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

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

Hardback Onassis Series in Hellenic Culture

By (author) William Murray

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 157mm x 236mm x 28mm | 680g
  • Publication date: 1 June 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 019538864X
  • ISBN 13: 9780195388640
  • Sales rank: 562,829

Product description

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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Author information

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

Review quote

This book is one of the most interesting and innovative studies I have read in recent years. ... The exposition is clear and logically structured, the argumentation convincing and built up in a systematic way, the style succinct, the information up to date. Hans Hauben, Gnomon a very detailed analysis of the naval arms race that developed in the Hellenistic Age. ... an important contribution to the field of both naval history and the Hellenistic Period. Murray does an excellent job of gathering all of the available evidence for the larger polyremes of the period and presents it in a well written and convincing manner. ... While the work will certainly be an important reference work, it will also clearly benefit anyone wishing to lean more about the larger polyremes of the Hellenistic Period. R. Scott Moore, International Journal of Maritime History

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