Skip to main content

Ancient Greek rowers


The Lenormant Relief, from the Acropolis in Athens, shows the rowers of an Athenian trireme, about 410 BCE. Found in 1852, this relief is one of the main pictorial clues to the layout of the trireme, a vessel with three tiers of oars that carried several hundred rowers.

If the Greek historian Thucydides is to be believed, triremes could average 7½ knots (14 km/hour) over hundreds of kilometres.

How to cite this page

Ancient Greek rowers, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated