Ship Rams From First Punic War Discovered

Very, very cool. Ten bronze warship rams from the last naval battle of the epic First Punic War have been recovered from the western coast of Sicily.

The ten rams (Latin rostra), each weighing around 125 kilogrammes and made of bronze, were mounted on the prow of the warships (ancient triremes or quinquiremes), and were used to ram the enemy ships.

They are a rare discovery as there are thought to be only four other ships’ rams in total from all of antiquity. These rams are the first to be found in an archaeological context, and bear inscriptions, mainly in Latin but also in Punic (spoken by the people of Carthage).

The rams are only one part of the material discovered on the sea-bed, which includes helmets and amphorae from both sides, and offers a remarkable example of the landscape of ancient naval battle-field debris. Much of the Punic culture was destroyed as a result of the Punic Wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 to 146 BCE.

Ram, in situ


About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • victor

    I bet their fleece was pretty soggy!

    Seriously, though, as a Classics Major and as a fan of ramming ships together in general, this is a very cool find.

  • Irenist

    It is extremely cool. Hopefully, though, no one will get so excited as to try to . . . mount the rostrum.

  • Christian

    Punic> Punicus> Phoenician

  • Manny

    Fascinating! Thanks.

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