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I'm studying the organization of the greek navies, still lots to learn...

In the meantime, I'd thank a bunch for pointers or info about this specific issue:

in a (460BCE) Delian League fleet of 200 trieres, with approx. composition of:

100 Athens
40 Samos
60 Naxos, Chios, Euboea, Megara, Lesbos, etc...

how would the fleet organize itself?

I have an athenian navarch, but I can imagine that such a big fleet would be organized in smaller squads, maybe by city, or island, and in the Athenian case, by demoi (considering that by 460, the trierarchies didn't have the power they used to have).

Thanks for your help!
From the early Archaic era in the Aegean Islands the Stratigos or Polemarchos was doubling as a naval senior comander. Navarhos survives mostly in athenian texts but it means literally "the leader of the ships" so it was used by any other city state capable of fielding more than two or three vessels.
According to the "Great Military-Naval Encyclopedia" - 1938: it was Polykratis the Samian in the late Archaic Era that had a large fleet and divided in MOIRAI (pronounced MIRE). MOIRA ionic dialect - MORA doric dialect means section. The leader was called MOIRARCHOS or MERARCHOS. The size of MOIRA varied.
The trirem captain would be PLOIARCHOS (shipmaster) equivalent to captain and his assistant IPOPLOIARCHOS (assistant shipmaster) Inscription in Stylida mentions PLOTARCHIS (roughly leader of the floating).
It survives as rank in the modern Greek Navy but we do not know what exatly was the rank at that time.
Naukliros (the one who devides the ship) more akin to the NCO assigning duties to the crew. Still survives in the Greek navy.
The EPIVATAI Marines and auxiliary archers and slingers would be divided by companies (LOCHOI) with their captains (LOCHAGOI)
Considering that a number of these guys would be refugees or those whose livelyhood was destroyed by the invasion they would be armed by the league. On their shields it would be the Dolphin of the Cyclades -NOT the winged Dolfin of Megara unless they were Megareans.
Kind regards
Check this out it maight help, but I dunno nothing of this books :wink: ... ships.html
If any body wants more on the Olympias trireme and follow the english links.
Kind regards
Thanks for your replies!

I'm attaching below the last entry from my blog, , where I'm reporting and discussing the issues about this novel. I hope to raise some interesting discussion.


Troubled waters
If Simon & Garfunkel will allow me, of course...

I thought this was a good post title for my next blog entry, as I am writing the "acquisition" and arrival of the Greek navy fleet from Kypros to the Delta.

It's incredible how many things we give for granted that, when you actually start to write your ideas down on paper (electronic paper in my case) you are absolutely at a lost, risking, otherwise, being extremely anachronistic.

A an example: when your camp wakes up in the morning (probably by the kyprian cock), do they take their breakfast? Did greeks eat more than once a day, or just one? (dinner?). Sigh, another lookup of info on books and the Internet...

Another, more elaborated, example: the Delian League fleet (huge fleet, of 200 trierei/trirremes and some 150 merchant, support ships, not mentioned but likely, as the warships were not meant to carry lots of water or food aboard) arrives to Kypros. Big island, many beaches. I just grab one, and deply the jnavy for a good night's sleep. We know that the Hellenes would take their trierei out of the water whenever they could, because, not knowing how to "seal" the wood planks of their hulks, they tied to get them to dry or they would spoil themselves and sink.

Therefore, they start moving the trierei to the (big) beach. Some stay behind, to protect the whole operation, after all a trieres is not a simply boat, it's some 32 meters beam, and carries more than 200 men on board (most of them oarsmen). So you get the ship to the water line (careful, specially if there are some strong waves), minutiously measuring the water depth, and calculating where the tide is, to (gently) get the ship on the sand. Then move it up, to the dried part of the beach, put on the pillons to keep it upright, (while the psiloi, light infantry, and the epibatai, heavy infantry, about 15 in total, create a defensive perimeter around the ship, just in case). Nest start mounting tents, fires, and so on...

In the meantime, the next ship starts performing the same operation. And after it, the next one. It took some 5 hours for a Roman army of 4 legions to make their fortified castrum after a walk, and when the camping site had been secured, and the engineers had started to delimit the streets, where the walls will go, and so on, some 15 kilometers away the last legionnaire is closing their last castrum.

I can imagine the beaching of such a fleet to be of a similar magnitude. Calculate a very well trained crew, in ideal conditions, can beach their trieres in half an hour. This is really fast. And let's suppose that, for a long enough beach, we can have several trierei beaching at the same time, say 3 of them, and that beaching operations overlap some 15 minutes (i.e., mid-way of the previous one). Then we have, every 15 minutes, 3 ships beaching for some half an hour. 200/3 = 66 (roughtly), this is 66 waves of 3 trierei every 15 minutes...

Let's see:

Time in minutes after beginning of beaching operations, waves show number of ships beaching at the time.

T.... 1 2 3 4 ... 65 66
000 3 0 0 0 ... 00 00
015 3 3 0 0 ... 00 00
030 0 3 3 0 ... 00 00
045 0 0 3 3 ... 00 00
xxx 0 0 0 0 ... 03 00
yyy 0 0 0 0 ... 03 03
zzz 0 0 0 0 ... 00 03
TTT 0 0 0 0 ... 00 00

How much is time TTT? 990 minutes, which is, exactly, 16 hours and a half.

