Best Ancient Navies?

Jun 2018
42
New Hampshire
#11
The answer to this question would have to be a tie between Athens and the Phonecians.

The Romans never had a particularly impressive navy. They were the dominant naval force in the Mediterranean for half a millennia simply by virtue of their military conquests. There were no longer any independent polities left in the Mediterranean which could project sea power to any extent.
 
Last edited:

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,332
Lago Maggiore, Italy
#15
Phoenecians, Carthage, Rome.
Persia and Greece.

don't know much about Phoenecian 'navy' activities but with their fleets and sailors they must have had the material. I'm sure they had anti-pirate forces.

I read somewhere the Romans found a shipwrecked Carthage ship and patterned theirs after. their tactics usually involved getting close to enemy ships and jumping over with sword in hand to settle things land combat way.
eventually the Roman fleet ruled the Med, supplying troops, escorting grain convoys and chasing pirates.
(I guess Carthage was an extension of the Poenecians?)
Yes, Carthage, at the beginning, was the Phoenician colony of "Qart Ḥadasht", so that we can consider it a Phoenician entity as well. Roman fleets existed also in the North. There was one in Great Britain able to circumnavigate the isle [Romans navigated North of Scotland without troubles].

Anyway, making a balance between historical context and achievements ... the Phoenicians, in my opinion, remain the "best" sailors of the ancient times.
 
Nov 2010
6,999
Cornwall
#16
I disagree. I think the Romans had an extraordinarily powerful navy. In fact, it was so overwhelming that (virtually) all of their opponents after the 1st punic war chose to concede the seas and only fight on land. .
The 'virtually' bit presumably being the Vandals, who made the Central Med theirs, much of the Western and later even had the Eastern Empire on the backfoot for a bit ,at sea?
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,083
Portugal
#17
Phoenecians, Carthage, Rome.

Persia and Greece.

don't know much about Phoenecian 'navy' activities but with their fleets and sailors they must have had the material. I'm sure they had anti-pirate forces.

[...]

(I guess Carthage was an extension of the Poenecians?)
Carthage was not an extension of the Phoenicians. Carthage was a Phoenician city, a Phoenician colony, like many others around the Mediterranean sea.

Phoenicia was never politically united. It was composed by several city states. The only time that they were more united was under the umbrella of the Carthaginian Empire, not always welcomed by some Phoenician colonies and at a time that the city states in their homeland weren’t independent anymore.

About anti-pirate forces… I don’t know. You could consider any war galley at a service of a city state an anti-pirate force, even if other city states could consider them simply pirates.
 
Mar 2018
323
UK
#18
The 'virtually' bit presumably being the Vandals, who made the Central Med theirs, much of the Western and later even had the Eastern Empire on the backfoot for a bit ,at sea?
I'd consider the vandals to be when the western empire lost its naval supremacy. I was thinkingof Illyrian pirates being a pain in the Roman ass in the second century BC and the Mithridatic wars having some naval components.
 

Mangekyou

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
7,853
UK
#19
Athens. Though considering Rome's lack of experience in naval warfare they developed very efficient tactics and prowess at it. The Rhodians were also very good.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
6,647
#20
The 'virtually' bit presumably being the Vandals, who made the Central Med theirs, much of the Western and later even had the Eastern Empire on the backfoot for a bit ,at sea?
You are talking about Rome when it was in decline. For the first 5 centuries, the Vandals were nowhere around. And the Vandals at their best were no match for the Roman fleet during the first 3 centuries.
 

Similar History Discussions