Weapons and Warfare in the Ancient World


Note: Database Directory of Links for this section is located on the main page.


General Links
Warfare in the Ancient World
Hugh Elton bibliography from Greece to Rome to Byzantine.

Catapult Museum Online
The use of the catapult to the present day.

E-Hawk Cadre Main Page - The Central Military Archive
This is the place for the student of military history and scholars alike. Combines all periods from Pre-Modern to Modern. An On-Line Military History Library with Sources, Reference Materials, Bibliographies, Articles, Book Reviews. Access them by time period, subject, alphabetically.

Ancient Accounts of Arabia, 430BCE-550CE Ancient History Sourcebook 

Ancient/Classical History Collection of Netlinks Collection of netlinks on a wide range of topics from the culture and art of the ancient Mediterranean to biographies, science, technology, and battles. 

Ancient Galleys
History of the Greek fighting ships following the development of the ram as a weapon in about 800 BC.

The Ancient Greek World - History of Warfare
Before the early 5th century warfare wreaked only as much havoc as needed for political concessions. The Persian conflict brought total war. Amphora pictures of soldiers fighting.

The Ancient Greek World - Weapons and Armor
The basic soldiering equipment (panoply) cost the equivalent of a modern car. Pictures of bronze helmets and perfume container that looks like a helmet with warrior's head.

Ancient Empires Art, gifts, and collectibles inspired by the past civilizations of Ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, and the Gothic & Medieval Era.

Ancient Mediterranian Trade Map - A stained glass window in Northwestern University's Wieboldt Hall. (Schaffner Library, Northwestern University)

Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Weapons & Armour Specializing in reproductions. Lots of historically accurate reproductions as well as descriptions and useful information for new or experienced collectors. Fully functional as well as display/gift items are available.

Ancient Navigation and Shipbuilding in the Greek and Roman World - Maria Curie - Sklodowska University

Ancient Rome Links Page If you can't find it here...it's probably not out there :) A comprehensive list of links about ancient Rome. 

Anglo-Saxon Warfare
Relying on Tacitus, Beowulf, and the Finnesburh Fragment, this Angelcynn (living history society) site describes the Anglo-Saxons fyrdsman.

Ancient Siege Warfare - Short Article

Armour & Weapons (Later Roman Period - Middle Ages) Over 200 Articles: swords, blades, scabbards, suits of armors, daggers, small amours, letter openers, articles for decoration, military sabers, helmets, metal gloves, scabbards made with leather. 

The Archaeological Museum at Olympia
Images of breastplate, helmet of Miltiades, and bronze battering ram.

Beginner's guide to Roman military equipment. Includes FAQ. Find out what the well dressed 1st Century Roman legionnaire wore.

Athenian trireme diagram - The most important naval vessel in the Greek world. It was about 120 feet long, 15 feet wide and needed 170 oarsman. This cross-sectioned diagram is reproduced from Arthur Ferrill's book, The Origins of War: From the Stone Age to Alexander the Great. (North Park University)

Battle of Syme
Article by Caroline L. Falkner, from Ancient History Bulletin evaluating the importance of Spartan victory at the Ionian island of Syme as described by Thucydides.

Battles of the Roman Republic
Summaries of the following battles: Cannae, Zama, Cynoscephalae, Pharsalus, & Actium; written as the result of a class project. Includes images of Hannibal and the elephants, busts of Caesar, Augustus, and Scipio.

Catapults in Greek and Roman Antiquity - Catapults were invented about 400 BC in Greece.

Catapaults of the Roman Empire
Romans developed the cheiroballista and the onager. Site discusses the Siege of Maiden Castle, nomenclature, and methods of procurement of siege engines.

The Celts in Battle
Polybius and Livy on the subject.

