Talk:Battle of Xiangyang

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I just want to add that there could be a little tidying up of grammar on this page. In particualr, there are a lot of slippages from the past into the present tense, which read rather awkwardly.

Siege Weapons Overstated?[edit]

While the presence of siege weapons (bricola, huihuipao, etc.) played a notable role in the siege, they were perhaps not as decisive as it may seem.

Even before the actual siege took place, the Mongols were already busy encircling the city by surrounding it with forts, cutting off its supply lines from Sichuan and isolating the city from further contact with the outside world (just as they isolated the rest China by conquering Northern India, Vietnam and other South Asian states).

When the actual siege begin, the Mongols not only concentrated on the city walls, but also patrolled the rivers to ensure no Song relief would get through. Although the Song navy broke through the Mongol blockade numerous times, and successfully allowed some 100,000 men to aid Xiangyang, as well as the delivery of vital supplies, their efforts proved trivial. Soon, the Mongols were to bring a significant portion of their (Chinese) manpower to bear, defeating the the world's largest navy in the process, while capturing the city of Fancheng. Xiangyang stood alone. What Xiangyang needed then was not stronger walls against soaring rocks, as its inhabitants were starving from within. It needed soldiers, food and grain. Moreover, if at all possible, Xiangyang needed an army to break through the Mongol siege.

While the presence of trebuchets might have accelerated the defeat of Xiangyang, it was only a matter of time before Xiangyang itself collapsed, with or without the siege weapons.

- Tak

I would say the counterweight trebuchet played a similar role as the A-bomb in WW II. While the outcome of the war was already certain prior to Hiroshima and Nagsaki, the dropping of the A-bomb made further resistance most obviously futile and brought the war to an abrupt end. It goes without saying that the Mongols had first to enclose the city, before they could bring their trebs into effect, but the encirclement of the fortress was a not-out-the-ordinary tactic to be expected. But once the city was surrounded, it was clearly the unexpected fire power of the Muslim and Christian counterweight trebuchets which forced the Chinese commanders to capitulate quickly.
Note that the article is a stub. You are welcome to expand on the events in the run-up to the final assault. Please do so with footnotes to credible sources. Regards Gun Powder Ma 19:23, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Battle?[edit]

Wouldn't a better word be conflict. Unless the armies constatly fought each other for 6 years it wasn't a battle.

  • Conflict is not appropriate. It was a key point of an all-out war. Do you mean campaign? --user talk:hillgentleman 07:44, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Bricola problem[edit]

Rashid al-Din said talked about "counterweight trebuchets"(kumgha manjaniq), not Frankish trebuchets. This shows no indication that the trebuchets used is a bricola. In fact, in which battle WHERE the Bricolas used inside a trenchlike hole? -ImSoCool

Rashid al-Din talked about manjaniq firangi and Chevedden, who was the first to detect the connection, has command of Arabic.

QUOTE: Both Rashid al-Din (1247?–1318) and Chinese historian Zheng Sixiao (1206–83) provide details on the heavy artillery used at the sieges of Fancheng and Xiangyang (modern-day Xiangfan). Rashid al-Din identifies the most powerful pieces of artillery as "European" trebuchets (sing. manjaniq firangi), or bricolas (Jami‘ al-Tavarikh, 1:651; Successors of Genghis Khan, 290), and Zheng, who calls the machines "Muslim" trebuchets (hui-hui pao), indicates that, "in the case of the largest ones, the wooden framework stood above a hole in the ground" (quoted in Needham and Yates, Science and Civilisation in China, 5:6:221). Since the bricola was the only counterweight piece of artillery that had a framework capable of being mounted in a hole in the ground and was commonly set up in this fashion, there is little doubt that Zheng is referring here to the bricola.

SOURCE: Paul E. Chevedden, “Black Camels and Blazing Bolts: The Bolt-Projecting Trebuchet in the Mamluk Army,” Mamluk Studies Review Vol. 8/1, 2004, pp.227-277 (233) Gun Powder Ma 01:26, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Obviously Chevedden's command of Arabic is wrong, since when his "translation" of Kumgha manjaniq in Rashid al-Din's works is somehow twisted into the "Frankish trebuchet". In fact, Rashid's drawings of counterweight trebuchets clearly shows that they are not bricolas but trebuchets with a single counterweight(something that does not applay to the bricola). Neither do I see his sources on where the bricola was the only trebuchet that can be applied within a hole in the ground. That goes against common sense since any hole(as long as it's big enough) can support a trebuchet. These tactics are used continually beforehand such as trenches for siege crossbows and afterhand such as protective holes for cannons.User: ImSoCool 12:40, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Do you have a source on the perceived wrong translation of Chevedden? I myself have no command of Arabic, but Chevedden cites no less than three sources, one of them obviously being the original Persian text and one being an English translation: "On the Muslim engineers who brought the bricola to China and the role these machines played in forcing the surrenders of Fancheng in 1272 and Xiangyang in 1273, see Rashid al-Din Fad˝l Alla≠h T˛ab|b, Jami‘ al-Tavarikh, ed. Bahman Kar|m| (Tehran, 1338/1960), 1:651–52; idem, Jami‘ al-Tavarikh, trans. John Andrew Boyle, The Successors of Genghis Khan (New York, 1971), 290–91; Arthur C. Moule, Quinsai: With Other Notes on Marco Polo (Cambridge, 1957), 70–78"

SOURCE: Paul E. Chevedden, “Black Camels and Blazing Bolts: The Bolt-Projecting Trebuchet in the Mamluk Army,” Mamluk Studies Review Vol. 8/1, 2004, pp.227-277 (233) Gun Powder Ma 03:00, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Yet Chevedden never has quoted the parts of the sources he used, in which you have already quoted. The translation that it is a "European Trebuchet" and Zheng's records on how the trebuchets are within a hole in the ground. The rest of his information from his sources forcused on proving that these trebuchets are counterweight ones, which we both agree with. He quoted nothing more besides that. However, the only known remaining picture of a HuiHuiPao in Chinese text shows only one counterweight(Needleham 224) and that's a trebuchet with wheels, although it is shown needly folded for transportation, while Chevedden gave no sources on how the bricola is the only trebuchet viable to be inside a hole. The wheels matches with Rashid's drawings of trebuchets in Mongol sieges, which shows the existence of wheels besides the counterweight trebuchet. Needleham's translation came from the same source, Rashid al-Din's History of the World(Jami al-Tawarikh.as well as Ta-rikh-i Jah-an-Gusha translated by Mr. J. A. Boyle, who Needleham said he was "much indebted to"), although emphasized James Riddick Partington in his translation of the same work in "A History of Greek Fire and Gunpowder". All either said "kumgha manjaniq" or just plain "manjaniq", meaning counterweight trebuchets or mangonel in general, without mentioning to its specific types. Thus, even if bricolas were mentioned in Rashid's work, then we still have to explain why the HuiHui Pao has only one counterweight while the bricola has two, which is more than enough difference to put these two types of trebuchets into different categories.

I can only repeat what you already knew before, Anthrophobia:

  • There are no surviving contemporary drawings of a hui hui pao.
  • The hui hui pao (Muslim trebuchet) is probably to be viewed as a generic term, since the Chinese were unacquainted with quite a number of different trebuchets (hybrid treb, counterweight treb, hinged counterweight treb, bolt projecting counterweight treb, bricola), hence they were likely to call them ALL 'Muslim trebuchets' and not only this and that type. Therefore, the absence of a single type in one or a few drawings designated as 'hui hui pao' proves not much as such. Absence of evidence is in this particular context not evidence of absence.
  • Zheng talks about the LARGEST trebuchets being put up in a single hole, which can ONLY refer to the Bricola.

But to cut a long story short, why don't you post the exact quotes from Boyle? Gun Powder Ma 06:23, 31 October 2006 (UTC)


-Because the quote from Boyle is the exact quote from Chevedden(a short quote at that), it's the same one from yours. The only difference is that Chevedden, your source, added that it's a Frankish trebuchet instead of just "manjaniq".

  • Did you read my post anyway? I just posted the source of one existing drawing of a counterweight

trebuchet.Must I post them again?

