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A name given by the Romans to contests between ships, represented for the amusement of the people, and commemorating naval engagements famous in history. The first representation of this kind was given by Caesar in B.C. 46 in a basin dug out for this purpose on the Campus Martius, on which occasion a Tyrian and an Egyptian fleet fought against each other, each with 2,000 rowers and 1,000 marines on board, In B.C. 2, Augustus, at the dedication of the temple of Mars Ultor, had a seafight between Atheiiians and Persians, represented with thirty ships. The greatest of all naumachioe, was that of Claudius in A.D. 52; it took place on the Fucine Lake, and 19,000 men in the dress of Rhodians and Sicilians fought in two fully armed men-of-war. For similar contests the arena of the amphitheatre was sometimes filled with water. The crews of the ships consisted of gladiators, prisoners and criminals who had been condemned to death.
Type: Standard
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