Artillery in the Era of the Crusades

Siege Warfare and the Development of Trebuchet Technology


Artillery in the Era of the Crusades provides a detailed examination of the use of mechanical artillery in the Levant through the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Rather than focus on a selection of sensational anecdotes, Michael S. Fulton explores the full scope of the available literary and archaeological evidence, reinterpreting the development of trebuchet technology and the ways in which it was used during this period. Among the arguments put forward, Fulton challenges the popular perception that the invention of the counterweight trebuchet was responsible for the dramatic transformation in the design of fortifications around the start of the thirteenth century.

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Michael S. Fulton, Ph.D. (2016), Cardiff University, is a Visiting Scholar with the Department of History at the University of British Columbia. He has published a number of articles, including “A Ridge too Far,” Crusades 16 (2017) and “Development of Prefabricated Artillery during the Crusades,” JMMH 13 (2015).

List of Illustrations
Weights and Measures
Regional Maps

1 Background
  Classical Artillery
  Terminological Issues
  Early Traction Trebuchets in the Near and Middle East
  Early Traction Trebuchets in Europe
  Appearance of the Counterweight Trebuchet
2 Mechanics
  The Mathematics
3 First Crusade
  Nicaea: 1097
  Antioch: 1097-98
  Ma’arrat al-Nu’man and ‘Arqa: 1098
  Jerusalem: 1099
4 Twelfth Century
  The Opening Decades
  Tyre: 1124
  Offensives of Zanki and John Comnenus
  The Second Crusade and the Ebb of Frankish Dominance
  Egypt: A New Frontier
  The Rise of Saladin
5 Third Crusade
  The Hattin Campaign
  Indications of Range in Western Syria and Transjordan
  Saladin’s Conquest of Northern Palestine
  The First Great Siege of Acre
  Later Sieges of the Crusade
6 Ayyubid Period
  The Fifth Crusade and New Latin Terminology
  The Sixth Crusade and War on Cyprus
  Continued Infighting and New Arabic Terminology
  Louis IX and the Seventh Crusade
  The Mongols and the War of St Sabas
7 Mamluk Period
  Baybars’ Early Artillery
  Indications of Significant Power: 1271
  The Sultanate of Qalawun
  The Second Great Siege of Acre: 1291
8 Influence of Offensive Artillery
  Theories Regarding the Influence of Artillery
  Siege Length
  Development, Manpower and Resources
  Wall Thickness
  Tower Shape
9 Influence of Defensive Artillery
  Ground-mounted Artillery
  Tower-mounted Artillery
  Possible Ayyubid Artillery Towers
  Possible Frankish Artillery Towers
  Possible Mamluk Artillery Towers
  Other Interpretations

Appendix 1: Mentions of Artillery

Appendix 2: Images and Technical Treatises

Appendix 3: Mathematical Scenarios

Appendix 4: Reconstructed Engines


Specialists, students and all interested in medieval siege warfare and the military history of the Near East during the period of the crusades (1097-1291).
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