|The hypothetical reconstruction is based upon written descriptions|
and one surviving illustration. A vertical brass pump provides air
pressure via a bronze-bound leather hose to the main tank
consisting of two pieces of copper sheeting soldered together.
Underneath is a small brazier and a pair of bellows. Another hose
takes the heated liquid to the nozzle.
Redrawn and Enhanced by Marcus Audens.
Reference: D. Nicolle, "Medieval Soege Weapons (2)," Osprey, 2003, New Vanguard 69.
|This weapon is probably a simplified version of a weapon common|
during the Roman period. The weapon could be aimed up and
down and side to side. It had two separate bow arms (oak) and
twisted skiens stretched across a wooden frame. A crosspiece of
iron with a claw is held in place by two staples nailed to the stock.
An iron "key" with a length of rope served as a release mechanism.
Redrawn ad Enhanced - Marcus Audens
Reference: D. Nicolle, "Medieval Siege Weapons (2)," Osprey, 2003, N.V. 69
|The frame of this equipment is unseasoned oak, put together with |
half-butt joints, and large iron nails. Each piece of wood used in
the construction of this weapon was approximately one span (20 cm)
square while the vertical timber at the front of the weapon
was two spans across with bronze plates around both sides
of an arch shaped hole through which the arrow / dart was shot.
Twisted skiens of horsehair and silk were looped around the frame.
In the above drawing the bowstring has been pulled back into a slot
cut into a groove across the top of the horizontal stock. The oak
trigger pushed up a pin releasing the bowstring.
Redrawn and Enhanced by Marcus Audens.
Reference; D. Nicolle, "Medieval Siege Weapons (2)." Osprey, 2003, N.V. 69
|The above conjectural drawing is a reconstruction of a portable Greek Fire |
siphon from a number of written descriptions plus highly stylized
illustrations in Byzantine and Islamic military manuals. An airtight
copper "box" (tank) containing inflammable liquid is mounted
above a hand-held siphon.
D. Nicolle, et al, "Medieval Siege Weapons (2)," New Vanguard 69, Osprey, Oxford, UK, 2003
|Unfortunately, the very worn Arabic inscription on the rear of the portion |
of the Islamic Gun (1) has yet to be interpreted. The massive late medieval
iron arrow (2) found in the citadel of Damascus and now in the Musee del'
Armee in Paris was probably fired from such a gun.
D. Nicolle et al, "Medieval Siege Weapons (2)," New Vanguard 69, Osprey, page 45
Baghdad, of course remains the most famous memorial to the Abbasids,
although nothing remains of the fortified Round City built for the Caliph
Mansur (754 - 775). Its purpose was to serve as an administrative capital,
a Caliphal palace, and a place to settle thousands of Khurasani-Arab troops.
The location of Baghdad was also particularly good for communications.
Militarily it housed a large army at the center of the state; these forces
included regular troops, the Caliph's own guard, the city's shurta police
and haras internal security force, as well as Baghdad's own paramilitary
militia. The great majority of the population, which may have reached
as many as a half-million by the year 800, lived in sprawlingsuburbs
around the Round City, some of which had been built by Khurasani
military chiefs to house their own followers.
D. Niccole and Angus McBride(illus.), "Armies of the Muslim Conquest," Men-At-Arms 225, Osprey Pub., 1993, Pages 23-24.
The 'later tower' means that sometime since the fortification was
constructed, a tower was added to the curtain wall. It was
well known that as european forces came into contact with
muslim forces at a fortification, the Muslim engineers, borrowed
the technology that they saw in the improvements of their
opponent's fortifications .
|This is a picture of the Tortoise upside down showing the four wheels which enabled the workers in the field to move the tortoise around. This siege machine was used to protect workers, on a slope, from materials that might have been rolled down the slope such as barrels, logs, etc. The Tortoise had two iron plates on the sharp end of the prow to shunt aside any burning materials such a a wagon load of hay, a flaming barel of oil, etc. The sharp end of the Tortoise (prow) was always pointed up-slope and the large timber in the middle was the brace that held the tortoise in place. The center brace and both ends of the tortoise were held in place by heavy stakes pounded deep into the grond.|