Weapons were wooden breastplates ever used

 




 

 

The Romans in Southwest Germany

The fall of the Roman Republic and the reign of Emperor Augustus (44 BC - 14 AD)

Roman history at the time of the emperors Domitian, Nerva and Trajan (81-117 AD)

Roman history at the time of the emperors Hadrian and Antoninus Pius (117-161 AD)

Roman history at the time of the emperors Marc Aurel and Commudus (161-192 AD)

Building the Roman State

The army during the Roman Empire

Roman religion and philosophy

Roman literature

Origin and expansion of Christianity

Development of Christianity from Emperor Constantine I to the fall of the Western Roman Empire (306 - 476)

Roman medicine

Coin system and long-distance trade in the Roman Empire

The survival of Roman culture

Roman law

Roman proverbs and rules of life

The secret of the place Grinario

The Roman fort in Grinario

The village of Grinario

The people in the village of Grinario

Excavations in today's Köngen

 

   

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Armament and Equipment History of the Roman Army Siege Contents - Romans


Size and structure of the army in the imperial era


  • Emperor Augustus (27 BC - 14 AD) replaced the civil army that had existed until then, which was only raised during times of war, with a standing army. It comprised 250,000 - 300,000 men. The army consisted of three parts: Praetorian Guard, Legions and auxiliaries.

 Augustus (* 63 BC, † 14 AD), Roman emperor from 27 BC. Chr. - 14 AD
  • The Praetorian Guard (praetoriae cohortes) was an elite force for the special protection of the emperor. It comprised nine cohorts of 500 men each and consisted mostly of infantry and a smaller part of cavalry. The supreme command was initially carried out by Augustus himself. The guard was subordinated to two equal Praetorian prefects who belonged to the knighthood. The elite troops were stationed in various places in and around Rome.

  • The guards were uniformed and equipped similarly to the other soldiers. By order of Emperor Augustus, they had to wear civilian clothes in Rome, probably so as not to offend the senators. The city limits separated the pacified urban Roman legal area (domi) from the outside world (militiae).

  • Service in the Praetorian Guard was associated with a number of privileges: the period of service was shorter and the pay higher than in a legion. A Praetorian earned 750 denarii a year, while the ordinary legionnaire received 225 denarii and a soldier of the non-Roman auxiliary troops only received 75 denarii. There was also the prospect of high posts in the army and administration. The size and composition of the guard changed several times during the imperial era.

  • From the time of Emperor Tiberius (14-37 AD) the Praetorians became a power factor in political life. With the assassination of Emperor Commodus in AD 192 at the latest, the soldiers of the Roman garrison demonstrated that they not only knew how to protect the emperor, but also how to remove it as soon as their interests were affected. The potential of their weapons could always be converted into political power. It was not until Emperor Constantine I (306 - 337 AD) that the Praetorian prefects lost their military functions and became civil officials directly subordinate to the emperor, now senatorial.

 

At the side of the Emperor Tiberius rose the Prefect of the Praetorian Guard, Lucius Aelius Seianus (also called 'Sejan'), to become the second most powerful man in the Roman Empire. At times he even ruled alone. According to most sources (Tacitus, Suetonius, Cassius Dio) he unscrupulously exploited the emperor's favor with the aim of reaching for power himself. Tacitus (around 50 - 120 AD), the chronicler of the early imperial era, attested Sejan a chronically bad character and suspects a crime in every one of his actions. "Outwardly," the historian maintains, "he showed posed modesty, while inwardly he was dominated by greed to achieve the highest goals." However, this assessment should be viewed with skepticism: the actual target could also be Emperor Tiberius have been - according to the motto: whoever serves a bad ruler must be a bad person himself. In the year 31 Tiberius had Sejan executed - why is unclear.

