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Aitor Alert! Manuballista found!
#1
Remnants of what seems to be a manuballista have been found near Xanten, formely Vetera!<br>
According the the little info AFP gave, it is "a metallic frame, 21 X 28 centimeters on which were affixed two wooden arms".<br>
Remnants of the torsion springs made of "rope" (?) were found attached to the arms.<br>
Naturally, Aitor, the story does not say whether it was an in or out-swinger but given the size of the frame I suspect it's a outswinger.<br>
But this is definitely a personal weapon. The AFP story talks about a " Roman crossbow" actually, which it is not. The crossbow was known --and used-- as an arcuballista, but this is definitely a manuballista, and the first one ever found. <p></p><i></i>
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#2
This should be posted on the thread on catapults on Reconstruction and Re-Enactment.<br>
<br>
Any indication what kind of rope? <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showUserPublicProfile?gid=johnmmcdermott>JOHN M MCDERMOTT</A> <IMG HEIGHT=10 WIDTH=10 SRC="http://photobucket.com/albums/v488/JohnMcDermott/th_DSC00144.jpg" BORDER=0> at: 2/23/05 7:50 pm<br></i>
"In war as in loving, you must always keep shoving." George S. Patton, Jr.
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#3
Here is an article (in German) with a photo of a reconstruction of the contraption. The article says the wood used was ash and they did find parts of the rope and the wood still intact.<br>
<br>
www.spiegel.de/wissenscha...91,00.html <p></p><i></i>
Aka
Christoph
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#4
A few more details.<br>
Here's the supposed replica:<br>
<img src="http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,440006,00.jpg" style="border:0;"/><br>
Only the metal parts (21x28 cm) survived, with parts from the wood inside, as well as imprints and some fibres from the rope.<br>
<br>
The remains go on display in the Römisch-Germanischen Museum in Köln (Cologne) from March 12th.<br>
<p>Valete,<br>
Valerius/Robert<br>
[url=http://www.fectio.org.uk/" target="top]fectienses seniores[/url]</p><i></i>
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
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FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#5
Man! That looks like a beautiful, tiny, hand held version of the infamous "scorpion"! I'd certainly be excited to learn more information on this find. I knew of the hand-held metal framed versions such as Aitor has reconstructed, but I didn't realize that there might be wooden framed models, too. That is a gorgeous little machine, and I bet deadly, too! <p>Lucius Aurelius Metellus, draconarius, Secunda Brittanica<br>
www.greeneknightforge.bravehost.com </p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/[email protected]romanarmytalk>Lucius Aurelius Metellus</A> <IMG HEIGHT=10 WIDTH=10 SRC="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v384/Lucius68/LuciusClose-Up.jpg" BORDER=0> at: 2/24/05 6:02 am<br></i>
Lucius Aurelius Metellus
a.k.a. Jeffrey L. Greene
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#6
Yes, I'd heard about that find but I didn't knew the details. It is an early manuballista. In fact, elements of such a machine (a modiolus and a possible straight ratchet) had been already found at the Flavian Roman fort at Elginhaugh (Scotland), but they remain unpublished.<br>
The machine from Xanten is earlier in date than the all-matallic frames. Does the text say anything on the inner diameter of the modioli?<br>
<br>
Aitor <p></p><i></i>
It\'s all an accident, an accident of hands. Mine, others, all without mind, from one extreme to another, but neither works nor will ever.

