would be effective in practice.

I should note that Coates himself considered he had made a number of mistakes with the Olympias, although he did not specifically list the one I mentioned.

Quote
I am working on a my model of a six handled at two level. this is my idea about relief from Praeneste.

I would be very interested to see this.  You do appear to be quite talented.

[Edit: corrected an embarrassing typo to 'possible'.]
« Last Edit: May 26, 2019, 08:40:01 AM by Patrick Waterson »
  • Patrick Waterson
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." - Winston Churchill

Erpingham

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 5319
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Medieval warfare, Old School, home made rules
Re: Ram Sizes at Actium
« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2019, 09:36:58 AM »
Quote
I would mention tetreres, penteres, hexeres, hepteres, octeres, dekeres, etc.  Or have I misunderstood something?

Possibly.  It depends on what the suffix "-eres" means.  Many believe it derives from either the words for oar or rower.  It would therefore say nothing about the number of levels.  What is your alternative etymology from a word meaning level?  We might also note that when the Romans came to translate "eres" they chose "remis", from either oar (remus) or rower (remex).  Though I admit my Latin is very limited so there maybe a latin word starting "rem-" that means level, tier, deck etc.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2019, 11:24:12 AM by Erpingham »
  • Anthony Clipsom

Patrick Waterson

  • Administrator
  • Society Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6985
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Pretty much everything to do with warfare, especially how military systems actually work.
Re: Ram Sizes at Actium
« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2019, 06:41:57 PM »
This brings us back to terminology and the need for both precision and accuracy therewith.

In the following, 'bank' means a longitudinal line of rowers each with an oar. 'Tier' means a level or deck of the ship, which may contain one or more oar banks.

The Greek and Latin usage does appear to emphasise either the number of oars (triakonter = 30 oars; pentekonter = 50 oars, both in a single bank) or the number of banks of oars (trieres/trireme = 3 banks; tetreres/quadrireme = 4 banks; penteres/quinquereme = 5 banks, etc.).  The hemiola and trihemiola are special cases in which (as I conclude) a supplementary deck bank is added to make the ships faster and better able to add fighitn crew immediately in a boarding action, but even with these the emphasis is on th enumber of banks of oars.

Conspicuous by its absence is any vocabulary referring to multi-manned oars.  We do not, for example, have anything described as a 'bireme with three men per oar' or anything of that nature.

Nor it seems, do we have any term specifically indicating 'tier'.  Our sources evidently deemed it sufficient to classify a ship by the number of oar banks without mention of tiers, similar to 17th-19th century AD accounts in which warships are usually classified by number of guns (there is however a supplementary terminology for this period - two in fact - of classification by 'rate' and by gun decks, although these appear comparatively rarely except when a naval officer is writing, not least because the 'rate' system changes over the period).

The lack of histories by naval officers from the classical period (in which commanders would usually lead armies and fleets interchangeably) means that if there was specific terminology for 'tiers' it has been lost, or has escaped detection through obscurity.

Quote
It depends on what the suffix "-eres" means.  Many believe it derives from either the words for oar or rower.  It would therefore say nothing about the number of levels.  What is your alternative etymology from a word meaning level?

We end up with -eres as an oar bank indicator more or less by elimination.  For example, a penteres has more than five oars and more than five rowers, so the pent- (five) cannot refer to either of these. This leaves the traditional interpretation of 'oar bank' as the only viable option.  (If anyone has another option, it would be good if they could mention and explain it.)

Similarly, in Latin, a trireme would have more than just three oars and be rowed by more than just three men.  So I think the etymology points only one way, but would be happy to see any proof that this is not the case.
  • Patrick Waterson
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." - Winston Churchill

Erpingham

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 5319
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Medieval warfare, Old School, home made rules
Re: Ram Sizes at Actium
« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2019, 07:06:23 PM »
Quote
We end up with -eres as an oar bank indicator more or less by elimination.  For example, a penteres has more than five oars and more than five rowers, so the pent- (five) cannot refer to either of these. This leaves the traditional interpretation of 'oar bank' as the only viable option.  (If anyone has another option, it would be good if they could mention and explain it.)

Similarly, in Latin, a trireme would have more than just three oars and be rowed by more than just three men.  So I think the etymology points only one way, but would be happy to see any proof that this is not the case.

I think I see where the issue is.  Bank is often used to mean tier.  You are using it as a group of rowers - those in half a section across the ship.  I don't think anyone would argue with this.  A penteres would have five rowers in this half-section, an octeres eight.  What it doesn't help us with is the number of oars or men to an oar.  We lack images of ships rowed at more than three levels, as Mariano has pointed out several times.  We also lack images of clustering of single level oars in threes, like a medieval or early renaissance galley had (as already pointed out, renaissance experiment showed this was the most that could be successfully clustered).  The obvious interpretation is each half section (bank) had an oar per level and the number "rating" - 4, 5, 16 etc. is the number of rowers pulling one, two or three oars depending on the ship's construction.