Whoah! Therefore, they must have been beaching at a much higher pace, or they wouldn't have time to row from place to place, nor to get the ships back to the water. And we know they did so. Therefore, we have to reduce such an operation to a shorter time.

How? Let's suppose that the navy organized itself, internally, in small squadrons of some 10 ships. Why 10? Well, Athens provided some 100 ships to the Egyptian Expedition, and there were 10 demei (tribes) n Athens, and they did manage their army by demos (at this time, 460BCE, the trierarchies had lost most of its power) and they did so for the phalanx in Marathon, each taxis was formed by a tribe. It's not clear how they did, and I'm still researching it, but, well, it looks reasonable.

If every squad would beach at, more or less, the same time, in a smaller area of the beach, to keep more or less, in a small cluster of fellow neighbourhs and slaves that knew ones anothers, we have only 20 beaching operations. Considering the complexer method, let's suppose they took the whole hour to beach the squad. This makes, if we still allow 3 beaching operations (each side of the beach, and center, and the next wave using the open spaces, according to the tide), then we have 20/3 < 7... Less than 7 hours. Better, but still insufficient.

Maybe they could do such beaching operations in bigger waves (4 or 5 places at the same time), who knows? a more normal sized navy of 90-100 trierei, would use some 3 hours in this way. A lot, but still maneageable. maybe the Kyprian (later Egyptian) Expedition was of such a scale that it wasn't meant to be beached, but after disembarking, the ships would stay at the sea, harassing the Kyprian harbors...

At this moment, I am skillfully ignoring these issues, but I am all too well aware of them, for the next revision of the draft. So many things to learn! On the other hand, these kind of things are important, because they may explain many things that are obscure in so many historical, military events. Hoplology and Sciences may help to disentangle many historical, dark sources, when put to a good use. This calls for a marriage (or, at least, a "getting along") between all Disciplines of Human Knowledge, all pushing in the same direction, with rythm.

Like the oarsmen of a trieres.

And speaking of troubled waters, the novel is sailing forward at a good pace (considering I'm mostly writing it while I commute from home to work and back on the train). Don't you love writing on the go?

If we belive Herodotus Spartans ate breakfast and supper (Leonidas talk in Thermopylae). Possibly the other Greeks abide by the same habit.
Xenophon in freaquently mentions evening supper in the "10000".
Filon Vyzantios leaves the recipy of for a 8 men "syskoinia" of a diet supplement that was given in arround 100gr bars once a day but does not specify the time that was issued. The supplemnet look pretty much like the modern Greek "pasteli" and can be preserved for long time after preparation.
So this might as well be break fast.
Dryed bread called "paximadi" soaked in water or milk was breakfast in the main land villages from the dawn of time.
Thukidides also mentions poppy cups with honey in Sfacteria.
Cyprus had driven off the pro-Persian elemt with Kimon intervention so the Stratigos comanded the group could get help from the local Greeks there.
Put this into the equation too!
Sealing wood with pich or tar called "katrami" was known from the bronze age acording to Neosikoi (ship-homes) excavation findings in Piraeus.
I hope I helped kind regards
cool info, I'll take it into account for te novel, thanks to all!

(keep writing, keep reading documentation :-) )

* P. Lilius Frugius Simius a.k.a. Argiros
P. Lilius Frugius Simius

I think perhaps you are overestimating the support fleet needed by the triremes. The Athenian expedition to Sicily in 415 amounted to some 134 Triremes, and required only 30 cargo ships.

Quote: How? Let's suppose that the navy organized itself, internally, in small squadrons of some 10 ships. Why 10? Well, Athens provided some 100 ships to the Egyptian Expedition, and there were 10 demei (tribes) n Athens, and they did manage their army by demos (at this time, 460BCE, the trierarchies had lost most of its power) and they did so for the phalanx in Marathon, each taxis was formed by a tribe. It's not clear how they did, and I'm still researching it, but, well, it looks reasonable.

I’d be cautious about projecting a deme organization onto the navy. In the first case, the men manning the navy would almost assuredly not be drawn equally from all over Attica. It seems more likely to me that the Piraeus and perhaps Sounion (where Athens had settled and enfranchised exiled democratic refugees from Aigina around 480 BC) would have provided the vast majority of the naval manpower. More importantly naval organization seems rather to have been flexible and up to the discretion of first the assembly and then the generals in command. Secondly, and unlike the army it is very much more likely that metrics would have represented a key part of the navy. It is also worth pointing out there is no hint of a deme based system in any of the surviving navy records from Athens.

If you don’t mind why me asking why do you think the trierachos ‘lost power’, in what why? They certainly retained legal and economic responsibility for the ship they commanded for the duration of the Athenian democracy. Did they relay on professional helmsmen/captains (kybernetes) to make key sailing/fighting decisions in 430 BC sure, but don’t see any difference from 480 or 470 BC here.
As to support ships: there is evidence to indicate that an expeditionary fleet was bigger in number of triereis than the battle fleet. The expeditionary fleet simply was not fully manned (and could therefore carry more supplies and needed less than a fully manned one). Before battle, the crews could be redistributed, while the extra ships were left at camp, to be used as 'spares' in case of loss.
[size=150:ia6pjc9n]Clik on: "The Ships of Antiquity" [/size] ... m&lp=ru_en