Ancient Mediterranean warship rams

Mediterranean region

USF History Professor and CVAST Affiliate Professor William Murray is using 3D technologies to study ancient Mediterranean warships and their main offensive weapon, large bronze rams mounted on their bows at the waterline. Often scarred by battle damage, these broken, cracked and bent weapons hold crucial evidence for the forces generated by ancient naval warfare.

3D model (made by a combination of photogrammetry and 3D modeling) of an authentic bronze warship ram

Piraeus Archaeological Museum (Greece), perhaps from an Athenian trireme. Date: 5th-2nd centuries (?) BCE.

3D models

RAM3D by William Murray on Sketchfab


These videos show animations of the point clouds that resulted from scanning the Triumphal Arch at Orange, France.

A surround view of the Triumphal Arch at Orange, France

Research goal

Murray is gathering all kinds of evidence for Mediterranean ramming warfare, including 3D models of all 15 surviving authentic rams. His goal: to help scholars, students and modeling enthusiasts better understand the ships that secured Athenian democracy and helped to build and maintain the Roman Empire.

Triumphal Arch at Orange (France)

Various battle spoils in a sculpted panel above the NE side, including both rams and warships’ bows. Date: 1st century CE.

3D model (made by photogrammetry) of a marble warship ram found near the Marina Gate, Ostia (Italy)

Modeled perhaps after the ram of a Roman quinquereme. Date: 1st century BCE.

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