Coins of Arados - OHG 3 - One side of a bronze coin issued by the citizen body of Arados (162/1 BC) has an image of a warship's three-pronged battering ram. (Oliver D. Hoover, The Hoover Collection of Seleucid Coins)

Coventry Boat builders Restorations and Replicas - These specialists in the restoration of vintage boats built an early test section of the Olympias for the Trireme Trust to demonstrate the feasibility of ancient Greek construction methods. The right-hand column of this web page also displays photos and commentary on their work on a one third replica of the 4th century B.C. Kyrenia ship for the Manchester Museum. (Coventry Boat builders & Chandlery)

Cronologia De La Epoca De Las Guerras Punicas
Almost yearly timeline of events leading up to and through the Second Punic War. In Spanish.

Greek Bireme - Just one of several pages on this new "Encyclopedia of Ships" site, this contains an overview of the ancient Greek bireme. Refer to the links on the left of the page for descriptions and images of many more ancient ships. 

Greek Cargo Ship - Suspended from the ceiling of Manchester Museum's Aegean Gallery is the replica of the Kyrenia ship built by Coventry Boat builders. (Manchester Museum)

The Greek Navy - Two budding triearchs from British Columbia have posted their drawings of a trireme and a bireme along with a summary of what they've learned about shipbuilding and tactics. (Jeff N. and Jeff B., Brooke Elementary School)

Hellas:Net - Warfare - topics include the Greek army, the Persian army, mercenaries, the era of the diadochs and more.

Introduction to Ancient Siege Warfare
Explains the purposes of siege engines before describing specific sieges at Miletus, Thebes, Halicarnassus, Tyre, and Perinthus.

The Landings of Caesar in Britain, 55 and 54 BC
After Caesar finally established a camp in Britain, he had to leave. Maps of his troops' paths between Gaul and Britain.

Las Guerras De Roma Entre 264 Y 133
Roman War timeline from 264 to 133 BC. Includes Punic, Macedonian and wars in Spain. In Spanish.

Laws of War in the Roman Empire 350 to 380 AD
Laws of hospitality protected envoys. Military movements ceased during negotiations. Dediticii, those who had surrendered, were employed within the army were assigned to distant parts of the empire.

Map of the Roman Empre. -Taken from Longs Classical Atlas(New York, 1864), plate 4.

Maritime Greece - Though concentrating on modern Greek shipping, the site contains a stunning head-on photo of the Olympias reconstruction under sail (click on the photo icon on the left side of the page). A side view of the Olympias is displayed on the "Ships Gallery" page, and an explanation of "why a ship is a she" is thrown in for good measure (Greek sailors were probably telling this same joke in the 6th century B.C.). (Paiva)

Military History of the Roman State
Bibliography relevant to Regnal Rome, Pyrrhus, punic Wars, Jugurthine War, Caesar in Gaul, Civil Wars, Jewish Revolt, Huns, Vandals, and many other campaigns.

Models of the Roman Legion
By Gary Brueggeman. If you've ever wondered how the Roman legions were arranged, you'll appreciate the graphics on this site. Excellent bibliography.

Naval Warfare in Ancient India
Article by Prithwis Chandra Chakravarti, from 1930 Indian Historical Quarterly includes literary evidence and conquests of Ceylon.

Neolithic Warfare, by Arther Ferrill
Fascinating, long article discounting popular misconceptions about early warfare, including the idea that slings require a good deal of space and that populations were too small for warfare on a modern scale.

Peloponnesian Wars
Article with accompanying maps of alliances of and schematics of the Peloponnesian Wars which began with Sparta and her allies laid seige to Periclean Athens in 431 BC.

The Persian Wars
Kent Factora's site, containing Persian War topical definitions, maps, timeline, and a seven item bibliography.

The Punic Wars - Polybius - Rome at the End of the Punic Wars [Ancient History Sourcebook] English translation of Book 6 of Polybius' History 

Reforms of Marius
Greg Ong's answer to an exam question. Primarily concerns Marius' military reforms which created a professional military.

The Roman Army - Hosted by the Colchester Roman Society.

