The Catapult: A History

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A Major Contribution to the History of Technology and Ancient Warfare
The most recognized military device of ancient times and the source of continued fascination and popular appeal, the catapult represented a major shift in the conduct of warfare. In The Catapult: A History historian Tracey Rihll uses ancient sources and the latest archaeological findings to tell the story of this first machine of war. Dispelling any notion that the catapult was precision engineered in the modern sense, the author explains how a robust formulaic design allowed a variety of machines and missiles to be built and used for particular battlefield conditions or military tasks. Complete with original illustrations, maps, and two appendices detailing both the formulas for catapult construction and known catapult remains, The Catapult is essential reading for those interested in the history of warfare and technology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Rihll’s work should now replace Marsden as the basic study of the history of the catapult from classical Greece to late antiquity.”—Technology and Culture

“A treat . . . the combination of textual analysis, military history and understanding of the underlying science is a fine example of how modern classical scholarship can still surpass the efforts of past centuries.”—The Economist

“Deftly weaving together politics, strategy, military organisation, weaponry, and fortification in a persuasive narrative . . . a solid, up-to-date, and readable account of the classical world's most intriguing military technological innovation.”—Journal of Military History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594160356
  • Publisher: Westholme Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/28/2007
  • Series: Weapons in History Ser.
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

TRACEY RIHLL is lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Wales, Swansea. She is author of Greek Science and many articles of ancient technology and science.

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations     vi
List of Maps     vii
Preface     ix
Timeline     xi
Introduction     xix
Sticks and Stones     1
The First Catapult     26
The Development and Diffusion of Tension Catapults     46
The Sinews of War: Torsion Catapults     76
Little Catapults     91
The Age of Experiment: The Hellenistic Period     106
The Technical Treatises     140
The Romanization of Catapult Technology     176
Strikes Back at the Empire     197
Late Antique Catapults, East and West     232
The Calibration Formulae and Components     271
Known Catapult Remains     295
Notes     299
Bibliography     345
Index     365
Acknowledgements     381
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