The influence of Dalmatian shipbuilders on the ancient warships and naval warfare

the lembos and liburnica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article looks at two kinds of ancient battleships developed on the Eastern coast of Adriatic and used widely throughout the Mediterranean in Hellenistic and Roman naval forces. Modern naval historians agree that the lembos and liburnica represent basically the same kind of ship, highlighting only minor similarities, and disregarding more substantial differences between these two ships. The author questions this assumption arguing that they were different ships developed in two different historical periods, on two different points of the Adriatic coast, by two peoples with different ethnic origins and naval traditions. The article shows and compares historical development of Illyrian lembos and Liburnian liburnica, discuss their appearance and characteristics from the available sources, concluding that the differences between them are substantial enough to refute the view of previous scholarship which considered them to be the same ship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-36
Number of pages18
JournalDiadora : glasilo Arheološkog muzeja u Zadru
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • liburnica
  • lembos
  • Dalmatia

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