Assyrian Siege Weapons

  • General History
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

The Ancient Assyrians were credited with the invention of the first practical siege weapons identified as Battering Rams. Developed for breech in enemy fortifications, The Assyrians developed two specific  types of such devices. The first and smallest involved a multi-platformed device which featured up to 3 wooden wheels (reinforced by bronze ring supports or tread). These wheels were connected with wooden axles. Fitted with hand-hold, up 9 soldiers could turn the wheels either forward or backwards. A wooden framed structure was installed over the wheels. A wooden platform was likewise installed. At this point, a height of 15 to 25 feet was reached. The frame structure continued upwards into a rectangular shape another some 20 feet. The frame was completely enclosed by animal hides stitched together  (thatched). Several layers of hide would be employed. Further, a still unknown and speculated substance was placed on the hides which provided a form of "Fire proofing" against enemy fire arrows. The final component was the ramming device. Mounted on a series of A-frame pivots inside, a 30 to 40 foot long bronze ramming rod was placed. Unlike later Medieval versions which were flattened at the striking end, Assyrian Rams featured a "spatula-shaped" flattened head. This provided a very effective (and somewhat controlling) striking/cutting assault engine.


The second type of siege weapon used was the much larger "Siege House". Designed similarly, these Engines may have reached as high as 60 to 80 feet in height. Made of interconnected bronze plates (as shields), they featured a forward placed "tower". This multi-purpose weapons systems platform featured the Ram device at the lower level of the tower, with upper platforms featuring a scaling platform to allow soldiers to breech over an enemies walls. Supportive platforms also featured "roosts" for Archers and Spearmen. They were, for all purposes, "rolling" Turret Towers. Although no conclusive archaeological evidence remains of these devices, many of their images are found on Assyrian Temples and Palaces. This, plus documentation from Assyrian enemies, tell a story of a very impressive series of War Machines.