Ancient Greek Transportation: Aaron

Ancient Greek Transportation
In Ancient Greece, ships were the most efficient, quickest form of transportation. Their ships definitely could not compare to our modern day motor boats or even sail boats but at the time they were the airplanes of transportation. Although ships were the finest form of transportation, like airplanes, not everyone could afford them. Usually you would only see the navy with that ships. The average citizen used either chariots or walked. Throughout the thousands of years of Ancient Greece they used ships, chariot, and walked for transportation. Over time they developed many different ships and chariots that only became better and better. In this research paper you will be learning about the two main ships used in Ancient Greece, chariots, walking, and what their roads were like, you can compare to modern day and see how lucky we are now days. Transportation in Ancient Greece was much like today but in the eyes of technology, it was two step down.
Tme was the first type of waship used in Ancient Greece. It was used as a warship around 250-400 B.C. According to, “Bright Hub Inc” the Phoenicians were the inventors of the Bireme ship, but the Greeks supposedly “adopted” it. The ship was later considered a Greek ship due to their modification to make it fast and beefier. The name bireme came from a Latin origin, Bi which means two and reme means oars. It was about 80 feet long and had 30 pairs of oars to run the ship. The ship was strong sailing and built for those long war journeys. On the upper deck were all the military personnel. There were archers, spearmen, and the divers. They were pretty set for anything that would come at them. During the 8th century it was the leading warship. Up until this new ship came along…… (Webster) (BrightHub) (Wikipedia)

ship.jpgTrireme. When you hear this word, you can automatically think warship. The Trireme warship was a form of transportation that was key to the success of many wars in Ancient Greek. This ship was the second generation ship that came from the Bireme Warship. Athens was one of the most successful cities at the time. Their advantage with this ship and their knowledge of it was the token to their success. They would always have the best tactical plan and use the ship to its full potential. The ship was small and not built for long, ocean journeys because it was super low; approximately 18 inched above the water line. But the ship was extremely fast and very maneuverable. It was able to go roughly 9 knots, which is obviously quite quick considering the ship is man powered. The maneuverability was needed because most of the wars at sea were close and you need to be maneuverable to take the enemy down. It weapon was its underwater ram under the bow. The Trireme warship had 203 men on board. 170 men powered the ship, 14 spearmen, 4 archers, and 25 officers and sailors. The ship was mainly for war but also to manage who went in and out of the islands of Aegean, protect the Athenians merchant vessels, importing foods, and bringing in luxurious items into the Athens port of Peiraieus. (Richeast) (Uncovering History Everyday Life in Ancient Greece) (Cultural Atlas for Young People Ancient Greece)
The third and final ship is the Cargo ship, the second most common ship behind the war ship. This ship was not used to transport the public. But it was used for importing and exporting goods. Using this ship was much faster and more efficient than any kind of land transportation. The Greeks exported and imported goods like wine, wheat, olive oil, perfume, glass cups, vases, jewelry, clothing, grinding stones, and metal tools. Cargo ships were made in Ancient Greece. They used sails and occasionally oars and rowers. Sailing was much quicker and less effort, but more technical and difficult to teach. This ship was able to travel roughly 5 knots, pretty slow compared to the warships that could travel up to 14. It was made of wood and weighed about 150 tons. A couple hundred years later the Greeks decided to create a larger cargo, so they could carry for goods. Making the ship weigh 400 tons! (history for kids)(at school.eduweb)
One of the first forms of transportation, other than walking was the chariot. Not everyone could afford ships, so their option number two would be the chariot. The chariot was originated in Mesopotamia around 3,000 B.C and used by the Sumerians. Greek mythology says, the chariot was invented by a man named Erichthonius of Athens to save himself from walking and have horses pull him instead but who knows. To describe it, it was a carriage that lyed on a long axle, connected to two wheels. The wheels were made out of wood and had four to eight iron spokes. Riding in the chariot was quite bumpy and not enjoyable due to the lack of technology put into the suspension, actually there was no suspension. I am sure the roads of Greece did not help at all with that though. (I’ll explain more about that in the next paragraph) The carriage was pretty small, holding one passenger, two max plus the driver. Here is a fun fact, the chariot was not only used for transportation back in Ancient Greece, but also in the first Olympic Games and Panathenaic Games. It was a Chariot race to see who had the fastest horses. (Wikipedia)
Roads in Ancient Greece definitely were not one of the things they were positively known for. They were bumpy and unpaved. Everything was the same, from the little paths to the highways. I doubt there was a single person in all of Greece who took pleasure in transportation on those roads, unfortunately for them there was no way around it. Although shipping was most favored and used most (especially because Greece is on Mediterranean Sea), during the winters when the rivers were frozen, roads were their only option. For the people who didn’t live near a river, they were just sucking because they had to use the roads no matter what time of the year it was. Roads were used mostly during the winter, but also to export goods to places not surrounded by water. (Thinkquest)roads_pic.JPG
Ancient Greek transportation had some of the most high tech ships of their time, yet the worst ground transportation, it was literally a joke. Their warships ships weighed very little and were maneuverable that was key to all of Greece’s success. The ground transportation on the other hand, had no effort put into it and was probably the most terrible for their time. We have life awesome now days, car, buses, airplanes, and motorboat are all high tech ways for our transportation. Imagine how long the process was just for people back then to get goods shipped in and out, and imagine how long it took to travel from one city to another. It would take days!