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Does anyone know of a good paper or chapter written in English on how boarding worked in ancient warfare or the role of artillery and special weapons (eg. fire pots, 'dolphins') in ancient naval warfare? I'm researching a paper on armament other than the ram on Mediterranean warships from the Bronze Age to the Roman period. So far I have:

- The Classical historians (probably Herodotus, Thucydides, and Diodorus to start since I own them, and some selected bits of Polybios, Livy, Appian, etc.) Appian has some brilliant descriptions of boarding actions, and unfortunately I know of nothing so good from the trireme age except possibly Thucydides on the last battle in the Great Harbour of Syracuse.

- Morrison and Coates, Greek and Roman Oared Warships (1996) which has a nice but selective collection of the above sources.

- Foley and Soedel, “Ancient Oared Warshipsâ€
Hi Sean,
There's not much on boarding outside of boarding bridges, I think. Christa Steinby wrote an article in a Finnish journal (in English) on the boarding bridge as well. Since that's about 50 years newer than Wallinga's, you might want to check that out.
The problem is very likely that the sources are extremely succinct when it comes to boarding practices.
Thanks, Jasper. Laus ad te! I can't find anything by Christa in Worldcat or a few other databases except a book published in 2007 on the Republican Roman navy down to 167 BCE. I'll get that, but please let me know if you remember the journal.
Hi Sean,
The journal is Arctos.
Hi Sean

I do not know if it is still available but you could try

"Greek and Roman Naval Warfare" by W.L. Rodgers. Originally published by the Naval Institute Press. This is a serious piece that covers naval warfare from Salamis to Actium. It is over 500 pages and is very well researched. I highly recommend it.
Just briefly, the full reference for the Steinby article is
Christa Steinby, 2000: The Roman Boarding-bridge in the First Punic War . A Study of Roman Tactics and Strategy, Arctos 34, 193-210.

(see http://pro.tsv.fi/kfy/arctos/previous.html#34 ).
Thanks everyone. I got the Steinby article, but no Canadian library has her new book. I'm skeptical of her thesis that Rome had a navy before the First Punic War (although it clearly did occasionally raise a few light ships from its subjects) but I'll have to read her argument and judge it myself.

As one more favour, could any readers who aren't barbaroi let me know what Greek phrase was used for the following and if it is precisely translated? References are so scarce that I'd hate to rely upon one only to find that the translator took some liberties.

Hdt. 9.98: What word does Herodotus use for “boarding planksâ€
Sean,

Though -apobathras*- can be describing a boarding plank and I am also of the opinion that a boarding plank was used during the naval battle in these case it might be the the plank used to embark and disembark the trirem.
This plank appear on pottery and sculpture and its use is certain but not certain its use in battle.

Aisxylos in his Persian describes "people thrown into the sea from the plank".
Don't recall the excact passage but Aisxylos was eyewittnes-fighter-marine at Salamis.

Kind regards
Thanks Stefanos. The paper is mostly done, and I can't find the reference in the Persae, so I'll leave it out.
This may be going off topic slightly so apologies if it is not relevant.
There a couple of interesting late antique combined siege ops you might want to look at but the sources do not give much detail.


Aquileia 361:
Ammianus 21;11,2 gives us the defenders' strength. Immo commanded the siege. He set up a double shield line around the walls but failed to get a peaceful submission. At dawn an assault was made. Attempts to undermine the wall from behind the safety of mantlets and screens and to scale it were beaten off. Presumably because of the terrain, rams and mines could not be used. The defenders put artillery in suitable spots. The besiegers mounted towers on ships and approached the wall. The troops above would cover the light armed men below who were to cross to the walls on bridges and try to open it to the rest of the attackers. Artillery fire, flaming dart & other combustibles fired them and some toppled over. Next day another ground assault using tortoise shield formation failed. Some who crossed the moat were hit by sallies from gates and an unseen ditch. A blockade started and the aqueducts were cut and the river diverted. News of Constantius' death ended the siege.

Panormus 535
Procopius Wars 5:5;12-15. The Ostrogoths shut themselves in the city and were determined to hold out as the town had strong fortifications. Belisarius considered the landward approaches to be strong so he ordered the fleet into the harbour which was not included in the circuit walls. The ships went right up to the walls and the masts topped the walls. Therefore he put archers into small boats and hoisted them up to the top of the masts to shoot down on the enemy and clear the parapet. The terrified Goths surrendered the city. The siege can only have lasted a day or two, probably with only a few hours fighting if even that.

Hope you find that interesting, if not exactly what you were looking for.
Well Velisarius might have read Plutarchs life of Demetrios - the siege of Rhodes chapter.

In the Hellenistic Period starting with Alexander in Tyros and culminating with Archimdedes in Syracusae show introduction of machines in large scale for naval and amphibious warfare.

Kind regards
There are three to four helpful amateur articles floating in the web which address this question based on ancient sources, but unfortunately I cannot track them anymore. Luckily, I stored them away on my HD, just drop me your email address. Big Grin
Well, the essay is done and submitted, based mainly on the ancient sources. It was twice the assigned length (5,000 words) but the professor says he doesn't necessarily mind. Thanks to everyone who contributed. Once the paper has been marked, I can send you a copy in PDF if you are interested (PM me).