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Ancient Roman ballista (stationary large crossbow)

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During the Macedonian siege of Rhodes in one of the Diadochoi wars, the Macedonians used a huge weapon called Helepolis, which consisted of a huge siege tower equipped with several levels of ballistae and catapults of various types. The Rhodesians also used a series of ballistae to fire incessantly at Helepolis. In the end, the siege failed and the wreckage of Herepolis and the armour left behind by the Macedonian soldiers were used to create the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, to commemorate the victory in the war.

In the Second Punic War, the scorpius (scorpion), a small, portable sniper weapon, was used.

In western Europe, the scorpion disappeared during the fall of Rome and into the Middle Ages, partly due to a ban imposed by the Pope in the early Middle Ages, who lamented the spread of warfare.

In the Eastern Roman Empire, there was a weapon called the Ballista Quadrilotis, in which the ballista was placed on a cart with a 360-degree rotating base and pulled by a horse, in the manner of cavalry artillery. The spring-loaded suspension gave it great mobility. It is the prototype of today's tanks.

As with the catapult, the ballista was used in conjunction with guns when they were introduced, but as explosive and safe gunpowder was improved and gun casting technology evolved, the ballista ceased to be used when guns became a reliable enough weapon.(From Wikipedia)



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