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A Nauarchos, Admiral, a general term for the commander of a navy, of a squadron however small, and even of a single ship.[1] Nauarchos were appointed to command in the Ptolemaic Navy (305–30 BC).


As an official title it appears comparatively late, since full-time *navies were hugely expensive and the geographical conditions of Greek warfare, which demanded amphibious operations, discouraged the separation of naval from military commands.[2] Thus at Athens, for example, Athenian and allied fleets were always commanded by *stratēgoi. But with the greater specialisation of warfare, especially in states lacking an established naval tradition, the title began to appear, most importantly in *Sparta (c.430–360 bce), Syracuse under *Dionysius (1) I and (2) II, Ptolemaic *Egypt, the *Achaean Confederacy, and *Rhodes.[3] The nauarchos was everywhere admiral of the fleet, with no colleague; in the Greek republics such as Sparta his tenure was normally a single year (a rule that had to be circumvented to accommodate *Lysander), but admirals who served monarchs.[4]


  1. Cartledge, Paul (2016). nauarchos. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  2. Cartledge.
  3. Cartledge.
  4. Cartledge.