Galleass (Civ5)

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Galleass Info Card (Civ5)

The Fan-Made Info Card featuring the Galleass Unit (Civ5)

Game InfoEdit

First ranged naval unit in the game.

  • Common abilities:
    • Cannot Enter Deep Ocean (except when controlled by the Polynesians).
    • May Not Melee Attack


The Galleass is a powerful Medieval Era ship that was used by countries in and near the Mediterranean sea in the 1500s and 1600s. Still depending on the sail-oar combination, the Galleass can't enter deep ocean, and its bulk makes it slower than the Trireme; however, it possesses an on-board projectile launcher, which allows it to attack with impunity from 2 tiles away, both in the sea and on land. This makes it very dangerous for both naval and land units, and even cities. Use it to support naval and land armies (if the latter are acting sufficiently close to the sea, of course) for total control of land and sea.

Galleasses are one movement point slower than the standard Trireme. While inferior at combat, Triremes will still be superior at exploration in the Medieval Era.

When promoting the unit, there are two distinct paths: either anti-naval, or anti-land capabilities. Consider current enemies' strengths when making the choice.

Historical InfoEdit

The Galleass was a class of naval warship that grew in popularity during the 16th century, when designs based on the traditional galley were modified to include heavier armaments. A typical galleass began life as a merchant ship powered by oars, which was then upgraded to include masts for sails. With two forms of propulsion available, the galleass design allowed the ship to maintain much of the traditional galley's renowned speed, while also carrying heavy guns to fend off would-be attackers.


  • The galleass was known as a "mahon" in Turkey and developed from large merchant galleys.
  • Galleasses had up to 32 oars, each worked by up to five men, and usually had three masts and a forecastle and aftcastle.
  • Relatively few galleasses were built - one disadvantage was that, being more reliant on sails, their position at the front of the galley line at the start of a battle could not be guaranteed - but they were used at the Battle of Lepanto (7 October 1571), their firepower helping to win victory for the Christian fleet, and some sufficiently seaworthy galleasses accompanied the Spanish Armada in 1588 (e.g. La Girona).
  • In the 15th century a type of light galleass, called the frigate, was built in southern European countries to answer the increasing challenge posed by the north African based Barbary pirates in their fast galleys.
  • The galleass was a popular type of vessel for England's Henry VIII, who had more than a dozen constructed for the English Navy during the 1530s and 1540s for his wars with the French. These were 4-masted vessels with a few heavy guns interspersed with the row ports on the lower deck of these vessels.
  • By 1549 the remaining galleasses had their oars removed, and were reclassed as "ships" rather than galleasses in that year, becoming pure sailing vessels. Most of the survivors were rebuilt as true galleons in the 1550s.
  • In the Mediterranean, with its shallower waters, less dangerous weather and fickle winds, both galleasses and galleys continued in use, particularly in Venice and Turkey (Ottoman Empire), long after they became obsolete elsewhere.

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