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One of the more interesting things I researched for this book was the Egytian galley The Ghost and his crew used to hunt down and sack merchant vessel with…
SLAVE GALLEYS – PIRATES OF ANCIENT ROME
“Name’s Grunion,” the toothless man stated pulling his oar into place. “Pull it hard to your chest, stand when the rest of us do, put your right foot on the footboard there,” he added with a nod. “Push the oars away from your chest up and into the water. When you pull, put your left foot on the bench in front and use both legs to get the oar through the water. The bench will meet your ass; you will rest for a full beat then do it again. Understand?”
Thane could feel Bahar trembling next to him, but his face was focused in hard concentration, listening to every word.
“Do not worry, lad.” Grunion barked a laugh. “I put you in the middle so the Brit here and I can help you.” He glanced up at Thane, but his face was not hopeful. “Keep his oar between ours.”
Thane gave a terse nod and another drumbeat sounded. As one, the men stood up. The Gladiator Prince, Chapter XXVI
Galleys were the battleship of their day. They were fast, sleek, and filled with slaves to move them through the waters propelled by giant oars. In The Gladiator Prince, Thane, Phaedra and Bahar are captured by an Egyptian pirate galley captained by the infamous Ghost. Thane and Bahar are forced to row while Phaedra is chained to the end of the captain’s bed, where the pirate captain… Well, you’ll see.
Galleys were used mostly in wartime, but also as pleasure ships by the Roman elite. Caligula had a luxury craft on Lake Nemi that outshined them all. Living gardens, hundreds of oarsmen, everything gold plated, this ship moved over the lake while aristocrats dined and debauched… and there were two of these!
But Mediterranean pirates loved the beautiful galleys. They were propelled not only by oars, but sails as well, and moved through the waters as if it were glass. Moving fast, they gained on fat merchant ships with ease, overtook them and rammed them with bronze rams to leave them helpless in the water. Most merchant ships had small crews of mostly slaves and were rarely escorted. The pirates were so widespread in the late hundreds BC, that Rome finally sent out war ships to clean them out.
The galley in The Gladiator Prince is one of the larger vessels with a ram shaped like a lion’s paw with extended claws. It is manned below deck by fifty rowers with a crew of about 30 men. The Ghost has a reputation for striking fast and scuttling ships, but leaving the crew alive (although he is known for stranding them on deserted islands around Greece). The Romans have been after him for years, but he and his crew are the last surviving pirates from the cleanup conducted by the Legion started in 64BC. A mortal enemy of Nero, it is rumored that the Ghost stole a famous Delicatae (a high class prostitute) from the Emperor’s own bed while he was still in it, leaving a black painted mustache on Nero’s lip that wouldn’t wash off for days. The bounty for The Ghost is the highest posted in Rome’s history.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Somewhere between thirty and dust...red hair, blue eyes...six kids, one slightly used husband, and any number of pets from time to time... wanttabe hippy... wanttheirmoney yuppie...pro musician and actress for 20 Years... native Oregonian... lover of music, beauty, and all things green. Willing slave to the venerable muse. Minnette currently resides in Portland, Oregon with her husband, having replaced the children with one dog. The dog, Pierre, pretty much runs the show.