Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Age of TitansThe Rise and Fall of the Great Hellenistic Navies$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 16 July 2019

The End of the Big Ship Phenomenon

The End of the Big Ship Phenomenon

(p.208) 7 The End of the Big Ship Phenomenon
The Age of Titans

William M. Murray

Oxford University Press

Four separate battle accounts—Chios (201), Side and Myonessus (190), and Actium (31)—allow us to complete our picture of the big ship phenomenon. In each case, mid–sized polyremes (“sixes” to “tens”) formed part of a fleet whose objectives involved siege operations. Past evaluations of these battles stressed the ineffectiveness of big ships against smaller “fives” and “fours” in the opposing fleets. More importantly, these battles demonstrate the need for naval siege units to include an adequate force of “fours” and “fives” to protect them while they were at sea. Although the Romans developed some skill in naval siege warfare, they never felt compelled to build warships larger than “sixes,” partly because their main enemies lacked naval siege units, but also because of the tremendous costs involved. They preferred to settle conflicts with superior land forces rather than naval siege operations aimed at coastal cities. These same conditions apply to Antony’s big ships at Actium which were intended primarily to secure his access to the ports of southern Italy, not to crush Agrippa’s “fours” and “fives” in high sea duels.

Keywords:   Chios, Side, Myonessus, Actium, Syracuse, Utica, Africanus, Antony, Octavian, Augustus

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .