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Catapult-Makers Were Once Ye Olde Celebrities
IOL ^ | 7-5-2004

Posted on 07/05/2004 2:52:06 PM PDT by blam

Catapult-makers were once ye olde celebrities

July 05 2004 at 08:24AM

London - Catapult designers were the celebrity scientists of the ancient world, according to a British expert.

Until the discovery of gunpowder, the catapult was the most powerful weapon in existence, said historian Serafina Cuomo. The machines, capable of hurling large projectiles long distances, were in high demand during the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans - and so were their makers.

But the construction of catapults was no easy task, requiring great mathematical and engineering skill.

It became a science in itself, known as "belopoietics" from the Greek "poietike" meaning "making of" and "belos" meaning "projectile" or "projectile throwing device".

Cuomo, from the Centre for the History of Science at Imperial College London, said: "Belopoietics attracted the interest and financial support of governments. It combined geometry, physics, and technology. Ancient engineers saw their knowledge as cumulative and progressive and believed that they were making an important contribution to the welfare of cities and the power of kings and emperors."

The first catapults dated back as far as the Ninth Century BC when they were depicted in a relief from Nimrud, in present day Iraq. In the Forth Century BC they spread rapidly around the Mediterranean, said Cuomo, writing in the journal Science.

The earliest Greek catapult was the "belly bow" - a large bow mounted on a case, one end of which rested on the belly of the person using it. Later the weapon was enlarged and a winch pull-back system added.

The next step was to introduce "springs" - tight bundles of sinews or ropes that were tightly twisted to store enormous power. Eventually trial-and-error gave way to the principle that all parts of a catapult were proportional to the size of the torsion springs. The introduction of proportionality allowed catapult construction to be almost standardised, said Cuomo.

"Tables of specifications were compiled for quick and easy reference," she said.

Advances in catapult design led to Roman stone-throwers capable of hurling projectiles weighing 27kg a distance of 150m. Legendary engines designed by Archimedes were said to have used stones three times heavier.

The engineers saw themselves as an international community and would meet to swap ideas, said Cuomo. She said catapults marked the beginning of a quest for more powerful and accurate ways of firing projectiles against enemies and their cities, "from oversized arrows to Patriot missiles".

She added: "Ancient engineers had a role in society and often an ambivalent relationship with political power. The technology they boasted of may now be obsolete, but their anxieties, their curiosity, and their pride in their knowledge are not - perhaps the people behind the machine have not changed that much." - Sapa-dpa


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: archaeology; archeology; catapult; celebrities; economic; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; makers; militaryhistory; olde; ye
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1 posted on 07/05/2004 2:52:06 PM PDT by blam
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To: FairOpinion

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 07/05/2004 2:52:54 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
The belly bow was basically a cross bow braced by the user's torso. The catapult was also called the mangonel or onager. The really heavy artillery was the trebuchet, which could toss stones up to 400 pounds!
3 posted on 07/05/2004 3:02:42 PM PDT by SoCal Pubbie
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To: *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; A.J.Armitage; abner; adam_az; AdmSmith; Alas Babylon!; blam; NukeMan; ...
"Until the discovery of gunpowder, the catapult was the most powerful weapon in existence, said historian Serafina Cuomo. The machines, capable of hurling large projectiles long distances, were in high demand during the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans - and so were their makers.

But the construction of catapults was no easy task, requiring great mathematical and engineering skill.

It became a science in itself, known as "belopoietics" from the Greek "poietike" meaning "making of" and "belos" meaning "projectile" or "projectile throwing device".

PING

This is a "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" -- Archeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc. PING list.

Please FREEPMAIL me, if you want on or off this list.

4 posted on 07/05/2004 3:22:48 PM PDT by FairOpinion (If you are not voting for Bush, you are voting for the terrorists.)
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To: blam

"WarWolf" bump


5 posted on 07/05/2004 3:25:04 PM PDT by BenLurkin ("A republic, if we can revive it")
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To: blam

Marin Mersenne introduced the science of physics to the world by describing the ballistics of gunpowder cannon shortly after the invention of cannon replaced catapults. While the renaissance had already begun, he hastened the advance of science by acting as liaison between the isolated scientists--including Galileo--of the various kingdoms of Europe. He was one of the central figures of the renaissance, and this due to the catapult. Moveable type, the magnetic compass, and gunpowder--the most important inventions according to Thomas More--made scientists necessary, and it was religious figures such as More and Mersenne that led the way to acceptance of science.


