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by Archaeology Newsroom

Three bronze rams from ancient warships of the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman period

This article focuses on three bronze battering rams from ancient warships of the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, found in Greece. The first is exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, the second is on show at the Archaeological Museum of Ioannina in Northern Greece. The latter is in fact a mere fragment of a ram that was found on the site of the Nicopolis excavations. It is part of a group of battering rams decorating the monument of Octavian Augustus, built to commemorate his victory over the combined fleets of Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and Marcus Antonius in the naval battle of Aktion in 31 BC. The third is a very small, ram-like object with a peculiar shape-its identity will be discussed later- strikingly different from the other two. It is on show at the Kanellopoulos museum in Athens. The study of the three battering rams from the point of view of metallurgy has led to significant conclusions regarding their chemical composition, anti-corrosive behaviour in sea water, physical and mechanical properties and overall design.