  • Actually, the Chinese knew many different versions of the counterweight trebuchet, from the tower trebuchet to the Arresting catapult to the XiangYang trebuchet, which are all counterweight. There is also the added counterweight SiJiPao as well as the added counterweight HuDunPao and probably many others that I can't name off the top of my head. That is not to mention the different categories of traction trebuchets such as the SiJiPao(without improved counterweight), The whirlwind trebuchet, or the HundunPao(without improved counterweight), which is much more similar to each other than from a bricola to the depicted HuiHuiPao of Rashid's drawings. With these varieties of both counterweight trebuchets and traction trebuchets sorted into different categories by name, there is no reason why the Chinese would lump different versions of different trebuchets under just one category, when in reality they already have different names for different varieties of counterweight trebuchets.
  • You still say what you have said before, that due to that "the Largest trebuchets being put up in a single hole, which can ONLY refer to the Bricola". However, as I said before, I see Chevedden citing no examples nor sources on bricolas being used inside any type of trench. I have yet to see how Chevedden's claim is a feasiable statement. Any hole of reasonable size can store a working trebuchet. If the "largest" trebuchet can function within a hole, then the smaller ones can function within that hole as well. It's not as if the force of gravity changes once you go 3 meters deep.ImSoCool


I contacted Mr. Chevedden who was so kind to give a swift, and I believe, definite answer. Quote:
Thanks for the email and the inquiry on the artillery used at the siege of Xiangfan. I don't have Rashid al-Din's Persian text at the ready, but I do have
Rashiduddin Fazlullah’s Jamiʻuʾt-tawarikh = Compendium of Chronicles, English translation & annotation by W.M. Thackston, 3 vols.
([Cambridge, Mass.]: Harvard University, Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, 1998-99).
The text is pretty clear about the artillery:
"Before that there had not been any large Frankish catapult (i.e.,
trebuchet) in Cathay, but Talib, a catapult [trebuchet]-maker from this
land, had gone to Baalbek and Damascus, and his sons Abubakr, Ibrahim,
and Muhammad, and his employees made seven large catapults [i.e.,
trebuchets] and set out to conquer the city [Sayan Fu or Hsiang-yang fu
= modern Xiangfan]" (2: 450).
I infer that the seven large trebuchets are seven large Frankish
trebuchets, or bricolas, since Rashid al-Din has just mentioned these
machines as having been introduced to China by Talib & Sons. What is
called in Arabic or Persian a "Frankish" or "European" trebuchet is a
specific model of counterweight machine, know in the West as the
bricola.
The second point of contention seems to stem from a misunderstanding.
Have the individual who raised this question look at Taccola's
illustration of the bricola in his De ingeneis, fol. 41r (found in my
"Black Camels" article). The pole-frame of the machine is mounted in a
hole in the ground. It is not mounted on a base or stand.
I am happy to know that my work is discussed widely on the internet. I
hope this will answer your questions and I am glad to be of help.
--> That proves beyond reasonable doubt that the bricola was used in the take of Xiangfan, and that Zheng Sixiao statement about the largest catapults actually refered to the European bricola. The hui hui pao was the bricola, or one of the hui hui pao catapults, the largest, was the bricola. Regards Gun Powder Ma 12:09, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Actually "this individual", me, has seen the bricola manuscript that Chevedden mentioned, and it is definitely not placed within a hole in the ground. The closest thing is that the frame may be staked into a ground, much like how one stakes a spear into the ground. However, trench warfare has been existent ever since the Warring States, in which siegers would protect both themselves and their machines. Trenches are definitely a "hole" in the ground. This is not to mention what I stated earlier, "the Chinese knew many different versions of the counterweight trebuchet, from the tower trebuchet to the Arresting catapult to the XiangYang trebuchet, which are all counterweight. There is also the added counterweight SiJiPao as well as the added counterweight HuDunPao and probably many others that I can't name off the top of my head. That is not to mention the different categories of traction trebuchets such as the SiJiPao(without improved counterweight), The whirlwind trebuchet, or the HundunPao(without improved counterweight), which is much more similar to each other than from a bricola to the depicted HuiHuiPao of Rashid's drawings. With these varieties of both counterweight trebuchets and traction trebuchets sorted into different categories by name, there is no reason why the Chinese would lump different versions of different trebuchets under just one category, when in reality they already have different names for different varieties of counterweight trebuchets." The HuiHui Pao is not only shown to have wheels(and a completely different framework), but the bricola in De ingenis does not. And if the bricola was indeed at the siege, then why didn't the Chinese adapt double counterweights to their own trebuchets? The only drawings and descriptions of Chinese counterweights include only single counterweights.