6 posted on 07/05/2004 3:34:18 PM PDT by RightWhale (Destroy the dark; restore the light)
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To: FairOpinion
"The first catapults dated back as far as the Ninth Century BC when they were depicted in a relief from Nimrud, in present day Iraq."

People living in that region were very clever...but it was long time ago.
7 posted on 07/05/2004 3:35:21 PM PDT by Grzegorz 246
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To: blam
Until the discovery of gunpowder, the catapult was the most powerful weapon in existence

All those buxom wenches, with their decolletage on public display, may beg to differ! *L*

8 posted on 07/05/2004 3:40:20 PM PDT by Happygal (Le gách dea ghuí)
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To: blam

I'm pretty sure al gore invented the catapault. In fact, he invented one so powerful it could have thrown michael moore 300 meters. Unfortunately, john kerry voted it down (after he voted for it).


9 posted on 07/05/2004 3:46:26 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Happygal

All those spies disguised as buzom wenches gleaning information by plying their targets with bottles of German reisling....


10 posted on 07/05/2004 4:07:24 PM PDT by uglybiker (I misspell ekxentric on purpose just to be different)
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To: uglybiker

Hey! I'm a sucker for a good joust! *L* ;-)


11 posted on 07/05/2004 4:09:01 PM PDT by Happygal (Le gách dea ghuí)
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To: blam
For the true catapult/trebuchet geek.

You're not living until you start launching stuff in the back yard. I recommend barrels of flaming fuel oil. LOL!

12 posted on 07/05/2004 4:15:50 PM PDT by Straight Vermonter (06/07/04 - 1000 days since 09/11/01)
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To: uglybiker
buzom

I think you mean buxom, but whatever! LOL!

13 posted on 07/05/2004 4:37:50 PM PDT by AndyJackson
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To: uglybiker

Oooops - just read your tagline.


14 posted on 07/05/2004 4:38:57 PM PDT by AndyJackson
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To: 1stFreedom; Redleg Duke; SAMWolf; archy; I got the rope; 300winmag; cavtrooper21; ...

Ancient Fire Support ping


15 posted on 07/05/2004 4:52:09 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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To: blam
She added: "Ancient engineers had a role in society and often an ambivalent relationship
with political power. The technology they boasted of may now be obsolete, but
their anxieties, their curiosity, and their pride in their knowledge are not - perhaps the people behind the machine have not changed
that much."


Nice post-modern journalism.
As I started the article, all I could think was "at least these technologists
didn't have a Nobel Peace Prize there to lure them into being useful idiots.".

But I guess the writer thinks otherwise.
16 posted on 07/05/2004 4:56:44 PM PDT by VOA
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Greek "Palintone" type Ballista Catapult Engine being prepared for firing

17 posted on 07/05/2004 4:59:12 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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To: blam

I guess what I really was saying was that the writer just couldn't praise the makers
of these engines of war...
without also trying to make them sound like leftist moral paragons along the lines of
Oppenheimer and Linus Pauling, let alone The Rosenburgs and Gus Hall.


18 posted on 07/05/2004 4:59:58 PM PDT by VOA
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Non-Gunpowder Artillery
19 posted on 07/05/2004 5:08:51 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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Warlord Marsallas with an "Onager" style catapult. This type of siege engine was used by the Roman Legions when assaulting walls and fortifications. "Onager" means "wildass" in latin and refers to the kicking action of the machine when it was discharged. It is a simpler and less complex form of the "Ballista" type catapult; which Rome had adopted from the Greeks. It utilizes a large arm powered by one horizontal skein of rope or gut; whereas the Ballista had a more complex "cross-bow" arrangement powered by two vertical skeins.

20 posted on 07/05/2004 5:17:36 PM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (I've lost turret power; I have my nods and my .50. Hooah. I will stay until relieved. White 2 out.)
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