Saturday, December 12, 2015

Greek Bronze Warship Ram, C. 530-270 BC, about the coolest thing to come off the bottom of the ocean in a long time.

Since it sank, there is a good chance it's ship sank in battle.
This was recovered from the sea near Atlit, a coastal town south of Haifa, Israel. The surface of the Atlit Ram was decorated with several symbols. On each side, an eagle/griffin head, a helmet, and an eight point star. The image of a kerykeion is on top. These symbols are similar in dimension, but contain many inconsistencies with each other, suggesting they were made from the same mold. The ram has a handle depicting a tri-form thunderbolt. 
Rams were thought to be one of the main weapons of war galleys after c. 700 BC, and the Athlit ram’s construction implies advanced technology that was developed over a long period of time. The ram was used in such naval battles as Salamis and Actium. Naval warfare in the Mediterranean rarely used sails, and the use of rams specifically required oarsmen over sails in order to maneuver with accuracy and speed, and particularly to reverse the movement of a ramming ship to disentangle it from its sinking victim, lest it be pulled down when its victim sank. The Athenians were especially known for their diekplus and periplus tactics that disabled enemy ships with speed and ramming techniques.
Rams were first recorded in use at the battle of Alalia in 535 BC. There is evidence available to suggest that it existed much earlier, probably even before the 8th century BC. They appear first on stylized images found on Greek pottery and jewelry and on Assyrian reliefs and paintings. The ram most likely evolved from cutwaters, structures designed to support the keel-stem joint and allow for greater speed and dynamism in the water.

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