The trireme derives its name from its three rows of oars, manned with one man per oar. The early trireme was a development of the penteconter, an ancient warship with a single row of 25 oars on each side (i.e., a single-banked boat), and of the bireme, a warship with two banks of oars. As a ship it is fast and agile, and it is the dominant warship in the Mediterranean Sea.   The trireme is constructed to maximize all traits of the ship to the point where if any changes is made the design would be compromised. Speed is maximized to the point where any less weight would have resulted in considerable losses to the ship's integrity. The center of gravity is placed at the lowest possible position where the Thalamian tholes is just above the waterline which retained the ship's resistance to waves and the possible rollover. If the center of gravity is placed any higher, the additional beams needed to restore stability would result in the exclusion of the Thalamian tholes due to the reduced hull space. The purpose of the area just below the center of gravity and the waterline known as the hypozomata is to allow bending of the hull when faced great force.   Triremes requires a great deal of upkeep in order to stay afloat. They also would become waterlogged if left in the sea for too long. In order to prevent this from happening, ships have to be pulled from the water during the night. The use of lightwoods meant that the ship can be carried ashore by as few as 140 men. While well-maintained triremes would last up to 25 years most survive around 20 years.  


The construction of a trireme are expensive and require around 6000 man-days of labor to complete. The ship is build outside in, with the hull created and then the beams added to it. The materials from which the trireme ix constructed are an important aspect of its design. The three principal timbers included fir, pine, and cedar. Oak is used to reinforce the hull of the ship and protect it from incoming fire and to withstand the daily hauling ashore.


180 oars in total (1 oarman per oar), Two masts with sails, two steering oars at the stern one port and the other starboard.

Weapons & Armament

2 - 3 ballistae and 20 - 30 archers or spear throwers. Bronze ram (detachable)

Armor and defense

Oak armour
6 m
40 m
6 - 8 knots (4 knots with half the crew resting) (80 - 100km / day)
Complement / Crew
200 strong (170 row men, 1 Captain plus a detachment of marines)


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