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The Iron Army: Assyria – Deadly and Effective Siege Machine – Part II

Monday, October 31, 2016 20:09
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Assyrian relief of a horseman from Nimrud, now in the British Museum

Assyrian sappers (soldiers for building, demolitions, general construction) would approach the walls possibly under the cover of shield bears, the same type that protected the archers one could suspect. If they had no such protection, the Assyrian king made sure his specialized troop had the armor needed to get the job done. The sapper, particularly during the rule of Ashurnasirpal (883-859 BCE), were heavily armored and wore long padded mailed coverings along with a conical helmet with mail protecting the face and neck.  Once at the walls, they would aid in helping the battering rams dislodge blocks from the wall with special flat-topped crowbars, pick axes, hoes, and drills. If the sappers could not get near the walls, they tunneled under them and prop it up with wooden supports until the hole was rather large and deep, after which they would set fire to the structure causing the foundation to weaken and collapse. 

Section: – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past


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