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first apperance of the catapult

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Omnipotence View Drop Down
Baron
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  Quote Omnipotence Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: first apperance of the catapult
    Posted: 11-Sep-2005 at 16:44
Wouldn't the East Asian catapult have a very dissemilar design than the Greek ones? Greek ones were onagers, Asian ones were trebuchets.
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conon394 View Drop Down
Pretorian
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  Quote conon394 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Sep-2005 at 17:45

Greek ones were onagers

 

Onagers were a late introduction and something of a technological back step. The late Empire post 2nd -3rd century (and later) could no longer afford or support the more sophisticated twin arm torsion weapons of the Hellenistic and early imperial period.

But you are right that China (Han and a bit earlier) and the Classical Mediterranean had what amounted to two different solutions to the same issue

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Liang Jieming View Drop Down
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  Quote Liang Jieming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Sep-2005 at 22:21
Originally posted by Omnipotence

Wouldn't the East Asian catapult have a very dissemilar design than the Greek ones? Greek ones were onagers, Asian ones were trebuchets.

Yeah, the two designs were based on different principles.  There is an article on the history of the catapult on my site that incorporates European, Chinese and Islamic/Indian origins of the catapult you might want to read.

Jieming
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Liang Jieming View Drop Down
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  Quote Liang Jieming Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Sep-2005 at 04:46
Ok, clarification after a more detailed investigation of this early reference.

It is found in the writings of two Han dynasty scholars Jia Kui and Xu Shen investigating the war records of the early Spring and Autumn Period, identifying in a description of a battle the use of something called a "hui" which was moved or activated by the King of Zhou against the Duke of Zheng in 707 B.C. They identified this as a catapult because the word "hui" according to the terminology used at the time meant "catapult". However because this word no longer exists today, we cannot be sure of their interpretation.

The now lost Fan Li Bingfa or Fan Li's Art of War credited to Fan Li of the late Spring & Autumn Period but reliably dated only to at least the early Eastern Han, records a machine which threw a 12 jin (2.6kg during the Han dynasty) rock 200 paces. (Note the reduction in the numerical statistics which were misquoted in the same account by the two Han scholars).

Unfortunately it is again not known how or what kind of catapult it was though the terminology used makes it clear that fairly large rocks were fired 200 paces by some kind of construct.

Cheers,
Jieming
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DragonSeedLegacy
http://authors.history-forum.com/liang_jieming/chinesesiegew arfare
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