Wednesday, 11 September 2013



The Athenian view as they approach Cynossema

160 is a lot of ship models on the table.

Scaling down somewhat is a solution but not too wildly or it loses the character of a battle.

I count on triremes for the most part.  This is how Thucydides usually reckons fleet strength. There would have been additional smaller vessels for scouting, communication and support.


Assuming the fleets had to prepare, and then row at 5 knots to get to Cynossema they should have sighted each other mid to late morning. If we make it 10 o'clock then there are 10 hours of light for battle.
SE side of Cynossema : cliff-beach


The board should have one edge representing the shore of Cynossema: the southern side and point at least.
The shore is rocky in places with occasional narrow sandy beaches which a trireme could drive up on. 
Headland of Cynossema : was rocky, now fortified
Behind the shore is a cliff line in most places which is not sheer and is vegetated but 20 to 30m high. The point must have been rocky in 411bc before harbours or fortification changed it.
View NE along south side of Cynossema: top of cliff above beach
No peculiarities of the waters are mentioned by Thucydides but it is well known the area has a strong surface current flowing to the Aegean. These can be up to 7 knots. However, there are occasional small counter-currents which, close to the shore, in places flow towards the Sea of Marmora. Later Roman writers mention the current but their accounts of the battle are  confused. It is relatively easy to see where currents run from sattelite photos.

Prevailing winds in the sailing season are north easterlies.
In addition, an afternoon wind blows from the north west across the strait.
View NW over Dardanus

Thucydides does not mention any unusual weather conditions.


The battle can be divided into 3 actions. This gives a manageable number of ships.
The three actions can be linked with some rules as per multi-table games.

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