The Ten Books on Architecture, 10.13.2

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 10.13.1 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 10.13.3 ›››

Gwilt translation

2After that, a certain workman of Tyre, of the name of Pephasmenos, turning his attention to the subject, fixed up a pole and suspended a cross piece therefrom after the method of a steelyard, and thus swinging it backwards and forwards, levelled with heavy blows the walls of Cadiz. Cetras the Chalcedonian, was the first who added a base to it of timber moveable on wheels, and covered it with a roof on upright and cross pieces: on this he suspended the ram, covering it with bulls’ hides, so that those who were employed therein in battering the walls might be secure from danger. And inasmuch as the machine moved but slowly, they called it the tortoise of the ram. Such was the origin of this species of machines.

Morgan translation

2Afterwards a carpenter from Tyre, Bright by name and by nature, was led by this invention into setting up a mast from which he hung another crosswise like a steelyard, and so, by swinging it vigorously to and fro, he threw down the wall of Cadiz. Geras of Chalcedon was the first to make a wooden platform with wheels under it, upon which he constructed a framework of uprights and crosspieces, and within it he hung the ram, and covered it with oxhide for the better protection of the men who were stationed in the machine to batter the wall. As the machine made but slow progress, he first gave it the name of the tortoise of the ram.