Embrasures - History

History

The etymology of embrasure expresses "widening".

The invention of the arrowslit is attributed to Archimedes during the siege of Syracuse in 214–212 BC.

From Polybius (c. 200 - 118 BC) Universal History: " had had the walls pierced with large numbers of loopholes at the height of a man, which were about a palm's breadth wide at the outer surface of the walls. Behind each of these and inside the walls were stationed archers with rows of so-called 'scorpions', a small catapult which discharged iron darts, and by shooting through these embrasures they put many of the marines out of action."

However the invention was later forgotten until reintroduced in the 12th century. See Arrowslit.

By the 19th century, a distinction was made between embrasures being used for cannon, and loopholes being used for musketry. In both cases, the opening was normally made wider on the inside of the wall than the outside. The outside was made as narrow as possible (slightly wider than the muzzle of the weapon intended to use it) so as to afford the most difficult possible shot to attackers firing back, but the inside had to be wider in order to enable the weapon to be swiveled around so as to aim over a reasonably large arc.

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