Origin of the Medieval Mangonel
The word Medieval Mangonel is derived from
the Latin word manganon which means “an engine of war”.
One of the siege weapons used the Medieval times include the
Medieval Mangonel. Mangonels
fired heavy projectiles from a bowl-shaped bucket at the end of its arm.
The Medieval Mangonel was used for aiming various missiles at castles, fortresses
and cities. This type of
Medieval Catapult was easy to construct and wheels were
added to the design to ensure manoeuvrability. The Medieval Mangonel complimented
the other available siege weapons. The Medieval Mangonel was not as accurate as
Ballista but it was able to throw missiles further than a
Missiles were thrown in an overhead arc as opposed to the straight
trajectory of the dart throwing Ballista.
Medieval Mangonel History
The Medieval Mangonel is believed to be an ancient war engine which invented by
the Romans in 400BC as a light alternative to the Ballista which also
had the addition of wheels. The Medieval Mangonel reached Europe during the
Medieval era and was used extensively by the French. It was introduced
in England in 1216 during the Siege of Dover.
Building and Design
of the Medieval Mangonel
The Medieval Mangonel was a highly accurate siege engine requiring expert
building and design skills. Mangonels were capable of firing projectiles
up to 1,300 feet. The Medieval Mangonel had one arm which was made of timber.
Missiles were launched from a bowl-shaped bucket at the end of the arm.
The rope attached to the arm was the spring of the Medieval Mangonel. The ropes
are made of twisted strands of human hair or animal sinew. The rope at
the bottom end of the throwing arm was twisted, providing the force to
propel the arm.. Wheels were added to the base of the Medieval Mangonel ensuring
Medieval Mangonel Catapults
The Medieval Mangonel could launch missiles across long distances. Attackers were
ingenious in their ideas for launching projectiles which would cause as
much distress and discomfort inside the castle walls. Medieval Mangonel missiles
included the following objects:
poles and darts
Casks of Burning
Burning Sand (
this became trapped inside armor )
Pots of Greek
Building a Medieval Mangonel
Building a Medieval Mangonel required the design and building skills. Siege weapons, such as the Medieval Mangonel, were made to order! They
were far too cumbersome to move from one place to another. In a siege
situation the commander would assess the situation and the siege weapons
design requirements to break a siege. Engineers would instruct soldiers
as to the construction and building of siege weapons such as the