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The Ballista

Left: a reconstructed, complete ballista of the Ermine Street Guard in the UK (Legio XX Valeria Victrix), on display at Birdoswald Fort (Hadrian’s Wall) in May 2007. Although only loosely strung, this ballista fired a stone ball 30 to 40 yards, reaching a very great height.

Right: the torsion mechanism of the ballista’s right arm. The twisted ropes provide the power which propels the arms; the greater the twist the greater the power.