  • Under Emperor Augustus, the Roman army comprised 25 legions with a total of 105,000 to 155,000 men. The legionaries were exclusively free Roman citizens. Around 190 AD there were 30 legions in the Roman Empire, mainly stationed on the northern and eastern borders. The 22nd Legion (in Mainz) and the 8th Legion (in Strasbourg) were in Upper Germany, while in Raetia there were only auxiliary troops for a long time. This only changed in 179 AD, when the 3rd Legion was transferred to Regensburg.

  • 1 legion = 10 cohorts = 60 centuries = 4,200 - 6,200 men (on average 5,500 men). The first cohort was twice the size of the rest. 120 horsemen (equites legionis) were added to a legion. A legion was led by a senatorial legionary legate (legatus legionis).

  • 1 cohort = 3 maniples = 6 centuries = 420 - 620 men (on average 480 men)

  • 1 Manipel = 2 Centuries = 140 - 210 men (160 men on average)

  • 1 centurion = 70 - 105 foot fighters (80 men on average)

 

Roman legionaries

Trajan Column Rome

  • The principle of Emperor Augustus that the legions should only consist of Roman citizens was eroded under his successors until, in the 2nd century, the legions were almost exclusively residents of the border areas who were granted Roman citizenship when they joined the legion had been. The officer corps was also increasingly subject to alienation.

  • The auxiliary troops (auxilia) were recruited from the indigenous inhabitants of the provinces. They had about the same total strength as the regular troops, but were grouped into smaller units (Quingeria = 500 men; Millaria = 1000 men).

  • Since Emperor Augustus, the auxiliary troops, now largely aligned with the legions in terms of armament, have made up half of the imperial army. The auxiliary troops were divided into units, which consisted of foot soldiers, the cohorts (cohortes) and mounted units, the 'alae'. They were each subordinate to prefects who mostly belonged to the Roman knighthood.

  • In Upper Germany and Raetia, the auxiliary troops monitored the Limes area. They controlled the border traffic, provided the crews for the small fort and watchtowers along the Limes and took on tasks as scouts. A total of around 35,000 members of the auxiliary troops were deployed along the Upper German and Rhaetian Limes between the Rhine and the Danube, and they belonged to around 40 different troop associations. Towards the end of the 2nd century, the Roman army consisted of around 400,000 soldiers across the empire (with 60 million residents).

  • The units consisting of foot troops and riders (cohors equitata) were often used as independent tactical units for smaller military operations.

  • After 25 years of service, the soldiers of the auxiliary troops received Roman citizenship. k


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Armament and equipment of a legionnaire


  • Equipment of a legionnaire ready to fight
 
 

 

The imperial-Gallic helmet (galea or cassis) was fed and his Cheek flaps (bucculae) were agile. The Crest(crista) consisted of horsehair. The cheek protection was made of iron or bronze. The soldier's forehead and temple were protected by a screen on the front hood.

The simple legionnaire only fitted the helmet plush at parades. TheCenturion wore it - rotated 90 degrees - even during a fight.

 
     
  Face helmet, 2nd half of the 2nd century and 3rd century AD, Pfrondorf

Württemberg State Museum, Stuttgart
 
 
  • Chain mail (lorica hamata)
 

 

The chain mail was made from iron rings and lined with leather

 
    
 
  • Rail armor (Lorica segmentata)
 

Various types of were used in the Roman army Breastplates (lorica) used. TheMuscle armor (thorax) only wore the emperor and high officers. In the imperial period (more precisely: the end of the reign of Tiberius, 14 - 37 AD) this becomes Chain mail (lorica hamata) replaced by the rail armor (lorica segmentata). The rail armor was 2 - 3 kg lighter than the chain mail and also had a higher protective effect. It was also more suitable for mass production.


 
    
 
  • Belt (cingulum militiae)
 

The cingulum militiae, a leather belt with metal plates and worn over the hips with an apron made of 4 - 8 long leather straps, also provided with metal fittings, to protect the abdomen, was used in the 1st century AD in the Roman. Armies introduced. It was of Gallic origin. The cingulum was the symbol of the soldier's status and was lavishly decorated.

