Building the City Destroyer

In late 2003, Darlow Smithson Productions went on a worldwide search for teams of welders,

blacksmiths, timber framers, riggers, and - last but not least - engineers. After a lengthy interview process, I was one of the lucky applicants selected for the show. There would be three one-hour episodes to air. Each episode would challenge a team to rebuild an ancient super weapon that set thestandard in warfare 2000 years ago. One weapon would be a Battering Ram (Figure 2), one an Archimedes's Claw,and one a Siege Tower. I was selected to be on the Siege Tower team, or the City Destroyer team as it was called on the show. As a structural engineer, my role in the project focused on Timber/Structural Design, Drafting,and Project Management.


The use of a siege tower was first recorded in the Battle of Motyain 394 B.C. Dionysius I led his Greek army, consisting of tens of thousands of men, from Syracuse on the east coast of the island of Sicily. Motya, an island off of the west coast of Sicily, was once the homeland of Dionysius I. However, Motya was taken overby Carthaginians and Dionysius I was determined to get it back. Dionysius I gathered all of his leading mathematicians, scientists,and inventors to create the most powerful weapons of the day. While we may take brainstorming for granted, it was Dionysius I who strategically used it to his advantage. This brainstorming session not only brought about the creation of the first high-powered catapultand belly bow, but also the first siege tower.

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Author:  Jennifer Prichard, E.I.

Article and Image Source: http://www.structuremag.org

Keywords: Siege Tower, Siege Warfare, Structural Engineering


Jennifer Prichard, E.I.

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