Superweapons of the Ancient World

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History, Technology Documentary hosted by Glenn Wrage, published by Discovery Channel in 2004 - English narration

[edit] Cover

Image: Superweapons-of-the-Ancient-World-Cover.jpg

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Long before the atomic age, military masters engineered terrifying machines of war that were heralded as the technological wonders of the day. How would these "weapons of mass destruction" of millennia past measure up today? Superweapons of the Ancient World, a three-part documentary puts the theory to the test, as teams of experts are challenged to re-create some of the ancient world's most fearsome weapons and test them in action. With only seven days to do the job and using only materials sourced on location in the ancient kingdom of Morocco, engineers, timber framers and blacksmiths set out to create three of the deadliest weapons in antiquity: the claw, the ram and city destroyer. The function of the weapons must be as authentic as possible, but the team is permitted to use modern tools and techniques where necessary. Produced by Darlow Smithson Productions for Discovery Channel

[edit] The Claw

According to ancient records, Greek genius Archimedes created a terrifying secret weapon that plucked Roman warships from the sea and smashed them against the rocks. An entire Roman fleet was forced to abandon its assault on Syracuse, Archimedes' home, in 213 BC. Could such a devastating weapon – which became known as the claw – really have existed?
To build one today, the team debates what technology was available to Archimedes – surely no wooden crane could really have lifted a 100-ton-plus ship right out of the waves. They determine that Archimedes may have had an even more brilliant idea – after all, he wrote extensively on buoyancy and the theory of pulleys and levers. The team builds a giant boom on a swivelling tower, with a great taloned "claw" to swing out and smash into a replicated Roman galley ship. Can they sink it?

[edit] The Ram

Next, the team tackles the challenge of recreating the ram, modeled on the same weapon used by Roman invaders to batter through ancient city walls in the first century AD. The team, including top military engineers from the U.S. military academy at West Point, recreates a Roman tortoise ram to see if they can demolish a replica of an ancient city wall. The team struggles with local timber supplies as they try to find a massive nine-metre tree trunk for the ramming beam and constructs the huge wheeled "tortoise," or protective shell, which allows the ram to roll up to a city's walls and remain safe from enemy attack.
The 675-kilogram ram head has to be created on site, as the engineers of the Roman army would have done. This means improvising a blacksmith’s forge, which has to reach a temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius, right outside the kasbah or walled fortress where the team is building the ram. Can they build it? And will they be able to breach a six-metre-high 3.5-metre-thick wall?

[edit] The City Destroyer

The team has seven days to build a fourth-century siege tower armed with catapults (using period materials and construction techniques) that can be used to breach the fortified city walls of Essaouira in Morocco.
The early fourth century saw the creation of a mobile armour-plated siege tower armed with the world's first catapults. The use of siege tower was first recorded in the Battle of Motya in 394 B.C. Dionysius I led his Greek army, consisting of tens of thousands of men, from Syracuse on the east coast of the island of Sicily. Motya, an island off the west coast of Sicily, was once the homeland of Dionysius I. However, Motya was taken over by Cartheginians and Dionysius I was determined to get it back. Dionisius I gathered all his leading mathematicians, scientists, and inventors to create the most powerful weapon of the day.
Now experiencing what engineering might have been like 2000 years ago, this team of builders must re-create a 12-metre-high "City Destroyer"; will they get the job done and defeat a local "enemy"?

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[edit] Technical Specs

Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@L3.1
Video Bitrate: 2 020 Kbps
Video Resolution: 716x400
Display Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frames Per Second: 25.000 fps
Audio Codec: AC3
Audio Bitrate: 192 kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 49 min
Number Of Parts: 3
Part Size: 780 MB
Source: DVD (thanks to old upload)
Encoded by: DocFreak08

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