Thursday 6 December 2018


 This year's ancient naval game is the battle of Drepana: consul Publius Pulcher is skirting the south coast of Sicily sailing into Drepana (behind the hill) when he realizes that the carthaginians under Adherbal have sallied out of the harbour and are readying themselves for battle. The consul, frustrated with the sacred chicken (who were too seasick to eat the ritual grain) threw them overboard, purportedly incurring the wrath of the gods and defeat.
 Roman fleet
 Adherbal in his hexres

 The carthaginians have the first turn and turn around while their rear moves behind the battleline
 The romans move in diagonal
 The light vanguard ships aim for the enemy monoremes

 Both lines begin to close in

 The punic rear is swiflty boarded and sunk

 However the romans have advanced too eagerly, and the punics turn around and begin to ram the vulnerable sides of the galleys
 The enemy van is still sailing ahead of the romans
 The last quinquereme in the line is swamped by foes
 A roman ship launches a boarding action with help of the Corvus
 Badly damaged by a ram, a roman five grapples her enemy with the assault bridge 
 The flagship of Pulcher is sunk by the hexres, sending the consul to swim with the chicken
The foremost five sunks a defenceless trireme

 Fire is no obstacle for roman assaults
 In the rear the badly damaged romans try to strike back in close quarters
 The haughty Adherbal is set upon by two roman ships intent on vengeance
 In the center a galley has been devastated by a ram to the side but her compatriots come to the rescue
 One of the galleys in the rear burns out her last damage and sinks
 After several rounds of combat, a battered punic flees
 Adherbal and his elite bodyguards are undaunted by the atackers and win one round of combat, sending a monoreme to the bottom
 Whenever they can the roman ships nail the enemy with their corvi

 A monoreme catches the fleeing ship and finishes off her crew
 The slow grind of combat takes its toll and the carthaginians begin to lose ships
 One after the other
 Seeing her chance a monoreme attacks a bigger but decimated five
 Destroying her thanks to superior combat skill
 The punics aren't out of the picture however, and a side ram...
 ... sinks a roman five
 The lone survivor from the roman rear battles on
 As the last defenders are slain, the eagles fly over the enemy decks

 Adherbal is sentenced when his overbearing ship is attacked by no less than four romans
 A lone monoreme sinks as a burning hulk
 The romans have conquered right and center while losing their own left flank
 The final chapter of the battle is written by Adherbal who sinks with his burning ship
The battle ends then in a decisive roman victory 36 to 28 that has changed history.
The roman gods where against me in the first encounters of the battle, but once the impious Pulcher had been slain, their wrath abated and the gradual grind of boarding tipped the battle in my favour.



  1. Love trireme battles.
    On some of my models I've left the sails just for show, but I like how you've accurately depicted all the boats without sails - they fought with rowers and cut down the sails and mast when fighting.

  2. Yes the sails tended to unbalance the ships making them easier to roll over. They are also less work and easier to store without masts.