The corvus was an unusual naval weapon used by the Romans during the First Punic War to help make up for the Carthaginian prowess at sea. The corvus was a boarding bridge, probably 36 feet long and 4 feet wide, with a parapet on each side. This was attached to a pole on it's own ship, and could be pulled up at an angle. Underneath the far end was a heavy spike. The idea was the ship with the corvus moved close to the enemy, and then released it. The spike would dig into the enemy vessel and pin it in place, while the Roman soldiers would charge onto the enemy ship. This allowed the Romans to take advantage of their superior infantry. The corvus was first used at the battle of Mylea, where it helped bring about the first major Roman naval victory of the war. Long considered implausible, modern reconstructions have proved that the corvus was indeed possible with the technology of the time.
How to cite this article:
Rickard, J. (14 December 2001), Corvus, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_corvus.html