And why did you change Paul Chevedden to "recent research" and the like? It's lucky enough that I didn't delete 90% of the entire thing, nor did I post any counterarguments, considering the main points on the siege of Xiangyang and what happened is now actually a minority information in light of the 90% of the passage talking about how the counterweight trebuchets used is a bricola. Whether this is wrong or not, most historians presently take that the HuiHui Pao is of Muslim design, and Paul Chevedden's view is of minority view. Thus, it is unacceptable and irresponsible to make the page seem as if every historian agrees on this, but more, to make this page be mostly about how bricolas were used instead of the entire process of the siege. Only a tidbit of this information should be added(instead of several paragraphs), else it is Eurocentric. They may agree later down the road, but currently the passage should only mention that this bricola at the siege of Xiangyang theory is only held by Mr. Paul Chevedden and a few others so far.User: ImSoCool

Imagine there is a reputable Musim historian writing that catapults of a specific, unique design were used at a specific siege in China, where they were previously unknown, and consider further that a Chinese historian makes out the very same specifics at the same siege. What makes it so difficult to grasp that line of thinking? What makes it so difficult to understand that Zheng can reasonably only meant that the trebuchet was set up in that specific way above a hole, and that he did not refer to any "trench warfare", mining operations, gorges, craters, or whatever beneath the machine? Context, holy Konfuzius, context. It is as if you deliberately do not want to understand.
By the way, Liang and another poster, who made a thorough research, have already gone on the record saying that they do not know of any reliably contemporary depictions of a hui hui pao. And you still gave no source that cw trebuchets were known and used in China before the Mongol invasion. I changed the wording from 'Chevedden' to 'recent research', because Mr. Chevedden has provided in the meantime his primary source which is unambigous in the matter beyond reasonable doubt.
Two points:
  • “most historians presently take that the HuiHui Pao is of Muslim design”
Most astronomists also took that the sun evolves around the earth at the time Kopernicus published his work. These numerical odds only lie in the nature of new research...How many of them have made use of the Muslim sources? The trick are obviously the Muslim sources, which provide the crucial link between the bricola and hui hui pao. Ten historians, writing 30 years ago, and repeating the same view from an exclusive use of Chinese sources and at best a very limited of Persian ones are obviously of little help here. But include your material before “new research”, so that it is obvious that Chevedden’s findings represent the latest state of affairs. Or even better, give statements which adress explicitly Chevedden’s bricola challenge, if you have any.
  • "Only a tidbit of this information should be added(instead of several paragraphs), else it is Eurocentric.
Now this is ridiculous. As an ongoing project, Wikipedia is about expanding and adding information all the time. The article is now certainly unbalanced in terms of treated matter, but this poses no problem, since the section is a STUB anyway. When the whole article is complete one day, the catapult subject will be only one point of quite a few. Don’t cut present paragraphs, add new ones, Mr. Destructivus. Regards Gun Powder Ma Gun Powder Ma 21:03, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
Because Zheng said that the trebuchet is in a hole, not staked to the ground, as is displayed in Chevedden's picture. What's so difficult to understand about that? I have said this before. Please don't make me say it again, it's as if you're deliberately ignoring the facts and trying not to understand. Thus, the only evidence is the mention of Frankish trebuchets, yet this is far from reliable evidence that would rewrite history, since Rashid first of all did not directly say they brought it to China, and second of all the mention of Frankish trebuchets may only be a indirect reference on larger counterweight trebuchets from traction trebuchets, considering Frankish trebuchets are considered one of the bigger counterweight trebuchets available. The fact that Rashid said that the trebuchets are placed within a hole in the ground is far from the fact of how bricolas are placed, which is being staked into the ground. There is a massive difference. Yes, Rashid did not mention trenches(unless if it means holes in the ground), but Rashid also rarely mentioned any tactical moves in the siege of Xiangyang besides the holes in the ground. On the other hand Mohists have already provided information on common trench warfare in China from as far back as the Warring States(Needleham). I fail to see your point. As I said, these are already mentioned before. If you want to challenge my points, then don't reiterate your old sentences that are already countered by me. I do not like repeating. Give me some new challenge here, if you have any.
I did NOT say counterweight trebuchets were used before the Mongolian invasion, but as I said, there is a variety of counterweight trebuchets that evolved after the Mongol invasion. But since you mentioned it, Needleham did hint at that the Jin commanders invented a trebuchet during the Mongol campagin that did indeed used counterweights. I don't even know why you brought this up.
And so far you have provided no proof of saying that there is no reliable paintings of the HuiHuiPao except some names in which you did not provide where they came from. I have already given sources that there is at least one reliable painting in existence of a packed HuiHuiPao. But that's not it. Chevedden's opinion, true or not, is merely a theory as of now. Since most contemporary historians think that the HuiHui Pao was of Muslim design, you have 0 right to make it as if Chevedden is right and everyone is wrong. The only right you have is to introduce Chevedden's theory in a special tidbit, and provide most of your backup sources in the discussion page. That is the work of a reliable Wikipedia member. A nonreliable wikipedia is when members introduce new theories and completely wipe out the old ones when there is no historic consensus as of yet, not to mention to provide enough information on his opinion that its litter is enough to change the topic from siege of Xiangyang to the introduction of Counterweight Trebuchets. It doesn't matter how firmly YOU believe in Chevedden's theory. If enough historians don't, then you should only say that the theory is possible, not definite. If you disagree, and if I were low enough to think that way, then it would be a pleasure for me to wipe out your information each day I go on wikipedia, as can be seen by how I oppose this particular theory. Better yet, I could copy your idea and put all of my evidences into the article itself, further littering it with information that deviates it from its supposed topic. Thus, I strongly advice you to put Chevedden's specific evidence into the discussion page, and Chevedden's point into the article.
I have as far addressed all of your points, yet you addressed only half of mine(more like none, since all of your points were repeated twice to thrice by now, what's the point of that?), all of which has to do with the relation that no Chinese counterweight trebuchets evolved into a trebuchet with two counterweights like the bricola(which means that the bricola was either insignificant or not there) after the siege of Xiangyang or that the known painting of the HuiHuiPao as shown by Needleham has a different frame than the bricola, in which the HuiHui pao was shown to have its pole directly attached to the bottom frame. The Bricola comes in two seperate pieces.

