When Was the Anchor Invented in Ancient Greece?

The anchor is an essential tool for any watercraft, as it helps keep the vessel in place when at rest. But when was the anchor invented, and how did it evolve into the device we use today? Let’s take a look at the history of the anchor in ancient Greece.

The First Anchors

The first anchors were simple stones or bags of sand that were tied to ropes and thrown overboard to slow a ship’s drift. This method was effective but not very reliable, especially during storms or high winds. As ships grew larger and more complex, new methods were needed to keep them secure.

Ancient Greek Anchors

It’s believed that the first true anchors were developed by the ancient Greeks around 400 BCE. These anchors were made of wood and consisted of a long shank with a pointed end and two arms that curved outward. The shank was attached to a rope or chain, which was then tied to the ship.

Types of Greek Anchors

There were several different types of Greek anchors, each designed for specific purposes. The most common type was the grapnel anchor, which had multiple hooks that could grab onto rocks or other objects on the sea floor. Another type was the tripping anchor, which had an angled shank that would catch on rocks or debris and cause the anchor to tip over and dig into the sea floor.

The Evolution of Anchors

Over time, anchors continued to evolve and become more sophisticated. The Romans improved upon Greek designs by adding iron flukes (the pointed parts at the end of an anchor) and using chains instead of rope. In medieval times, anchors became even larger and more complex, with multiple flukes and hinged joints.

The Modern Anchor

Today’s modern anchors are made from strong metals like steel or aluminum and can weigh hundreds or even thousands of pounds. They have multiple flukes that can dig deep into the sea floor, and are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions.


The anchor has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a simple stone tied to a rope. From the wooden Greek anchors of ancient times to today’s massive steel behemoths, the evolution of this essential tool has been a long and fascinating journey.