The Quadrireme is a very powerful warship, inferior only to mighty quinqueremes and some of the rarer, larger ships.
Senatores! Our enemies - Hellenes and Carthaginians are building large fleets to attack us! We need to reinforce the Republic's navy in order to protect our City! Although a philosopher of the Hellenes has claimed that four-row warships were first built by people of Carthage, we know for certain that in 355 ab Urbe condita, (398BC) the Syracusan rex had them in his fleet. Although the Roman milites are less than eager to board these seaborne devices, they must make this sacrifice in the name of courage and their love of the Republic. Auriges have already thrown spears on enemy territory! Janus temple is open! We will crush all invaders! We will revenge Troy!
Although one roman graffiti with the inscription "navis Tetrere longa" is known, the design of this ship is still uncertain. The most probable reconstruction shows that it has two rows of oars manned by two oarsmen each. The largest Athenian docks measured 37x6 metres, which might be indicative of the real size of the "4" and "5" - the biggest ships we know Athens had. If this is true, the crew of a quadrireme would consist of 232 men operating 116 oars. Some iconography suggests the Tetrere was completely boxed-in, with a full deck and covered sides. Also being two-rowed, this ship doesn't require outriggers. On longer voyages, if the wind blew from behind then sails were used (main on the central mast and another on the small mast at the ship's bow). The ship was armed with a ram, has a boarding crew of somewhere below 40, and was capable of carrying an additional 60-80 men. Later some were armed with catapults or ballistae.