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at the siege of Tyre, when a mole was carrying on to join that city to the continent, the inhabitants having loaded a large ship heavily a-stern with sand and stones, to the end the head might rise above the water, and prepared it for their purpose with combustible matter, they drove it violently with sails and oars against the mole, where they set fire to it, the seamen in it escaping in their boats. The mole being in a great measure made of wood, with wooden towers on it, was by this device utterly destroyed. Thus we see the Tyrians successfully invented the first fire ship we read of in history. The next thing remarkable in this mighty conqueror's reign in relation to navigation was his sailing down the river Indus into the Indian ocean; where we may, by the by, observe the wonderful ignorance, not only of his landmen, but even of the sailors, who, as Curtius, lib. IX. testifies, were all astonished and beside themselves at the ebbing and flowing of the river. From hence the same author tells us, Alexander sent his admiral Nearchus to coast along the ocean as far as he could, and return to him with an account of what he should discover. Nearchus accordingly keering along the Indian and Persian shores, and entering the Persian Gulf, returned to him up the river Euphrates, which was then looked upon as a wonderful discovery, and a great masterpiece of that admiral, for which he received a crown of gold from Alexander. Thus much we have concerning this expedition in Curtius quoted above, and in Plutarch in vit. Alex. Purchas, in his first vol. p. 86, 87, 88, gives a very particular account day by day of this voyage of Nearchus, taken out of Arianus, lib. VIII. who delivers it as Nearchus's journal of the expedition.
Next to the Phænicians and Greeks, the Romans became sovereigns of the sea; yet not all at once, but after hard struggling with the Carthaginians, then in the height of their power, having by their naval force made themselves masters of the greatest part of Spain, and the coast of Afric, of many islands in the Mediterranean, and being intent upon the conquest of Sicily. This island furnished these mighty cities with an occa
sion of trying their forces on pretence of protecting their allies, but in reality out of a desire of sovereignty. The Romans were altogether unacquainted with naval affairs, insomuch that they knew not how to build a galley; but that the Carthaginians cruizing on the coast of Italy, as we find in Polybius, lib. I. one of their quinquereme galleys happened to fall into the hands of the Romans, who by that model built an hundred of the same sort, and twenty triremes. Whilst the galleys were building, they exercised the seamen in rowing upon the dry shore, causing them to sit in ranks as if they were aboard, with oars in their hands and an officer in the middle, who by signs instructed them how they should all at once dip their oars and recover them out of the water. When the fleet was launched, finding the galleys not artificially built, but sluggish and unweildy, they invented an engine to grapple fast with the enemy at the first shock, that so they might come to handy-strokes, at which they knew themselves superior, and prevent being circumvented by the swiftness of the Carthaginian galleys, and experience of their mariners. This engine they called corvus: it consisted of a large piece of timber set upright on the prow of the vessel, about which was a stage of several ascents of boards well fastened with iron, and at the end of it two massive irons sharp pointed. The whole could be hoisted or lowered by a pulley at the top of the upright timber. This engine they hoisted to the top when the enemy drew near, and when they came to shock ship to ship, they let it run down amain into the enemy's vessel, with which its own weight grappled it so fast that there was no breaking loose; and if the attack happened on the bow, the men went down two and two into the enemy's vessel by the help of the aforementioned scaffold; all which may be seen more fully described in Polybius above quoted. By the help of these engines Duillius the Roman admiral overthrew Hannibal the Carthaginian, though superior to him in number of vessels and experience in maritime affairs, taking his own septireme and fifty other vessels, with great slaughter of his men, though he himself escaped in his boat. This was in the year of Rome 493. In
497, M. Attilius Regulus, and L. Manlius Volso, consuls, commanded another fleet, in which were above one hundred and forty thousand men ; the Carthaginians had then in their fleet one hundred and fifty thousand men under the conduct of Hamilcar, who was entirely overthrown, fifty of his ships taken, and sixty-four sunk. Thus far the sea had proved favourable to the Romans; but in the year of Rome 499, having set out a fleet of quinqueremes, they lost one hundred and forty by storms, which made them resolve to lay aside all naval enterprizes, keeping only seventy sail of ships to serve as transports; till in the year 503, perceiving their affairs in Sicily decline, the Carthaginians being absolute masters at sea, they again set out two hundred sail, and the following year received a mighty overthrow, with the loss of ninety-three galleys. Resolving now to put an end to the war, they again fit out two hundred quinqueremes, built by the model of a Rhodian they had before taken, and with them gave the Carthaginians such a fatal overthrow, as reduced them