 
    
 
   Since the Roman general Scipio d. Ä. (235 - 183 BC) the gladius, the broad sword of Spanish origin with a 60 to 70 cm long blade, was the main weapon because of its center of gravity to cut and stab. He hung right on the belt. In this way, the legionnaire could draw the sword in closed formation without neglecting its cover by the shield. The centurio and all senior officers wore the gladius on the left.

    
 
 

 



The dagger (pugio) was double-edged and hung on the left side of the belt in a wooden sheath studded with metal. The blades, forged from high-quality steel, were 200 to 250 mm long and no more than 60 mm wide. It was worn on the right by the centurions and senior officers


 
    
 

  • In the 3rd century BC The previously used round shield (clipeus) was replaced by the scutum, a long, oval, leather-covered wooden shield.

  • In the first century BC The scutum mostly had the shape of a cylindrically curved rectangle (about 120x80 cm) and consisted of two-layered plywood covered with leather. The edge was provided with an iron fitting, the middle with an iron boss. The ornaments on the shield differed from legion to legion. The scutum was bordered with metal at the edges. During the march, the shield was attached to the left side of the back with a strap. The shield could be protected against rain with a cover made of leather.

  • In the late imperial erathe square longitudinal shield was replaced by an oval shield. In the 5th and 6th centuries AD, there were also circular signs.

 

The Pilum displaced around 300 BC. The previously used push lance (hasta). It was probably taken over by the Samnites (an Italian hill tribe in the southern Apennines), with whom one from 343 to 295 BC Waged a bitter war. It was a Javelinwith a thin long iron point. Its weight was in the 1st century BC BC only 2 kg, the length was 1.5 m. The front part, with the exception of the point, was soft forged so that it bent when it hit the ground. This should prevent it from being pulled out of the shield and from being discarded. The javelin was thrown at a distance of about 20 meters and had the task of depriving the opponent of his cover (his shields).

 
  • A wool shirt (tunica) was worn under the tank. In bad weather, the legionnaire wore the sagum, a woolen cloth held on his right shoulder with a clasp, which also served as a blanket. In the first two centuries after Christ, the use of trousers (braccae) began to gain acceptance.

 

The sole of the sandals (caligae), which is studded with 90 iron nails, was made of strong cowhide. Wearing sandals had the advantage that the foot was always well ventilated and blistering was prevented. If the sandals got wet, they would dry quickly.The 'calicae' were partly replaced by a closed 'calceus' at the beginning of the second century AD.

  • March baggage of a legionnaire
 
  • All the luggage(sarcina) was bundled and on a forked pole (for about) carried over the shoulder.
 
  • Coat sack with a hooded cape made of tumbled wool
 
 
  • Stocking-like wraps for the legs made of felt or fur
 
  • Leather bag (pera) with small equipment: hammer (malleus), knife (cultellus), spoon (lligula), wooden comb (pecten), clay oil lamp (lucerna), belt, etc.
 
  • Net with provisions for three days (grain = wheat, spelled, barley, bread, rusks, preserved bacon, cheese)
 
  • Stone mill for grinding grain
 
  • Canteen (ampulla) with vinegar water (posca)
 
  • Bronze saucepan (patera)

Together with the weapons, the weight of the field-marching equipment was 25-30 kg. Since Emperor Augustus, soldiers had to do a 30 km daily march three times a month in peacetime for training purposes.

  • If the roads were suitable, they marched in columns of six. An army with two legions and two cavalry troops was then 5 to 6 km long without a train, and 12 to 15 km with a train. An average of 15 to 20 km was covered in one day. (The transportation of food for humans and animals was mainly carried out by mules, since Marius per Legion around 1300. The army was followed by sutlers (lixae) and traders (mercatores), who were not allowed to enter the camp.

