jueves, 24 de mayo de 2012

FIRST MECHANICAL WEAPONS 

The first real artillery was developed in the Greek city of Syracuse on the orders of the current Tyrant, Dionysus I, in 400 B.C. in preparation for a war with Carthage. The weapon that the Greek engineers came up with is called the Gastraphetes, which is Greek for “Belly Bow”. The Gastraphetes was used to great effect by the Sryacusans against the Carthaginians in the siege of Moyta; they even managed to push back a Carthaginian relief fleet by using the weapon. It would take several decades before the rest of the Greek world would know what the Sryacusans had invented, it is said that the first Greek outside of Syracuse to see a Gastraphetes was King Archidamos II of Sparta who said when he saw it “O Herakles (Hercules)! The valor of men is extinguished!”


 After this first artillery piece there came even more as other Greek engineers sought to expand and surpass the Gastraphetes. From the Gastraphetes there comes two distinct branches of artillery, torsion and non-torsion, until the arrival of gunpowder in Europe the torsion artillery was the most powerful. The first artillery piece to be invented as an immediate result of the Gastraphetes was the Oxybeles, which is Greek for “bolt shooter”. 


The Oxybeles was invented in 375 B.C. as a heavy base mounted weapon, it had the ability of being able to pierce most shields and armor up to a range of 400 meters, because of this the Greeks named all weapons of this type as katapeltes, Greek for shield piercer, this is where we get our word catapult. The next step up in artillery technology was the Lithobolos, which first appeared around 335 B.C. Larger versions of the Lithobolos were called the Palintonon or Ballista. The family of weapons that range between the Lithobolos and Palintonon are referred too as the ballista family of artillery. This family of weapons first saw use in the arsenal of the Greeks against the invading Macedonians under Philip II in 354-353 B.C. 


When the Romans came to the fore as a world power they used Greek artillery with some modifications of their own, however they also developed some distinctly Roman artillery as well. By the time of the 2nd Punic War the Romans had a good deal of Romanized Greek artillery, but they also had developed some artillery of their own by this time. The Scorpion of Vitruvius was a smaller more advanced form of the ballista; instead of stone balls the scorpion threw large arrows. Later during the time of the Roman Empire another Roman development of the ballista, the Cheiroballista designed by the brilliant Heron of Alexandria the Cheiroballista was framed with metal, which meant that the Cheiroballista could last longer then any other weapon of its kind. But the largest of all Roman artillery is a giant one armed torsion engine called the Onager, Latin for wild donkey.























 Note: The scale figure doesn´t correspond to the historical period.
    Nota: La figura no corresponde a la época. 

4 comentarios:

  1. Just came across your site - love your work - really beautiful and brings things to life so much better than pictures can.

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  2. i like a background nice to visit and great walk :)

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Warwick castle England. All pics by Gary Hodgkinson

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