The Greek Trireme was the "state
of the art" fighting ship designed to be able to cover
long distances quickly under oar and sail, and in battle
to ram enemy ships with devastating effect.
Money from the new vein of
silver in Laurion enabled Athens to buy timber from
Italy to increase her fleet from 40 in 489 BC to 200 in
480. The polis paid for the ship and its crew.
Equipment and repairs were paid for by a rich citizen as
one of the liturgies.
The Greek Trireme became
famous in the Salamin battle (480 BC) in which they
destroyed the superior Persian fleet. High speeds of
triremes and a powerful force of their metal rams
were the decisive factors. The Battle of Salamis was
the decisive momentum shift that the Greek military
had dream about. Without this victory, the Persian
army would have marched across Greece; And the
course of western civilization could have been very
different. Today's democracy wouldn't exist if
there had been no Greek Trireme then.