Virtual prototyping of medieval weapons for historical reconstruction of siege scenarios starting from topography and archaeological investigations
By G. Annoscia, M. Bici, F. Campana and L. De Lellis
IOP Conf. Series: Materials Science and Engineering, No. 364 (2018)
Abstract: Chronicles of sieges to castles or fortresses, using “machinae”, can often be found in historical sources. Moreover, archaeological excavations of castles or fortresses has brought to light rocks or projectiles whose carving suggests a military usage. Nevertheless, chronicles and discoveries alone, are seldom enough to propose a faithful reconstruction of these machines.
Therefore, the aim of this research is the development of methodologies for reconstructing virtual scenarios of sieges, starting from the scarce information available. In order to achieve it, a procedure for the virtual reconstruction of the siege machine has been set up, focusing on typology and dimensions of the machines, also investigating possible fire positions according to topography. The entire procedure has been developed using the siege of Cervara di Roma’s Rocca as a case study. Late medieval chronicles (end of 13th Century) report the siege brought by the papal army in order to restore the jurisdiction on the Cervara’s stronghold, following the insurrection of a group of vassals headed by a monk named Pelagio.
The discovery, in the area of the Rocca, of a stone that could have been used as a projectile confirms what reported. The proposed methodology is composed of two parts. The first one is connected to the study of the “internal ballistics”, to understand the performances and to build virtual models of siege machines. The second part is the study of the “external ballistics”, then to the positioning and shooting ability of possible machines, analysing the topography of the area. In this paper, we present the feasibility of this methodology through the preliminary results achieved correlating internal and external ballistics.