Roman Galley Ship – Bring the Past to Life

Are you looking for a new hobby or craft project to work on with your kids? And are they fans of history, or historical modes of transport? Then we have the model for you! Recommended for ages 8 and up, our Roman Galley ship replica is a simple, easy to build model that is perfect for introducing your children to the joys of scale modelling. But what makes Galley ships so interesting, and why should this be your next build? Read our blog to explore the history behind this famous ancient ship!


What is a galley ship?

Put simply, a galley is a long, slim warship that is propelled mainly by rowing. Originating in the Mediterranean Sea in during the late second millennium BC, it was easily identified by its length, low freeboard, and shallow draft, as well as sails that came in handy when wind allowed it. But more often than not, the galley ship gained its propulsion off the backs of hard-working men, whose powerful rowing drove the ship forward.

Image of the DeAgostini ModelSpace Roman Galley scale model, as part of a blog about the Roman Galley's history.


What were galley ships used for?

From the time they were introduced until the late 16th century, the galley ship was the major ship used in war, trade, and piracy in the Mediterranean Sea. Utilised by the Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians, and Illyrians, galley ships were used to transport a wide range of weapons during war. These included catapults, rams, and cannons, and in fact they were the first warships to use cannons against other ships. In addition to weapons, the large crews on each galley ship allowed them to effectively overpower and board enemy vessels.


The Battle of Lepanto

On October 7th, 1571, the largest naval battle in Western history since the classical age (between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD) took place. Featuring more than 400 warships, the Battle of Lepanto saw the opposing fleets of the Holy League and the Ottoman Empire clash in the Gulf of Patras. With a combined total of approximately 144,000 men, this epic battle was essentially an “infantry battle on floating platforms, and was the last naval conflict consisting of almost entirely rowing vessels. In the years that followed, the galleon ship’s importance and prominence grew, leaving the galley in its wake and ushering in the Age of Sails.

Image of the DeAgostini ModelSpace Roman Galley scale model, as part of a blog about the Roman Galley's history.


Despite not having the grandeur and same historical recognition as the larger sail ships that followed, the galley’s importance should not be understated. With their ability to move people, supplies, and weaponry across vast distances, they formed the basis for a lot of the ships and boats we see today. If you’re looking for a historic, fun, and affordable scale model for you and your children to build, order your Roman Galley scale model today!