A Trebuchet is a siege engine that was employed in the middle ages. It is a modified version of the catapult that uses a counterweight to throw a large stone or blunt object. This means the only power it uses, is gravity. This invention brought about the end of knights, and castles. It's usually made out of wood and some other materials, so it's fairly simple to create; which means, most if not all societies in the middle ages had one.
The trebuchet is often confused with the earlier torsion siege engines. But the difference is that a torsion siege engine uses a twisted rope to provide power, where a trebuchet uses a counterweight.
The trebuchet derives from the ancient staff sling. A staff sling, contained a short piece of wood to extend the arm and provide greater leverage. This evolved into the traction trebuchet in which a number of people pull on ropes attached to the arm of a lever that has a sling on the long arm. The traction, has a shorter range, but is smaller. The even smaller ones could be powered by one large man. Traction trebuchets had a range of around 100 to 200 feet, when using a 250lb. weight. It is believed that mohists in China as early as in the 5th century BC. The traction trebuchets have appeared all over time up until the middle ages when the counterweight trebuchet came around.
The hand-trebuchet was a staff sling mounted on a pole using a lever mechanism to propel projectiles. Basically a portable trebuchet which could be operated by a single man, it was used by emperor Nikephoros II Phokas around 965 to disrupt enemy formations in the open field.
The earliest sightings of the counterweight trebuchet was in the 12th century, by a Byzantine historian, Niketas Choniates. This created a dramatic increase in military performance. It showed just how powerful it could be in the secound siege of Tyre in 1124. These trebuchets have been used from the 12th century all the way up to 1779. The trebuchet proved that it is...
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