Replica catapult

A Replica of a Medieval Catapult

Catapults, the ancient and medieval early aretilley. These things hurl deadly projectiles towards targets that don't even see it coming.



The Catapult is a war machine designed for long-range warfare. Catapults come in different variants depending on country. The Catapult was first created by Ancient Greece. The word "Catapult" comes from the two greek words "kata" and "pultos." This put together means "Shield Piercer" which describes what the Catapult's projectile does to enemy infantry shields. The Catapult is a mobile, vehicular aretillery unit. In Ancient Times Catapults looked like giant arrow launchers. In Medieval Times, The Catapults we know come into the world of warfare. These things have four wheels for mobility and has a giant "spoon" like cup in the middle where the projectile is placed. The rope is then untied sending the "spoon" like launcher arching into the air, launching the projectile.

Types of CatapultsEdit

  • Onager [Roman]
  • Ballista 
  • Scorpio [Roman]
  • Catapulta [Roman]
  • Carroballista [Roman]
  • Oxybeles [Ancient Greece]
  • Polobolos [Ancient Greece]
  • Lithobolos [Ancient]
  • Mangonel [Medieval]

Ancient EraEdit

Onager Edit

The the Onager was a Roman Catapult Siege Machine designed for attack on enemy fortifications. It is the type of Catapult that uses torsional pressure to store the energy needed for the shot. It launches stone based projectiles at it's enemies. This Ancient Catapult is thought to have a less powerful version in the Medieval Era known as a Margonel. The Onager usually shot massive stones that were wrapped in a combustible substance and set on fire to be launched at the enemy.


The Ballista is another type of Ancient Catapult. This is a Roman Catapult type. The Ballista is designed to fire Heavy Darts or stone projectiles for siege warfare. The Ballista later evolved into a Sniper based weapon such as the Scorpio and the Polybolos. Ballista can also be pronounced as "Ballistae." It used two levers that had torsion springs instead of a prod, the springs consisting of several loops of twisted skeins.


The Scorpio was one of the leading improvements of the Ballista. The Scorpio was a tiny catapult weapon used mainly by the Romans. This catapult device was way smaller than a Ballista and fired strong metal bows. It was literally a early giant crossbow. The Weapon was dreaded by the enemies of the once Great Roman Empire. During this era, 60 Scorpios were given to a legion as standard or to every centuria. The Scorpio was obviously used as a Catapult Aretillery unit which was usually put on the top of a hill and used to cut down any enemy force that tries to climb the hill. With 60 Scorpios, this is annoying for enemy forces who are trying to flank the enemy. The Speed of the arrow fired is enough to pierce enemy shields and kill the soldier hiding behind that shield.


The Carroballista was a cart-mounted ballista catapult aretillery unit used by the Ancient Roman Empire. This was probably the first mobile aretillery unit. Each Legion would have 55 Carroballistas which were part of the Cheiroballistra type. The Structure of the Carroballista is based on the Cheiroballistra/Manuballista type. The adoption of the Cheiroballistra by the Ancient Roman Empire at the end of the First Century AD made the cart possible. The Carroballista like I said was mounted on a cart which made the Catapult mobile. The Carroballista was mostly used in the bombbardment of enemy fortress's.


The Catapulta was a Roman Catapult that was used to fire arrows and javelins. The arrows or Javelins were 12-15 feet long. The Design was most likely not a roman design, rather another greek design.


The Oxybeles was a Catapult type used by the Ancient Greeks. It was first put to use in 375 BC. The Catapult was basically a bigger and mounted version of a Greek Gastraphetes. It was based on their Roman adopted Ballista. Oxybeles was mostly put to use during the time of Alexander the Great's Rule. Not much else is known.


The Polybolos was a Ancient Greek repeating ballista. It was invented by a Greek Engineer called Dionysius of Alexandria in the 3rd Century BC. The Polybolos was different from a ordinary Ballista because it had a wooden magazine over the mensa. The Polybolos is being reloaded the windlass is rotated counter clockwise with the trigger claw raised, this drives the mensa forward towards the bow string, where a metal lug pushes the trigger under the trigger claw which is closed over the string. It is unlikely that the Polybolos was ever used for attacking enemy camps but it is more likely that it was used against enemy infantry and cavalry.


The Lithobolos or "Stone Thrower" was a type of Catapult used by the Ancient Greeks but also other countries as well. The Catapult is also used during Medieval Times. The Greeks wanted to protect the city of Syracuse against the roman aretilllery that was attacking it so they had Archimedes build a stone thrower which he named "Lithobolos." This Catapult was usefull in holding off the Roman Catapults.

Medieval EraEdit


The Margonel is a Medieval Catapult that was used by multiple Medieval Countries. The Margonel fires massive stones at such a velocity that will destroy castle walls or break up infantry ranks. The Margonel is a evolvedversion of the Roman Onager from Ancient Times. The Margonel was a massive machine that stood at 13 metres high. The amount of soldiers it took to operate the catapult was about 10 soldiers. The Catapult was not mobile and could not be pushed along. The Margonel would have to be disassembled and then reassmebled at it's desired location.

The Fall of the CatapultEdit

The Catapult eventually became obsolete to imperial standards and it's place as Aretillery was taken by the role of cannons. Catapults had a good run but it has to move over and let the Cannons come in. The Trebuchet lasted well into the Imperial Era making it the longest lasting Catapult to date. It eventually became ineffective against enemy troops in the Imperial Era and was decommissioned. Good work Catapults, they served their role as aretillery for as long as they could, but in the end, Cannons were superior.                            

Modern Day UseEdit

During the Great War, the French put the catapult into use. The Catapults were used to throw hand grenades across the battlefield. It also thought the polish used Catapults during the Second World War, this was a massive mistake made by the Polish because the Nazi's were able to conquer Poland within days. The only catapults in use today are not warfare but in museums. The only catapults that ever were in combat after the Imperial Era were used by the French and Polish in the Great War and Second World War.
French grenade catapult

French First World War Hand Grenade Catapult