This work presents a new theory about the development in shipping and naval organization that culminated in the invention - around 530 BC in the eastern Mediterranean - of the trireme, and the subsequent adoption of this first specialized warship of antiquity by all the naval powers of the time. New interpretations are proposed of Greek and Assyrian icographic data and of hitherto igred evidence in Herodotus and Thucydides, and the n-military factors determining developments are emphasized. Thucydides' fundamental essay on the genesis of Greek sea-powers is studied in depth, the rarity of these sea-powers is stressed and the peculiar background of the naval power of Phokaia and the Samian tyrant Polykrates exposed. The problem of the trireme's place of origin, the factors determining its invention, probably in Saite Egypt, and its immediate adoption by the Persian king Cambyses are discussed. The first naval operations of the Persians are surveyed, reasons and circumstances of the trireme's introduction into the navies of the Greek city-states analyzed with special attention for Themistocles' navy bill. The book offers ancient historians and classical philologists a radically new approach to archaic maritime and naval history. It should also be useful to (nautical) archaeologists.
H.T. Wallinga has been Professor of Ancient History at the University of Amsterdam (1960-64) and at the University of Utrecht (1964-90) in the Netherlands. He is a specialist in the maritime history of the ancient world. His recent publications have been concerned with the maritime aspects of the relationship between the Persian empire and the Mediterranean world: the Ionian revolt, the Persian navy and its predecessors, the 'thalassocracy' of Polycrates of Samos, Persian and Delian tribute, and the chief naval base of the Persians in Cilicia.