The Trabuco Is A Chinese Invention That Took The Ancient World By Storm

Ancient China was a marvelous place that helped shape the modern world. The ancient Chinese gave the world many important inventions including silk, paper and the compass. One invention that quickly took was a machine called the trabuco. This invention dates back over two thousand years to a period in time when China was arguably the most advanced civilization in the entire world. For centuries, Chinese leaders used this weapon to conquer the surrounding area and to create what would eventually become one of the world’s first and most important nation states.

The trabuco was one invention, that like many other inventions in China, was quickly seized upon and adapted by neighboring states. However, for over a thousand years, it remained the sole preserve of the Chinese nation state. Chinese leaders sought whenever possible to keep to themselves. Officials sought to do so because it was such an effective weapon. The trabuco was an improvement on an ancient form of weaponry known as the slingshot according to The origins of the slingshot are buried in time but it remains clear that the trabuco was a Chinese creation.


Chinese Technology

One of the many things that people admired about Chinese society for many centuries was the sheer inventiveness of this time in the world. The Chinese society of this time frame is one in which inventors were given the freedom they need to conduct all sorts of experiments with many types of materials according to Chinese scholars frequently worked closely with other members of their society to consider ways to improve many existing devices as well as create new ones. The trabuco is very much a product of this time in history. It builds on known weapons of the time and creates improvements that made it possible for the machine to be easier to move as well as easier to take along during any kind of battle. An existing technology such as the use of the lever was thus improved upon and made new again by the hard work of Chinese citizens. The result was a greatly admired and truly efficient war weapon.

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Trabuco – War Machine Of Old

Do you want to defeat Goliath? Well, you are in luck, you’ll need a trabuco. The trabuco served as the manufactured mechanical device that defended territories in the middle ages. The trabuco is the equivalent of a very large swing that shoots.

Trabuco was used in old times to shoot large boulders over a protection wall to get the bad guys. The wooden trabuco structure stands tall at approximately three fourths the height of the protection wall. The protection wall was typically made out of brick. This allows that the weapon will not to be seen. A cross arm sits at the top of the vertical wooden structure and this cross arm is the swing that fires the boulder. The tip of the swing is held down with a lever rope that when fired at the enemy will be released with maximum tension. This will allow the shot to get maximum distance and arch.


Obviously the trabuco must be completely anchored to the ground or at least it should be heavy enough so that when the boulder or weapon of choice that you catapult toward the enemy fires, the trabuco stays in place.

Picture this. The mean enemy is on the other side of the wall. You can hear them. Raaar, I’m coming to eat you. Raaar! Quick, Johnson, ready the trabuco. Roger that! Load the boulder and fire on my command. Fire! Firing! The tension rope that holds the trabuco in place releases the arm that sits on the top of the vertical structure. According to, the boulder swiftly swings inside the trabuco and it is released above the wall and the boulder flies to the other side. Bang! Direct hit! Great work Johnson. Thanks Mitchell, we are safe again.

The longest distance for shooting a trabuco of maximum size was approximately 984 feet according to Accuracy was more important than distance however, as one might imagine. This was one of the most feared weapons of the middle ages. We can call it the larger than life-sized sling shot.

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