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nauarchos


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‘admiral’, the commander of a navy, of a squadron however small, and even of a single ship. As an official title it was slow to appear, since full‐time navies were hugely expensive and the geographical conditions of Greek warfare, which demanded amphibious operations, discouraged the separation of naval from military commands. Thus at Athens, Athenian and allied fleets were always commanded by strategoi. But with the greater specialization of warfare, esp. in states lacking an established naval tradition, the title began to appear, in Sparta (c.430–360 bc), Syracuse under Dionysius 1 I and 2 II, Ptolemaic Egypt, and Rhodes. The nauarchos was everywhere admiral of the fleet, with no colleague; in republics such as Sparta his tenure was normally a single year (a rule that had to be circumvented to accommodate Lysander), but admirals who served monarchs (e.g. in Syracuse and Egypt) might enjoy long commands.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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