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'Polykopa' = warship?
Can any Greek specialists confirm for me whether or not the word polykopa (πολύκωπα), or 'multi-oared', invariably refers to a seagoing warship, presumably of the banked variety (triremes etc)? Or might it ever be used, at any point in Greek or Roman history, to denote other kinds of vessel, either civilian or perhaps riverine?

Nathan Ross
(09-23-2016, 09:14 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: ... whether or not the word polykopa (πολύκωπα), or 'multi-oared', invariably refers to a seagoing warship ...
No idea. The word just means "many oared". LSJ note usage by Euripides (Iphigenia in Tauris 981: polykopos skaphos) and Sophocles (Trachiniae 656: polykopos naus). Note also this papyrus of AD 402, where it seems to mean the galley of the governor of the Thebaid.
posted by Duncan B Campbell
(10-01-2016, 11:00 AM)D B Campbell Wrote: The word just means "many oared"

Thanks, Duncan. My query was in relation to another papyrus, (P Vindobona Boswinkel 14), which notes an order from Ouitalious (probably Vitalis, katholikos of Egypt, c.320) for box and acanthus wood to repair a number of 'polykopa' at Memphis and Babylon.

C.H. Roberts (The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 31; Dec., 1945) believes these were warships, and the order relates to preparations for the naval war of AD324; John Matthews (Journey of Theophanes) is sceptical that these were necessarily seagoing warships. Hence my question. It does seem that the military base at Babylon in particular might have military vessels - it's the 'seagoing' bit I'm unsure of.
Nathan Ross

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