Aeneas Tacticus 32.





32. Contrivances for Repelling Assaults

1. I will now mention some methods of repelling an enemy’s assaults, whether made by machines or by storming parties. First, sails offer protection against missiles coming over the wall from towers or masts or the like. Cover them with something tear-proof, use capstans to stretch them taut, and once they are in position, the projectiles will have to overshoot them. At the same time make a big fire which will emit thick fumes. 2. Wooden towers should be raised in defence, or other tall structures made either of baskets filled with sand or of stones or of bricks; missiles may be kept off by wicker-work made of reeds woven crosswise. 3. Defences should also be prepared against battering rams and similar engines directed against the battlements: hang in front of them sacks filled with chaff, bags of wool, or fresh ox hides, inflated or stuffed, and similar articles. 4. When the ram is making a breach in a gate or any part of the wall, you must catch its projecting end in a noose, and so prevent the engine from delivering its blow. 5. And have ready a rock large enough to fill a cart, to drop on it and smash its nose to pieces. This stone should be dropped from the projecting beams, where it can be held in position by grappling hooks. 6. Make sure that the stone shall not miss the nose of the ram as it falls by letting down a plumb line first, and when this drops on the nose, immediately let the stone go after it.
7. It is best, too, to prepare as follows against engines attempting to breach the wall. When you know where the ram is to be applied, get ready at this point a counter-ram on the inside, digging through a part of the wall, but only as far as the brickwork on the further side, so as to keep the enemy still in ignorance of your proceedings. Then, when the enemy’s engine is close up, deliver a blow from the inside with your counter-ram. The counter-ram should be much the stronger of the two.
8. When you have to deal with big machines which bring up a number of men to discharge missiles from catapults, slings and so on, and burning arrows to set fire to thatched roofs – contrivances of this sort must be met, first, by setting the inhabitants of the city to dig secretly beneath the spots where the assaults will be made, so that the wheels of the machine will fall through and sink into the excavations; next raise a breastwork against them as best you can with baskets full of sand and with stones, which will raise above the level of the machine and render the enemy’s missiles ineffective. 9. Hang out as well strong curtains or sails as a shelter against the missiles, to catch them as they come over the wall; they can then be easily collected, and none will reach the ground. 10. Do the same, too, at any other point where the missiles may fly over the wall and disable or wound workmen and passers-by.
11. At whatever point he enemy bring up a shelter to enable them to dig through or knock down part of the wall, you must be ready to resist their attack. 12. Where they are digging through, light a great fire, and where they are knocking down the wall, dig a trench inside to prevent their getting in.




