Monday, June 27, 2011

The Roman Catapult

Descriptions of Roman sieges of fortified cities invariably feature siege engines, the most familiar of which are the battering ram or aries, which came first, and the catapult (catapulta, in Latin). Here is an example from the first century A.D. Jewish historian Josephus on the siege of Jerusalem:

"2. As for what is within the camp, it is set apart for tents, but the outward circumference hath the resemblance to a wall, and is adorned with towers at equal distances, where between the towers stand the engines for throwing arrows and darts, and for slinging stones, and where they lay all other engines that can annoy the enemy, all ready for their several operations."
Josephus Wars. III.5.2

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