  • Great importance was attached to the construction of the military camp. Each night of the campaign the troops spent in a fortified camp. A camp always had ramparts and ditches (fossa), the crown of the rampart was accessible and provided with a palisade fence. In summer the allies stayed in leather tents, outside near the wall, the core troops in the middle. Winter camps (hiberna) received better fortifications and warmer accommodations.

  • Catering for a legionnaire

  • The legionnaire was entitled to food consisting of around 1 kg of wheat every day, plus some salt and fat. A part of it was given out as bread and rusks, another as unground. In the camp the soldiers used it to cook their main meal, a meal porridge (puls). At times, small amounts of meat, cheese and vegetables (e.g. onions, leeks, figs) were also distributed.

  • When staying in the camp there were two meals: prandium (breakfast) and the evening cena.

  • In peacetime, the soldiers were used in addition to daily weapons training for other tasks, such as road construction. A well-functioning infrastructure was a prerequisite for the rapid transport of the military to possible hot spots. Individual legionaries were also used for special tasks. This included the control of the movement of goods at important road points.


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History of the Roman Army


  • Early Roman Republic (287-133 BC)
 
  • Any Roman citizen between the ages of 17 and 46 who had assets that allowed him to provide his own equipment was required to do military service.

An asset appraisal was used to determine who could provide which armament. The riders took first place, followed by the heavily armed foot soldiers, who could provide the armor for the fight in the phalanx (shield, armor, greaves, helmet, lance, sword). The less well-off were the lightly armed (shield, slingshot).

 
  • There was as yet no standing army; the Roman citizens (mostly peasants) were called up on a case-by-case basis. The selection was made by drawing lots.

 
  • The service period (March to August) was based on the needs of the farmers, who left their farms after the sowing and returned to him for the harvest.

This rhythm could no longer be adhered to when the wars outside of Italy made the service hours longer. The absence of the farm owner often meant the economic downfall of the business or the purchase by a large landowner. This reduced the number of those who could provide their equipment, i.e. the military force was weakened.

 
  • Subjugated peoples of Italy were won as allies (socii). They took advantage of their ties to Rome and made troops available in return.

The troops of the Italian allies corresponded in number, armament and combat value to the legions and were commanded by both local and Roman prefects. They only existed until all Italians were granted citizenship in 89 BC. Chr ..

 
  • During the Samnite Wars (343-295 BC) the Roman army consisted of four legions. The core of a legion ("elite") was made up of 3,000 heavily armed men who were divided into 30 tactical units (maniples). The heavily armed men included 10 maniples each with 120 spearmen (Hastaten), 10 maniples of the actual heavily armed men (Principes) each with 120 men and 10 maniples with a total of 600 battle-tested soldiers (triariers). Each maniple was again divided into two centuries. In addition, there were 1,200 lightly armed men who disrupted the enemy during their deployment or, if necessary, filled the spaces between the manipulas. The cavalry, divided into 10 squadrons of 30 men each, was used as a 'reconnaissance force' and secured the vulnerable flanks of the infantry during a battle.

  • The infantry fought in the compact block of the 'phalanx', but were loosened up by the division into three lines. In the first line the hastats (hastati) fought. Behind them stood the Principes, who had to move into the gaps in the first line. The Triarians (triarii) formed the third line. Only 600 men strong, they were in reserve as a 'fire brigade'. The maniples of the Hastaten and Principes were 20 men in breadth and 6 men in depth. Mobility and independent operation of a manipula were achieved by spacing the three lines at the side and at the back, each of which was arranged in a checkerboard pattern. The twofold loosening enabled an orderly replacement of the exhausted foremost fighters and an adaptation to the terrain.

  • As in many other areas, a steady style of action developed in a slow organic process without major breaks in tradition. Nothing was hated more than improvisation. Everything was handled methodically. The fear of the untried was great. The success of the Roman troops can be traced back to discipline and perseverance (patienta) and less to boldness (fortitudo) and surprise effects until the imperial era. In keeping with these characteristics, the military success was sought almost exclusively through a massive frontal advance by the heavily armed.

