Superweapons of the Ancient World (2004): S01E02 – The Ram


Superweapons of the Ancient World is a history, technology documentary hosted by Glenn Wrage, and aired by Discovery Channel in 2004.


Next, the team tackles the challenge of recreating the ram, modelled on the same weapon used by Roman invaders to batter through ancient city walls in the first century AD. The team, including top military engineers from the US military academy at West Point, recreates a Roman tortoise ram to see if they can demolish a replica of an ancient city wall. The team struggles with local timber supplies as they try to find a massive nine-metre tree trunk for the ramming beam and constructs the huge wheeled “tortoise,” or protective shell, which allows the ram to roll up to a city’s walls and remain safe from enemy attack.

The 675-kilogram ram head has to be created on site, as the engineers of the Roman army would have done. This means improvising a blacksmith’s forge, which has to reach a temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius, right outside the kasbah or walled fortress where the team is building the ram. Can they build it? And will they be able to breach a six-metre-high 3.5-metre-thick wall?

Superweapons of the Ancient World Series

You can find a full index and overview of Superweapons of the Ancient World here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 14 October 2004.
  • Running time: 49 minutes (per episode).
  • Rating: PG.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

YouTube Link

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