Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2023

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School

CEPS

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Program or Major

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

David Bachrach

Abstract

The First Crusade was a critically important period in European and Middle Eastern history, and in nearly a millennium since its conclusion, many have sought to understand the military campaign that formed the heart of the Crusade. Crucial to understanding this campaign that saw the Crusaders defeat the Muslim forces in the Levant is understanding the sieges which made up the majority of decisive engagements. Previous analyses on these sieges have been missing an important component: an accurate understanding of the siege engines that the Crusaders successfully used to turn the sieges in their favor. During the summer of 2022, I undertook a research project to conduct an engineering analysis of the siege engines used in the First Crusade, drawing from contemporary texts and applying modern engineering principles and software to gain a better understanding of the machines described within historical sources. After surveying all the siege engines described in the texts, I decided to focus on siege towers, machines critical to the success of the Crusaders but often overlooked in comparison with other flashier devices such as catapults. Through an iterative design process using 3D modelling and simulation software, I was able to create a realistic model of a siege tower which I hope will be a valuable resource for historians studying the First Crusade.

Available for download on Monday, May 19, 2025

COinS