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 Appendix   >  Book of the Crossbow    >  Ancient Projectile Engines    >  Ballista   > p.23

Table of Contents List of Illustrations Index Appendix

 The Ballista

The description given of the mechanism and management of the engine for throwing arrows can be applied to the construction and manipulation of this form of balista, which was also made of large and small dimensions.

Small engines, with arms about 2 ft. in length and skeins of cord about 4 in. in diameter, such as those I have built for experiment, will send a stone ball, 1 lb. in weight, from 300 to 350 yards.

There is little doubt that the large stone throwing ballista of the Greeks and Romans was able to project a circular stone, of 6 to 8 lbs. weight, to a distance of from 450 to 500 yards. 1

Fig. 10. - The Sliding Trough of the Stone Throwing Ballista.
Fig. 10. - The Sliding Trough of the Stone Throwing Ballista.

A. Surface view, with the stone in position.

B. Side view, with the stone in position.

C. Front view of the stone as it rests in the trough against the enlarged centre of the bow string.

D. Enlarged view of the solid end of the sliding trough. This sketch shows the ball in position against the bow string; the catch holing the loop of the bow string, and the pivoted trigger which, when pulled, releases the catch. One pair of the ratchets which engage the cogs on the side of the stock

1 The balls used by the ancients in their catapults and ballistas were often formed of heavy pebbles inclosed in baked clay, the reason being that the balls made this way shattered on falling an hence could not be shot back by the engines of the enemy. The balistas for throwing arrows, and those employed for casting stones, were fitted with axles and wheels when constructed for use in field warfare. (Pages 260, 273, 300, The Crossbow.)

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Roman Ballista Plans
Build a Working Model Roman Ballista Click Here for a larger image.Roman Ballista Plans

Build a Working Model Ballista with TrebuchetStore.com Ballista Plans and Instructions. Once complete, this Stone Throwing Ballista  is 2 feet long and will throw a scale projectile up to 90 feet.

Professional Design

Professionally engineered, this Roman Ballista design allows you to vary the elevation and bow strength for range and trajectory adjustment. Fire with a soft projectile for indoor use, or a solid one for long range outdoors.

Great Project

Resembling a crossbow, the ballista derives its power from skeins of twisted cord, just like a catapult. The Stone Throwing Ballista is perfect for demonstrating ancient Roman warfare and technology as well as the physics of torsion, ballistics and projectile motion. Ballistas make great science and history projects. 

Easy to Build

Like all  TrebuchetStore.com plans, the Ballista uses common, inexpensive and easy to find building materials, available at your local hardware store or home center. Basic woodworking skills and tools are required, but the straightforward design requires no complicated layout or joinery.

TrebuchetStore.com Ballista Plans come complete with:

  • Parts Shopping List
  • Measured Drawings for all parts
  • Assembly Drawings
  • Step by step Assembly Instructions
  • Step by step Firing and Tuning Instructions
All the information you need to complete your project quickly and easily.

Want to know how to build a ballista ? TrebuchetStore.com Ballista Plans and Instructions take the mystery out of Ballista design and construction.

Appendix   >  Book of the Crossbow    >  Ancient Projectile Engines    >  Ballista   > p.23


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