Ancient Siege Engines
mediaeval books are inaccurate through having been incorrectly copied
from older works.
In some cases the machines are of absurd appearance, their details of
construction having been evolved from the imagination of the artists who
attempted to portray them.
In other instances authors have quoted extracts from early manuscripts,
and then supplied laboriously minute engravings of what they fancied the
engines referred to were like.
Fig. 180. - A Spring Engine with a Sling like that
of a Trebuchet Attached to Its Arm, which Cast Two Stones at the Same Time.
As I have made both large and small working models of the projectile
siege engines of the ancients, I shall hope to elucidate their mechanism.1
These models with their details and dimensions, are the result of a practical
application of the best ancient and medieval directions
and plans I have been able to discover in home and continental libraries
With some knowledge of engineering and ballistics, I have not found
it difficult to fit together the parts of these engines or to ascertain
their mechanism and relative power. In a medieval drawing of a ballista
or a catapult the perspective was commonly of ludicrous incorrectness,
but by constructing a model of fair size the design of the original may
often be discovered.
1My largest catapult weighs one and a half