Catapults: a History

Topics: Siege engine, Catapult, Roman siege engines Pages: 2 (739 words) Published: December 13, 2012
Catapults: A History
A catapult has been used all throughout history as a siege engine. A siege engine is a device that is designed to break or circumvent city walls and other fortifications in siege warfare. A catapult was one of the approximately 10 weapons used in siege warfare during an assault on a castle or fortification. Some other weapons used in both ancient and medieval siege warfare included the well known trebuchet, the classic battering ram, and the siege tower. All of these devices and their relatives were used both in ancient and medieval times in large numbers, and to their users utter enjoyment, and they remained effective for ages, despite an opponent's usually inefficient ways of trying to impede the seige weapons progress. However, the catapult is not really thought of. Not many people know what a ballista, an onager, or a spingold is. So in this essay, you're going to get the ins-and-outs of the catapult, its different types, its used, both in ancient, medieval, and modern-times, and the designs. According to Merriam Webster, a catapult is “an ancient military device used for the purpose of hurling missiles”. And this definition couldn’t be any truer. Put simply, a catapult is a device that does not use any explosives to launch a projectile or a group of projectiles towards a target. Usually, the long arms is pulled back by a ropes or set of ropes, then letting them go, causing the long arm to swing forward. However, this is not the only way a catapult is used. There are 5 different types of catapults: the trebuchet, the Ballista, the Mangonel, the Springald, and the Onager. The trebuchet uses a counterweight attached to a long arm with a pivot in the middle to launch a projectile in a sling. A Ballista is basically a giant crossbow. The Onager is your classic catapult. And the Mangonel and the Springald are types of Ballistas and Onagers. However, when you think of a catapult, you are usually thinking of the Onager, a catapult which uses...
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