 
  • During the Second Punic War (218 - 201 BC) almost half of all citizens fit for military service were deployed.

  • At the beginning of the Second Punic War, the Romans had 275,000 able-bodied soldiers. In addition there were 375,000 military allies of the Italian allies. On the side of Rome, however, there were never more than 200,000 men under arms. The number of Romans was about 60,000 men.

  • In the battle of Cannae (216 BC) 76,000 men fought on the side of Rome; on the side of Carthage stood 50,000 men. At the Battle of Zama (202 BC) the Roman army (including allies) was about 38,000 men. They fought against 40,000 Carthaginians.

 

In theBattle of Cannae was supposed to be the largest army that Rome had brought into the field until then, the ranged troops of the Carthaginians under their generalHannibal just crush. The Roman consuls Aemilius PaullusandGaius Terentius Varro placed the Roman cavalry on the right wing and the Allies' cavalry on the left. There were many among Hannibal's troops celtic warriorsthat were not up to the Roman order of battle. The Carthaginian general set them up in a semicircle in the center. He also posted experienced ones African mercenariesand on the flanks his superior cavalry. Hannibal consciously calculated the retreat of his first lines. The advancing Romans got caught between the heavily armed Carthaginian infantry, who fell on the flanks of the legionnaires. In the meantime, the Iberian and Celtic horsemen had defeated the Roman cavalry and attacked the legions from behind. A bloodbath ensued. Only 14,500 Romans are said to have survived.

  • The disadvantage of methodical but persistent warfare was the often inadequate exploration of the enemy's movements. For this reason, there were always surprising raids on the Roman army. An example of this is Hannibal's victory on Lake Trasimeno (217 BC)

  • The heavy losses suffered by the Romans and their allies had to be compensated again and again. The Senate tried to solve the problem of declining military strength by lowering the property limit for weapons capable.

  • During the Second Punic War, the previous practice of letting the highest officials elected for a year, the consuls, take over the command was abolished. The generals of the new type were determined by popular resolution. So Scipio the Elder, called Africanus, received it in 211 BC. The supreme command over Spain, without having brought the usual official career behind him.

  • Late Roman Republic (133-27 BC)
 
  • Enlargement of the army to eight to ten legions.

 
  • The diverse military tasks outside of Italy mean that more and more Roman citizens were unable to carry out their tasks at home for longer and longer periods of time. Many farms were neglected or died. No wonder that war fatigue gradually spread and that the increasingly successful attempts to avoid military service displaced the idea of ​​general conscription. This change in social conditions and the need to defend Italy against the Cimbri and Teutons led from 107 BC onwards. For the army reform of Marius.

 
 Gaius Marius (around 157 - 86 BC), Roman general, statesman and leader of the Populares in 88 BC. Civil war broke out. Defeated 102 BC The Teutons at Aquae Sextiae and 101 BC. The Cimbri at Vercellae; defeated Sulla in the civil war
 
  • The war system was professionalized by Marius. In order to increase military strength, the dispossessed (capite censi or proletarii) were also used for military service.

The historian Plutarch reports about the consul Marius: "Immediately [after his election] he also carried out an advertisement, in which, contrary to the law and custom, he had many penniless people and slaves entered in the lists, because the earlier generals had not accepted such people , but the weapons as a kind of awards are only given to those persons who were entitled on the basis of the estimate ".

 
  • In his army reform, Marius created a mercenary army, whose soldiers were no longer drawn up according to their assets as before, but were recruited as volunteers. The soldiers from the proletarian circles, who so far could not serve according to the law, were paid by the state and given land grants as veterans. With that a soldier of a different character developed.

After 16 years of service (from Emperor Augustus 20), every soldier was entitled to a small farm or - from Augustus onwards - cash compensation.Only Roman citizens could become legionaries.

