Olympias, replica of an ancient Athenian trireme of 480 B.C.

 

The Trireme Olympias and the Hellenic Maritime Museum in Piraeus

  

The museums of Piraeus and Athens have world-famous exhibitions of ancient Acropolis of Athens and Mycenae. In addition, they display many interesting objects on ancient maritime navigation, trade and warfare.

 

In a harbour of Piraeus one can have a look at Olympias, a 37 m replica of an ancient trireme of 480 B.C. In the battle of Salamis the Greeks under leadership of the Athenian Themistocles defeated the Persians and stopped their advance to Europe.

 

The trireme replica is harboured in the Hellenic Maritime Heritage Park, Palaio Faliro, next to other museum ships like the armoured cruiser Averof of 1910 (Photos Averof)) and the destroyer HS Velos. We visited the Olympias in March 2017. Unfortunately, access to the ship was denied, so I could take pictures only from outside.

    

Photos of Trireme Olympias

  

On our visit we got a flyer about the trireme with the ship's data and the result of the sea trials under sails and oars.

  

There is a 14 minutes Youtube video on the practical tests and sea trials in 1990, made by Christopher Miles on request by the Trireme Trust. There is another, somewhat blurred short video of the Trireme Trust USA and a nice and clear video by the Greek Navy, however only with a visibly untrained oar crew.

 

Clearly recognizable e.g. on this photo is the hogging of bow and stern by bending the keel over the years. The pictures of the sea trials show the Olympias with still straight lines.

 

 

In the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus one can see many wonderful antique statues and works of art, among them a marble eye ornament and a bronze ram of an ancient trireme.

   

  

Quite close, in Zeas Marina, is the Hellenic Maritime Museum of Piraeus. It shows objects on the development of navigation and maritime trade and warfare from antiquity till modern times, with the 19th century fight for independence against the Ottoman Empire taking much room.
In this description I focus on maritime development in antiquity.
There is a model of an Athenian trireme from the second half of the fifth century B.C..

In 1 : 15 scale there is model of a Minoan ship of 16th century B.C..
A wreckage found off Kyrenia, Cyprus, was used as a base for this model of a 4th century B.C. cargo ship.

Because of little archaeological evidence this model of a Byzantine dromon of the 10th century A.D. surely is a rarity.

In the museum you can buy a book with many pictures of the displayed objects and comprehensive explanations in Greek and English (ISBN 960-88535-1-6).

  

  

The National Archaeological Museum in Athens city center is world-famous for its statues and many works of art, such as the gold mask of Agamemnon. In addition, it has an ancient stone anchor of 14th - 12th century B.C. on display. We were surprised to find a beautiful depiction of a Bronze Age ship, the Thera ship of 1700 B.C., built by scientists of the Institute for Classical Archaeology of Heidelberg University. There is a publication on ship building techniques of that time (in German).

 

If you click on a photo in the pages of the trireme or the museum displays you will get that photo in high resolution. Viewing the high resolution photos: Press F11 to minimize navigation bars and have a larger screen with the photos.