Lemboi are small pirate vessels, ideal for scouting and raiding enemy shores.
Piracy is bad. Very bad. But very profitable too! And these ships are perfect for this task, Basileu. Designed by the masters of piracy, Illyrians, they are small, fast and manoeuvrable. They can also carry a significant number of soldiers as everybody on board is armed.
The construction details of this vessel are uncertain, despite its prevalence in ancient times. This small ship was probably powered by 50 oars (25 on each side) and one or two sails. It seems to have had no ram (or at least the original Illyrian ones didn't), so boarding was the only battle option. During Teuta's raids in the beginning of the 2nd century BC (she was an Illyrian queen who controlled many tribes) fleets of hundreds of lemboi pillaged the coasts of western Greece and captured many cities (including Korkyra). In sea battles an interesting tactic was used - ships were tied together in blocks of 4, forming an unsinkable fighting platform. This allowed them to seize any ship that tried to attack them - the “block” had over 200 men compared to 120 on a fully loaded Pentere.