Besieged: Siege Warfare in the Ancient World (General Military)

Besieged: Siege Warfare in the Ancient World (General Military)

Duncan Campbell

Language: English

Pages: 225

ISBN: 1846030196

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Besieged: Siege Warfare in the Ancient World (General Military)

Duncan Campbell

Language: English

Pages: 225

ISBN: 1846030196

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The great warleaders and generals, including Darius, Alexander the Great, Hannibal and Julius Caesar successfully used siegecraft to gain their objectives. As siege tactics became integral to success in war, generals employed the minds of engineers and scientists to develop tactics, and offensive and defensive technology to give them the edge over their enemies. The mathematician Archimedes was famously and very practically involved in the defense of Syracuse in 213-12 BC. Soldiers became highly skilled combat engineers.

The book tracks the amazing developments in siege warfare through a period of nine centuries and includes details of the evolution of the artillery of the era - spear- and stone-firing catapults. Full-color artwork, many drawings and plans, photographs of archeological finds and reconstructions support expert but accessible text in this fascinating study of a less familiar facet of the ancient art of war.

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characterized by its cruelty. It is not unlikely that the frustration of a protracted besieging assault was usually vented on the townsfolk. The Athenian playwright Aeschylus, who had famously fought at Marathon in 490 BC, lamented that 'many and wretched are the miseries when a city is taken' (Aesch., Sept. 339)' It is true that Greek armies of the 5th century had been known to commit atrocities; the treatment of Plataea by the Spartans and of Melos by the Athenians are just two examples.

weapon to comfortably outrange the archer, became a continuing feature of siege warfare. As far as battering rams are concerned, Aeneas' knowledge is clearly drawn from Thucydides' description of the Peloponnesian attack on Plataea. For example, he recommends cushioning the ram's blows with sacks of chaff, bags of wool, or inflated ox--hides, and disabling the machine by lassoing the ram--head or breaking it off entirely by dropping heavy weights (32.3 -6). It is true that, in 376 BC, Chabrias

imperceptibly, scarcely advancing by the length of their thousands who are occasionally mentioned as propelling these vast machines. Of course, the ancients were well circumstances, it would have been sufficient to anchor own wheelbase from one day to the next. Under these acquainted with compound pulleys and winches, and it is the pulleys in the ground beneath the front of the tempting to assume that they were used to drag wheeled towers forward. machine, and secure the ropes to the

Again, a full range of siegecraft is in evidence. For example, late in 44 BC, Antony encircled Mutina (now Modena in northern Italy), where one of Caesar's murderers, Decimus Brutus, had taken refuge, but he was increasingly threatened by successive relieving forces and departed in the following spring. Octavian perhaps drew a lesson from Antony's failure. Late in 41 BC, when he trapped Antony's brother Lucius in Perusia (modern Perugia), he built an elaborate system of siege--works 'with two

was 50 cubits (75ft or 22m) long and length of Diades' tortoise, because it is clear that the former will have projected up to 10 cubits (15ft or cubit (0'44m) high 4.4m) beyond the latter. This exposed section must and was mounted on supports (De arcb. 10. 13.7). As have been arched over to give it some protection from I both authors point out, the same word is also used for above, but even then it would have been particularly the groove of a catapult, in which the arrow is laid in

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