Ships and sea-power before the Great Persian War

The ancestry of the ancient trireme

This book presents a new theory about the developments in shipping and naval organization that culminated in the invention - around 530 BC in the eastern Mediterranean - of the trireme, and the subsequent adoption of this first specialized warship of antiquity by all the naval powers of the time.
New interpretations are proposed of Greek and Assyrian iconographic data and of hitherto ignored evidence in Herodotos and Thukydides, the non-military factors determining developments are emphasized. Thukydides' fundamental essay on the genesis of Greek sea-powers is studied in depth, the rarity of these sea-powers stressed, and the peculiar background of the naval power of Phokaia and the Samian tyrant Polykrates exposed. The problem of the trireme's place of origin, the factors determining its invention, probably in Saïte Egypt, and its immediate adoption by the Persian king Kambyses are discussed. The first naval operations of the Persians are surveyed, reasons and circumstances of the trireme's introduction into the navies of the Greek city-states analysed with special attention for Themistokles' navy bill.
The book offers ancient historians and classical philologists a radically new approach to archaic maritime and naval history. It will also be useful to (nautical) archaeologists.

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H.T. Wallinga has been Professor of Ancient History at the University of Amsterdam (1960-64) and at the University of Utrecht (1964-90) in the Netherlands. He is a specialist in the maritime history of the ancient world. His recent publications have been concerned with the maritime aspects of the relationship between the Persian empire and the Mediterranean world: the Ionian revolt, the Persian navy and its predecessors, the 'thalassocracy' of Polycrates of Samos, Persian and Delian tribute, and the chief naval base of the Persians in Cilicia.
Students and specialists in the field of ancient history, classical philology, maritime and naval history; nautical archaeologists.
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