Rhodes 305–304 BC
The engineering marvels of the Ancients
The Helepolis at Rhodes
Height: 130-140ft (40-43m)
Base: 72ft (22m) square
Armament: Lowest floor: 2×180 Iber (82kg) catapults; 1×60 Iber (27kg) catapult 1st floor: 3×60 Iber (27kg) catapults Next five floors: 2×30 Iber (14kg) catapults Top two floors: 2x dart-throwers.
Construction: main beams are fir or pine, wheels and horizontals are oak. All major joints are reinforced with iron plates. To protect the machine from fire-missiles, its exterior is clad with iron plates on 3 sides.
Propulsion: the machine is mounted on eight wheels each 15ft (4’6m) in diameter. It is propelled by a capstan and belt drive, with a suitable mechanical advantage, (manned by roughly 200 men). Additional thrust could be provided from the rear.
Weight: Probably around 150 tons.
Siege towers had existed since Assyrian times. That illustrated is the famous helepolis built by Epimachus of Athens for Demetrius “Poliorcetes” (the Besieger) in 304 BC. This was the…
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