Two Mechanical Siege Engines

Dublin Core


Two Mechanical Siege Engines


These two depictions of siege engines come from a 1511 manuscript written by Flavius Vegetius Renatus. The black and white images, printed in a book accompanied by several similar images depicting various machines of war, offer a glimpse into the development of warfare and the technology of war. On the lefthand side, we can see a mechanical tower that can be lifted up to elevate soldiers. One soldier is armed with a gun, and the other a rock, providing a striking juxtaposition of the newest and oldest human military technologies. On the righthand side, we can see a man operating some type of crank system to elevate a bridge potentially for a siege of the tall tower in the background. Both of these images highlight the importance of height on the medieval battlefield. Not only can we see the development of military technology, but we can also see how the emphasis of the "high ground" was important even when artists conceptualized machines and engines of war.


Photo taken by Jacob Cohen


"Flavii Vegetii Renati Vier B├╝cher der Ritterschaf"


University of Pennsylvania Kislak Center for Special Collections






Photo taken by Jacob Cohen, “Two Mechanical Siege Engines,” War & Conquest in Medieval Europe, accessed April 2, 2020,