Roman Warships

Michael Pitassi

An examination of Roman naval development, drawing upon archaeological evidence, documentary accounts and visual representation.
Date Published :
May 2019
Publisher :
Boydell and Brewer
Illustration :
40 color, 81 black and white, 29 line drawing
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781783274147
Pages : 228
Dimensions : 9.5 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : In stock


The Roman Imperial Navy was the most powerful maritime force ever to have existed, prior to the European naval development of relatively recent centuries. It was able to deploy huge fleets and dominate the seas around western Europe, north Africa, and the Middle East, as well as the great rivers that formed a large part of the eastern boundary of the Roman world. It secured the trade routes and maintained the communications that allowed the Roman Empire to exist. It brought previously untouchable and unreachable enemies to battle and enabled the expansion of Imperial power into areas thought hitherto inaccessible. At the height of its power the Roman Navy employed tens of thousands of sailors, marines and craftsmen, who manned and maintained a fleet of warships far larger than anything in existence today. And yet these warships, the very tools that allowed the Roman Navy to dominate the seas, have remained largely unstudied.
Drawing upon archaeological evidence, documentary accounts and visual representations, the book charts the development and evolution of the Roman warship over eight centuries of naval activity, showing how ships were evolved to meet the circumstances of the different areas in which they had to operate, the different functions they needed to fulfil, and the changing nature of their enemies.
ALSO AVAILABLE: Navies of Rome, by Michael Pitassi


Interpreting the Sources
Ship Fittings
The Earliest Types; 8th to 4th Centuries BC
Naval Ascendancy - 3rd and 2nd Centuries BC
Civil Wars and Imperial Fleets, 1st Centuries BC and AD
Height of Empire, 2nd and 3rd Centuries AD
The Late Empire, 4th and 5th Centuries AD
Appendix 1: Service Lives of Ship Types
Appendix 2: Types of Roman Warships
Appendix 3: Gazetteer. Where to see Roman Boats and Ships
Appendix 4: Glossary of Nautical Terms Used

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