The Power Of The Assyrian Siege Tower

Key Point: The Assyrian Siege Tower was a formidable military structure used during ancient times for conducting sieges. These towers were mobile structures designed to allow soldiers to breach fortified walls.

This article covers the Assyrian Siege Tower. What it looked like and how the Assyrians used it to defeat their enemies. So, by the time you finish reading this article, you will know everything there is to know about the Assyrian siege tower.

So, what is the Assyrian Siege Tower?

The Main Takeaway Of The Article:

The Assyrian Siege Tower was a military structure used by the ancient Assyrian army during the sieges of fortified cities. The tower was constructed of wood and could reach great heights, allowing soldiers to gain access to the walls of the city under attack. The tower was equipped with ramps, ladders, and battle platforms, and was often protected by a roof of animal hides to defend against arrows and other projectiles.

Now, let’s take a look t the whole topic in detail. And examine why the Assyrians were able to use this weapon to such great effect. Let’s take a look t the users first before we go into detail about their devastating weapon. If you wish you can skip the introduction and go straight to the dimensions and the design of the Assyrian siege tower.

An Introduction To The Assyrians

The Assyrian Empire was an ancient Middle Eastern Empire that last from the 25 century B.C. to the 7th century B.C. The Assyrians managed to create a vast Empire that stretched from the Persian Gulf all the way to Egypt.

Depiction of the Assyrian Empire

Pretty big right? But why were the Assyrians able to kick everyone’s ass? Why were they so powerful? The reason why the Assyrians were able to conquer so much territory and actually control it is because of their administrative policies and the weapons they used. While most of their neighbors used bronze they used iron-based weapons and siege technology that allowed them to conquer fortifications faster.

Now, it’s time we take a look at the siege technology they used. More specifically their siege tower.

The Design Of The Assyrian Siege Tower

The Assyrian siege tower was constructed of wood and could reach heights of up to 80 feet. To be fair, the “80feet height” is a commonly cited number although it is debated among historians. The estimate comes to use through reliefs and historical mentions. Sadly no examples remain that would confirm the height aspect. It was obviously higher than most wall fortifications in use at the time.

So, given the size of the Assyrian Empire, it is likely that they were able to construct such a monstrosity.

The tower was usually rectangular in shape. The base was wider than the top, to provide stability. The tower had multiple levels, these levels were filled with soldiers ready to scale the walls of the fortification.

The tower was also equipped with various offensive and defensive features to protect the soldiers inside. It had arrow slits for archers to shoot at the defenders. So, as the tower approached the walls the archers in the siege tower could shoot arrows at the defenders. That cleared the wall of defenders so that the attacking soldiers had an easier time establishing a foothold.

The Protection Of The Siege Tower

The tower itself was often protected by a roof of animal hides, which served as a shield against arrows and other projectiles. Given that it was constructed from wood the most common tactic against the tower was that they tried setting it on fire. The purpose of the animal hides was to shield it from arrows and minimize the effect of fire weapons.

As you can see the Assyrian siege tower was the pinnacle of weapon technology in its heyday. The weapon was powerful and actually quite expensive. Building such a weapon was a massive undertaking and required massive resources. On top of that the Siege tower was often disassembled and reassembled at the site of the siege.

Once there, it gave the attacking Assyrians a huge advantage.

The Effect Of The Assyrian Siege Tower

The use of siege towers was a major development in ancient siege warfare and changed the way cities were conquered. The combination of ground-level and aerial assaults made it much more difficult for the defenders to repel the attackers, and the use of siege towers gave the Assyrian army a significant advantage in their conquests.

When you think about it it’s quite an ingenious invention. The main advantage of defenders behind walls is that you just can not walk into the city because of the barrier. And it enabled the defenders to throw projectiles from the high ground.

The Assyrian siege tower negated both of those advantages. It enabled them to fire arrows from the same height (or even higher) and it allowed their soldier to walk on their walls. Negating the barrier effect that kept them safe.

In Conclusion

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you learned a thing or two. I suggest you take a look at my next article in the “siege weapons from history” series right here. It deals with the topic of Trebuchet vs. Catapult.

Take care!

Source: Historical Dictionary Of Mesopotamia