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Siege bridge

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Sambuca - siege pier
Sambuca - siege pier

Sambuca was a war invention used for the first time by the Romans, commanded by Marcus Claudius Marcellus, during the siege of Syracuse in 213 BCE. The inventor of the siege bridge was a certain Heracleides of Tarentum.

The whole machine was built on two connected ships. The bridge was located between the towers of both ships. During the siege of the city, the ships sailed under the walls of the fortress and left the siege bridge, by which the soldiers climbed.

A similar device was used by Mithridates VI – king of Pontus – in 88 BCE, during the siege of the Rhodes.

The name of the machine comes from the Egyptian harp to which it was very similar.

  • Polybius, The Histories

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