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Homo Faber

5. War machines

Stone projectiles for catapults, Pompeii
The problem of overtaking walled cities lies at the heart of the development of siege machines, which were capable of launching stone darts and projectiles. Introduced by the Greeks, these machines were used and further developed by the Romans.

Nothing of the ancient machines has survived: built primarily of wood, a perishable material, we know of them only through the descriptions given in literary sources, and through a few ancient pictorial depictions.

In 89 BC, the Romans used siege equipment to conquer Pompeii, which had supported the insurrection of its Italic allies. The signs of projectiles launched by catapults, ballistas and onagers are still visible on sections of the walls between Porta Ercolano and Porta Vesuvio.
Original artefacts

arrow 5.1 War machinery: onager

arrow 5.2 Fresco with wounded Aeneas



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