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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 Diadochi, 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 direction, 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) Catapultae, 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) Ballistae(fig.3), which shot stones, beams, or balls up to 162 lbs. 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.

Pictures and Media
(smallCaps>ONAGER (SCORPIO).
Type: Standard
gutter splint
gutter splint
gutter splint