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The Crossbow   >   Chapter 54   >   Distances Ancient Siege Engine Cast Projectiles   > p.278

Table of Contents List of Illustrations Index Appendix

Ancient Siege Engines

engyn in ye castle, the which was not very great but he trymmed it to a point, and he cast therwith but three tymes. The firste stone fell a xii 1 fro the engyn without, the second fell on ye engyn, and the thirde stone hit so true that it brake clene asonder the shaft of the engyn without ; then the soldyers of Mortagne made a great shout, so that the Hainaulters could get nothing ther 2 ; then the erle 3 sayd how he wolde withdrawe.'

(From the translation made at the request of Henry VIII. by John Bourchier second Lord Berners, published 1523-1525.)

These siege engines when only of moderate size were not always successful, as in some cases the walls of a town were so massively built that the projectiles of the enemy made little impression upon them. Froissart tells us that it was then the habit of the defenders of the walls to pull off their caps or produce cloths, and derisively dust the masonry when it was struck by stones.
With regard to the range of catapults, balistas and trebuchets many extravagant statements have been made by historians. Francois de Mezeray even declares that a catapult could shoot to a distance of a thousand yards!4

On this point I have carefully sifted the evidence to be found in ancient and mediaeval descriptions of sieges and have discarded all statements that are in the least doubtful.5 The conclusions I have arrived at will be found in the three following chapters and may, I am confident, be relied on as accurate.

1 A foot.

2 Could not throw any more stones.

3 Count of Hainault. He was besieging Tournay, but left that place and went to besiege Mortagne and ordered the people of Valenciennes to go with him.

4 French historian ; wrote a history of France in 3 vols., printed 1643-51.

5 I have also had the advantage of possessing small and large working models from which to work out deductions and comparisons.


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Working Model Trebuchet Kit DIY Trebuchet Kit Shipping

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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.

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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. 

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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