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Olympic Games (interesting, actually)
Hi James,

In one of my previous posts I cited George Rawlinson who states:

Besides the battering ram the Assyrians appear to have been acquainted with an engine resembling a catapult or rather the ballista [236] of the Romans.

This engine which was of great height, and threw stones of a large size, was protected, like the ram, by a framework, apparently of wood, covered with canvas, felt or hides.

The stones thrown from the engine were of irregular shape, and it was able to discharge several at the same time. The besiegers worked it from a mound or inclined plane, which enabled them to send their missiles to the top of the ramparts.[237]

It had to be brought very close to the walls in order to be effective – a position which gave the besieged an opportunity of assailing it by fire. Perhaps it was this liability which caused the infrequent use of the engine in question, which is rare upon the earlier, and absent from the later, sculptures.

Source: p. 275, The Seven Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World By George Rawlinson ... 1-PA275,M1

The bas relief he is describing is depicted in Barnett and Falkner 1962: 172, plate 118. And although common sense will state that the catapult and ballista would naturally have come from the inventors of the first siege engines and towers I remain open to the idea until I have seen all the evidence.

I would also like to express my thanks to you or any of the other forum members who are able to scan and post an image of this bas relief for us all to see and make our own impartial judgment.

Thanks again.
Hi David,

I am confident that if the Assyrians had possessed any sort of effective catapult, we would see it clearly (not ambiguously) in their art. They liked showing off all their latest weapons! My university library doesn't have that book, so I can't see the image for myself. Rawlinson's description sounds like some kind of mobile platform for men throwing stones and darts. This makes sense, since the main Assyrian contribution to siegecraft was putting Bronze Age arms (battering ram, sapper, slinger, and archer) into mobile shelters.

The Biblical reference probably refers to an erection of poles and shields over the battlements, as we see in Assyrian art, according to an author whose name I can't recall who looked at the Hebrew.

The stones at Paphos and Paros are more interesting, but they could have been for throwing by hand, and stone-throwing engines seem to have been invented in late -IV. Otherwise, Persian cities would not have fallen so quickly to them, and our earliest sources wouldn't refer to bolt-throwers only. The fourth-century Greeks clearly borrowed so much from Middle Eastern military technology and organization that attacking the one thing which they probably invented themselves is superfluous.
Nullis in verba

I left this forum around the beginning of 2013, but I hope that these old posts have some value

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