Codex Catapultae

Written by Murray Hill |
Published on:


This book, as one might expect from the title, is about catapults. Some people may immediately think of a specific machine as being "a catapult", but unfortunately this is actually incorrect. Why would the Roman's use a Greek name for a machine rather than a Latin one? Even the word "ballista" is a Latin corruption of the Greek ballistra. And yes you do have to be a real classical geek to know stuff like that, but this is artillery so we get the points back there.

The point is that what people "know" about catapults is usually wrong and unless you want to go to university for seven or eight years it will probably stay wrong because Hollywood own the best (or possibly worst) system for dissemination of information. In fact, catapult is the action of throwing. It may well be accurate enough to say that its use is a generic term for throwing machines.

What you the reader will need to do is simply sigh and accept that Age of Empires has lied to you and forget all of your preconceptions about catapults and allow some new ideas to creep in. The real problem with trying to learn
about ancient throwing, machines are that we are dealing with a highly technical subject that covers more time than gunpowder using three methods of propulsion over guns powder's single method (expanding gas). You could
liken the challenge to attempting to recreate the two World Wars after a thousand years with two rifles, a pistol, a
howitzer and a stack of Commando Comics. 

What we know will be tempered by what we do not know and become what we believe. This book is what I believe, and that has been shaped by both an academic study and practical experimentation strongly influenced by finding and listening to people who have demonstrated their own ability with this sort of machine. In this book, I will be touching on the highlights in the development and evolution of catapults from the earliest tension powered throwers, through the highly technical
torsion machines of the Greeks and Romans to the wall-smashing traction powered machines of the Middle Ages. I'll be touching on the weapons that influenced them and the reasons why they may have fallen into disuse. But more importantly, I'll be looking at some of the key individuals' history's artillerymen and the pan they played in the development and use of pre-gunpowder artillery and the part that artillery played in their lives.

Codex Catapultae is availbale from Amazon.

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About Arts and Culture

This is a primer relating to catpaults. It pulls apart the myths and myth-understandings about catapults in plain language.

Link to Book

My Book

Author: Murray Hill
I live in New Zealand where I spent 12 years in the army which greatly prepared me for a life of sitting down and writing. I have already spent several years sitting down and writing to get an MA in History I am contracted to write feedback on academic assignments and I have written several short books.
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