Intriguing……  The Elenovo finds……..

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All these photos are from the Kayumov and Minchev paper:  The Kambestrion and Other Roman Military equipment from Thracia.

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Just stirs the blood, doesn’t it?

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Again with the four holes in the bottom.  Very interesting.

Very interesting indeed.

And perhaps best of all, the strong suspicion that this next artifact is that most elusive bird of all, the tension rod that is strapped onto the back of a ballista limb to make it stiff.

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And the equally strong suspicion that this next piece is the crank handle for the ballista.

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The Elenovo ballista   ….kind of has a ring to it doesn’t it?

In terms of building a powerful machine, there is nothing here that doesn’t make perfect sense to me.

The authors even kindly provided a dimensioned drawing.  (Click to enlarge.)

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Just look at the thinness of those pockets in the curved stanchion.  Either the limb is going to be arrested by the bowstring or there is going to have to be some armor plate on the front of the limb if it’s going to survive a steady diet of smacking into that narrow stanchion.  What a clack that would make.

…. So anyway,  it looks like Phoenix has found a new home.  These artifacts will be a fine basis for her;  the field frames appear to be about 3/4 the size of the Orsova frames.  A trim little beast she will be.

2 Responses to “The Elenovo”


  1. Charles W. Fink says:

    So, if they only found one kambestrion, the other half of the pair can’t be compared. Do you think that there is any significance to one of the pockets being slightly smaller and angled? It seems like it might be part of the intention of the design. I wonder if you follow that angle to the back of the machine what length it would be? If it was the angle for a brace it should land near the trigger for compressive strength. Could it be a clue to the length of the draw? Like if the brace attached to the bottom of the upper cross arm. I’m thinking as I type and I can’t quite picture it, but its been a gnat in my head, sometimes at night.


  2. Nick says:

    Yes, head gnats! these catapult projects abound with them. I am afraid that anomalous loop on the kambestrion is just a bit mangled, not something done by design. Perhaps the forge weld at bottom of the loop gave way and the bottom leg on the loop got bent. I don’t think there would be any advantage to having an angle on that leg of the loop, even if this was the point of attachment for the struts. It would be easier to get the strut aligned, and more pleasing to the eye, to just have a tight bend in it’s end, just like on Firefly. It is tempting to read a lot into these artifacts. At the end of the day though, I suspect it will all be vaporware and conjecture. Some basic proportions might be realized between the relative height of the field frames or the spring hole diameters, beyond that there just isn’t enough data coming out of those museum plates to make any useful comparisons. But I keep looking. Probably just like you do.

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