The Siege Engines
Why is this place so important ?
The Castle of Les Baux-de-Provence is the only historical site in the South of France with fully operational siege engines. The full-size copies of siege engines can fire real missiles and enable visitors to experience what a siege was like in the Middle Ages.
The castle’s 16-metre-high trebuchet is the largest in France. Both powerful and accurate with a range of 200 metres, the trebuchet’s counterweight system made it possible to hurl rocks weighing between 50 and 100 kilos. Weighing 7 tonnes, 60 soldiers were necessary for its installation and operation.
The couillard was a machine that had two counterweights. Its effectiveness enabled it to compete for a long time with powder artillery, thanks to its rate of fire and the small team required to operate it (4 to 8 operators).
The ballista was a medieval artillery piece composed of a long arm, at the end of which was attached a pouch containing missiles. This formidable machine was therefore capable of hurling one missile weighing 10 to 30 kg per minute.
The battering ram was used to ram the base of the walls of besieged places in order to take them apart, break them down, and make openings in them.
The battering ram’s long, heavy beam, suspended horizontally from a frame, was armed at one end with iron in the form of a ram’s head.
Did you know?
These siege engines are not located in their original locations. The ballista, for examples, was located at the foot of the rocky outcrop, to the north. The trebuchet was, of course, located within the walls.