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The Mesopotamian military represented here used weapons of war to achieve great success. Source: WILD HARE/Adobe Stock

Mesopotamian Military Mastery - The Ancient Reinvention of Warfare

Creating a great empire in ancient times was no simple task, and it usually involved a lot of warfare. Ancient Mesopotamia, called by many the cradle of civilization, was also the cradle of organized...
: Medieval trebuchet. Source: anibal / Adobe Stock.

Siege and Snipe: The Deadly Impact of Trebuchets and Longbows (Video)

Trebuchets and medieval longbows were both iconic weapons of warfare during the medieval period, each possessing unique characteristics and playing vital roles on the battlefield. Trebuchets were...
Section of the impressive walls of Dubrovnik. Source: Siegfried Schnepf / Adobe Stock

The Unbreakable Barrier: Dubrovnik's Walls Through the Ages

Nestled along the rugged Adriatic coast, the walled city of Dubrovnik in Croatia has long been a cultural and economic hub in the region. However, this picturesque city has also seen its fair share...
The trebuchet at Warwick Castle. Source: Muna/ Carpenter Oak

Trebuchet Dubbed ‘Britain's Biggest Siege Machine’ Takes Center Stage at Warwick Castle

At the famous Warwick Castle in Warwickshire, England, visitors will soon have the opportunity to see a gigantic medieval war weapon in action. This elaborate wooden contraption is a catapult-style...
The Russian Compound excavation site in central Jerusalem and the Roman siege engine ballista stones found there, which were then used to plot the launch location of the projectiles. Source: Yoli Schwartz / Israel Antiquities Authority

Roman Siege Engines Tracked and Traced in Jerusalem

An Israeli archaeologist has been digging up and plotting the location of big roundish rocks in a specific area of ancient Jerusalem. But these are no building blocks, quite the opposite. They were...
The entrance of Mehmed II into Constantinople in 1453 AD, by Benjamin-Constant. Source: Public domain

Did Constantinople Fall Because Someone Forgot to Lock the Gate?

For over 1,000 years, Constantinople held out against a never-ending stream of failed attacks. Capital of the Byzantine Empire, a.k.a. the Eastern Roman Empire , it was famed for its heavily...
An aerial photo of the Tel Lachish in central Israel, which was quickly conquered by the Assyrians with their powerful siege ramp in 701 BC. The Assyrian siege ramp is the focus of a new study published in Oxford Journal of Archaeology. 	Source: The Lachish Expedition / Southern Adventist University

New Study Reveals How Legendary Assyrian Siege Ramp Overcame Lachish

Israeli archaeologists have revealed the secrets behind the Assyrian siege ramp that conquered the ancient Judean town of Lachish. A recent study published in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology shows...
Are our conceptions of war and peace more civilized in modern times? The Apotheosis of War, by Vasily Vereshchagin. Source: Public domain

War and Peace in Pre-Modern Europe: Have We Really Bypassed Brutality?

When pondering themes of war and peace, there is a general perception among modern people of the Western world that the time we live in is decidedly more civilized and peaceful than any other era of...
A baroque carved relief (at the Church of Saint Benedict in Venice, Italy) from the life of St. Benedict showing Totila, the king of Ostrogoths, on his knees. During the invasion of Italy, Totila ordered a general to wear his kingly robes to see whether St. Benedict would discover the truth. Immediately Benedict detected the impersonation. Impressed, Totila came to pay his respects to the man of the cloth. Totila was the leader of the Ostrogoths in the Third Siege of Rome. Source: Renáta Sedmáková / Adobe S

The Third Ostrogothic Siege of Rome: Byzantine Armies Battle the Ostrogoths

The Third Ostrogothic Siege of Rome occurred in 549-550 AD and was fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Ostrogoths. The former was in control of the city, whilst the latter tried to seize the...
Carlisle Castle is known as the most besieged castle in Britain. Source: stocksolutions

Carlisle Castle: The Most Besieged Castle in Britain

Said to be “the most besieged place in the British Isles,” Carlisle Castle was built towards the end of the 11th century in the border city of Carlisle in the north of England. The site has seen a...
Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle - One of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine

Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle - One of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine

The Kamianets-Podilskyi Castle is a fortress located in the city of Kamianets-Podilskyi, in the western part of Ukraine. According to written sources, the city existed as early as the 12th century,...
Fall of Tenochtitlan - Spanish Conquest of Mexico

The Fall of Tenochtitlan - Truly the End of the Aztec Empire?

