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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Engines of War

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Fig. 174—Battering Ram

Engines of War were certainly known much earlier than the Greek writers appear to admit, since figures of them occur in Egyptian monuments, where two kinds of the testudo, or pent-house, used as shelters for the besiegers, are represented, and a colossal lance, worked by men who, under the cover of a testudo, drive the point between the stones of a city wall. The chief projectiles were the catapults for throwing darts, and the ballista for throwing stones. Both these kinds of instruments were prepared by Uzziah for the defense of Jerusalem (), and battering the wall is mentioned in the reign of King David (); but the instrument itself for throwing it down may have been that above-noticed, and not the battering-ram. The ram was, however, a simple machine, and capable of demolishing the strongest walls, provided access to the foot was practicable: for the mass of cast metal which formed the head could be fixed to a beam lengthened sufficiently to require between one and two hundred men to lift and impel it; and when it was still heavier, and hung in the lower floor of a moveable tower, it became a most formidable engine of war—one used in all great sieges from the time of Demetrius, about B.C. 306, till long after the invention of gunpowder. Towers of this kind were largely used at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.

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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Engines of War'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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