One of the Ancient World’s Deadliest Weapons; The Trabuco

     If you were a medieval warrior and happened to encounter a massive boulder, hundreds of randomized projectiles, or a plague infected corpse raining down upon you, chances were your enemy possessed one of the most powerful artillery weapons of the day; the Trabuco. Also known as the balancing Trabuco, for its use of a balancing mechanism in firing, the weapon was designed in various styles and sizes to accommodate varying loads. The Trabuco was used effectively for centuries to terrify and bring down the most skilled armies and well built fortresses. Richard the Lionhearted even had two massive Trabuco’s built and installed during the attack of Acre in 1611, which he affectionately named ‘God’s Own Catapult’ and ‘Bad Neighbor’.

The Europeans of the Middle Ages received the weapon thanks to Russian travelers and traders around the year 600 AD. The weapon found its origins in China, and was perfected by Persian designers who were bought in to assist in the construction of two further Trabuco’s to assist the Chinese in battle against Mongol invaders. European kingdoms used the Trabuco for battling rival kingdoms in the age of feudalism, and when the Crusades began, the weapon was employed by Christians and Muslims alike. It was durning this time that the Trabuco served as the distribution method for an antiquated version of germ warfare, as both sides lobbed their own corpses, ridden with the plague, into the opposing camp, in hopes of infecting enemy soldiers.

The Trabuco quickly spread throughout the world and saw use under both the Brazilian and Spanish armies in its heyday. Though the weapon was often times used to lobe heavy stones at fortress walls, or at invading armies, the Brazilian’s added their own unique twist to the Trabuco’s function. Loading the sling with an assortment of random projectiles, the army used the weapon in a kind of medieval shotgun effect, with devastating results. By the rise of the age of gunpowder, the Trabuco had all but grown obsolete when faced with the explosive power of the cannon. Though a few were deployed sporadically after this time, eventually the Trubaco faded into the history of warfare forever.