from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an ancient Greek siege engine consisting of a wheeled tower containing machines for throwing stones and spears


From Ancient Greek ἑλέπολις ("taker of cities"). (Wiktionary)


  • After this hasty and tumultuous assault, as the vast preparations of sheds and mounds which were carried on were attended with much difficulty, through the hindrances offered by the garrison, Julian ordered an engine called helepolis to be constructed with all speed; which, as we have already mentioned, King Demetrius used, and earned the title of Poliorcetes by the number of cities which he took.

    The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus During the Reigns of the Emperors Constantius, Julian, Jovianus, Valentinian, and Valens

  • Spendius wanted to reconstruct the helepolis; Matho had traced an imaginary line from his tent to Megara, and inwardly swore to follow it, and none of their men stirred.


  • The loud noise and great light had attracted the Barbarians to the foot of the walls; they clung to the wreck of the helepolis to have a better view, and gazed open-mouthed in horror.


  • The great machine, as though convulsively upheaved, advanced perhaps ten paces; but the ground softened more and more, the mire reached to the axles, and the helepolis stopped, leaning over frightfully to one side.


  • All the tollenos were mounted again, and in the centre, a little further back, appeared the formidable helepolis of


  • In the centre stood the helepolis covered with armour; and from time to time huge fragments broke off from it, like stones from a crumbling pyramid.


  • It was the great helepolis surrounded by a crowd of soldiers.


  • But when the helepolis was thirty paces off, he commanded planks to be placed over the streets between the houses from the cisterns to the rampart; and a file of people passed from hand to hand helmets and amphoras, which were emptied continually.


  • The soldiers who were standing on the doors slipped into the abyss, or else held on to the extremities of the long beams, and by their weight increased the inclination of the helepolis, which was going to pieces with creakings in all its joints.


  • My men are building a helepolis -- a siege tower on wheels, which will stop your shafts and shelter fifty men behind it At dawn we'll push it up to the tower and swarm in.

    Conan the Wanderer


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