 
  • Marius associated the social restructuring in the legions with a change in their structure, which was necessary because the armament of the infantry with its three lines had been standardized. He combined three maniples to form a newer larger unit, the cohort, and replaced the 'Manipel Legion' with the 'Cohort Legion' (= 10 cohorts). A cohort consisted of 420 to 620 men. The number of their legionnaires varied between 4,200 and 6,200 men. The reorganization was as follows: 1 legion = 10 cohorts = 30 manipels = 60 centurions.

Like the manipulas, the cohorts were also offset from one another laterally and in depth during a battle. Compared to the manipulas, they had the advantage that they could be guided much more tightly and clearly. The normal formation remained the line with three members (1st line with 4 cohorts, 2nd and 3rd line with three cohorts).

 
  • After the reform of the consul Marius, the cavalry and the lightly armed men began to replace the Roman citizens with allies. Numidians, Bithynians and Teutons served in the cavalry. Javelin throwers from Numidia, archers from Crete, slingers from the Balearic Islands and Spanish infantry gradually replaced the Roman lightly armed men.

  • In the center of the battle line, Romans were regularly placed to bear the brunt of the battle themselves. The allies stood on the wings.

  • Extra-Italian auxiliary troops (auxilia) with independent armament fought for Rome from the end of the 3rd century BC. Chr.

 
  • The state not only had to provide for the maintenance and arming of the soldiers, but also for their provisions after their release. With the promise of later supplies, the general tied the mercenaries tightly to himself. The army became the general's clientele.

 
  • Under Caesar mostly (excavated) Romanized Celts served the Gallia Cisalpina and the Gallia Narbonensis, who thus acquired their citizenship. In combat, the cohorts were usually around 50 men wide and 8 men deep. If a soldier fell, the man behind him took his place. The second cohort filled the gaps in the first. The third cohort has been withheld as a tactical reserve since Caesar. The cavalry's task was to attack the enemy battle order on both sides.

  • Principate (Imperial period 27 BC - 192 AD)

  • Emperor Augustus (34 BC - 14 AD) came to power not least with the help of the military. The army remained the basis of his power.

Emperor Augustus created a standing army of professional soldiers. The emperor was in command of the army, which was sworn in on him every year. He took care of the material well-being of the soldiers and was their sole patron. The officer ranks were only filled with people who were loyal to the emperor.

  • In the early imperial period, the main mass of the legionaries still consisted of Italians and Romanized Gauls and Spaniards. Among the Praetorians, the percentage of Italians was kept high, as a large part of the centurions of the entire army emerged from their ranks, who were supposed to ensure penetration with the Italo-Roman spirit.

  • With Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD) the addition of legions from the border areas in which they were stationed began. Septimius Severus (193-211 AD also disbanded the Italian Praetorian Guard, which resulted in a rapid 'barbarization' of the war system).

 
 Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD)
  • The fighting style of the legions (see above) no longer developed under the emperors. Further development began in the 1st century AD from the auxiliary troops (auxiliaries). This is especially true for cavalry.

  • After the death of a princeps, the acclamation of the army was a basic condition for the successor to take over power.

  • The Praetorian Guard and the army formations concentrated on the periphery of the empire became more and more distinctive as the decisive power factors.

From Augustus on, all principes endeavored to assure themselves of the devotion of these associations by material and ideal means.


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Siege of a city


  • Cutting off the supply of food and water (starving a city).

If sufficient supplies were available in the besieged city and / or the catering and accommodation options for the attackers were limited, it was decided to use certain siege techniques, taking advantage of the weak points in the defense.

  • Protection against relief attempts and breakouts by the besieged. For this purpose, mile-long counter-fortifications were often built.

  • Defense of the besieged city

  • If the siege was foreseeable and there was still enough time, the apron of the city was prepared in such a way that it was difficult for the attackers to approach the actual moat and wall ring. This was done by digging holes and covering them with light, inconspicuous covering. Previous soldiers broke in and fell on the posts on the bottom of the pit. Tangles were also laid.

