The Owl of Athena, Symbol of Athens
|Allegiance||City State of Athens|
|Engagements||(see engagements below)|
Themistocles, who was alive from 524 to 549 B.C., was largely responsible for developing the Athenian navy. One of the most interesting things about Themistocles is that he didn’t originally come from the Athenian elite. He had a rather simple upbringing, and he later rose to prominence because of his military skill, especially during the Battle of Marathon, and his prowess as a politician. He essentially brought the Athenians together with one common purpose – to make sure that when Persia did return, they wouldn’t successfully invade Greece. He desired to make Athens great and he did this by exploiting what he perceived to be one of Persia’s biggest weaknesses – their navy. He proceeded to talk the Athenians into the value of building the navy. They agreed, and their legend was born. Athens used money generated from their silver deposits to build ships and train the soldiers who would fight in the navy.
The Athenean Navy developed during the Persian Wars Athens developed a very large, powerful navy in the eastern Mediterranean that destroyed the even larger Persian navy at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC; the Athenian Navy reached a peak at this engagement and consisted of 80,000 men crewing 400 ships. The backbone of the navy's manpower was a core of professional rowers drawn from the lower classes of Athenian society. This gave the Athenian fleets an advantage in training over the less professional fleets of its rivals. The main warships of the fleet were the triremes. With its fleet, Athens obtained hegemony over the rest of the Greek city-states forming the first Athenian Empire. Its fleet was destroyed and empire lost during the Peloponnesian War. Athens regained some of its naval power after the Second Athenian Empire was rebuilt; however, it never fully recovered as its rivals were much stronger than before. The fleet included two sacred ships, the Paralus and the Salaminia used for diplomatic and ceremonial duties.
During the 5th to 2nd centuries BC Athens used the name Strategoi to denote a fleet commander or Admiral, whilst other navies of the period such as the Spartan Navy used the term Navarch or Návarchos. The Athenians at home and generals in the field could designate non -strategoi to the command of individual vessels and fleets for specific purposes.
Below is a list of known admirals of the Athenian Navy.
- Antiochus – admiral of the 5th century BC.
- Chabrias – general and admiral of the 4th century BC.
- Charitimides – admiral of the 5th century BC.
- Cimon – general and admiral of the 4th century BC.
- Conon – general and admiral of the 5th & 4th century BC.
- Dionysius – admiral of the 4th century BC.
- Eunomus – admiral of the 4th century BC.
- Lamachus – strategoi and admiral in the Peloponnesian War.
- Leontichus admiral and commander during the Corinthian War.
- Leosthenes – commanded a fleet and armament in the Cyclades.
- Phanias – Athenian commander during the Corinthian War.
- Phocion – statesman and strategos of the 5th & 4th century BC.
- Phormio – Athenian general and admiral before and during the Peloponnesian War.
- Protomachus was an Athenian general and admiral in the naval Battle of Arginusae.
- Strombichides – was an Athenian admiral and politician who lived during the late 5th century BC.
- Themistocles − general and archon of the navy during the Greco-Persian Wars.
- Timotheus − was a Greek statesman and general during the Second Athenian League.
- Tolmides – a leading Athenian strategos of the 1st Peloponnesian War
|Admirals and Senior Officers|
|1.||Archon of the Fleet||Archeío tou Stólou (Αρχείο του Στόλου)||Commander-in-Chief of the Navy|
|3.||Vice-Admiral||Archontes Tou Vautikou (Άρχοντες Του Βαυτικού)||Commander of the Ships, Squadron Commander|
|4.||Captain||Trierarch, Triírarcho (τριήραρχο)||Captain of a Warship|
|5.||Marine||Epibatai, (Επιβατάι)||Naval Infantry Officer|
|Senior Deck and Command Crew|
|1.||Deck and command crew||Hypēresia||collective name for all senior crew on deck of a warship|
|2.||Helmsman||Kybernētēs||experienced seaman and was often the commander of the vessel|
|3.||Prow master||Prōreus or Prōratēs||the ships bow lookout|
|7.||Piper||Aulētēs||gave the rowers rhythm|
|8.||Superintendent of the Rowers||Toicharchoi||2 men command the rowers one left and one right|
Phalerum was the major port of Athens before Themistocles had the three rocky natural harbours by the promontory of Piraeus developed as alternative naval base and dockyard, from 520 BC. In 490 BC, Themistocles initiated the fortifications of Piraeus and later advised the Athenians to take advantage of its natural harbours' strategic potential. In 483 BC, the Athenian navy left the older harbour of Phaleron and it was transferred to Piraeus.
