Chelonai (χελώνη; chelṓnē, ‘tortoise’) were for the most part movable, wooden protective devices used by besieging armies. In the form of χ. χωστρίδες (chelṓnai chōstrídes) they protected sappers as they i.a. levelled the ground by raising dykes; in the form of χ. ὀρυκτρίδες, oryktrídes (Lat. musculi) as they penetrated or undermined walls. ‘Ram tortoises’ protected battering rams. Used in Greece probably since the 5th cent., they were especially widely used during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
Cite this pageBurckhardt, Leonhard (Basle), “Chelone”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 21 May 2022 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e232250>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510
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