1. WITH regard to scorpiones, catapults, and ballistae, likewise with regard to tortoises and towers, I have set forth, as seemed to me especially appropriate, both by whom they were invented and in what manner they should be constructed. But I have not considered it as necessary to describe ladders, cranes, and other things, the principles of which are simpler, for the soldiers usually construct these by themselves, nor can these very machines be useful in all places nor in the same way, since fortifications differ from each other, and so also the bravery of nations. For siege works against bold and venturesome men should be constructed on one plan, on another against cautious men, and on still another against the cowardly.
2. And so, if any one pays attention to these directions, and by selection adapts their various principles to a single structure, he will not be in need of further aids, but will be able, without hesitation, to design such machines as the circumstances or the situations demand. With regard to works of defence, it is not necessary to write, since the enemy do not construct their defences in conformity with our books, but their contrivances are frequently foiled, on the spur of the moment, by some shrewd, hastily conceived plan, without the aid of machines, as is said to have been the experience of the Rhodians.
3. For Diognetus was a Rhodian architect, to whom, as an honour, was granted out of the public treasury a fixed annual payment commensurate with the dignity of his art. At this time an architect from Aradus, Callias by name, coming to Rhodes, gave a public lecture, and showed a model of a wall, over which he set a machine on a revolving crane with which he seized an helepolis
4. Meanwhile, king Demetrius, who because of his stubborn courage was called Poliorcetes, making war on Rhodes, brought with him a famous Athenian architect named Epimachus. He constructed at enormous expense, with the utmost care and exertion, an helepolis one hundred and thirty-five feet high and sixty feet broad. He strengthened it with hair and rawhide so that it could withstand the blow of a stone weighing three hundred and sixty pounds shot from a ballista; the machine itself weighed three hundred and sixty thousand pounds. When Callias was asked by the Rhodians to construct a machine to resist this helepolis, and to bring it within the wall as he had promised, he said that it was impossible.
5. For not all things are practicable on identical principles, but there are some things which, when enlarged in imitation of small models, are effective, others cannot have models, but are constructed independently of them, while there are some which appear feasible in models, but when they have begun to increase in size are impracticable, as we can observe in the following instance. A half inch, inch, or inch and a half hole is bored with an auger, but if we should wish, in the same manner, to bore a hole a quarter of a foot in breadth, it is impracticable, while one of half a foot or more seems not even conceivable.
6. So too, in some models it is seen how they appear practicable on the smallest scale and likewise on a larger. And so the Rhodians, in the same manner, deceived by the same reasoning, inflicted injury and insult on Diognetus. Therefore, when they saw the enemy stubbornly hostile, slavery threatening them because of the machine which had been built to take the city, and that they must look forward to the destruction of their state, they fell at the feet of Diognetus, begging him to come to the aid of the fatherland. He at first refused.
7. But after free-born maidens and young men came with the priests to implore him, he promised to do it on condition that if he took the machine it should be his property. When these terms had been agreed upon, he pierced the wall in the place where the machine was going to approach it, and ordered all to bring forth from both public and private sources all the water, excrement, and filth, and to pour it in front of the wall through pipes projecting through this opening. After a great amount of water, filth, and excrement had been poured out during the night, on the next day the helepolis moving up, before it could reach the wall, came to a stop in the swamp made by the moisture, and could not be moved forwards, nor later even backwards. And so Demetrius, when he saw that he had been baffled by the wisdom of Diognetus, withdrew with his fleet.