The birth of the mighty Roman Navy was anchored in the Romans' extraordinary ability to absorb and perfect the technology of other states and empires. Indeed, during the clash of the great Mediterranean powers in the Punic Wars of the 3rd century, Rome had little or no naval force to speak of, just a humble fleet of the tiny Etruscan Aphraktoi, and it was the Carthaginians who reigned supreme at sea. Yet in a remarkably short space of time, the Romans at first copied, and then surpassed the superior Carthaginian maritime technology, incorporating designs such as the corvus (boarding bridge). Before long, the Cartaginians had been decisively smashed, paving the way for Rome to become the dominant naval power in the Mediterranean for the next seven centuries. This is the story of the design, development and operation of the Republican Roman warship in the age of the conquest of the Mediterranean, from the first Roman naval adventure of 394 BC and the Punic Wars, to Pompey's operations against the Cilician Pirates and Caesar's victorious naval campaigns in Armorica, concluding with the consolidation of the Mediterranean Sea as Mare Nostrum with the battle of Actium in 31 BC. Archaeological photography, including those of exciting new finds, such as the Roman warship rostra (rams) found in the Aegates Islands, accompany lavish artistic reconstructions in illustrating the ships of the first Roman navy.
About the Author
Dr Raffaele D'Amato is an experienced Turin-based researcher of the ancient and medieval military worlds. After achieving his first PhD in Romano-Byzantine Law, and having collaborated with the University of Athens, he gained a second doctorate in Roman military archaeology. He currently works as vice-head of the Laboratory of the Danubian Provinces at the University of Ferrara, under Professor Livio Zerbini. The author lives in Frossasco, Italy.
Table of ContentsIntroduction/ Chronology/ Historical background/ The origin of the Roman navy/ The evolution of the Roman fleet/ The ships (The Aphraktai; The Biremes; The Triremes; The Quadriremes; The Quinquiremes; The Sambuca; The Hemiola; The Liburna; The Oneraria; Structure and construction; Armament and decoration)/ Fighting on the sea (Roman naval tactics; Employment in siege war)/ Campaigns (The first Punic wars; Pompey and the Cilician Pirates; Caesar in Gaul; The naval wars of Octavianus and Agrippa)/ Bibliography/ Index