Aezanis, Temple of Zeus, 117-138 AD 
History/Classics 310
Athenian Empire: 480-404 B.C.



 Book List  
 Reserve Readings 
 Themistocles Decree 
 Megarian Decree 
 Athenian Treaties 

 Early Sparta and Athens 
 514-482 B.C.  
 Pentekontaeteia, 479-431 B.C. 
  Peloponnesian War  

 Finances in Athens 
 Greek Coinage and Measures 


I. Sailing Distances and Speeds
II. Oligarchic Coup
III. Alternate Accounts of Fall of the Thirty
IV. Naval Losses in the Ionian War
V. Forces Engaged at the Battle of Mantinea
VI. Wages of the Ten Thousand
VII. Marching Distances and Speeds of the Ten Thousand
VIII. Kings of Persia, of Sparta, and of Macedon

The warship was the TRIREME (or triereis) propelled by a square sail and 170 rowers (arranged in three levels of oarsmen). Top speed was 8.6 knots; average speed was approximately 7 knots. The older fifty-oared warships (pentakonter) and merchant ships attained perhaps  one-half to one-third the speed of the trireme. 

A trireme during a "long day" of 16 hours rowing and with a favorable wind (plus two hours stop for rest and a midday meal) could cover 130 nautical miles in a day (Xen., Ana. 6. 4.  2).  In 427 B.C. the Athenians sent a second trireme to countermand the punishment voted to Mytilene.  The first trireme carrying the initial orders had been dispatched one day earlier and, at an average speed, covered the 184.5 nautical miles between PIRAEUS (port of Athens) and Mytilene in just over 2 days.  By rowing continually in shifts and taking meals on board, the crew of the second trireme covered the same distance in a record speed of 24 hours (Thuc. III. 39). 

 Average Sailing Times of Trireme 

Origin   Destination   Distance Time
        (Nautical Miles) (Days)
Piraeus   Ephesus   190 3-Feb
Piraeus   Mytilene   185 2-2.5
Piraeus   Abdera   240 4-Mar
Piraeus   Potidaea   215 3
Piraeus   Lampsacus   240 4-Mar
Piraeus   Byzantium   350 4.5-5.5
Piraeus   Heraclea   475 7-Jun
Piraeus   Sinope   665 8.5-10
Piraeus   Phasis   950 14-Dec
Piraeus   Panticapaeum   800 12-Oct
Piraeus   Crete   170 2-2.5
Piraeus   Cythera   110 1.5-2
Cythera   Cyrene   200 2.5-3
Cyrene   Egypt   470 7-Jun
Piraeus   Corcyra   375 6-May
Corinth   Corcyra   190 2.5-3
Corcyra   Taras (Tarentum)   160 2-2.5
Corcyra   Croton   165 2-2.5
Corcyra   Syracuse   320 5-Apr
Piraeus   Rhodes   250 3.5-4
Rhodes   Sidon   380 6-May
Rhodes   Egypt   320 5-Apr
From G. Glotz, Ancient Greece at Work (London, 1927), pp. 294-95. 
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Dr. Kenneth W. Harl 
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Last updated 03/19/98
by Annette Lindblom