Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Preparing The Reader For War. Ammianus' Digression On Siege Engines

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

In studies on Roman warfare Ammianus figures prominently. As a former army officer, he shows a lively interest in and a detailed knowledge of military matters. His digression about siege engines, serves to provide the necessary background information for the account of Julian's Persian campaign. The paper will focus on its technical quality, both intrinsically and in comparison with other descriptions. Ammianus treats successively the ballista. The flowery style Ammianus favours for his digressions makes the interpretation of this chapter especially difficult. First the ballista. The essential parts of this arrow-shooting engine, Vitruvius' catapulta,5 are the bow, the stock and the slider. The power of the literary tradition and the demands it imposed on the style of presentation produced this curious mixture of imprecision in the description of the technical aspects of the siege engines and vividness in the representation of the effects of these weapons.

Keywords: ammianus; ballista; Digression; julian; roman warfare; seige engines



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Emperors and Historiography — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation