Syrakousia , the “aircraft carriers” of ancient Greece


Important researcher of the Hellenistic era is undoubtedly Archimedes ( 285-212 BC ) from Syracuse , who had visited for some time Alexandria. constructed water pumps (bolts ) , hoists , propellers , cranes and catapults , the latter for the defense of the homeland .
” Another important researcher of the era was the Ktisivios the inventor of the water pump , which later described the other great researcher of the time, Heron of Alexandria ( lived around 150 BC , in ” but others around 250 AD)
In the 3rd century BC He had developed between the Hellenistic states and cities a competition in various technological areas , the most important one that involved the construction of ever larger ships.
King of Syracuse , Hieron II ” , nephew of Archimedes wanted to help affected by famine areas of Rome and Alexandria , supplying them with large quantities grain.
But because the distance between Syracuse and Alexandria were great and because of ” Competition ” of Hellenistic cities on the technological achievements and innovations , wanted and ordered (the sacred ) to build a ship so would hand was large enough fit fairly large quantities of cereals have been able not that ship to defend itself If piracy .
The result was to be constructed and built a vessel impressive and unique for that time , which was both a commercial , passenger and war ! The famous ” Syrakousia ” dld . Mrs. Syracuse .

The only description of this ship wrote Moschion , whose work has been lost , but There is an extensive resume that included the Athenian in his ” Deipnosophistai work .” Manufacturer – builder of the ship was the Corinthian Archias in ” order of Hieron II ” ( 269-15 BC ) , tyrant of Syracuse .
The length of the ship was more than 80 meters and width of approximately 35 meters . By today’s standards , the vessel had a displacement of more than 4,500 tonnes and for the construction of which lasted one year , it took as much wood to build 60 triremes ! (Jean MacIntosh Turfa – Alwin G. Steinmayer Jr., «The Syracusia as a giant cargo vessel», International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 28 (1999), 2, 105-125).

The unfinished Syrakousia was launched , with the help of the screw was invented by Archimedes . This is the first written reference to the Archimedean screw , which describes the calf .
The ship had three decks :
In the upper deck was placed war machines ( Catapults , crossbows , turtles , towers , hooks etc.) and efroureito from strong body soldiers.
The second deck was installed luxurious baths , temple of Aphrodite , gyms , library and other entertainment and rest facilities .
In the third deck , end , were all auxiliary facilities , supply depots , pumping station , water tanks , stables for horses , workshops , furnaces , mills and several others. Athenaeus mentions that the ship It was constructed on the model of a ” eikosiri “, but it is unlikely to mean that there were actually 20 rows of seats for rowers .

This ” floating island “, comparable to current aircraft in relation to other vessels our time was very cumbersome because of the size and there was a port in the Mediterranean to accept .
It is obvious that the shipbuilding technology of that time , who knew as a driving power canoeists and wind had reached its limits . next subversive leap in shipbuilding was done after about 21 centuries , in the 19th century with the introduction of atmokinisis !

” Syrakousia ” made ​​a unique journey from Syracuse to Alexandria , where Hieron gave the ship to Ptolemy , since renamed ” Alexandria “.


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