INTRODUCTORY NOTES ON ANCIENT PROJECTILE ENGINES
OF ancient Greek authors who have left us accounts of these engines, Heron (284- 221 B.C.) and Philo (about 200 B.C.) are the most trustworthy.
Both these mechanicians give plans and dimensions with an accuracy that enables us to reconstruct the machines, if not with exactitude at any rate with sufficient correctness for practical application.
Though in the books of Athenaeus,
Biton, Apollodorus, Diodorus,
Among the Roman historians and military
engineers, Vitruvius and
Vitruvius copied his descriptions from the Greek writers, which shows
Of all the old authors who have described the engines, we have but copies
With few exceptions, all the authors
named simply present us with their
All such spurious information is, of course, more detrimental than helpful
It frequently happens that in a medieval picture of one of these
FIG 1. -- BESIEGING A FORTIFIED TOWN WITH A BATTERY OF CATAPULTS AND BALLISTAS.
Criticism. – In this picture the ballistas are fairly correct, but the catapults are too small.
From Polybius. Edition 1727