Sea Shanties of the Ancients

Nicholas C. Rossis

When I was at school, we learned of Ri-Pa-Pe – the rhythmic chant of Athenian oarsmen pulling a trireme’s 180 oars. Contrary to what you might think, triremes were manned not by slaves but by some 200 free men from all social strata. Indeed, for a 5th-century BC Athenian, the ships were an extension of their democratic beliefs as rich and poor rowed alongside each other. This served the larger civic interest of acculturating thousands as they worked together in cramped conditions and under dire circumstances. In the few emergency cases where slaves were used to crew ships, these were deliberately set free, usually before being employed.

The trireme Olympias | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book
Side view of Athenian Trireme “OLYMPIAS”, a modern replica of a trireme, moored at Marina Zeas in Piraeus, Greece

To get back to the steady ri-pa-pe rhythm, it allowed triremes to reach an impressive maximum speed of 8 knots. Modern replicas powered by…

View original post 277 more words

3 thoughts on “Sea Shanties of the Ancients

  1. Its not Irish, but its fantastic too. Lol Sorry, i just remembered the great interest in Irish Folk songs, all over Europe, and also in Germany. But we are really not a seafaring nation here in Germany. 😉 Michael

    Liked by 1 person


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.