Greek artillery

After reading the books about Syracusan history, I am quite convinced that that Syracuse is the ultimate fighting force if you wish to have variable historical opponents.  Syracusan armies have several interesting features, besides of being ultimately mercenary army which allows unusually large variety of troops in the field. While Syracusan citizen army would be somewhat old fashioned hoplite army they do have rather modern quirks such as siege artillery, called ballistae.


Ballistae, a weapon that Caesar brought to popular knowledge in a form of Scorpio, was originally invented or developed by Dionysius of Syracuse, around 400BC – however truth of the statement is not certain. Original Greek ballistae was a siege weapon, and much larger than the more commonly known Roman portable missile shooters. Ballistae1

It is interesting that while Syracuse used ballistae to quite good effect against their plentiful enemies, it was Philip II and Alexander of Macedon that finally established the future fame and widespread use as field artillery. Ballistae3

Ballistae could be disassembled with relative ease and mounted on siege train. This meant that one could transport them over great distances. They came in various sizes, from huge stone throwing machines to variety that shot bolts. What highlights their versatility, is that ballistae were at times mounted on ships and siege towers, and they lived on in in Roman empire that habitually absorbed good innovations of their enemies.

Ballistae4   Ballistae2

Welcomed addition to the to be build Syracusan army, and also to serve later in other armies. Later Romans would be more than pleased to have additional ranged weapon. These are the small variety that are used to fire bolts, keeping in mind their future use in ranks of Romans.I have thought of adding the heavier rock heaving version, since they appear to be available. Might look rather nice in the battlefield – albeit with limited mobility.

This entry was posted in Impetus, Painting and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s