When the Dowbrigade was a kid, one of his fascinations was for medieval
warfare; suits of armor, the evolution of broadswords,halberds and crossbows,
and of course, the WMD’s of the age, the catapult. Awesome weapons. In
an era when the dominant technology for thousands of years had favored
the evolution of ever more massive fortresses, defenses based on unscalable
walls and uncrossable moats, catapults offered a way to attack from
the air, terrible pestilent rain that presaged all of terrible tools
of modern warfare.
The New York Times has a pretty cool article concerning an aspect of
the catapult phenomena we had never really considered; as a manifestation
of the intersection between science and politics….
wars of antiquity, no weapon struck greater terror than the catapult.
It was the heavy artillery of that day, the sturdy springboard that shot
menacing payloads over fortress walls and into enemy camps – flaming
missiles, diseased corpses, lethal arrows and stony projectiles.
For centuries on end, at least until the proliferation of gunpowder in the 15th-century
West, catapults saw action as the early weapons of mass destruction. They were
prized assets in an arms race and had profound effects on affairs of state. Sound
Perhaps that is why a small but growing number of historians and classics scholars
are taking a closer look at the role of catapults not only in warfare, but also
the politics of antiquity. Out of their careful re-reading of old texts, combined
with archaeological finds, has emerged a revised view of the convergence of science
and political power in earlier times.
from the New