What did the Romans use the trebuchet for?

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The trebuchet was a much more advanced weapon of war than anything the Romans used. Nevertheless, in terms of siege technology, the Romans were still light-years ahead of any of their opponents. Roman catapults were based on the torsion artillery used by the Greeks. This meant that they were powered...

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The trebuchet was a much more advanced weapon of war than anything the Romans used. Nevertheless, in terms of siege technology, the Romans were still light-years ahead of any of their opponents. Roman catapults were based on the torsion artillery used by the Greeks. This meant that they were powered by highly tensed, twisted rope strings which when cut would propel rocks, stones, and boulders a considerable distance.

The Romans also perfected the art of the ballista, or bolt-throwing machine. They were built in different sizes and could therefore be used for a variety of military purposes, both offensive and defensive. The smaller ballistae were generally used to knock down defending troops manning a besieged town or fort's battlements, whereas the larger variety could be deployed to break down fortified walls and gates.

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The trebuchet is a catapult device used to throw an object. The classic trebuchet was not perfected in Western civilization until the Middle Ages. That would mean that it was not available for the Roman legions to use. However, the Romans did develop the Onager catapult which was a predecessor to the trebuchet. The onager was named for the Persian wild donkey because it had such a "kick" when fired. It consisted of a throwing arm powered by a "bundle of twisted cord" and was used to fire projectiles or smaller bundles of "grapeshot" at an enemy army or encampment. During the Middle Ages the trebuchet was a larger version of the catapult and was used to throw objects at fortified castle walls or fire weapons over the walls. In some cases, even dead, diseased bodies were catapulted over the walls in an early form of biological warfare.

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