A military engine (also called a siege weapon) used to batter and beat down the walls (or other barriers) of places besieged. There were two different kinds of battering rams, one rude and plain, the other compound. The former seems to have been no more than a great beam, which soldiers bore on their arms and shoulders, and with one end of it, by main force, assailed the walls. The compound ram was a large beam with a head of iron, which was sometimes made to resemble the head of a ram. It was suspended by ropes to a beam supported by posts, and balanced so as to swing backwards and forewards, and was impelled by men against the wall. These rams were sometimes 120 feet in length.
Related term(s): Siege Weapon; Besiege; Fortification; Catapult; Ballista; Trebuchet
Category: Siege Weapons and Artillery
Last modified: 10.07.05
Source information: Wilhelm, Thomas. A Military Dictionary and Gazetteer. Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1881. 50.