The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Artillery



Asia, was traced back to the Amazons. A number of other deities native to Asia was also worshipped by the Greeks under the name of Artemis.

Artemis appears in works of art as the ideal of austere maiden beauty, tall of sta­ture, with bow and quiver on her shoulder, or torch in her hand, and generally leading or carrying a hind, or riding in a chariot drawn by hinds. Her commonest character is that of a huntress. In earlier times the figure is fuller and stronger, and the cloth­ing more complete; in later works she is represented as more slender and lighter of 'foot, the hair loose, the dress girt up high, the feet protected by the Cretan shoe. The most celebrated of her existing statues is the Diana of Versailles (see cut). On the identification of Artemis with the Italian Diana, see diana.

Artillery. The machines used for send­ing large missiles to a great distance were


supposed to have been invented in the East, and appear in Greece since 400 b.c. or thereabouts. They attained their highest perfection in the age of the DiadSchi, and were adopted by the Romans after the Punic wars. There were two chief varieties, both imitations of the crossbow; but the elasticity of the bow is exchanged for elasti­city in the twist of the cord. Consequently all pieces of heavy artillery were called by the Romans tormenta. The ma­chine consisted of three parts : the stand, the groove for the shot, and the apparatus repre­senting the bow. This con­sisted of a frame in three divisions, through the midmost of which passed the groove for the shot (fig. 1). In each of the lateral divisions was stretched, in a vertical direc-

tion, a set of strong elastic cords, made of the sinews of animals, or the long hair of animals or of women. These were stretched tight, and between each of them was fixed a straight unelastic arm of wood. The arms were joined by a cord, which was pulled back by a winch applied at the end of the groove. On letting this go, the arms, and with them the string and the object in front of it, were driven forward by the twisting of the vertical cords. The effectiveness of the engine thus depended on the power and twist of the cords, which may be said roughly to express its calibre. The engines were divided into two kinds. (1) Catapultos, or scorpions (fig. 2). In these the groove for the shot was horizontal; and they projected missiles of length and thickness varying according to the calibre. (2) Ballista! (fig. 3), which shot stones, beams, or balls up to 1G2 Ibs. weight, at an angle of 50 degrees. The calibre of the ballista was at least three times as great as that of the catapult. The average range of the catapult was about 383 yards, that of the ballista from about 295 to 503 yards.


stones. It consisted of a frame, in which was fastened a wooden arm with a sling at

After Cons tan tine we hear no more of catapults, but only of ballistce and the Onager. The ballista now shot arrows, and is described either as a huge cross-bow with an elastic bow of iron, or as virtually identical with the old catapult. The onager, also called scorpio (fig. 4) was a sling for

About | First | Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.