The Age of Titans: The Rise and Fall of the Great Hellenistic Navies

Overview


While we know a great deal about naval strategies in the classical Greek and later Roman periods, our understanding of the period in between--the Hellenistic Age--has never been as complete. However, thanks to new physical evidence discovered in the past half-century and the construction of Olympias, a full-scale working model of an Athenian trieres (trireme) by the Hellenic Navy during the 1980s, we now have new insights into the evolution of naval warfare following the death of Alexander the Great. In what has...
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The Age of Titans: The Rise and Fall of the Great Hellenistic Navies

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Overview


While we know a great deal about naval strategies in the classical Greek and later Roman periods, our understanding of the period in between--the Hellenistic Age--has never been as complete. However, thanks to new physical evidence discovered in the past half-century and the construction of Olympias, a full-scale working model of an Athenian trieres (trireme) by the Hellenic Navy during the 1980s, we now have new insights into the evolution of naval warfare following the death of Alexander the Great. In what has been described as an ancient naval arms race, the successors of Alexander produced the largest warships of antiquity, some as long as 400 feet carrying as many as 4000 rowers and 3000 marines. Vast, impressive, and elaborate, these warships "of larger form"--as described by Livy--were built not just to simply convey power but to secure specific strategic objectives. When these particular factors disappeared, this "Macedonian" model of naval power also faded away--that is, until Cleopatra and Mark Antony made one brief, extravagant attempt to reestablish it, an endeavor Octavian put an end to once and for all at the battle of Actium. Representing the fruits of more than thirty years of research, The Age of Titans provides the most vibrant account to date of Hellenistic naval warfare.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is an original work of sound scholarship. Specialists in ancient naval history will benefit from this book and students of classical antiquity will also profit from it."--Anthony J. Papalas, Classical Journal

"Murray's ground-breaking study of the super-galleys of the Hellenistic Age is a triumph of historical research. He expertly analyzes and interprets a wide range of archaeological and textual evidence to present a convincing account of the development of these huge warships by the successors of Alexander the Great." --Philip de Souza, University College Dublin

"The Age of Titans offers an exciting discovery trip through the age of giant warships, their rise and decline, and their role in Hellenistic naval warfare. The book abounds in important new insights on naval architecture, battle tactics, and logistics, and is a crucial source of information for understanding the confusing web of Hellenistic history and warfare." --Kurt A. Raaflaub, Brown University

"A powerful and persuasive revisionist argument about the navies of the Hellenistic world, written with clarity and verve. Murray's expert knowledge comes through on every page, and so does his sheer joy in the subject. Both scholars and lay readers will enjoy this book." --Barry Strauss, Cornell University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

William M. Murray is Mary and Gus Stathis Professor of Greek History and Director of the Ancient Studies Center at the University of South Florida.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Introduction: Understanding the Big Ship Phenomenon
1. Frontal Ramming and the Development of "Fours" and "Fives"
2. Frontal Ramming: Structural Considerations
3. The Development of Naval Siege Warfare
4. Philo the Byzantine and the Requirements of Naval Siege Warfare
5. Big Ships, Boarding, and Catapults
6. The Culmination of the Big Ship Phenomenon
7. The End of the Big Ship Phenomenon
Conclusion
Appendices
Appendix A: Testimonia for "Fours"
Appendix B: Testimonia for "Fives"
Appendix C: Testimonia for "Sixes" to "Tens"
Appendix D: Testimonia for "Elevens" to "Forty"
Appendix E: Book V of Philo's Compendium of Mechanics-The Naval Sections
Appendix F: Testimonia for Naval Artillery
Glossary
Chronology
Bibliography
Index

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