Byzantine Alakatia

The Nikephorian DBMM list allows for some elements of Art(O) on wagons. While not as tasty as the Roman Art(F) tachanka, they do have the advantage that they can shoot from their 80mm long side edge, which makes them quite flexible, and they seem to be a standard part of the SBPF (small but perfectly formed) Nikephorian lists.

Problem is that no one seems to make a model for them.

Which for years has stopped me using them. Well that plus I don’t really believe that the existed. It feels to be more likely that they were deployed with the baggage train wagons, rather than on wagons themselves. But I found this article by George T. Dennis on Byzantine artillery that also mentioned them as well. He does a good job of analysing all the various conflicting words that the Romans used for artillery of various sorts, and the interesting description of alakatia as revolving at both end, to suggest that they were rope-pulled pole trebuchets (a relatively new and very efficient type of artillery invented in China and brought west possibly by the Avars, although there are other accounts the suggest that the Avars actually learnt how to build seige machines from captured Byzantine soldiers).

Still can’t find any models for rope-pulled pole trebuchets, only later huge mediaeval trebuchets. So I have decided to try and scratch build some myself.

Looking around I have managed to find some images of them on this website. Such as:

Rope pull pole trebuchet from the Chronicle of Petrus d’Eboli
Byzantine trebuchet from the Skylintzes manuscript

Can’t remember who the wagons in the pictures come from – probably Essex I suspect. They’re not brilliant – I suspect I will do a v2 at some point, having seen what these look like.