  • In front of particularly endangered parts of the wall, large clay vessels were dug in and covered with natural soil. Heavy siege engines broke in and became unusable.

  • Mobile protective roofs (vineae) and protective shields (plutei) were pushed over the apron to the city wall. They should cover the attacking soldiers. Often several soldiers formed a 'turtle' (testudo) as they advanced towards the fortification by holding their shields over their heads in the shape of bricks.

 
 Protective roof, formed from shields that are pushed into one another over the heads of the soldiers. On the right testudo simplex (simple 'turtle'), on the right testudo iterata.
  • Digging covered trenches up to the city wall. From there, mine tunnels were dug under the wall. When the wooden tunnel construction was set on fire, the tunnel and city wall collapsed. This created a breach. If the nature of the terrain did not permit this procedure, ramps made of wood and wattle were built on the enemy fortifications. Their aim was to bring stormtroopers through the covered walkways of the ramp up to the height of the top of the wall.

  • Use of mobile, multi-storey siege towers (turris). A siege tower towered over the walls and had draw bridges. A battering ram was usually built into the bottom floor. It consisted of a heavy tree trunk with a brazen 'ram's head' at the front, which was suspended in the tower. The operating team, often more than 100 men, pulled the tree trunk back as far as possible and let it thunder against the wall. The top floors of a siege tower were manned by riflemen and siege artillery.

In 52 BC BesiegedCaesar the Gallic City of Avaricum (today Bourges). At first he did not succeed in taking the city completely. So he tried to destroy the city wall. The city wall consisted of a wooden framework, in the spaces between which stones had been poured. If the wooden skeleton of the wall gave way, the attacker stood in front of a loose gravel pile that was difficult to climb. Caesar had a dam built over the two Siege towers were rolled towards the wall. The attack should take place from a platform under the protection of the towers. Sickle-shaped hooks were hurled against the wall to tear it down. The defenders on the other side were undermining the dam, trying to repel the hooks and setting the siege towers on fire. In the short term, the defenders were successful, they succeeded in setting a siege tower on fire. Eventually the Romans managed to put out the fire and overcome the wall.

 

Siege tower (turris) rolled up to the city wall. The battering ram has already made a breach in the wall, while the artillery positioned on the tower is shooting stones into the city.

The Jewish historian Flavius ​​Josephus (* 37 or 38, † after 100) describes in his "History of the Jewish War" both the conquest of the city of Masada by the Romans and the collective suicide of the losers. The Romans built one that is still preserved today Earth ramp (agger) up to the wall of the fortress. This made the Use of heavy equipment of war secured. The soldiers were protected from attacks by the besieged with a protective canopy on rollers. After the ramp was completed, the siege tower (turris) was pushed up. It is assumed that towers are 20 meters high. There is no reliable historical evidence for this. The upper areas of the tower were armed with guns. The rams installed below were used to tear down the wall. Wasn't a ram built in, but one independent combat weapon, it consisted of a low shelter with a tree trunk. Soldiers set the beam in motion with ropes attached to the rear end. The front part was shod with iron, often in the shape of a ram's head, giving the ram its name.

  • Attackers and defenders also used their artillery, which consisted of catapult guns of various calibers and designs. The launch energy was provided by twisted strands of animal tendons. In the legions of the imperial era, catapults were standard equipment. In the Roman Empire, many types of catapults were depicted (for example on the Trajan's Column in Rome with its images from the Dacian Wars in the first decade of the 2nd century).

  • The smaller and medium-sized catapults worked like crossbows. However, the bow was in two parts; each part was in a vertically anchored and twisted tendon strand. Quite massive arrows were shot down, but also lead and stone balls.

  • The heavy artillery comprised one-armed catapults (onager) of considerable size and weight, which mostly sent stone balls weighing between 13 and 40 kg on the journey. The firing range was up to 350 m.

 

The Limb of 'Onager'(lat .: wild donkey) was twisted into a