previous next


MU´SCULUS was a shelter for soldiers engaged in undermining the enemy's walls or towers (Caes. B.C. 2.10; Isid. Orig. 18.11, 4), or in filling up the ditch so as to bring the battering-rams, &c. up to the wall (Veget. 4.16). As described by Caesar (l.c.), in the siege of Marseilles it was strongly made of wood, 60 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 5 feet high, with a sloping roof. The construction is as follows:--Two beams, 60 feet long, were placed at the base, 4 feet apart: in these were fixed upright posts (columellae), 5 feet high and joined by gable beams (capreoli) meeting in an angle, across which thick planks or beams are laid lengthways, so as to form a roof sloping both ways. These beams (bipedalia, 2 feet thick) are nailed and clamped together; at the bottom of the slope each side rises a ledge (regulae), 4 digits high, so as to support the layers of bricks, &c. The layers over the wooden roof are bricks and earth; over these, hides to prevent the bricks being displaced by water; and over the hides are cushions or mattresses (centones) kept wet, so as at once to prevent fire and to break the force of stones hurled from above. The machine is constructed beneath the tower of the besiegers, and then is moved on rollers up to [p. 2.192]the wall. The besiegers throw down huge stones and blazing tar barrels, which roll harmlessly off the sloping roof. The difference between the musculus and the vinea was that in the vinea one of the long sides was open for working, while the musculus was open at the ends, hence giving a long sheltered gallery, the end of which was against the city wall. It was, of course, rolled lengthways to the wall. The vinea was rolled broadside up to the wall. The musculus also was more solidly built than the vinea, and not so high. The testudo was something like the musculus, but squarer. (Lipsius, Poliorcet. 1.9; Marquardt, Staatsverwalt. 2.531.)

[L.S] [G.E.M]

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: