"The making of catapults, known as 'belopoietics' (poietike meaning 'making of'; belos meaning 'projectile or projectile-throwing device') required an ingenious combination of geometry, physics, and technology.
The fearsome machines terrorized battlefields and sieges until the proliferation of gunpowder. Their power was impressive and terrifying. Roman catapults could hurl 60-pound (27-kilogram) boulders some 500 feet (150 meters). Archimedes' machines were said to have been able to throw stones three times as heavy.
The origins of the catapult are unknown. They appear in the historical record as early as a 9th-century B.C. relief from Nimrud in modern-day Iraq. "