Trabuco – History Of The Ancient War Machine

Many years ago, before advancement of technology man-made simple tools to protect himself against his foes. The Trabuco, the ancient War machine, was popular in the Middle Ages was one of the ancient most destructive weapons used by kingdoms and territories to acquire resources.

This was through the conquering of the enemy fortresses and kingdoms. It had the ability to bring down protected high masonry walls and castles down within several minutes of hitting. It was used to fire stones over high concrete walls, in times of war.

Three to five hits of the Trabuco could bring the walls down thus allowing armies to access the territories and conquer the enemies. The Trabuco converted potential energy into kinetic energy, therefore, enabling it to perform its function.

The Trabuco was first invented by the Chinese in the 400Bc and spread to Europe by 600BC. It could fire up to 140 kilograms at a supersonic speed and almost a kilometer when it comes to the distance.


It was also used by foes to project disease-ridden bodies or corpses to enemy camps hoping to spread the disease to the opposing enemy. Trabuco origin is derived from the sling but thereafter, it evolved into the traction and counterweight Trabuco.

The traction one used the sling like a process where it was operated by 15-25 men. They had to pull the strings attached to a device with a sling on its long arm. They were also volunteers. The more the speed it could generate the more the damage it could have done upon arrival.

It was quite effective on stone walls of fortresses and castles. As the barriers were broken down, the attacking forces could enter the region and cause terror and destruction.

It was extensively used in many wars during the middle ages. Persians and Byzantine Empire brought the machine to the Middle East. The Vikings knew it after the Paris attack. Nordics used it in France during the Siege of Angers in 863, Italians in the 12th century whereas England in 1216 according to

Richard the Lionheart built two gigantic ones which he used during the Arch siege in 1191. He named one of them, ‘God’s own catapult. Edward Longshanks also had one which he named, ‘War Wolf’ that was used by England to attack Stirling Castle in 1304.

However, its use was discontinued due to the discovery of gunpowder. Gunpowder was more effective and efficient thus giving it an advantage.

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