|1.||Battle of Marathon||Persian Navy||490 BC||Greco-Persian Wars||Won|
|2.||Battle of Salamis||Persian Navy||480 BC||Greco-Persian Wars||Won|
|3.||Battle of the Eurymedon||Persian Navy||469 BC||Greco-Persian Wars||Won|
|4.||Siege of Memphis||Persian Navy||459 BC||Greco-Persian Wars||Loss|
|4.||Battle of Aegina||Aeginian Navy||458 BC||Third Messenian War||Won|
|5.||Battle of Salamis||Persian Navy||450 BC||Greco-Persian Wars||Won|
|6.||Battle of Sybota||Corinthian Navy||433 BC||Peloponnesian War||Draw|
|7.||Battle of Abydos||Peloponnesian League Navy||429 BC||Peloponnesian War||Won|
|8.||Battle of Rhium||Peloponnesian League Navy||429 BC||Peloponnesian War||Won|
|9.||Battle of Pylos||Spartan Navy||425 BC||Peloponnesian War||Won|
|10.||Battle of Abydos||Spartan Navy||411 BC||Peloponnesian War||Won|
|11.||Battle of Cynossema||Spartan Navy||411 BC||Peloponnesian War||Won|
|12.||Battle of Eretria||Spartan Navy||411 BC||Peloponnesian War||Loss|
|13.||Battle of Syme||Spartan Navy||411 BC||Peloponnesian War||Loss|
|14.||Battle of Cyzicus||Spartan Navy & Persian Navy||410 BC||Peloponnesian War||Won|
|15.||Battle of Arginusae||Spartan Navy||406 BC||Peloponnesian War||Loss|
|16.||Battle of Mytilene||Spartan Navy||406 BC||Peloponnesian War||Loss|
|17.||Battle of Notium (or Ephesus)||Spartan Navy||406 BC||Peloponnesian War||Loss|
|18.||Battle of Aegospotami||Spartan Navy||405 BC||Peloponnesian War||Loss|
|19.||Battle of Naxos||Spartan Navy||374 BC||Boeotian War||Won|
|20.||Battle of Embata||Chian Navy||356 BC||Social War||Won|
|21.||Battle of Amorgos||Macedonian Navy||322 BC||Lamian War||Loss|
|22.||Battle of Echinades||Macedonian Navy||322 BC||Lamian War||Loss|
|23.||Battle of Salamis||Ptolemaic Navy||306 BC||Wars of the Diadochi||Won|
- Potts, Samuel. "The Athenian Navy: An investigation into the operations, politics and ideology of the Athenian fleet between 480 and 322 BC" (PDF). orca.cf.ac.uk. Cardiff, Wales: University of Cardiff. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- Potts. pp. 87-93.
- Potts. "The Commanders of Ships: Nauarchs and Archons of the Fleet", p.153.
- Potts. pp. 87-93.
- Rosenbloom, David. "The Athenian Navy and Democracy: Top-Down, Bottom Up or Topsy Turvy?". Society for Classical Studies. American Philological Association. New York University. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- Potts. Appendix 3: Fleet Tables:Sea Battles, p.274.
- Anthony J. Papalas (2018) The Battle of Marathon and the Persian Navy, The Mariner's Mirror, 104:4, 388-401, DOI: 10.1080/00253359.2018.1518005. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00253359.2018.1518005.
- Potts, Samuel, (2008). The Athenian Navy, An investigation into the operations, politics and ideology of the Athenian fleet between 480 and 322 BC. Cardiff University. https://orca.cf.ac.uk/54643/1/U585032.pdf.
- Rosenbloom, David. The Athenian Navy and Democracy: Top-Down, Bottom Up or Topsy Turvy?, Society for Classical Studies. American Philological Association. New York University. https://classicalstudies.org/annual-meeting/147/abstract/athenian-navy-and-democracy-top-down-bottom-or-topsy-turvy