The Roman Army: A Bibliography
Extensive list, including sections on Campaigns, Battles & Military Areas, Officers, Centurions & Optiones, Legions, Recruitment, Finance, and the Navy.

Roman History in Cumbria
Second, sixth and twentieth Roman legions were stationed in Cumbria. Supplemental aid was found by recruiting locals into the Auxiliary forces.

Roman Legionary Forces in Sicily
Edward D. Clark's article on Livy's account of the number of legions stationed on Sicily from 214 - 210 BC (during Punic War II).

Roman Military Organisation until 104 BC
Before the military reorganization of Marius, the Roman army went through 3 phases with the legion reduced from 8400 men to 4000.

Roman Military Research Society. Legio XIIII Gemina Martia Victrix. Winner of the 1999 Military Illustrated display unit of the year award

Roman Military Sites in Britain
Glossary, bibliography, summary of military events, introduction to forts and camps built by the Roman army.

Rulers of Ancient Rome

Homepage for the Society of Ancient Military Historians. Accepts members interested in promoting and sharing in the study of Ancient Military History.

Sargon's Eighth Campaign
Anthony Garia points out what we know about the Assyrian army from letters about Sargon's campaign in 714 BC.

Ships of the Ancient Greeks
An Annotated Collection of Internet Resources: Archaeology Sites, History Sites, Classics Sites, Museum Sites, Bibliographies, Syllabi, Articles, Lectures, Book Reviews, and Images. 

Ships of the Ancient Greeks - Image Archive.

Siege of Syracuse
Introduction, map, and relevant passages from Livy, Polybius, and Plutarch.

The "Sling" - Ancient Weapon

Sparta Pages - coverage of various aspects of ancient Sparta, including history, society, culture, warfare and more.

Sun Tzu on the Art of War
Lionel Giles' 1910 translation from the Chinese of the oldest military treatise in the world. Includes explanation of the treatise and legends about the military leader.

The Syracusan Expedition
Athens attacked the Spartan colony in Sicily in 425 and then again, under the influence of Alcibiades, in 415. Although in the first wave of battle, Athens gained the upper hand, ultimately, it lost not only the war but its political supremacy.

Tension Artllery in the Greek World
1995 article on Gastraphetes. Composite belly bow, whose research was commissioned by Dionysus I in 399 BC, made a welcome addition to seige warfare. Related section on the Sythians is unfinished.

The Trireme
Succinct article on the Athenian fighting ship. Includes specifications and consequences of owning a fleet of the state-of-the-art, polis financed ships.

Triremes - A summary of trireme oar arrangement controversy. (Borimir Jordan and Alec Tilley, Trireme Trust)

Vocabulaire militaire grec
Using Latin letters for Greek in the html, brief article describes the context based meaning of Greek military vocabulary.

Warfare in Hellas: Megiddo

Warfare in the Ancient World
Ancient warfare, covering the period between the Mycenaean World and the Byzantine Empire. The main focus is bibliographic, though other sections cover other aspects, e.g. other resources, course syllabi, etc.. Some sections are still under construction, especially the Byzantine material. Stored at: Florida International University.

Warfare in the Greek World
Bibliography on topics of strategy, logistics, siege warfare, mercenaries, equipment, hoplites, etc.

Warhorse Simulations
Historical games. Also a page of free downloadable goodies from Warhorse Simulations.

