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The Battering Ram

Episode 16

How do you smash through heavy wooden doors or stone walls to break into a strong city? The Romans used a large, heavy log called a Ram!

There were different types of battering rams. A very basic battering ram was just a very heavy log, carried by a few people who ran at an obstacle with it and hit it hard enough to damage it or knock it down.

A more sophisticated ram, like the one used in Episode 16 of Friends and Heroes, was attached to a wheeled support frame by ropes or chains. This meant that the logs could be much bigger and do much more damage as they were swung against their targets. The ram was still made of wood but often had a special hard head made from metal. The support frame was big enough to allow soldiers to sit inside to operate the ram. The frame was often covered with wet animal hides to stop the soldiers being set on fire by the people they were trying to attack and to give them protection from arrows being fired at them.

The photograph (right) was taken in modern-day Italy by a Friends and Heroes fan. It shows a battering ram with a ram’s head just like the one in Friends and Heroes!

Click the picture to see a larger version - you might want to save it or print it too!