© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The trebuchet was the dominant siege weapon in Europe in the Medieval Period. It worked by harnesing the potential energy of a suspended weight to fling heavy rocks and projectiles at enemy castles or armies. Woodcut from 'De Re Militari' by Roberto Valturio (1405-1475) published in Paris in 1534. Valturio was military engineer to Sigismondo Malatesta, the ruler of Rimini, at whose court this book was written. The first edition appeared in Italian in 1472 and became the standard guide to military leaders during the Renaisance. It was the earliest printed book to show illustrations of a technical nature and included all types of military equipment.