Ancient Engineering
The Atomic Bomb of the Middle Ages

Catapult Design, Construction and Competition

Now available in print! TWO historical catapult reference works in one volume!

This Is The Best General Catapult Book You Can Find Today!

Catapult Design, Construction and Competition with The Projectile Throwing Engines of the Ancients and Foreword by Ron Toms

If you've ever wondered how to build a catapult or trebuchet, or wondered what you'd do with it once you've built one, then this book can help. Filled with anecdotes, plans, photographs, drawings and detailed descriptions of the workings and history of all the major types of catapults, these pages will help you get started in this fascinating hobby. You too will feel the joy of harnessing the power and energy of simple and ancient machines.

Those who involve themselves with a catapult project invariably find within themselves the enthusiasm, lit by a private spark of wonder, to participate meaningfully in the work. Almost at once and without planning, the task draws participants into a mature collaboration many have never known before. Here is a project that teaches one how to learn-- not to parrot, but to generate knowledge. Catapultors discover that they are collecting real information concerning a phenomenon about which very few people in the world know anything.

It's easy to design a simple machine with modern tools and materials, but when you constrain the project to use only tools and materials available from a thousand years ago, and require that machine to compete with modern equivalents, then you start to see a lot of creativity sprout up. It's a puzzle, a challenge that inspires people to learn and it generates new respect for the ancients and their ingenuity.

The ancients had limited power and resources available, and had to concern themselves with efficiency and clever applications of leverage and other basic principles of physics. Helping kids to learn how they did these things in the Medieval world also helps those kids compete in today's world by inspiring them to be more creative and do more with our limited resources.

Catapult Design, Construction and Competition is a truly unique book that describes all types of catapults, including tension bow powered machines, ballistae, onagers and mangonels, and of course, trebuchets! There are a multitude of photographs, including some truly large machines that can hurl 100 lb. missiles! But there's more than just pictures. Schematics are included for four of the record setting machines, and detailed descriptions of their construction too.

This book also includes the results of early catapult and trebuchet competitions, and the rules and regulations for holding your own competitions. Including the definition of what is a catapult, safety, classes and categories of machines, judging, registering results, and lots of other details.

Images from this book:

Also included in this volume is :
The Projectile Throwing Engines of the Ancients

This is one of the most important books in the history of hurling. Written by Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey in 1907, it's the first serious work on the ancient catapults to be written in modern times.

In this book, Sir Ralph explores the ancient writings of seiges and their artillery. Not content to take the writings at face value, he endeavors to assign credibility to the writer, then he goes on to produce his own working versions of the ancient machines, to test the principles and the claims of the ancient writers.
The original book is out of print and extremely rare. Reprints can sometimes be found at prices ranging from $70 to $150 and more. We've taken great care to preserve all the original information in this edition.

Containing forty-four pages with over 22 illustrations, the book gives details about the design, construction and operation of the three fundamental types of siege engines- the Catapult (also known as the Mangonel or Onager), the Ballista and the Trebuchet, as well as the history and effects of such weapons.

Sample Pages from Catapult Design, Construction and Competition:

(These images have been reduced to save space.
The printed book is 8-1/4 by 11 inches.)

Sample Pages from The Projectile Throwing Engines of the Ancients:

(These images have been reduced to save space.
The printed book is 8-1/4 by 11 inches.)

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    Minimum age: 8
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    Item code: 92903

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Interesting Notes

Some Trebuchet History:

From the 13th century writing: "Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi"

In June and July of 1191, Richard the Lionheart (the Duke of Normandy) laid siege to the city of Acre as part of the medieval Crusades.

The Duke concentrated on constructing siege machines and placing trebuchets [petrariae - literally, stone hurler] in suitable places. He arranged for these to shoot continually day and night. He had one excellent one which he called "Bad Neighbor" [Malvoisine]. Its continual bombardment partly destroyed the main city wall and shattered the Cursed Tower. On one side the Templars' trebuchet wreaked impressive devastation, while the Hospitallers trebuchet also never ceased hurling, to the terror of the Turks.

Besides these, there was a trebuchet that had been constructed at general expense, which they called "God's Stone-Thrower". A priest, a man of great probity, always stood next to it preaching and collecting money for its continual repair and for hiring people to gather the stones for its ammunition. This machine at last demolished the wall next to the Cursed Tower for around two perches' Length [11 yards or 10 meters].

The count of Flanders had had a choice trebuchet, which King Richard had after his death, as well as another trebuchet which was not so good. These two constantly bombarded the tower next to a gate which the Turks frequently used, until the tower was half-demolished. Besides these, King Richard had two new ones made with remarkable workmanship and material which would hit the intended target no matter how far off it was. . . . He also had two mangonels [traction trebuchets] prepared. One of these was so swift and violent that its shots reached the inner streets of the city meat market.

King Richard's trebuchets hurled constantly by day and night. It can be firmly stated that one of them killed twelve men with a single stone. That stone was sent for Saladin to see, with messengers who said that the diabolical king of England had brought from Messina, a city he had captured, sea flint and the smoothest stones to punish the Saracens. Nothing could withstand their blows; everything was crushed or reduced to dust.