Naval Armament in the Thirteenth Century
Prior to the advent of the cannon, during the Middle Ages, the ram was probably the most effective piece of ship’s armament, and Greek fire (the composition of which remains a mystery) the most feared. Although many ships carried projectile weapons, such as various forms of ballistae, mangonels, perrieres and espringales, these were almost always used against land fortifications. Ships with castles on the bow and stern as well as fighting tops,manned with warriors wielding bows, spears lumps of iron, stones and other manually deployed projectiles were also common. An illustration of a ballista is provided at the end of the volume.