Ancient Engineering
Ballistic Technologies of Antiquity

Atreb Simulator

NOTE: This item is being sold as a download-able zip file. If you prefer a disk version, please review our CD-Roms at See below for download instructions.

System requirements: A PC running Windows.

"Atreb estimated that I would throw an 8 lb pumkpin 943 feet - I actually hit 927 during competition, but that was into a slight headwind. I'd say it's pretty accurate."
-- Chris Gerow, Winner of the 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 World Championship Punkin Chunk, Trebuchet division.

Q: What's the best way to learn about trebuchets?

A: Build a lot of them!

What's the easiest, cheapest and safest way to test your theories about trebuchet mechanics? Use a trebuchet simulator!

What is ATreb? "A" stands for accurate, and "Treb" is short for Trebuchet. This is by far the most accurate trebuchet computer simulation you can get!

Engineered and programmed by Les Scholz, this simulator goes beyond just lengths and weights! You can add the effects of air drag, friction, do stress analysis on your arm, sling, pin, axle... and work out all the finer details of your trebuchet design before you even buy a single piece of lumber. It also includes a metric conversion calculator, release pin optimizer, and you can save hundreds of design parameters and simply load them from disk to work on different projects at the click of a button.

Download Instructions:
This item is available as a download-only product. The download instructions will be automatically emailed to you as soon as your payment has been processed. Be sure to use a valid email address during checkout, or you will not get the instructions. Also make sure you can receive email from RLT.COM (you may need to add it to your "whitelist" if you have one) and if you do not receive the email within an hour of ordering, then be sure to check your junk mail folder.

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    Price: $19.95
    Minimum age: 10
    Availability: out of stock

    Item code: 99001

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A catapult is any kind of device that shoots or launches a projectile by mechanical means. In England, a catapult is what we call a slingshot in the US. A catapult is also the part of an aircraft carrier that launches airplanes off the deck.

But for our purposes, a catapult is any of the ancient types of artillery, including Onagers, Scorpions, Trebuchets, Ballistae, Springalds, Coullards, Bricoles Perriers and more.

But most people tend to think of a catapult as the one-armed torsion machine used by the Romans. This is also known as the Onager or Mangonel.


The word Mangonel derives from the ancient Greek word "Manganon", literally meaning "engine of war". The Romans called it a Manganum. In pre-medieval French the word Manganum was changed to Manganeau, and the English changed that to Mangonel in the 1300s.

The history gets a little sketchy in the middle ages, but some historians believe that "mangonel" was shortened to the word "gonnel" about the same time that cannons were being developed, and later still, "gonnel" was shortened to "gun." And still today, in the military a "gun" is strictly a piece of big artillery.


Onager is originally the name for the wild Asian donkey. This donkey bucks like a bronco if anyone gets too close to it, and it is known to kick stones at people and predators too. So when the Romans needed a name for their one-armed torsion catapult, they called it the Onager!

The Onager (catapult) has a single arm that is powered by a large skein of twisted ropes. The ropes were usually made from hair or sinew for their elastic properties.


The word "Trebuchet" is originally French, and meant something like "to fall over or rotate about the middle" as in a see-saw rotating on its axle. It also seems to have meant a big, heavy beam. Today a Trebuchet is any kind of catapult that is powered by a massive counterweight on one end of an arm, and a sling on the other end. This includes Perriers, or "traction" trebuchets which are powered by a mass of people pulling one end of the arm with ropes.


This is a two-armed torsion device invented by the Greeks. It works similar to a crossbow, but instead of a flexible bow, it uses two stiff arms powered by twisted rope skeins like an Onager. The ballista predates the Onager by several centuries and was used to hurl stones (lithobolos style ballista) and also bolts or darts.

Obviously, this is where we get the word "ballistic".

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