The Ten Books on Architecture, 10.13.1

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 10.12.2 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 10.13.2 ›››

Gwilt translation

13I have said as much as I could on these matters; it now remains for me to treat of those things relating to attacks, namely, of those machines with which generals take and defend cities. The first engine for attack was the ram, whose origin is said to have been as follows. The Carthaginians encamped in order to besiege Cadiz, and having first got possession of one of the towers, they endeavoured to demolish it, but having no machines fit for the purpose, they took a beam, and suspending it in their hands, repeatedly battered the top of the wall with the end of it, and having first thrown down the upper courses, by degrees they destroyed the whole fortress.

Morgan translation

13It is related that the battering ram for sieges was originally invented as follows. The Carthaginians pitched their camp for the siege of Cadiz. They captured an outwork and attempted to destroy it. But having no iron implements for its destruction, they took a beam, and, raising it with their hands, and driving the end of it repeatedly against the top of the wall, they threw down the top courses of stones, and thus, step by step in regular order, they demolished the entire redoubt.