User: ImSoCool

Again: Please provide
  • Pics of the hui hui pao with a credible source saying it is a reliably contemporary depiction. Also, I would like to see evidence that this and only this catapult was designated a "hui hui pao".
  • Sources which include the research in Muslim sources and adress specifically Chevedden's new findings.
The only point where you actually said something of substance was the alleged introduction of the cw trebuchet before the Mongols. I argue that Needham himself has no coherent position. He most certainly leaves such an impression:
Joseph Needham and Robin Yates present a variety of views on the invention of the counterweight trebuchet in Science and Civilisation in China. Although they contend that engineers from Arab countries introduced the machine to China, they nevertheless maintain that “the invention [of the counterweight trebuchet] was quite probably made in several places about the same time.” They propose that “one inventor may have been Chhinang Sheˆn, the Chin commander who defended Lo-Yang against the Mongols in � 1232.” Needham and Yates also assert that the appearance of the word trebuchet in three German chronicles simultaneously in 1212 “marks the entry of the counterweight trebuchet.” They further argue that the counterweight trebuchet was “an Arab modification,” “an Arab invention,” was derived “from Arab practice,” or was “developed in West Asia.”
SOURCE: Paul E. Chevedden, “The Invention of the Counterweight Trebuchet: A Study in Cultural Diffusion,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers, No. 54 (2000), pp.103
--> The Chinese were most probably unacquainted with cw trebuchets which makes it likely that they designated the whole range of cw trebuchets as hui hui pao, rather than a single, specific type, which makes the pic about the hui hui pao nonrepresentational, if it is a pic true to the original at all, which it is not. Regards Gun Powder Ma 01:23, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Gun Powder Ma, I have already told you that the HuiHuiPao is in volume 7 of Needleham's work. I do not have the right tools to provide the pic, as you must have guessed, but you can also find the similar picture in LiangJieMing's website on Chinese siege warfare here.

