• Hellenistic and Roman Naval Wars

  • 336 BC-31 BC
  • By: John D. Grainger
  • Narrated by: Peter Noble
  • Length: 11 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A technological, strategic, and tactical history of ancient naval ships from Alexander to the battle of Actium.

The period covered in this book is well known for its epic battles and grand campaigns of territorial conquest, but Hellenistic monarchies, Carthaginians, and the rapacious Roman Republic were scarcely less active at sea. Huge resources were poured into maintaining fleets not only as symbols of prestige but as means of projecting real military power across the Mediterranean arena.

Taking the period between Alexander the Great's conquests and the Battle of Actium, John Grainger analyzes the developments in naval technology and tactics, the uses and limitations of sea power and the differing strategies of the various powers. He shows, for example, how the Rhodians and the Romans eschewed the ever-larger monster galleys favored by most Hellenistic monarchs in favor of smaller vessels. This is a fascinating study of a neglected aspect of ancient warfare.

©2011 John D. Grainger (P)2022 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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Very interesting, fills a lot of gaps.

The region is called Mediterranean in reference to the sea, but other than vague "he took ship from Sicily and landed in Alexandria" most histories don't touch the actual naval practice other than the standard "trireme is 3 banks quadrireme is 4 and the Romans invented the Corvus which wokked once. "

It was very interesting and useful to have this perspective, though I don't know if it would be useful to the casual historian, as it is fairly vague about anything other than specifically naval topics.
Fun to get a rundown of all the famous battles/chases/excisions entirely from the maritime perspective.
My only critiques are basic editorial issues...tri/quadrireme etc are not defined the first time you encounter the terms but later around some piece of minutia. Additionally some aspects of the pacing/timeline are less clear than they might be because of vagaries of descriptions of things happening on land.
That said, I am a carpenter building a house while I listen, so I do get distracted and some topics may have been clearer than I give them credit for.