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Our full-size Roman siege catapult for sale on eBay

Yes, you did read that correctly. We really are selling a full-size Roman war machine on eBay.

Monday, September 29, 2008 ·

You couldn’t have a project that’s further removed from building a timber frame home.

Way back in 2002, we were asked to build a faithful recreation of a Roman war machine – a ballista – for a TV documentary, to be screened by the BBC and the Discovery Channel.

As timber engineers, we do get asked to build a lot of unusual things – things which other framing companies couldn’t even attempt. This was, perhaps, one of the more unusual.

The ballista was successfully built and managed to fire a very heavy stone ball some 127 yards. (Remember, these things used to successfully lay siege to entire cities.)

This video shows highlights of the building of the ballista – and its successful firing.

The ballista, dissembled, has been in our Scotland timber yard since then, so we have decided to make some room (quite a bit of room, actually) and sell it on eBay.

The ballista has aged gracefully and needs a little restoration work to get it back into shape again – though as a demonstration piece rather than as a fireable weapon. We’ve decided to sell the ballista ‘as seen’ for those who fancy constructing it themselves – though we are very happy to provide construction as an additional service. (To be fair, we recommend it – it will take people with timber expertise to do the required work.)

The resulting ballista may well be a very sound investment. Similar devices (such as the trebuchet that we built for Warwick Castle) attract thousands of visitors, so it shouldn’t be a problem getting a sound return on investment.

The ballista is the most faithful recreation ever attempted – and its recreation involved teams of experts all working together. It stands 7.5 meters tall, it is 8.5 meters long and weighs 12 tons – so the buyer won’t be picking this up in a Transit van and it won’t fit in a typical garden.

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