Free «The Sinews of War: Ancient Catapults» Essay Sample

The author of the Sinews of War: Ancient Catapults Sarafina Cuomo argues that science and technology were very significant in the ancient society in addition to theory and practice. This was supported by the existence of the skills that the catapult engineers had which made them to apply science and mathematics to manufacture superior weapons during that time. This was an evidence of the inexistence of the unattainable divide. Before the discovery of the gunpowder, the ancient people used the stone throwers that were able to stones across a distance of about 50 meters. There were others that were able to throw about 75kgs, the Archimedes engines. Cuomo argues that the manufacture of belopoietics and mathematics was very vital in the in the ancient times. Due to their importance in the society, the governments developed strong interests towards the catapults and they supported their production and use. The author argued that the ancient engineers had cumulative skills and knowledge that consisted physics, geometry and technology which were important in the enhancing the ancient kings’ power and the welfare of the ancient cities. The engineers were able to proof that science and technology were significant in the ancient society against the people’s stereotypes. 

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Cuomo said that the Greek catapult was one of the catapults that were produced by the ancient engineer and it rested on the user’s belly. The users were able to enlarge the catapult in order to make it stronger during war time. The said that the engineers especially those who worked for Philip II made improvements to the original catapults by replacing the arms with the springs (sinews bundles) which were fixed to the release systems. When these springs were twisted by the users, they could exert large amount of force when the wooden arms inserted into the springs were released. Cuomo argued that these spring torsion weapons could be used in throwing arrows and heavy particles. Further, the author said that numerous changes were made to the catapult in order to improve its efficiency. Philo of Byzantium said, “The ancients … did not reach a conclusion…, because their experience did not arise from many facts; but they did reach the heart of the matter they were looking for. Those after them examined the question on the basis of former mistakes, [used] subsequent experiments as a guide, and introduced the basic principle of construction.”(pg771). The standardization of the catapults was facilitated by mathematics which assisted in establishing the table for appropriate specifications and in the reduction of the catapult sizes. To deal with the problem of size, Hero of Alexandria came up with a solution of making use of the moving ruler. Cuomo argued that Philo put more interest on the cost, durability and structural strains of the catapults and due to the market demands, he proposed for the engines that could throw the projectiles for long distances. He further said that the engineers at Alexandria obtained support from their kings who had an interest in craftsmanship. An example was a king called Hiero who spurred Archimedes. The king’s catapults were used until the 212 B.C.

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Cuomo argued that the catapults were very significant in the military activities. Because of their significance, he said that they were used to mark the graves of the soldiers whose life emblems were catapults. Also, the he argued that the catapults were offered as thanksgiving by the engineers to the goddess. The evidence for this was the pieces of the catapults that were found by the archeologists who grained the pool in the year 1979.  Cuomo argued that the social significance and the technical knowledge of the engineers were objected by the ancient people but the political aspirations led to increased demand of the weapons in the end of 4th century B.C and the immergence of superior catapults raised the status of the involved engineers who finally became proud of their advancements. The author argued that the catapult engineers became more vocal in the society and some of them such as Hero claimed that catapults were very important in enhancing the security of the city. Finally, he argued that the rise and use of catapults was the start of looking for more superior ways of throwing projectiles such as missiles. He supported the existence of the ancient engineers who played a significant role in the society more especially in the political field.

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