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Zopyros’s heavy gastraphetes

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Detailed diagrams of Zopyros’s heavy gastraphetes (γαστραφέτης) by E. W. Marsden: general plan, side-elevation, front-elevation. The gastraphetes was an ancient Hellenic invention that nowadays is usually described as a crossbow. But actually, unlike the Roman and medieval European crossbow which

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Palintonon (ballista) heavy catapult

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Detailed diagrams of a gigantic palintonon (παλίντονον), around 334 BC (siege of Halicarnassos), probably by E.W. Marsden. The palintonon was a Hellenic heavy catapult, mostly stone-throwing, which was constructed in various scales (from just heavy to enormous). It was invented and intensively used by the Greeks in the early or mid-4th century BCE but it was soon adopted by the Carthaginians, the Romans and other ancient states. It became a ‘beloved’ weapon for the Republican and Imperial Romans: they called it ‘ballista’, but the correct initial version was ‘ballistra’ (βαλλίστρα), also a Greek term from the verb ‘βάλλω’ that is “to shoot”.

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Stone-throwing catapult of Isidoros of Abydos

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Detailed diagrams of the Hellenic stone-throwing catapult of Isidoros of Abydos, by Marsden: general plan, side-elevation, front-elevation, cross-section (through center of A, K, Λ, M and N), inside elevation of N before fitting.

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