to accept of a dishonourable peace. This was the rise of the Roman power at sea, which they after not only held, but increased as long as their empire subsisted. Their actions are too many and too great for this place; those that desire to see more may read them in Livy, Plutarch, Appian, and many other authors who deliver them at large; thus much having been said only to deduce the succession of navigation from one people to another. Now though the Romans at this time gained the sovereignty of the seas, and held it for some ages, yet we do not find that they applied themselves to new discoveries, or ever exceeded the bounds of what the Phænicians had before made known, their greatest voyage being that which Pliny, lib. VI. cap. 23, gives an account of, being from Egypt to India beforementioned, to have been frequently performed by the Phænicians, and therefore had nothing new in it. What occurs in this place is, to say something of the several sorts of galleys called triremes, quadriremes, quinqueremes, and so forth, whereof mention was made above. Herodotus, Thucydides, and Diodorus agree, that Aminocles the Corin
thian was the first that invented the trireme galley, about three hundred years after the destruction of Troy. Pliny will have it that Aristotle, a Carthaginian, first built a quadrireme, and Nesichton of Salamis a quinquereme; but Diodorus contradicts it, attributing the invention of the quinqueremes to Dionysius, the Sici. lian. Pliny further adds, that Zenagoras, the Syracusan, built the first vessel of six ranks, Nesigiton one of ten ; Alexander the Great is reported to have proceeded to twelve; Philostephanus makes Ptolomy Soter the first that made one of fifteen ranks, Deme. trius the son of Antigonus of thirty, Ptolomy Philadelphus of forty, and Ptolomy Philopator of fifty. Thus we have the original of them all; but what sort of vessels these were, that is, how the several degrees or ranks of oars were disposed, has been much controverted, and is a most difficult point to be determined. The shortness of this discourse will not allow much canvassing of the point, yet a few words out of two or three learned authors will give some satisfaction to the curious. Morisotus in his Orbis Maritimus, p. 608. positively affirms that each of these vessels had its name from the number of ranks of oars placed one above another, so that the trireme had three, the quinquereme five ranks; and so every one according to its name, even till we come to Ptolomy Philopator's tesseraconteres, which he asserts, had forty ranks of oars placed one over another, wherein he agrees with Baifius, whom he quotes, as he does the emperor Leo, whose words are these : Every ship of war must be of its due length, having two ranks of oars, the one higher, and the other lower. This which to him seems concluding, to others appears of no force; for allowing there might be vessels that had two ranks of oars one above another, that does not at all prove the possibility of having twenty or forty, which must of necessity rise to such a height as would look more like a mountain than a ship; and those upper oars must be so long, and in proportion so large and unwieldy, that no strength of hands could ever manage them. Others will have these several ranks of oars to be taken lengthways, and not in
height; that is, so many in the prow, so many in the midships, and so many in the poop; whence will follow that Ptolomy's galley had forty several ranks in length, with intervals betwixt them, in one line from stem to stern, which allowing but a small number of oars to each of these ranks, will quite outrun the length assigned that vessel, being two hundred and eighty cubits.
This opinion is followed by Stewechius, Castilionius, and several others; but sir Henry Savil is of another mind, and supposes these ranks not to lie in length from head to stern, nor in height one above another, but athwart; which must appear preposterous, because allowing so many ranks this way, that is, athwart the galley, its breadth would exceed all proportion. The fourth solution of this difficulty, and that very much received, is, that the vessel had its name from so many men tugging at one oar, that is, three in a trireme, five in a quinquereme, and so of the rest; which indeed as far as six or seven men to an oar has the most resemblance of truth ; but when we come to forty or fifty men to an oar, it will be difficult either to reconcile either to the breadth of the vessel, not to be supposed capable of eighty men in a rank, or to the height of the men, because though the first man next the side of the galley had the oar under hand, yet the end of it when it came to the fortieth must of necessity rise above his reach. These two objections are again answered, the first by allowing each oar to reach quite athwart the galley, and so the forty men to fill up the whole breadth, rowing as they do in our wherries or barges; and the second by allowing an ascent from one side of the galley to the other for each seat or standing of those that rowed ; and for the soldiers and sailors, we must imagine a deck over the heads of the slaves at the oar. This carries much of reason, but little of ancient authority, for we find no ancient monuments that describe any thing of this nature. We will conclude this matter with the opinion of Schefferus de militia navali, lib. II. cap. 2. where allowing a competent distance according to the length of the vessel betwixt each bank of oars, he supposes the first row to