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Roman Navy - Main Fleet Organisation

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Main Mediterranean Fleet Organisation

About the time Caesar first arrived at the south coast of the English Channel the main Roman Fleet in Italy had recently defeated the Carthaginians and broken the power of pirates who had been threatening Rome's corn supply from Egypt.

Then from 50BC the Roman world was rent by 19 years of civil wars which were eventually won by Octavian who took the name Augustus in 27BC.

Augustus organised a permanent navy with two main bases.  The more senior base was at Misenum in the Bay of Naples and the second at Ravenna at the head of the Adriatic. They were charged with protecting the Italian, Southern Gaul and Spanish coasts and also Rome's corn supply. Both bases established detachments at other important ports.

Misenum

Based at Misenum in the Bay of Naples, the Classis Misenensis looked after seas around Rome and eastern Italy, eastern Mediterranean and sent detachments to ports able to control the coasts of southern Gaul and Spain. It recruited mainly from seafaring tribes around Sardinia, Corsica, Africa and Egypt and had a complement in excess of 10,000. During the year of the four Emperors it was able to raise a new Legion, the Legio I Adiutrix. Under Claudius its head (Praefectus) was given an annual salary of 300,000 sesterces.

 

Ravenna

Based at Ravenna,  the Classis Ravennas had responsibility for control of the Dalmatian coast, a hotbed of piracy and the Adriatic. It recruited mainly from tribes on the Dalmatian coast and had a complement in excess of 6,000. During the year of the four Emperors it was able to raise a new Legion, the Legio II Adiutrix. Under Claudius its head (Praefectus) was given an annual salary of 200,000 sesterces.

In addition to these main bases a number of additional provincial fleets began to be established as the empire expanded.

 

- Britain's Roman Navy
- Roman Navy Origins
- Main Fleet Organisation
- Provincial Fleets

Ships
- Naves Longae
- Naves Actuaria
- Naves Oneraria
- Naves Oraria

This page last edited - 20 July, 2012.

Copyright Ian M King, except where otherwise indicated.