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The Age of TitansThe Rise and Fall of the Great Hellenistic Navies$
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William Murray

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195388640

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388640.001.0001

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The Development of Naval Siege Warfare

The Development of Naval Siege Warfare

(p.69) 3 The Development of Naval Siege Warfare
The Age of Titans

William M. Murray

Oxford University Press

The composition of the traditional trireme navy underwent profound changes during the 4th century as a result of the introduction of naval siege warfare. Although 5th and 4th century fleets were employed to attack enemy harbors, Alexander the Great first demonstrated the full capability of a naval siege unit during his famous siege of Tyre in 332 BC. In the years following Alexander’s death, Antigonus Monophthalmus and especially his son Demetrius Poliorcetes embraced the naval siege unit as an instrument of foreign policy. Demetrius’s inability to take Rhodes in 305 underscored the limitations of his capabilities (like the ability to force through a harbor barrier), which he felt he could overcome by building even larger warships. By his subsequent success in capturing coastal cities, Demetrius repeatedly demonstrated the usefulness of a powerful naval siege unit in securing and holding a naval empire.

Keywords:   Tyre, Alexander, naval, siege, unit, Demetrius, Rhodes, Antigonus, Philip

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