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History of the Catapult

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 433
  • Category: History

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We usually think of a catapult as something that was used in the Middle Ages to destroy the walls of a castle. But catapults have a very long history dating long before the time of castles and they were developed in many different ways by many different cultures over the centuries. The catapult has been used from ancient times to modern times today. The purpose has remained mostly the same over all these years. Though more recently we have had different ideas for the uses of the catapult.

The Romans added their own chapter to history of catapult with the later creation of the mangonel. This model was similar in design to the Greek version, but called for only one wooden arm. The mangonel, had somewhat of a design flaw in that in called for a wooden barrier to be constructed. This design still made a big impact on the catapults we still use today. Another chapter in the catapults history was in 12-th century France with the creation of the trebuchet. This massive engine was said to have struck fear in the hearts of their enemies. The design and its sheer power have launched this example catapult history through the centuries. The trebuchet used a long wooden arm rested on a pivot point, which acted as a large lever. A projectile was placed on one end and warriors in this earlier version of the trebuchet pulled on ropes attached to the other end to essentially swing the arm around and hurl the stone.

As history of catapult marches forward, more advanced designs of the trebuchet were created, using a counterweight rather than muscles to provide the energy. In these versions, warriors would pull down against the counterweight, load the missile and release the arm. The design of the catapult was push forward faster with Middle Age warfare; some examples of this design in history of catapult are reported to have had arms of roughly 50 feet in length and counterpoises of 20 tons. These were able to launch objects of up to 300 pounds an estimated 300 yards.

The history of catapult continues to be written today as designs using the same principles are used to launch military aircraft from ships, and replicas continue to be made. A shining example of history of catapult brought to life can even be seen on the big screen as mighty trebuchet action can be seen within the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. This example of the catapult being used in a popular movie just shows how much ideas change over time.

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