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 Appendix   >  Book of the Crossbow   >  Ancient Projectile Engines   > Introductory Notes  >p.6
Table of Contents List of Illustrations Index Appendix

Introductory Notes

It is, indeed, impossible to find a complete working plan of any one of these old weapons, a perfect design being only obtainable by consulting many ancient authorities, and, it may be said, piecing together the details of construction they in individually give.

We have no direct evidence as to when the engines for throw projectiles were invented.

It does appear the King Shalmaneser II, of Assyria (859-825 B.C.) had any, for none are depicted on the bonze doors of the palace of Balawat, now in the British Museum, on which his campaigns are represented, though his other weapons of attack and defence are clearly shown.

The earliest allusion is one in the Bible, where we read of Uzziah, who reigned from B.C. 809-9 to B.C. 756-7. 'Uzziah made in Jerusalem engines invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal.' (2 Chronicles xxvi. 15.)

Diodorus tells us that the engine were first seen about 400 B.C., and that when Dionysius of Syracuse organised his great expedition against the Carthaginians (397 B.C.) there was genius among the experts collected from all over the world, and that this man designed the engines that cast stones and Javelins.

From the reign of Dionysius and for many subsequent centuries, or till near the close of the fourteenth, projectile throwing engines are constantly mentioned by military historians.

But it was not till the reign of Philip of Macedon (360-336 B.C.) and that of his son Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.) that their improvement was carefully attended to and there value in warfare fully recognised.

As before stated, the Romans adopted the engines from the Greeks.

Vitruvius and other historians tell us this, and even copy their descriptions of them from the Greek authors, though too often with palpable inaccuracy.

To ascertain the power and mechanism of these ancient engines a very close study of all the old authors who wrote about them is essential, with a view to extracting here and there useful facts amid what are generally verbose and confused references.

There is no doubt that the engines mad and used by the Romans after there conquest of Greece (B.C. 146), in the course of two or three centuries became inferior to the original machine previously constructed by the Greek artificers.

Their efficiency chiefly suffered because the art of manufacturing their important parts was gradually neglected and allow to become lost.


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The trebuchet kit includes fully precut and drilled frame parts, pins and axles, sling cord and sewn pouch, projectiles and fully illustrated assembly and firing instructions. 

Unlike the flimsy, snap together plywood trebuchet kits, our all hardwood trebuchet kit does not require additional cutting, trimming or shaping.

Requires only white carpenter's glue and a few bar clamps (not included) to assemble. 


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Inspired by the great war machines and siege catapults of Leonardo da Vinci , this all Red Oak hardwood trebuchet features an open counterweight cabinet for range and trajectory adjustment. 

Fire with an empty counterweight for indoor use, or add weight (nuts, bolts, scrap lead, iron or steel, sand, or small rocks not included) for increased range.

Individually crafted from cabinet-grade red oak, the da Vinci Trebuchet stands 14 inches tall in the cocked position, 24 inches tall in the fired position and will hurl a projectile up to 60 feet. Includes six projectiles and fully illustrated instructions.

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