Artillery 1100 - 1215

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Guthroth
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Artillery 1100 - 1215

Postby Guthroth » Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:12 am

Hi

We were talking on Sunday after training and the subject moved on to artillery in the immediate post Viking period (the 1100's)

I thought the only known artillery from that time was the periot (sp?) but other people were convinced that by the late 1100's other heavier pieces were in use.

I believe that by the end of the 1200's Edward was using trebuchets against the Scots, but can anyone here fill in the development timeline fo me ?

Cheers,

Pete


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Dave B
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Postby Dave B » Thu Apr 09, 2009 11:50 am

If IIRC it's pretty well covered in this book:

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mediaeval-Military-Technology-Kelly-DeVries/dp/0921149743/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239273697&sr=8-9

I can have a look for you, but probably not till next week now as I'm not sure where it's buried.


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Simon Atford
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Postby Simon Atford » Thu Apr 09, 2009 5:58 pm

By "heavier pieces£ I asume you mean the counter weight trebuchet in its various forms.

According to Konstantin Nossov in:

In Europe such engines were called trebuchet, and they had spread over the continent by the late 12th century. The "trabuchellus" was first registered in 1189, and then, as "trabuchus" in 1199, both times in Italy.


Konstantin Nossov, Ancient and Medieval Siege Engines (Staplehurst, 2005) page 171.

The main problem in this period is terminology. In some sources for example the mangonell is a torsion powered machine similiar to a Roman onager whilst in others it is a man powerd "traction tebuchet" also called a perrier.

The word perrier in itself simply means stone thrower and could therfore refer to any such machine. All very confusing :?



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Postby craig1459 » Thu Apr 09, 2009 7:33 pm

"Perriers" and Trebuchets to me are traction. The former and torsion "Mangonels" of various shapes and sizes were certainly used by the Byzantines druing this period

The first evidence of a trebuchet appears in the late 12th century when a counter-weight device is described by al tarsusi in a treatise written for Saladin. I think this was a quantum leap comparable with the jet engine for planes - you could now throw larger objects further and with greater precision and regularity than before.

Edward I destroyed the part of the wall of Stirling Castle with a giant trebuchet called "Warwolf" in 1304


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Postby Malvoisin » Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:26 pm

craig1459 wrote:Edward I destroyed the part of the wall of Stirling Castle with a giant trebuchet called "Warwolf" in 1304


And Philip Augustus had a counterweight trebuchet at the seige of Acre in 1191, called "Malvoisin". :wink:


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Postby Benedict » Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:26 pm

There's a highly relevant article by Paul Chevedden (http://www.doaks.org/DOP54/DP54ch4.pdf) which traces the evolution of different forms of trebuchet. As others have pointed out, the traction trebuchet (where you pull the arm by human force) was in use in the sixth century. The hybrid trebuchet (a mixture of a pulling crew and a weight, giving more energy) seems to have been developed during the eighth century in the Islamic world.

The great advance was the invention of the counterweight trebuchet, ie something fully mechanised, giving a serious amount of throwing power and remarkable accuracy - ie letting you hit (roughly) the same spot again and again with very big rocks. This is traditionally dated to the end of the twelfth century/1200, but Chevedden argues that it may be even earlier, perhaps going back to the late eleventh century, thanks to Byzantine ingenuity.

I'd definitely recommend the article - it's one of those that makes you realise quite how much you know nothing about...



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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:54 pm

And I have a tebuchet in my classroom called Tim.


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Postby craig1459 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:19 pm

Benedict wrote:The great advance was the invention of the counterweight trebuchet, ie something fully mechanised, giving a serious amount of throwing power and remarkable accuracy - ie letting you hit (roughly) the same spot again and again with very big rocks. This is traditionally dated to the end of the twelfth century/1200, but Chevedden argues that it may be even earlier, perhaps going back to the late eleventh century, thanks to Byzantine ingenuity.

It wouldn't surprise me - the Saladin reference above intimates as much and there appears to be circumstantial evidence of these type of machines achieving more than you would expect for a "perrier" type prior to Acre - destroying walls at Shayzar for example


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Postby Dingo8MyBaby » Thu May 07, 2009 9:01 am

craig1459 wrote:"Perriers" and Trebuchets to me are traction. The former and torsion "Mangonels" of various shapes and sizes were certainly used by the Byzantines druing this period

The first evidence of a trebuchet appears in the late 12th century when a counter-weight device is described by al tarsusi in a treatise written for Saladin. I think this was a quantum leap comparable with the jet engine for planes - you could now throw larger objects further and with greater precision and regularity than before.

Edward I destroyed the part of the wall of Stirling Castle with a giant trebuchet called "Warwolf" in 1304


perrier = traction trebuchet
treb = drop weight trebuchet

perrier, china 680, arabia 890, europe varies from 1120/1135.



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Colin Middleton
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Postby Colin Middleton » Thu May 07, 2009 12:48 pm

It sounds like we're seeing the counterweight Treb appearing in the Islamic world some decades before it appears in Europe. Is that correct?

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Postby m300572 » Thu May 07, 2009 4:45 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:And I have a tebuchet in my classroom called Tim.


Would that be because its an Irish Catholic trebuchet?? :twisted:


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Postby Benedict » Thu May 07, 2009 6:33 pm

Having been doing a bit of reading around the subject (with a view to building a small man-powered mangonel), the academic jury is definitely out.

The first clear description of a beam-sling engine with a counterweight comes from al Tartusi's treatise (c.1187), though this may have used a counterweight in addition to people hauling ropes. However, by 1199 a counterweight trebuchet is recorded at the siege of Castelnuovo Bocca d’Adda in northern Italy. Yes, Italy was very much plugged into the Mediterranean world, but twelve years isn't all that far apart.

Chevedden's article works through the evidence for gravity-powered trebuchets in the twelfth century (whether 'hybrid' rope plus counterweight or pure counterweight machines). He argues strongly that the Byzantine empire used counterweight trebuchets in the late eleventh and early twelfth century, though other scholars aren't wholly convinced. Less ambiguously, there are references to 'great' and 'huge' manjaniq (mangonels) in 1125, 1138 and 1157, capable of destroying fortress walls, in each case being used by Islamic armies. Similar engines were used in the abortive Crusader attack on Alexandria in 1174, the attack on Thessalonika in 1185, and the siege of Acre in 1190-1. Please refer to Chevedden's article for full detail - I'm only picking out highlights.

It would therefore appear that counterweight trebuchets (either hybrid or pure) were first in use in the Byzantine/Islamic East, certainly by the second quarter of the twelfth century. The Latin crusader states were using them in the last quarter of the twelfth century, and western Europe in general from c.1200. It does look as though the weapon spread west as a result of its impact (literally and metaphorically!) on the crusader states. It can't be a coincidence that there was a move to update and strengthen castle walls in the Latin east in the later twelfth century - ie the defensive half of an arms race as the cities of Syria began to unify and orgnise effective resistance to the crusader states.

Hope this helps![/i]




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