Trabuco- Ancient And Deadly War Machine

The trabuco war machine dates back to the Middle Ages. It was a structure similar to the catapult that would launch items (usually stones) over a significant distant to cause destruction to the other party. This particular machine was used to bring down walls on enemy territory using large stones. This was a weapon that could inflict a lot of damage.

The trabuco’s beginning can be traced back to ancient China around 400 BC according to Although the idea came from a much older tool, the sling shot. The Chinese used the concept of the slingshot but on a much larger scale. The structure was wooden, having one smaller level attached to strings and another larger lever containing the stones. Using the force of gravity and man power, a group of soldiers would pull back the smaller level (which would pull the larger level back at the same time) and then release it. This would thrust the stones forward and launch the stones forward. These weren’t tiny stones either; they could weigh anywhere from 140 pounds to 400 pounds. The Chinese brought this creation over to the Europeans about two hundred years later.


Later, the trapuco would evolve into two different versions called the counterweight trapuco and the traction trapuco. These were used by people in the Middle East, Europeans, Chinese and Mongolians in many wars throughout the centuries. These new versions could throw stones that weighed up to 1500 kilos. Some added features of these updated versions included counter weights and the use of traction allowing these machines to throw heavier materials at greater distances. Stones were not the only weapons in these trapucos either. It’s recorded that they launched human bodies infected with diseases, human heads, prisoners and various animals as well according to

The end of the reign of terror for this ancient war machine came about when cannons and gunpowder were invented. These weapons were more efficient, easier to carry and packed a mean punch without taking up as much space. A fascinating weapon, the trapuco was revolutionary for its time. It is now used to illustrate physics and mechanics, no more head throwing for this machine.

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