Triremes were used as late as the Ptolemaic dynasty by Ptolemy's soldiers and Romans alike during the late-1st century BCE.
Triremes were larger ships than biremes, whereas pentaconters were smallest of the three classes. During the Peloponnesian War in the 5th century BCE the triremes were further classified into light and heavy variants, as well as elite versions of these. The heavy triremes had multiple sails and heavier artillery at their disposal than their lighter counterparts.
The trireme derives its name from its three rows of oars, manned with one man per oar.