This small warship is the basic warship of most Greek warfleets, and being small, fairly fast and manoeuvreable, is ideal for raiding, patrolling and interception duty. For this reason, they are the favourite of privateer fleets, earning them a place in Greek fleets as well as those of the Greek-influenced civilisations of the east. While they are cheap and easy to raise in numbers, they however are very weak if used against larger warships, let alone shore-based fortifications.
Named after a piratical tribe known as the Liburinians who terrorised the Adriatic in antiquity, the Liburna was a light attack craft, related to but larger than the Lembos, which was a vessel frequently used by the Hellenic city-states. Liburnae (the plural of Liburna) were substantially larger, measuring roughly about 20 metres in length and able to fit two men per oar and for this reason they were popular with the Roman, being larger yet still fairly manoeuvreable and flexible in combat. It was for these reasons that they emerged the victors over the larger and heavier vessels of the Antonine fleet at Actium, and became the backbone of the Roman naval force for centuries of Imperial rule. In the Middle Ages, the Liburna involved into the dromonas or dromon, which added a few more performance-enhancing refinements while retaining the flexibility and strength of the original vessel, helping the remnants of the Roman empire to remain a naval force until the 10th century CE.