A Brief Look at the Catapult

The catapult is one of the earliest throwing machines produced in the middle ages. There were actually two types: mangonels and trebuchets.

These days, most people are thinking of the mangonels when they refer to a catapult.

While not as powerful as their decendants (the trebuchet) the mangonels were very effective in castle sieges.

If you are interested in learning more about the design of a catapult you should check out the Catapult Design page where you will find a lot of useful information to help you understand the basic principles of a good catapult design.

It is very interesting to study these machines and in our modern times we can even build our own fully-functional minature models!

Here are some other links that you may find interesting.

This site sells kits so you can easily assemble a catapult or you can follow one of their do-it-yourself catapult plans.

Visit NOVA's Simulator - Build your own virtual siege machine and fire giant sandstone balls at a castle wall.

Mangonels were used to fling objects over the castle walls or even into the castle walls.

The most common missiles were rocks, but attackers also launched dead animals that spread disease, fiery pots of tar, and even the heads of people they killed.

The mangonel was powered by tightly twisted ropes. When attackers released the ropes, the mangonels arm swung into the air launching the missle.

More information related to the subject catapult:

Go to the main Medieval Catapults page.

Return to Medieval Castles | Medieval Siege Weapons home page.