The fall of Tenochtitlan is an important event in the history of the Americas as it marks the end of the Aztec Empire. This event took place on August 13, 1521 and was the result of a three-month...
Siege of Tyre by Sébastien Mamerot (1493) (Public Domain)

Ancient Engineering: The Art Of Siege Warfare

The word ‘siege‘ conjures up imagery of high wooden towers attacking thick stone castle walls, but in the ancient world sieges also required extreme engineering prowess. Innovations in attack...
Various Roman catapult (ballista) rocks found along the Pilgrim's Road in the City of David, Jerusalem.           Source: Clara Amit / IAA

Man Fearing Coronavirus Apocalypse Returns Stolen Ballista

The COVID-19 or coronavirus outbreak has shaken many around the world. In Israel, a man with a guilty conscience, who fears the virus could result in the end of the world, gave back a Roman catapult...
Merciless Ancient Flood Carried 300,000 Lives Away

Merciless Ancient Flood Carried 300,000 Lives Away

A 2019 paper brought us evidence that a historic Yellow River flood in China killed an estimated 300,000 people, suggesting the city of Kaifeng was to killer floods, what Pompeii was to mega-...
Aerial view of Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle, Wales - Strategically Brilliant for Its Time and Haunted in Ours

Caerphilly Castle in south Wales stands proud amongst the medieval fortifications and strongholds in the United Kingdom and is classed among the finest in Europe. It is also one of the largest in...
Ragnar Lothbrok

Ragnar Lothbrok: A Real Viking Hero Whose Life Became Lost to Legend

Ragnar Lothbrok was a fearless Viking hero who ransacked England and France and fathered the Great Heathen Army. However the historicity of the man with “hairy breeches” is subject to debate. Where...
Old catapult in Les Baux-de-Provence, France

Rare Find of Stone Catapult Ball Fired During Medieval Siege Unearthed in Scotland

Archaeologists in Scotland have made the rare discovery of a stone ball that was used like a cannonball during a medieval siege. The find is helping experts to better understand Scotland’s Wars of...
Alaric entering Athens

King Alaric: His Famous Sacking of Rome, Secretive Burial, and Lost Treasure

The Sack of Rome in 410 AD by the Visigoths is often regarded as an event that marked the beginning of the end of the Western Roman Empire. The man responsible for the second sacking of Rome (the...
Predjama Castle.

Predjama Castle: The Castle in a Cave that Housed a Slovenian Robin Hood

Once home to the Slovenian Robin Hood, Predjama Castle is a site rich in history. It is built into the mouth of a cave high up on a cliff and has a commanding view over the landscape. That position...
Window with a portrait of Harald in Lerwick Town Hall, Shetland

A Military Life for Clever King Harald: Serving the Empire and Stopping the Pirates – Part I

In 1015, Harald Sigurdsson was born. He was the youngest of three sons born to Sigurd Syr, who ruled over a petty kingdom in Ringerike, located in the region of Buskerud. Harald’s upbringing is not...
Assyrian attack on a town with archers and a wheeled battering ram, 865–860 BC.

Were the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel Ever Lost?

When examining the mysteries of the 8th century BC, all one has to do is look in the Bible or an ancient history book to realize that Assyria had no outside threats. The Hittites and Egyptians were a...
Detail; The entry of Sultan Mehmed II into Constantinople, painting by Fausto Zonaro (1854-1929)

Orban’s Colossal Cannon: Holding a Tiger by the Tail – Part II

Sultan Mehmed II was so pleased with Orban’s massive, destructive cannon that he wanted another twice its size! Orban headed back to his foundry in Edirne (Adrianople) acquiring more timber and...
Modern painting of Mehmed and the Ottoman Army approaching Constantinople with a giant bombard, by Fausto Zonaro

Orban: The Man Whose Cannon Brought Down the Walls of Constantinople – Part I

For 53 days, starting on Friday, 6 April, the forces of the Ottoman Empire shook what was left of the Eastern Roman Empire (known as Byzantium, or the Byzantine Empire ) until they were able to...

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