Mostly Naval

Greece - The entry for "Greece" from The Mariners' Museum Age of Exploration On-line Curriculum Guide. Though just a couple of paragraphs in length, the page is noteworthy for its coverage of two ancient Greek mariners: Scylax and Pytheas. Included is a map of the voyage of Pytheas. (The Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Virginia)

A Lost Painting by Polygnotos at Delphi, A Reconstruction Based on the Description by Pausanius - Images and commentary on ancient source material used for the reconstruction. Especially relevant is the first panel of the painting: Menelaos' Ship. (Glynnis Fawkes, Tufts University)

Warfare in Hellas - Naval Warfare - An overview of the subject including the evolution of the fighting ship, naval weapons, and sea tactics. (Martijn Moerbeek, Hellas:Net)

Warfare in Hellas - The Greek Trireme - A couple of images and some historical background on the Battle of Salamis and the famous race to rescind the Mytilene massacre provide a good single-page overview of the topic. (Martijn Moerbeek, Hellas:Net)

Trireme II - An updated version of Avalon Hill's classic now-out-of-print war game's rules and charts with Peloponnesian Wars historical background. (Chris Fawcett, Yankee Air Pirates)

Greek Trireme - Two photos of the trireme Olympias, the modern reconstruction (see below) on display next to a modern Greek warship at the port of Thessaloniki. (University of Alabama)

The Athenian Trireme Olympias - Olympias is a reconstruction of an Athenian trireme of the 5th and 4th centuries BC. Historical notes, photos, images, glossary of trireme terms, and links to related sites all contribute to make this a web site worthy of its subject. [The Olympias is now on permanent display at Neon Faliron, a suburb of the port of Piraeus.] (Oxford University - Anu Dudhia for the Trireme Trust)

The Ship in the Mediterranean - An outline of an excerpt from lecture notes for the course, History and Archeology of the Ship. Professor Illsley's complete lecture notes comprise the best source of material on the subject to be found on the World- Wide Web. (C) J.S. Illsley 1995 (University of Wales, Bangor)

History and Archaeology of the Ship - This is the repository of Professor Illsley's course material on the subject and is an extremely impressive example of academic use of the World-Wide Web. The syllabi, bibliographies, and lecture notes cover the period 2600 BC to the late 16th century AD. Hint: Users with smaller monitors who cannot see the top frame's menu should first click on that frame and then decrease their browser's font size setting. (C) J.S. Illsley 1995- 97 (University of Wales, Bangor)

The Incarcerated Ship of Kyrenia - Poem by Nikos Kranidiotis on the shipwreck and reconstruction of the 4th Century B.C. sailing ship currently exhibited in the castle of Kyrenia, now under Turkish occupation. (POSEIDON: Hellas and the Sea)

The Kyrenia Ship - Overview of the survey, excavation and conservation of the shipwreck and its contents. (C) J.S. Illsley 1997 (University of Wales, Bangor)

The Trireme - Andrew Wilson tells it like it is (was): "Thanks to her fleet of triremes - paid for with money from the silver mines - Athens could run a highly successful 'protection racket', which extorted funds from smaller states under the pretext of protecting them against the Persians". (Andrew Wilson, The Classics Pages)

Ancient Galleys - A succinct, yet excellent, article on the Greek development of the war galley: the penteconter, the bireme, the trireme, the quadrireme, the quinquereme, and the liburne. (Stephan Schulz)

Original source text references to "trireme" - Over 100 hits from a search on Tufts University PERSEUS Project: Aristotle, Demosthenes, Diodorus, Herodotus, Plato, Plutarch,... They all have something to say about triremes... Also try:
Over 1000 hits from a search of all texts using the key word "ship".
Over 500 hits from a search of Homer using the key word "ship".

Perseus Encyclopedia: trireme - PERSEUS Encyclopedia entry with over 20 photos from the Trireme Trust. (Tufts University)

Travelling to Delphi and Olympia - These pages explore the journeys of travellers to the Panhellenic sanctuaries at Delphi and Olympia. Chapters include: Ships and Sea Travel, Trade, Colonies and Ancient Travellers. The site seems to be "under construction" so repeat visits may turn up more material. (Maria Daniels, Tufts University)

James Joyce Speaks - Sound file (.au format) of James Joyce saying: "and our galleys, triremes and quadriremes, laden with all manner merchandise, furrow the waters of the known globe." (Tom Skipp and LibroNet S. L.)

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