Sword of Ninevah

Year: 700 BC
Category: Ancient
Vessel Type: Warship
Scale: 1/8" = 1 '
Overall Length: 75 feet

An early Assyrian warship from the year 700 B.C., this ship was the earliest known bireme, a war galley with oars placed on two levels in two banks. Here we see 48 oarsmen with half of them rowing from the inner hull area and the other half from the extended hull wing area.

As compared to the single bank warships of the time we see over twice the oarsmen working a ship that is just slightly longer than a single banked oar ship. This design allowed the ship to attain greater speed and power for ramming and for general travel.

The fighting deck was raised above the oarsman for greater effectiveness in fighting. The sail allowed for ease of travel to and from battle but the sail was probably removed or furled for the battle itself. Scholars theorize the ram had a "break-away" feature to allow the vessel to ram one ship and then move on, undeterred, to engage other enemy craft with the archers on the fighting deck.

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