Rolf Steiner
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#7
Thinking about it, it might explain that why the Romans developed the 'simple' wooden crossbow, they never used it as a mass-produced weapon, but only for hunting.<br>
<br>
This device, which of course hasn't been securely dated, may hold the answer, because this will surely have been the military version. And since it looks expensive enough, it may have prevented mass-production.<br>
<br>
Euh.. Aitor? <p>Valete,<br>
Valerius/Robert<br>
[url=http://www.fectio.org.uk/" target="top]fectienses seniores[/url]</p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showUserPublicProfile?gid=vortigernstudies>Vortigern Studies</A> at: 2/24/05 8:22 am<br></i>
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#8
Maybe but I think that it was just the opposite: i.e. only the Army had resources as to 'mass-produce' such expensive items...<br>
The 'toy' looks much like I had imagined from the scanty Elginhaugh remains. Notwithstanding I see the MG42-like butt at the rear and I can see the hand of Christian Miks behind the reconstruction. His reconstructed cheiroballistra exhibits the same feature and that is not, IMHO, logic. Butts were developed for firearms with recoil and catapults and crossbows have no recoil at all. Of course, we haven't got the preserved stock of any manuballista but mediaeval crossbows -no matter how heavy they were- were shot simply tucking the straight ends of their stocks under the armpit.<br>
<br>
Aitor <p></p><i></i>
It\'s all an accident, an accident of hands. Mine, others, all without mind, from one extreme to another, but neither works nor will ever.

Rolf Steiner
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#9
Amazing.. I thought it would be an all metal cheiroballistra type of frame.<br>
The interesting point is that this find demonstrates that the manuballista was used long before the late empire.<br>
The sniper rifle of the period maybe?<br>
It could also have been mounted on the riverine patrol boats and other small naval units..<br>
The newstory of course had a funny side. It said the archaeologists determined that this was a weapon designed to kill..<br>
Well, actually, recent research has demonstrated that the Romans fist developed a weapon designed to make people giggle, but it didn't work, so they developed this one instead.<br>
No kidding. <p></p><i></i>
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#10
Quote:</em></strong><hr>The newstory of course had a funny side. It said the archaeologists determined that this was a weapon designed to kill..<hr><br>
<br>
It just says that such a weapon would have been murderous in battle, not that it was designed to kill IMO. <p></p><i></i>
[Image: ebusitanus35sz.jpg]

Daniel
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#11
Aitor, no info in the article on the inner dimensions, just the overall dimensions (21 x 28 cm) of the metal parts.<br>
<br>
And yes, the article says that it must have been a "deadly weapon" with incredible penetration power, and not a "weapon to kill". <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showUserPublicProfile?gid=niedel>Niedel</A> at: 2/24/05 6:35 pm<br></i>
Aka
Christoph
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#12
Another key point would be the material of the spring ropes, as John has pointed out. I really look forward anxiously to see it published soon (in German I guess!)<br>
I forgot to mention that the Greeks also used such kind of manuballistae. At Ephyra, in a fortification destroyed in second century BC, a modiolus of the same small size was was recovered.<br>
<br>
Aitor <p></p><i></i>
It\'s all an accident, an accident of hands. Mine, others, all without mind, from one extreme to another, but neither works nor will ever.

Rolf Steiner
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#13
Aitor-<br>
<br>
Is my understanding from an earlier post of yours that horsehair rope would not have been subject to the stretching and reducing by 1/3 process correct?<br>
<br>
If so, would it be proper to spring using horsehair of less a diameter than 1/3 of the washer?<br>
<br>
John <p></p><i></i>
"In war as in loving, you must always keep shoving." George S. Patton, Jr.
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#14
John,<br>
I was waiting until I could make some enquiries about the real name of your machine (it should be written on the frame, not on the arrows...) Your machine was originally a gift from John to another person.<br>
About rope thickness, horsehair rope cannot resist to be stretched so much and the idea I was intending to convey was that Philon's estatement is suspect of corruption and that both choices (plus or minus) were feasible. I would go for the 'thin' choice, i.e., 1/6 and even in its stretched version, i.e., 1/9.<br>
I would be really happy if I could know for sure the 'correct' answers to many important questions on torsion artillery. If some 'expert' tells you that he knows them, be sure that he is not being honest...<br>
<br>
Aitor <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showUserPublicProfile?gid=aitoririarte>Aitor Iriarte</A> at: 2/25/05 8:49 am<br></i>
It\'s all an accident, an accident of hands. Mine, others, all without mind, from one extreme to another, but neither works nor will ever.

Rolf Steiner
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#15
Can anyone give a little info about the performance of this weapon? Effective range and accuracy? What are it's advantages over , say a crossbow, regular composite bow? What was the reason for building such a contraption as opposed to a simple crossbow? <p></p><i></i>
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