The increased rivalry and political instability in the classical world following the death of Alexander the Great in 323BCE resulted in an arms race between the Diadochi rulers of his empire, with warships beoming larger, more and more heavily armed with greater capacity and propulsion potential.

As a result, the Trireme began to find herself being superseded by newer ship designs, which could include larger decks (to host more marines on board) and even artillery pieces such as onagers and scorpions for long-range engagement. First to come were the quadriremes or "fours" which could assign 4 men to row abreast; this soon led to developments of even larger and heavier vessels such as the deceres or "ten", which could assign ten men to row abreast at the same time, resulting in a warship roughly over 8 meters in beam length and 45 meters long, crewed by over 800 men.

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