Quinqeremes were ships rowed by oarsmen arranged in groups of five. The details of the particular ships are unknown, and many variations of oar arrangement have been suggested.

The origins of the quinqereme are unclear. It first appears in Athenian naval records in 425B.C., and by the end of the 4th century was common to most of the Greek states. It was larger and heavier than a trimene, allowing space for increased numbers of marines, missile weapons, and a Roman boarding bridge.

Carthage had a large fleet of quinqeremes, and when the Romans captured one during the Punic wars they replicated it, and built more to create a fleet, and it became the mainstay of the Roman navy

After the battle of Actium it began to be replaced by smaller ships.

Quin"que*reme (?), n. [L. quinqueremis; quinque five + remus an oar: cf. F. quinqu'ereme]

A galley having five benches or banks of oars; as, an Athenian quinquereme.

 

© Webster 1913.

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