NAVIGATION - GREEK TRIREME (SERIES II)ID92890050
€14.00 (Taxes not incl.)
The obverse reproduces, in colours, a detail of the work entitled "Greek Navy of war. Large Greek Trirremes", made by Rafael Monleón y Torres, which is preserved in the Naval Museum of Madrid.
On the reverse (common to all the pieces), the face value of the coin 1.5 EURO and the inscription HISTORY OF THE NAVIGATION appear. Out of the central circle there are six dolphins jumping.
|Series||History of Navigation|
|Face Value (Euro)||1.5|
|Maximum Mintage (units)||10,000|
GREEK WAR TRIRREME
Period: From the sixth century BC to the fourth century AD.
Length: Between 35 and 40 m Beam: Between 3.5 and 6 m Draught: 1.5 m.
Propulsion: Oars and sails combined.
Weaponry: Ram and the crew’s hand-held weapons.
Description: As a warship, the trireme evolved from previous vessels, above all the pentekontor, which was smaller and fell into disuse as the trireme gained more prominence towards the late sixth century BC. Initially used as a trading vessel, it was armed, ready to act in the event of war and later served to protect trade, transport troops and attack enemy cities. Losing ground to the quinquereme in the fourth century BC, the trireme returned to the fore when Rome held sway over the Mediterranean. It would remain in use until the fourth century AD.
In bad weather, two rudders were used, one at the stern and the other, at the bow. Although several types of wood were used in its construction, fir was the preferred choice on account of its light weight. The craft was caulked in pitch and wax. The stern was fine and slender so as to facilitate manoeuvres and enable the vessel to back water with ease and speed. With a capacity to displace up to 45 tonnes, the trireme was of such a size that it became the largest warship of the period. It was powered by oars and sails and fitted with a ram which, in some cases, was made of bronze, a great advantage in naval battles.
In the fifth century BC and up to the mid-fourth century BC, it had two masts, the mainmast and the akateios, which was no longer seen after the year 330. The sails were used for navigation in normal conditions but in time of war, were left behind to be replaced by the might of the oarsmen to increase speed and power in enemy collisions.
The full crew consisted of about 200 men. Of these, 170 were oarsmen, with 85 a side, and 30 belonged to the infantry. They were arranged at three levels: 62 on the upper bank; 54 on the middle one; and a further 52 on the lower one. From the fifth century BC, there were two types of trireme: the cataphract, with a closed hull to protect the oarsmen from the swell and enemy projectiles; and the aphract, on which the oarsmen’s heads were left exposed. The oarsmen could propel the craft at a speed of five or six knots per hour although, with the help of the square-rigged sail or when they rowed at full capacity for combat, they were able to reach seven or nine knots (between 13 and nearly 17 km per hour).
Key events: Famous conflicts in which the triremes took part include the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC, where the Greek fleet defeated the Persian forces; and the Battle of Epipolae in 413 BC, where the Syracusans were victorious over the Athenians.