  • Anthony Clipsom

Patrick Waterson

  • Administrator
  • Society Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6985
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Pretty much everything to do with warfare, especially how military systems actually work.
Re: Ram Sizes at Actium
« Reply #42 on: May 26, 2019, 07:28:46 PM »
I think I see where the issue is.  Bank is often used to mean tier.  You are using it as a group of rowers - those in half a section across the ship.  I don't think anyone would argue with this.  A penteres would have five rowers in this half-section, an octeres eight.

Nearly, but not quite.  To me, an oar bank is not the cross-section but the longitudinal section, the line of 30-50 holes in the ship's side, the wooden things which stick through them (one each) and the men who pull them (one each).  A bireme has two of these on each side, so the number of banks also equals the number of decks and hence tiers.

Where it gets trickier is with triremes and higher, because these (as I see it) start to add extra oar banks on the same deck, adding exterior frames for the extra oar banks so there is now more than one oar bank on each deck/tier.

Quote
What it doesn't help us with is the number of oars or men to an oar.

It might not help directly (or it might now that usage has hopefully been clarified a bit) but the persistent naval tradition of one free man to one oar (the maximum efficiency configuration) can.  I seem to remember we have discussed this before. :)

Quote
We lack images of ships rowed at more than three levels, as Mariano has pointed out several times.

We also lack a complete pictographical record of naval types of the period. A ship rowed at three levels could, if these 'levels' are decks (tiers), have fifteen oar banks, five per tier.  Or it might have nine, or twelve, oar banks.  Any guesses as to how many 'levels' (tiers) the Leontophorus, an octoreme with 1,600 rowers, might have had?

Quote
We also lack images of clustering of single level oars in threes, like a medieval or early renaissance galley had (as already pointed out, renaissance experiment showed this was the most that could be successfully clustered).

Although if the oar tier extended outward from the deck proper, this limitation would no longer apply.

Quote
The obvious interpretation is each half section (bank) had an oar per level and the number "rating" - 4, 5, 16 etc. is the number of rowers pulling one, two or three oars depending on the ship's construction.

Forgive me, but I do not see at all how this can possibly follow.  As previously noted, it does not seem to fit the terminology or the etymology of classical warship type designation.  Were it the case, one would expect a different form of notation, e.g. a two-deck, five-per-oar vessel.  Given that the Romans could not work out how to build a quinquereme until they managed to obtain one, I would tend to doubt the concept that the classification comprehended and included the number of oar banks and a (different) distribution of rowers.  The configuration difference with a quinquereme and larger ships was more fundamental (and if it is any comfort, modern scholars have not worked it out either).
  • Patrick Waterson
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." - Winston Churchill

Erpingham

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 5319
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Medieval warfare, Old School, home made rules
Re: Ram Sizes at Actium
« Reply #43 on: May 27, 2019, 08:58:43 AM »
Quote
Forgive me, but I do not see at all how this can possibly follow.  As previously noted, it does not seem to fit the terminology or the etymology of classical warship type designation.

And this is central to the debate.  Most writers on the subject do see how this follows and can easily see how the etymology works.  As they are often classicists, who, unlike me, understand the languages involved, it gives me some confidence.   Naval architects have concluded this approach would work, so again it gives me confidence.  It doesn't prove anything - if we had proof there would be no debate - but it does give a consistent and workable solution.  It strikes me your solution really needs testing by someone with some engineering expertise, so that it can be compared with orthodox solutions, before we could take it further.

  • Anthony Clipsom

Patrick Waterson

  • Administrator
  • Society Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6985
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Pretty much everything to do with warfare, especially how military systems actually work.
Re: Ram Sizes at Actium
« Reply #44 on: May 27, 2019, 07:11:53 PM »
Most writers on the subject do see how this follows and can easily see how the etymology works.  As they are often classicists, who, unlike me, understand the languages involved, it gives me some confidence.

My thinking is that they are obeying imperatives other than the language, because if we look at the notes to the Perseus version of Livy which has notes, they were written by a scholar who understood the language and was happy about the etymology being entirely consistent with one 'reme' being one bank of oars.  In fact he took his main supporting arguments from other contexts, e.g. a quinquereme being visually more impressive than a trireme (which in itself might bring into question my interpretation).  So fashions of interpretation change apparently independently of linguistic understanding, and the challenge is to find what drives the change.
  • Patrick Waterson
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." - Winston Churchill