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stepping stones of maritime history

History

Ancient rams

Ten rams (Egadi 1-10) were witnesses of the final sea battle that was fought between the Roman fleet and the Carthaginian fleet in 241 BC. The scene of the famous naval battle between the Romans and the Carthaginians has been located near Levanzo. It was the decisive sea battle of the First Punic war. A war between Rome and Carthage that lasted from 260-241 BC for the domination of Sicily and eventually the domination of the Western Mediterranean. The Egadi rams are the first to be found in an archaeological context, and bear inscriptions, mainly in Latin but also in Punic. Besides the rams also several lead Roman anchors were found near Levanzo. The anchors were lying in a line on the seabed. It appears that the sailors cut the ropes and left the anchors in order to get to sea very quickly. It seems the ships were warships lying in ambush for Carthaginian merchant ships, as also indicated by the numerous other finds that have been made including helmets and amphorae shards in the vicinity of the anchors. Rams and other finds offer a rare insight into this famous ancient naval battlefield.

Scene of the battle

Scene of the battle.

Marsala wrecks

A little further south near the city of Marsala (ancient Lilybaeum) two Punic (war) ships were found dating to the same period. One of them is on display in the Marsala nautical museum. Three different archaeological sites on the western Sicilian shore are related to the same period and event: the First Punic war.

Marsala 1.

Egadi rams

Ram on an ancient warship.

Description

In the summer of 2010, a bronze ram (Latin: rostra) belonging to an ancient warship was found. It was the third in succession found in the waters off Levanzo island in western Sicily. The Egadi Islands Project has so far (April 2013) yielded a total of ten ancient bronze warship rams. The rams, each weighing around 125 kilograms, are made of bronze and would have been mounted on the prow of the warships (ancient triremes or quinquiremes). They were used to ram enemy ships.

Ram in situ.

Status

Winged Victory on Egadi 6 (picture )

Winged Victory on Egadi 6.

Down on 25 September

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Wrecks of Flevoland

Burgzand Noord

13 Provinces