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Roman bireme

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Reconstruction of a ship was done on the bas-relief of the Fortune Temple in Prenest dated by the end of the 2nd century B. C. The characteristic feature of the ship is her narrow crinoline - 'parados' - used not for placement of rowers but for defense of vessel boards. In decoration of the stem there were foreseen clamps for spears. The stem line above the metal ram had an inner sagging and then it smoothly extruded forward and passed into a massive acroter decorated by a peculiar ornament. Decorative figures of crocodiles on both sides of the stem seemingly symbolized the name of the ship.
The bulwark stretched along the whole length of the bireme had open passages in the bow and the stern. At the bow part of the outer surface of the bulwark one can see an image of the Medusa head and a goddess - patroness of a vessel.
A special place for a military leader was equipped under the light tent in the stern of the ship. In the bow part of the ship there was a tower that was also a distinguishing feature of Roman navy vessels. There were places for sling-men and a raven-shaped boarding ladder. Flagstaffs with fighting symbols on them, usually these were trophies of captured vessels, were strengthened on the acroter. This type of the bireme was a pure rowing vessel moving only with the help of up to 88 oars

 

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26.10.2007

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