Download A history of sea power by William Oliver Stevens; Allan F Westcott PDF

Download A history of sea power by William Oliver Stevens; Allan F Westcott PDF

By William Oliver Stevens; Allan F Westcott

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6m to 1m, providing an extra edge in boarding actions and height for firing missiles. BATTLE OF ALALIA The plate shows a reconstruction of the battle with a dikrotos pentekonter of the Phokaians ramming the side of an Etruscan monokrotos pentekonter. Both ships have the same number of oarsmen, but the Phokaian vessel has its rowers concentrated into a much shorter hull, increasing manoeuvrability, the essential factor in ramming. The Etruscans, however, though outmanoeuvred, have the advantage of a longer deck, allowing more men to take part in either the casting of missiles or a boarding melee.

This does not mean that all pentekonters of the time were identical. There would be variations in length, beam and appearance, and it is likely that some had a few more or less oars than others. This would depend on when and where a ship was built, and which of its various roles the shipbuilders thought was the most important. The shape of the pentekonter was basically that of a longboat, similar in some ways to later Viking vessels. It had no deck (described poetically as ‘hollow’) so that the rowing benches and cargo were exposed to the elements, or as Thucydides says, ‘equipped in the ancient fashion, more like pirate craft’.

While it would be at a disadvantage against a standard dikrotos pentekonter (poorer in speed, acceleration and rate of turning), its ability to operate in a variety of conditions and roles suggest that the Samaina would fulfil Polycrates’ intention to use it for gaining ‘mastery of the seas’. The end of an era By the end of the 6th century BCE naval matters were rapidly evolving in the Aegean and Mediterranean. Many states were changing to new forms of government so that despite the decline of tyrants, the organization of national fleets intended solely for war increased.

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