There is no final verdict possible in this game of iron frame catapult reconstruction.  No matter how well done, there will always be contingents of armchair theorists ready to rip into any modern attempt at making an “authentic” machine.  It really is a fools game trying to hold up any one design as the preeminent candidate for scholarly acceptance, whatever that is. Might as well dump chum into a shark tank.   Agreement is no longer possible because there are so many careers and threads of opinion at stake.  Inswinger or outswinger? Barring a definitive archaeological find, there will never be a winner. The waters here are just too deeply muddied by all the thrashing around.

Going back to my hobby now.   Thankfully, very few people ever read this blog.  I like the quiet of not being judged by paper know-it-alls with limited shooting experience.


On the other hand, I’m in a mood.  Let’s smack back at the poor dears anyway.

If, by the slimmest of chances, there is a partisan from the outswinger camp reading this labyrinth of a blog, here is something you might want to consider:  if an idiot like me can make an iron frame inswinger perform at levels so much higher than any iron frame outswinger, are you really saying I have accomplished something the ingenious Romans could not have, all with the exact same artifact geometry? Do you really think the Romans did not see the same performance potential in their own parts, just as many of us have done? Of course, they weren’t exactly artifacts back then were they?  They were an integral part of an engineering triumph made by ancient craftsmen who put their reputation on the line trying to develop superior machines.   When it comes to catapults, superior is superior in any epoch.

It is no accident that a modern inswinger can be built so effectively around functional duplicates of a Kambestrion and Kamarion that have been lying dormant in the ground these many centuries.  To see this you just have to turn away from the view that history is solely an exercise in “interpreting” the textual evidence from dead languages. Arguments based only on appeals to authority just don’t cut it in this game.  These machines are deeper than that. Think CSI rather than Henry Higgins and you’ll have the jist of it.  If you are lost, always go back to the hard evidence.  The artifacts are the hard evidence.

Here is something undeniable for you to chew on, the sight and sound of an authentically powerful iron frame ballista going off.   Click for vid: canyon 3     As an inswinger, Firefly simply demonstrates the inherent mechanical logic of the artifacts themselves — the hard evidence given it’s most dynamic and compelling interpretation from a shooting standpoint.  In other words, the kind of performance success any weapons development program strives for.  Perhaps the outswinger faction of this teapot tempest undervalues the idea of superior ballistics.  It’s very doubtful that the Romans were similarly unambitious.


If you are interested in the difference between hard evidence and soft evidence, here is the definition I prefer. It is copied from this website:  htm

The Value and Limitations of Soft Evidence

There is a huge difference between hard evidence and soft evidence. Reliance on authority, credentials, and reputation is near the top of the soft-evidence scale. If you don’t have any hard evidence, you ought to be guided by the best available soft evidence. However: remember that the top of the soft-evidence scale remains far below the bottom of the hard-evidence scale.

Hard evidence always outweighs soft evidence.


Not convinced? Perhaps a shooting contest  could settle the matter?


Well that worked a treat.  Clearly they are all won over.  Back to my machine now.


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