Siege Warfare in Greece
Early in Greek history, most battles were fought between armies in open fields. As time progressed, large walls were built to fortify cities against invasions. In time, special weapons were created to penetrate the high walls. Catapults, crossbows, battering rams, and siege towers were developed to break opposing defenses. Catapults and crossbows were used to attack people manning the walls. Battering rams were used to attack weak points in the walls. Siege towers were large square towers on wheels from which men could get to the top of a wall. A siege tower was rolled up to a wall, and soldiers came out of the tower to take that area of the wall around the city. Another war tactic used was for an army to surround a city and wait until it ran out of food and supplies. The city was then vulnerable to a siege.
Many Greek cities were located on the coast with good harbors. To protect the harbors, the Greeks invented a device known as a “ship shaker.” The device had a large grappling hook at one end of a rope. The hook would be lowered and hooked under the enemy ship. Oxen would pull the rope up, causing the ship to rise out of the water. The oxen would pull up as far as they could, and then the rope was quickly released, sending the ship crashing down.