Category Archives: Ancient Weapon

A New Face Of War: Seige Of The Balancing Trubaco

In the Middle Ages, the Trubaco, or more specifically, the balancing Trubaco, made its debut on the battlefield as a terrifying siege weapon. The counterweight design of the balancing Trubaco’s firing mechanism, which gives the weapon it’s name, was used to collapse fortress walls, and rain fire balls onto the enemy. Below, we’ll take a deeper look at this ancient war machine that changed how battles were won and lost forever more.

The Design and Functionality of the Balancing Trubaco

The balancing Trubaco essentially consists of five parts: the beam, frame, counterweight, and guide chute. The frame acts as a support for the counterweight which drops the shorter end of the Trubaco’s beam, launching the projectile toward the enemy. The larger the counterweight, the stronger the projectile’s launch. In addition to boulders and flaming materials, disease ridden corpses and feces we’re also used as projectiles, making the Trubaco the world’s first germ warfare weapon.

The History of the Balancing Trubaco

Know more commonly as the Trebuchet to the French and English militaries, the balancing Trubaco began as the traction Trebuchet in China in the 4th century on These early Trubaco’s were man powered, and used ropes attached to the end of the Trubaco’s shorter beam. Due to the unwieldiness and extreme man power needed, the traction Trebuchets were quickly abandoned for the emerging counterweight Trubaco.

The first accounts of the counterweight Trubaco on the battlefield come from the 12th century, during the conquests of Saladin according to The warrior Sultan even installed protective Trubaco’s on his palace towers in what may be the first case of anti-projectile defense in early warfare. However, It is thought that the true origins of the balancing Trubaco can be attributed to Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos who, when visited by allying crusaders, was said to have developed devastating and unconventional heavy artillery.

The Rise of the Balancing Trubaco

By the mid-twelfth century, balancing Trubacos were being used heavily throughout the battles of the crusades. The counterweight weapons were such an asset to waring armies that some were even given names. Two of Phillip the second’s Trubacos were dubbed ‘God’s Stone-Thrower’ and ‘Bad Neighbor,’ while a giant Trubaco was ordered to be developed by Edward Longshanks for the English Army known as ‘Warwolf.’

With the rise of gunpowder, and cannons, the Trubaco was slowly phased out of combat with the notable exception of Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes’ siege of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, in 1521 according to It is thought that the Trubaco’s use is due to Cortes’ lack of sufficient gunfire. However, the first projectile that the Trubaco attempted to fire landed on the Trubaco itself, obliterating the war machine.

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