http://authors.history-forum.com/liang_jieming/chinesesiegewarfare/

I have so far provided numerous accounts of substance, more than I can count. How wasn't it of any substance? If you're not running out of arguments, don't use cheap tactics that don't prove anything. Do you want me to reiterate my accounts of substance? Once again, you say that "the Chinese were most probably unacquainted with cw trebuchets which makes it likely that they designated the whole range of cw trebuchets as hui hui pao, rather than a single, specific type". However, I have already provided info that the Chinese have already seperated the various types of counterweight trebuchets into different categories. I have stated it before, and I will reiterate it below.
-"""Actually, the Chinese knew many different versions of the counterweight trebuchet, from the tower trebuchet to the Arresting catapult to the XiangYang trebuchet, which are all counterweight. There is also the added counterweight SiJiPao as well as the added counterweight HuDunPao and probably many others that I can't name off the top of my head. That is not to mention the different categories of traction trebuchets such as the SiJiPao(without improved counterweight), The whirlwind trebuchet, or the HundunPao(without improved counterweight), which is much more similar to each other than from a bricola to the depicted HuiHuiPao of Rashid's drawings. With these varieties of both counterweight trebuchets and traction trebuchets sorted into different categories by name, there is no reason why the Chinese would lump different versions of different trebuchets under just one category, when in reality they already have different names for different varieties of counterweight trebuchets.""" <-----Unless you deny that the Chinese do not have different types of counterweight trebuchets, which I have just dissaproved, this is more than enough reason to say that the HuiHui pao is just one type of trebuchet. I on the other hand would like to see how you would prove that the HuiHuiPao is multiple types of different counterweight trebuchets. It is easier to prove how something is than how something isn't anyway.
And why should you even assume the HuiHuiPao is depicted wrongly when Rashid's wrtings aren't contemporary in itself? Rashid was a kid when the Siege of Xiangyang took place, and Rashid only worked for the Yuan throne 20 yrs after the siege of Xiangyang, and more than 30 yrs when it comes to the start of writing his Successors of Genghis Khan. He never even saw a the trebuchets used at Xiangyang, and I would say it's likely he wasn't even in present modern Chinese borders during that particular time.
You argue that Needleham has no "position" to say that counterweight trebuchets were introduced before the Mongol invasion? Of course, but he has position to say that counterweight trebuchets were introduced during the Mongol invasion, but before the siege of Xiangyang, and he did in fact say this. This is from the fact that Chinese records mention of how a Liao commander created a type of trebuchet that can improve its range in accordance to the amount of "weight" he added to this trebuchet. Needleham merely mentioned it as a POSSIBILITY(not to mention that he argued that the first cw was invented in China seperately after cw's were invented in the Mediterranean, and then the Chinese cw went extinct and the western cw was introduced, if you read his book) , which is an attitude that I would like you to take, seeing that since Science and Civilisation in Ancient China is Needleham's book, a place where Needleham has the right to write whatever he wants. Wikipedia is everybody's, so you and I do not have that luxury.ImSoCool 10:19, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
  • The Chinese did not know the cw trebuchet before the siege, they rather acquired the knowledge during the siege: "...despite the Song dynasty's rapid absorption of the new catapult ideas, it was a case of too little, too late. The Songy dynasty crumbled not long after, a mere 6 years after the first introduction of the new terror weapons of hinged counterweight catapults into the battlefield at the siege of the twin cities of Xiangyang and Fancheng." (Liang Jieming, "Chinese Siege Warfare. Mechanical Artillery & Siege Weapons of Antiquity," Singapore 2006, p. 31)
  • Specifically, the Chinese did not use the Hudun Pao as a cw trebuchet prior to the Mongol assault: "The original Hudun Pao was first developed as a traction catapult but the introduction of counterweight trebuchets by the Mongols into China in the late 13th century soon saw the adaptation of existing Song catapults to also use counterweights to counter the Mongol terror weapons from the Middle East. Starting from the A.D. 1273 siege of Xiangyang to the fall of the Song, the Hudun Pao saw major modifications to its design, the addition of a counterweight bucket to its throw arm, to increase the power and range of the catapult." (Liang Jieming, p. 40)
  • The same can be said about the Si Ji Pao which was also modified with a counterweight after the Mongols introduced the hui hui pao to China (cf. Liang Jieming, p.44-47)
-->That means the Chinese did not know before any of the various counterweight types which makes it by common sense reasonable to assume that they did not assign a name to a single type, but to all trebuchets working with the counterweight principle. Otherwise, they would have given the catapults rather technical names, and not an unspecific, general expression like 'Muslim trebuchet'.
  • There also no reliably contemporary Chinese depictions of the hui hui pao: "...Illustrations from Chinese sources are extremely rare. To date, only one confirmed illustration of the Chinese hinged counterweight catapult has been found. This illustration shows the catapult with its throwing arm disassembled, its counterweight locked with supporting braces, and prepared for transport and not inbattle deployment. This illustration has led to quite a bit of confusion and mislabeling." (Liang Jieming, p.50)

