Dimitrios was proud to be an oarsman. He had come up through the ranks. As a kid he served as a rope runner in the navy of Ptolemy III. After the disastrous war against the evil Seleucid Empire, he was promoted to oarsman. His warship, the colossal Tessarakonteres, was a catamaran with 2,000 oarsmen in each hull manning 300 oars in shifts. Antigonus II had routed Ptolemy's navy at the Battle of Andros, where the incompetent Andromachou, Ptolemy's illegitimate half-brother, led his ships into an ambush. Dimitrios had rescued Andromachou from the wreckage. He was rewarded with a promotion and modest pension. A few years later, he left the navy and was hired as the lead rower on the Tsichlófouska, a modest Kerkouros merchant ship of only 40 oarsmen, assisted by sails and wind.

The Tsichlófouska had...

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