32. Ἀντιμηχανήματα

1. Πρὸς δὲ τὰς τῶν ἐναντίων προσαγωγὰς μηχανήμασιν ἢ σώμασιν ἐναντιοῦσθαι ὧδε. πρῶτον μὲν εἰς τὰ ὑπεραιρόμενα ἐκ πύργων ἢ ἱστῶν ἢ τῶν ὁμοτρόπων τούτοις ἱστία, οἷς τὰ προσαχθέντα ὑπεραίρειν χρή, τισὶν ἀδιατμήτοις περιβληθέντα κατατετάσθαι ὑπὸ τενόντων. ἄλλα τε καὶ ὑποθυμιᾶν καπνὸν πολὺν ἱέντα καὶ ὑφάπτειν ὡς μέγιστον πῦρ πνέοντα: 2. ἀνταείρεσθαι πύργους ξυλίνους ἢ ἄλλα ὕψη ἐκ φορμῶν πληρουμένων ψάμμου ἢ ἐκ λίθων ἢ ἐκ πλίνθων. ἴσχοιεν δ̓ ἂν τὰ βέλη καὶ καλάμων ταρσοὶ ὀρθίων καὶ πλαγίων συντιθεμένων. 3. ἡτοιμάσθαι δὲ καὶ τοῖς εἰς τὰ χείλη μηχανήμασιν εἰσπίπτουσιν κριῷ καὶ τοῖς ὁμοτρόποις τούτῳ, ἐρύματα, σάκκους ἀχύρων πληροῦντα προκρεμαννύειν καὶ ἀγγεῖα ἐρίων καὶ ἀσκοὺς βοείους νεοδάρτους πεφυσημένους ἢ πεπληρωμένους τινῶν καὶ ἄλλα τούτοις ὁμότροπα. 4. καὶ ὅταν ἢ πύλην ἢ ἄλλο τι τοῦ τείχους διακόπτῃ, χρὴ βρόχῳ τὸ προΐσχον ἀναλαμβάνεσθαι, ἵνα μὴ δύνηται προσπίπτειν τὸ μηχάνημα. 5. καὶ παρασκευάζεσθαι δὲ ὅπως λίθος ἁμαξοπληθὴς ἀφιέμενος ἐμπίπτῃ καὶ συντρίβῃ τὸ τρύπανον: τὸν δὲ λίθον ἀφίεσθαι ἀπὸ τῶν προωστῶν, ἐχόμενον ὑπὸ καρκίνων. 6. ὅπως δὲ μὴ ἁμαρτάνῃ τοῦ τρυπάνου ὁ λίθος φερόμενος, κάθετον χρὴ προαφίεσθαι, καὶ ὅταν αὕτη πέσῃ ἐπὶ τὸ τρύπανον, 7. εὐθὺ τὸν λίθον ἐπαφίεσθαι.
ἄριστον δὲ πρὸς τὰ διακόπτοντα τὸ τεῖχος καὶ τόδε παρεσκευάσθαι. ὅταν γνῷς ᾗ προσάγεσθαι τοῦ τείχους, ταύτῃ χρὴ ἔσωθεν ἀντιπαρασκευάζειν ἀντίκριον, διορύξαντα τοῦ τείχους μέχρι τοῦ ἄλλου μέρους τῶν πλίνθων, ἵνα μὴ προΐδωσιν πρότερον οἱ πολέμιοι: ὅταν δὲ ἐγγὺς ᾖ τὸ διακόπτον, οὕτως ἔσωθεν τῷ ἀντικρίῳ παίειν: καὶ πολὺ ἰσχυρότερον ὁ ἀντίκριος γίνεσθαι.
8. πρὸς δὲ τὰ μεγάλα μηχανήματα, ἐφ̓ οἷς σώματά τε πολλὰ προσάγεται καὶ βέλη ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀφίεται ἄλλα τε καὶ καταπάλται καὶ σφενδόναι, εἰς δὲ τὰς ὀροφίνας οἰκίας καὶ πυρφόρα τοξεύματα, πρὸς δὲ ταῦτα τὰ μηχανήματα πρῶτον μὲν χρὴ τοὺς ἐν τῇ πόλει κρυφαίως ὑπορύσσειν κατὰ τὰς προσαγωγὰς τοῦ μηχανήματος, ἵνα οἱ τροχοὶ τῶν μηχανημάτων ἐμπίπτοντες δύνωσιν εἰς τὰ ὑπορύγματα: ἔπειτα ἔσωθεν ἀνταείρειν ἐκ φορμῶν πληρουμένων ψάμμου καὶ λίθων ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων ἔρυμα, ὅπερ τοῦ τε μηχανήματος ὑπερέξει καὶ τὰ ἐκ τῶν ἐναντίων βέλη ἀργὰ ποιήσει. 9. προκαλύπτειν δὲ ἅμα τούτοις καὶ πυκνὰ παραπετάσματα ἢ ἱστία, ἐρύματα τῶν εἰσαφιεμένων βελῶν, ἅπερ σχήσει τε τὰ ὑπερπίπτοντα τῶν βελῶν, καὶ ῥᾳδίως συλλεγήσεται, 10. χαμαιπετὲς δὲ μηδὲν ἔσται. τὸ δὲ αὐτὸ ποιεῖν καὶ ᾗ ἂν ἄλλῃ τοῦ τείχους ὑπερπετῆ γιγνόμενα τὰ βέλη τοὺς ὑπηρετοῦντάς τε καὶ τοὺς διαπορευομένους βλάπτῃ καὶ τιτρώσκῃ.
11. ᾗ δὲ ἂν τοῦ τείχους χελώνη προσαχθεῖσα δύνηταί τι τοῦ τείχους διορύξαι ἢ καταβαλεῖν, ταύτῃ χρὴ ἀντιοῦσθαι παρεσκευασμένον. 12. πρὸς μὲν τὸ διόρυγμα πῦρ ποιεῖν πολύ, πρὸς δὲ τὸ πέσημα τοῦ τείχους τάφρον ἔσωθεν ὀρύσσειν, ἵνα μὴ εἰσέλθωσιν: καὶ ἅμα ἀνταείρειν τειχίον τειχίζοντα πρότερον ἢ πεσεῖν τὸ τεῖχος, ᾗ διορύσσεται, ἂν μὴ ἄλλως δύνῃ κωλύειν.

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created 04/07/2017 - updated 04/07/2017