This page cannot be viewed in frames

Go to page

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

In Roman army, machines were commonly used

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Ballista in graphics
Ballista in graphics

Roman army and the weapons it used are associated (especially for the laymen on this subject) mainly with the equipment of a Roman legionary. Who has not heard of a rectangular shield called a scutum, a short sword called gladius or a spear – a pilum? Not everyone, however, even heard about siege machines and their role in the Roman army, and some know them only from films like “Asterix and Obelix”.

Siege machines can be divided into two groups. For those that allowed to wreak havoc in the ranks of the enemy or destroy the captured object, as well as those that facilitated the acquisition of the object – let them reach it or get to its area. The first group includes ballists, Roman scorpions and onagers. Onager threw stone missiles or flaming objects into the enemy. Ballista was also a heavy missile launcher, e.g. shots, stone balls (up to 100 kg!). The scorpions were an example of a light machine – they resembled ballista, but were much smaller and threw light bullets on the principle of a crossbow. The second group includes, for example, Roman tunnels or siege towers. The tunnels were to help the troops move under the walls of the facility without detriment to the health of the soldiers. A similar function had siege towers, thanks to which Roman soldiers were able to get enemy walls. The Romans also used rams, which broke gates, and even crumbled defensive walls.

It can therefore be seen that the siege machines played important roles in the Roman army. Certainly they were very helpful, and their continuous improvement and exploitation contributed to many Roman victories.

Author: Kacper Wardowski
  • Titus Livius, Ab Urbe condita
  • Wikipedia

IMPERIUM ROMANUM needs your support!

If you like the content that I collect on the website and that I share on social media channels I will be grateful for the support. Even the smallest amounts will allow me to pay for further corrections, improvements on the site and pay the server.



Find out more!

Check your curiosity and learn something new about the ancient world of the Romans. By clicking on the link below, you will be redirected to a random entry.

Random curiosity

Random curiosity

Discover secrets of ancient Rome!

If you want to be up to date with newest articles on website and discoveries from the world of ancient Rome, subscribe to the newsletter, which is sent each Saturday.

Subscribe to newsletter!

Subscribe to newsletter

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: