Evidence for Greek and Roman artillery comes from the surviving technical treatises, incidental historical and subliterary references, and, most importantly, finds of both machine-fittings and projectiles. The latter at present date from the 2nd cent. bce to the 4th cent. ce.In 399 bce artificers of *Dionysius (1) I apparently invented the first artillery piece (Diod. Sic. 14. 42. 1). The gastraphetēs shot arrows only, and somewhat resembled an early medieval crossbow. Propulsion force was supplied by a composite bow, which, being too powerful for a man to draw by hand, was bent by means of a slide and stock. Later gastraphetai, some of which were stone-throwers, used a winch and had a stand. Torsion catapults appeared around 340 bce, possibly invented by *Philip (1) II's engineers. Stock, winch, and base remained much the same, but two springs, bundles of rope made from animal sinew and held at high tension in a metal-plated wooden frame, now provided propulsive power. Torsion machines improved continuously in efficiency through the Roman period. From c.
Gaius Plinius Secundus, prominent Roman equestrian, from Novum *Comum in Gallia Cisalpina (see gaul (cisalpine)), commander of the fleet at *Misenum, and uncle of *Pliny (2) the Younger, best known as the author of the 37-book Naturalis Historia, an encyclopaedia of all contemporary knowledge—animal, vegetable, and mineral—but with much that is human included too: natura, hoc est vita, narratur (‘Nature, which is to say Life, is my subject’, pref. 13).Characteristic of his age and background in his range of interests and diverse career, Pliny obtained an equestrian command through the patronage of Q. Pomponius Secundus (consul 41), and served in Germany, alongside the future emperor *Titus. Active in legal practice in the reign of *Nero, he was then promoted by the favour of the Flavians (and probably the patronage of *Licinius Mucianus, whose works he also often quotes) through a series of high procuratorships (including that of Hispania *Tarraconensis), in which he won a reputation for integrity.
Trogus Pompeius, a Romanized Vocontian from Gallia Narbonensis (see gaul (transalpine)), author of zoological, and perhaps botanical works, now lost, and the Philippic Histories (Historiae Philippicae), usually dated to the reign of *Augustus and known only through the *epitome of *Justin and the tables of contents (prologi). Beginning with the ancient Near East and Greece (bks. 1–6), he covered Macedon (bks. 7–12) and the Hellenistic kingdoms to their fall before Rome (bks. 13–40); books 41–2 contained Parthian history to 20 bce, books 43–4 the regal period of Rome, and Gallic and Spanish history to Augustus' Spanish wars. His sources continue to be debated. Although heavy or even exclusive reliance on *Timagenes of Alexandria is now thought unlikely, he may have used extensively the Histories of *Posidonius (2), perhaps through an intermediary source.