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    Gladiator the Movie

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    Post by shiloh on Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:50 pm

    So I`m sure most of you but maybe not, have seen the movie Gladiator, anyway in one of the Coliseum battle scenes some Roman soldiers come out firing what looked like four sided crossbows four metal Lathes on the simple tiller with probably top mounted thumb release triggers.
    Any history on these, or is it just Hollywood , either way I think it would be a pretty cool build, anyone do this, or know of any?

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    Post by Hotspur on Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:20 pm

    The butt shape looks plausibly Roman... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roman_crossbow.jpg

    As entertaining as that scene was hidden blade , I’m quite sure the prop shop (Zorg) just cooked up a Ridley Scott fantasy with little basis in history. Also, I don’t think steel prods showed up until the 1300s.

    Interestingly, one historical advisor quit the film allegedly as a result of historic inaccuracies and another had their name removed from the credits!
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    Post by shiloh on Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:55 pm

    Hotspur,
    I`m not surprised at your answer, authentic history rarely sells Hollywood. None the less, it would be a cool build, fairly useless from a practical stand point, but cool just the same.
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    Post by Geezer on Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:27 pm

    The quatro-bow from Gladiator. As Egon Harmuth would say: "Nicht Historisch" Not even close. I've seen no evidence for metal prods on crossbows before the 14th century. The Romans did have crossbows (manubalista) but there's no evidence for anything like that. Gladiator was a fun movie, but riddled with historical errors. So just sit back and enjoy. Geezer
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    Post by JoergS on Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:44 am

    I did do some research on the concept, and I must say the prop guys did a great job. Their design should be fully functional. So while it is not authentic, it may well could have been.

    Mind you people weren't stupid back then, and only a fraction of the things they invented made it into mass production (just like today). Wooden prods can be quite powerful, but will rot at some point. Designs that weren't popular have most likely not survived. So I disagree with "no evidence, must be frowned upon".

    Here is my old topic:

    http://thearbalistguild.forumotion.com/t677-gladiator-four-shot-crossbow-movie-prop-feasible?highlight=Gladiator

    I actually made a four arrow shooter that works very well, using four arrows.



    And here is some footage from the finished weapon (from 4:26 onwards):

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    Post by shiloh on Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:22 am

    Joergs,

    Thanx for the link to your earlier thread on this subject, I figured someone must have thought about this concept, and I too beleave it`s stupid to think that people way back won`t have thought of similar things. The amount of knowledge acquired by our ancestors lost to time must be enormous. Assuming anything wasn`t done because it hasn`t been found is plain dumb.

    Zorg did do a righteous job designing that weapon, it looks to be a top thumb release mech for each bow, pretty simple, they just made it very ornate which makes it look complicated.

    Who knows, it probably was presented to the army as many invention even today are, and was rejected for one reason or another, we`ll never know for sure unless some scholar comes across it in some long lost Roman records.

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    Post by Rizzar on Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:24 am

    Good morning!

    My thought about this weapon: looks cool, but comes with a little difficulty preventing it from "all day" usage.

    To use these 4 prods they must be spanned and shot in the correct order. I doubt there is a security preventing order confusion because that would be very complicated.
    So either way first span the first 2 opposite prods and then the next pair which are then shot first requiring to rotate -fist shot-180°-shot-90°-shot-180°-last shot- or
    easier method spanning clockwise (or counter clock) and firing with 90°steps in opposite spanning order beginning with the last spanned.
    But if this order is confused for any reason (gladiator college that want´s to make fun out of you doing a little rotation when you lay down your weapon) it will be very dangerous and perhaps devastating to the weapon.

    So in my opinion it surely works, but compared to its low range use and efford to handle/build it would be far from army niveau.
    Besides it wouldn´t be so nice and small with wooden prods...

    Got to go, finish a crossbow^^
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    Post by Zardoz on Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:04 am

    I think that the four shooter would never possibly existed because after the first four shots, it would be difficult to load and operate in the heat of battle. A soldier would most likely have to shoot a bolt as fast as he could load it. Fiddly loading and operating would get him killed. I think that too many movie people have grown up playing video games instead of reading books. As for having no evidence of such a thing not meaning it didn't exist, what about the mechanical owl in "Clash of the Titans". Are you saying it could have existed? Them there Greeks was smart.
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    Post by Geezer on Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:59 am

    Zardoz: Actually, Graeco/Roman civilization made some pretty sophisticated stuff. The fabulous Antikythera Device comes to mind... a very complex mechanical celestial computer, probably made at Rhodes @ 200 AD. (give or take a few hundred years) I think they had the mechanical know-how to make such a device, and I wouldn't be terribly surprised to discover some rich dude had one in his parlor, but I don't think it shows much promise as a weapon... expensive, heavy, hard to maintain... in a society with slave-workers, they'd probably just have four guys with ordinary manu-ballistae instead. Still you've gotta admit the Gladiator four-shooter is pretty nifty. No doubt Joerg could do better, and with rubber- bands!
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    Post by Zardoz on Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:56 am

    I know it probably COULD be done, but it wouldn't be practical. I also know the Greeks and Romans made some pretty advanced stuff without the help of aliens (unlike those unbelievably stupid ancient Egyptians). I am a big fan of ancient to medeival technology. a good book on this is "Engineering in the Ancient World" by J.G. Landels. http://www.amazon.com/Engineering-Ancient-World-Revised-Landels/dp/0520227824
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    Post by Geezer on Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:03 am

    Zardoz: looks like we're about on the same wave-length here. I think the biggest obstacle to the four-shooter, outside simple practicality is the steel prods. I just don't think graeco/roman metallurgy was up to making steel springs that large. Too bad, they had plenty going for them. Geezer.
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    Post by Zardoz on Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:06 am

    They did some great stuff with torsion springs, though.
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    Post by Geezer on Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:14 am

    Well yeah, you could build a bronze frame... a square of four little torsion-spring boxes, with levers and gears to adjust them. It would be wonderfully fiddly to keep operating, but sublimely engineerly! Almost as complex as the Antikythera machine! Geezer

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