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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires. For the unit in Age of Mythology, see Trireme (Age of Mythology).

Upgrade of the War Galley. The Trireme has more hit points, attack strength, and range.
—In-game description in the Definitive Edition

The Trireme is an Iron Age upgrade of the War Galley, and is one of the strongest ships featured in Age of Empires. Instead of firing arrows like the War Galley, it fires a large bolt similar to a Ballista.

Upgrading War Galleys to Triremes is required to be able to research the technology to unlock Catapult Triremes.


Babylonians, Hittites, and Shang cannot build Triremes.


Triremes are known for their fast speed and good rate of fire, making them a deadly force to be reckoned with. Under most circumstances, developing Triremes is a must when it comes to naval combat. Players and computers that have the ability to produce them can unleash powerful assaults on enemy fortresses in a matter of minutes. Whether a player possesses triremes can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Players who select civilizations with bonuses suited for these ships can construct a powerful navy that can tear down any fortified structure, giving them an edge in naval combat.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Infantry, Villagers, Priests
Weak vs. Elephant Archers, siege units, towers
Attack Alchemy Alchemy (+1)
Range Woodworking Woodworking (+1)
Artisanship Artisanship (+1)
Craftsmanship Craftsmanship (+1)
Accuracy Ballistics Ballistics (hit moving targets)

Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonuses[]

  • Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans: Researching technologies that benefit Triremes are 30% faster.


ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of Empires[]

  • Triremes have 1.8 reload time, 4.5 projectile speed, and take 60 seconds to train.

Age of Empires Definitive Edition icon Definitive Edition[]

  • Triremes have 1.89 reload time, 4.9 projectile speed, and take 70 seconds to train.

AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome[]

  • Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans (team bonus): Technologies benefiting Triremes are researched 30% faster.


Ancient ship designers tried numerous tricks to get more power for warships, including putting more men on single oars. The most successful was a trireme, three tiers of single rowers per side. This ship provided reasonable maneuverability and speed. It appeared around 600 BC and made up the bulk of Mediterranean navies for several hundred years after 500 BC.
Age of Empires manual

The first true warships were built to ram enemy ships. The first civilization to build these kinds of ships were thought to be the Greeks, who copied the overall design of the ship from the Phoenicians. This ship developed by the Greeks was known as the Trireme. The rams mounted at the front of the Trireme are usually made of iron and other metals. Once the enemy ship is rammed, a large gap would appear in its hull, causing it to sink within a matter of minutes. Early warships were almost oar-powered torpedoes, consisting of a light, floating hull manned by oarsmen. A sail, if present, was used only in transit, not in battle. As technology progressed, the development of flaming arrows gradually replaced the ram, as it was more effective and could eliminate enemy ships from a greater range and distance.


Tech tree[]

Stone Age Icon (DE)
Tool Age Icon (DE)
Bronze Age Icon (DE)
Iron Age Icon (DE)
Fishing Boat
Fishing Ship
Aoede light transport available
Aoede heavy transport available
Scout Ship
War Galley
Aoede trade boat available
Aoede merchant ship available
Aoede catapult trireme available
Catapult Trireme technology Catapult Trireme
Fire Galley
AoE War Galley upgrade War Galley

Units in Age of Empires
CivilianReturnofrome female villager icon Villager · Returnofrome trade cart icon Trade Cart
OtherAoE2 DE priest icon Priest · Slinger-0 Slinger · Returnofrome artifact icon Artifact
Civilian ship1 Fishing Boat Fishing Boat · 2 Fishing Ship Fishing Ship
3 Trade Boat Trade Boat · 4 Merchant Ship Merchant Ship
InfantryClubman Clubman · AxemanAoEDE Axeman
Short Swordsman Short Swordsman · Broad Swordsman Broad Swordsman · AoE nuRoR Long Swordsman icon Long Swordsmen · Returnofrome legionary icon Legionary
HopliteDE Hoplite · AoE nuRoR Phalangite icon Phalangite · Returnofrome centurion icon Centurion
ArcherBowman aoe1de Bowman
Improved Bowman22 Improved Bowman · Composite Bowman Composite Bowman
Chariot Archer111 Chariot Archer
Horse Archer Horse Archer · Returnofrome heavy horse archer icon Heavy Horse Archer
EAICON DE Elephant Archer
CavalryScout-0 Scout
ChariotDE Chariot · ScytheDE Scythe Chariot
Cavalry111 Cavalry · Returnofrome heavy cavalry icon Heavy Cavalry · Returnofrome cataphract icon Cataphract
War ElephantDE War Elephant · Returnofrome armored elephant icon Armored Elephant
Camel RiderDE Camel Rider
SiegeStone ThrowerDE Stone Thrower · CatapultDE Catapult · Returnofrome heavy catapult icon Heavy Catapult
BallistaDE Ballista · Returnofrome helepolis icon Helepolis
War Ship7 Scout Ship Scout Ship · 8 War Galley War Galley · 9 Trireme Trireme
Catapult Trireme Catapult Trireme · Returnofrome juggernaut icon Juggernaut
10 Fire Galley Fire Galley
5 Light Transport Light Transport · 6 Heavy Transport Heavy Transport
Scenario Editor-only units
Short Swordsman Chieftain · Donkey caravan aoe2DE Donkey · Clubman Explorer · Returnofrome heavy cavalry icon General · AoE2 DE priest icon High Priest · Returnofrome horse icon Horse · HeavyCavalryDE Mercenary (removed) · Penguin aoe2DE Penguin · AoE2 DE priest icon Pharaoh · 5 Light Transport Raft · Returnofrome artifact icon War Chest