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What Is a Catapult?

A catapult is a device used to throw or hurl a projectile a great distance without the aid of explosive devices particularly various types of ancient and medieval siege engines.

The earliest writings of catapults were that they originated in China around the 3rd and 4th Century BC; this type of catapult was much like a big crossbow. They stood around 8 feet tall.

There are three primary technologies that fall into the "catapult" category:

  • The Catapult: the winched-down bucket that people normally think about when they hear the word "catapult".

  • The Ballista: A very large crossbow.

  • A Trebuchet: A weighted beam that swings a sling carrying the projectile.

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