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A quinquireme ( latin quinqueremis [navis] , of quinque , five 'and remus , belts '), quinqueremes or Pentere is (Greek) an antique rudder warship in which five rower formed a unit.

Presentation of a Pentere according to Graser

How many levels the rowers were distributed on is controversial in research, as the information given by ancient authors and pictorial representations in this regard are too scarce. To this day there is no image or archaeological find of a ship with more than three levels. So you can be sure that there were no belt ships with more than three levels. A belt ship with five levels one above the other, as the design by Bernhard Graser showed, is in fact impassable. The synchronization of the rudder planes is impossible. Probably most of the "five oars" had three levels like the trireme , with two oars double occupied; however, quinquerems with only one or two rudder levels are also conceivable.

Quinquerems probably first appeared in the 4th century BC. Developed by the Carthaginians or Dionysius I of Syracuse . In the Hellenistic monarchies, even larger types of ships emerged with six, ten or even more rowers per unit, but they were never used in large numbers.

“Five oars” were ( apart from a few flagships ) the Carthaginians' largest warships and were also used in the Punic Wars .

The Romans also built quinquerems. According to Polybius , the Roman shipbuilders copied a stranded Carthaginian quinquereme and built 100 ships based on this model. In the Battle of Mylae in 260 BC. The Roman Quinqueremen, equipped with the new type of corvus , a kind of boarding bridge, defeated their Carthaginian opponents.

The designation of such a ship as a galley should be avoided. This designation is actually only correct for the rowing warships from the late Middle Ages to the 18th century.

See also


  • Vernon Foley, Werner Soedel: Ancient oared warships . In: Scientific American . tape 244 , April 4, 1981, pp. 116-129 .
  • Fik Meijer: A history of seafaring in the classical world . Croom and Helm, London 1986, ISBN 0-7099-3565-X .
  • JS Morrison, RT Williams: Greek oared ships: 900-322 BC . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1968.
  • JS Morrison, JF Coates: Greek and Roman oared warships . Oxbow Books, Oxford 1996, ISBN 1-900188-07-4 .
  • Hans DL Viereck: The Roman fleet - Classis Romana . Koehlers, Herford 1975, ISBN 3-7822-0106-X .