Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Medieval Word Wednesday - Siege Weapons

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3A074-The-Siege-of-a-Castle-q75-901x1230.jpg

In the image above, we can see an illustration of the use of the following two objects.

Definitions from The Scriptorium (http://thescriptorium.co.uk/glossary.php)
trebuchet - siege engine operated by a counterweight
belfry - a mobile wooden tower used to transfer troops onto a wall

The description provided on the source site for the image above describes the machine hurling rocks on the attackers as a catapult, but it looks more like a trebuchet to me. From what I understand (though I am no expert), catapults work on a concept similar to a bow or a spoon when hurling peas across the room (bending and then releasing). The trebuchet uses a swinging counterweight to hurl objects. From what I have read, the trebuchets could throw farther and longer than catapults, which would make them my weapon of choice when attacking a thick castle wall.

Here are two examples for you to compare:

Catapult
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Catapult_1_Mercato_San_Severino.jpg

Trebuchet
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trebuchet.jpg


Which do you think is being used
in the picture at the top of the post?

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