Sieges of Medieval Castles during the Middle Ages are pretty famous and we all know a little bit about them. But there was an amazing siege that took place a thousand years before any of these medieval castles were built. And it wasn't just a fortified castle that was sieged. It was a whole fortified island with a massive stone wall around it. And it is during this siege that the first Torsion catapults were made. This dvd tells this remarkable story of Alexander the Great and how he successfully sieged the Island fortress of Tyre.
The DVD is pretty good in itself and is about what you expect with this kind of thing produced by the History Channel, lots of actors and reenactments and plenty of computer generated extras. And of course lots of interesting information.
I do want to tell you a little bit about the story inside the dvd though. This is what's really amazing and I am so glad the History Channel decided to cover this in the way that it did.
Some of this DVD covers Alexander's rise to fame, glory. Telling us some of the history of his conquest of the known world. But this dvd is not really about that. That is all background stuff.
This DVD is about one particular battle that is probably one of the most amazing battles in all of ancient history. As Alexander made his way through conquering Persia and on his way to Egypt. He took the port cities of what is now Lebanon. Until he came to one island city a half mile off the coast called Tyre. That island city was fortified with a massive castle wall around it and protected by a fleet of warships. Not to mention the fact that it was a half mile off shore.
The year was 332 and Alexander sieged the island fortress for months. He did it in a number of remarkable ways. First he built a land bridge right out to the island! This was a massive undertaking and it was so substantial that the island is to this day no longer an island! It is the end of a peninsula. I took a google map shot so you coud see it:
Is that not amazing? Over two thousand years later this is how the island now looks. Still no longer an island.
Well, that wasn't all that was done. This was a massive battle that had all the hallmarks of a castle siege from the middle ages, battering rams, siege towers, floating siege ships, and of course siege engines like ballista. But these ballista weren't enough.
Alexander tasked his engineers to come up with better siege engines than the ballista and they did. They came up with the torsion catapult which was much more powerful. It is with these catapults, mounted on ships and on his land bridge that he breached a hole in the wall around tyre and brought it down. It was an amazing accomplishment in so many ways.
If you are a fan of ancient history, or alexander, or ancient warfare or catapults then this is a dvd that you will really like. It has all of those things wrapped into one.
I have added Alexanders catapult to my list of projects so I will be making a sort of replica. Stay tuned! I have already made all kinds of catapults and siege engines and if you would like to make one I have lots of projects on my website here: How to make catapults, trebuchets and siege engines .