Tortoise Siege Weapon

battering ram tortoiseYou probably call the tortoise siege weapon a battering ram. But I say, Take a look at the photo here. Does that look like a ram or a tortoise?

OK! OK! I admit that the battering bit could give you the idea to call this a ram. Rams do batter away at each other by butting their heads together. They sort of batter other animals or things, too.

In fact, in honor of this senseless violence on the part of rams, some armies carved a ram's head on the front end of the log they used to batter down the city gates or the castle door.

But think about it. . .

A tortoise goes about its life protected by a shell. See that a-frame over the log thingy? Doesn't that remind you of a tortoise shell?

Good ones even had an iron cap on the roof so the people being battered couldn't light the a-frame on fire. The a-frame protected the warriors who wanted to do some battering and the log they used to batter.

When it was time to do some battering, people pushed the log ahead and it popped out from under the a-frame just like the head of a tortoise. Then, of course, the log swung back under the a-frame. That's because the log was suspended from the roof of the a-frame.

So the log moved out from under the a-frame and back in just like a tortoise's head moves in and out of its shell.

And that's why what many people call a battering ram was called the tortoise siege weapon.

Now that you know, who are you going to tell?

If you have any interesting tortoise facts you want to share, let me know.

PS. The tortoise siege weapon was also called a mouse, a cat, or a sow.

Now I ask you. . .

Words fail me!

Keep it slow and steady.

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