Trabuco: Thrower Of Destructive Balls

A trabuco is an ancient war machines that closely resemble a catapult both in design and function. It is also called the balancing trabuco. The siege weapon would’ve mostly been used during the middle ages flinging projectiles weighing close to 150 pounds at masonry walls in order to encompass foe property. The ancient weapon the trabuco was able to dispatch shots of heavy projectiles at high speeds with surprising accuracy. Though used more as an attack weapon it most likely was used to fling supplies like ammunition over strongholds as well. It is believed to been used heavily during the crusades by Europeans.

The trabuco derives from the contemporary sling or launch and like them works by transforming potential energy into kinetic energy. However, because it operates much like a large sling a chunk of the potential energy is lost due to friction within the machines framework. The speed of the projectile directly corresponds to the size of the counterweight according to So the heavier the counterweight the more force behind the projectile. It’s estimated that a large trabuco would’ve needed at least 15 or more men to operate it depending on the size. It’s said to have taken 12 days to build the structure.

According to, though the earliest origins of the machine can be traced back to a passage written by Islamic scholar Mardi Al-Tarsusi, Muslims are not credited with the invention of it.

The fall of the trabuco came with the invention of gunpowder. In fact, in Brazil, trabuco is a common way to referring to large caliber revolvers or shotguns. It rapidly lost its place in battle to the cannon during the 11th century according to The last known use of the trabuco was in 1521 due to a lack of gunpowder.

These days trabucos are far from being used in their intended purpose. Now they are mostly used for education purposes on history and mechanics.

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