Thanksfully, we have now the new research by Chevedden which clarifies considerably the matter as far as the largest hui hui pao is concerned. To meet your concerns, and although I do not follow you, I edited the article nonetheless from an 'research shows' to an 'it indicates'. I hope this is sufficient for your qualms. Otherwise the is always the possibility to consult the Wikipedia arbiter. Regards Gun Powder Ma 12:16, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

I don't know why you gave quotes that I have already mentioned. You say that the Chinese did not use the "cw prior to the Mongol assault". All but one(the last one is debatable) of the Chinese cw's which I have listed came by the Chinese inventing their own types of counterweight trebuchets AFTER the HuiHuiPao was introduced. On the second hand, you post things from LiangJieMing's book on how there are no "reliable contemporary" pictures of the HuiHuiPao to date. However, as I have mentioned before, neither is Rashid's literature contemprorary. Looks like I'll quote myself, once again.
-"And why should you even assume the HuiHuiPao is depicted wrongly when Rashid's wrtings aren't contemporary in itself? Rashid was a kid when the Siege of Xiangyang took place, and Rashid only worked for the Yuan throne 20 yrs after the siege of Xiangyang, and more than 30 yrs when it comes to the start of writing his Successors of Genghis Khan. He never even saw a the trebuchets used at Xiangyang, and I would say it's likely he wasn't even in present modern Chinese borders during that particular time."
Btw, I don't know where Mr. Liang got that from, but the throwing arm of the HuiHui Pao is clearly shown to be attached to the overall frame of the trebuchet. It's counterweight is locked, true, but considering that the throwing arm is a single pole that is not shaped like that of a "y" shape similar to the bricola's pole, that in itself is enough. The frame itself is shaped in such a way that it is certainly used for a trebuchet of a single counterweight, considering a bricola would not have that empty space in the middle of the framework.
And again, changing "research shows" into "it indicates" means pratically the same thing and does nothing. What Wikipedia needs is to only say the POSSIBILITY that the bricola was used. Else I might as well post that the Ming dynasty traveled to the Americas based on the book 1421. Either right or no, both Chevedden and 1421 are merely minority opinions. Only in majority opinion do you have the right(and a maybe at that) to edit wikipedia to that given opinion as if that and only that theory can be the right one. ImSoCool
Hey guys, I hate to get in the middle of a heated argument, but I just wanted to add what I think is an impartial opinion. First of all, Needham's only source for his comment that the counterweight trebuchet may have existed in China in 1232 is the Chin Hsih, a book written around 1345 (according to Needham), 113 years after the supposed event. The author there records that a certain Chhiang Shen used a device called the "Arresting Trebuchet" [O Phao], "which was used to prevent [the enemy] from overrunning [ his positions]. Only a few men were needed to work it, yet great stones could be hurled more than 100 paces, and there was no target which it did not hit right in the middle." (Needham v.5, part 6, page 218). It is based on the range (he claims the Chinese "pace" was 1.65 yards!) and the "great stones" (whatever that means) that Needham tentatively conjectures that "One inventor may have been Chhiang Shen." His remark that the invention was "quite probably made in several places about the same time," is in the context of the larger question of why the otherwise remarkable Chinese engineers did not grasp the obvious principle of storing gravitational energy, especially when a non-military device, a "counterweight bailing bucket," had existed in China for millennia. Thus his conjecture is an attempt to explain the complete absence (or if we go with his conjecture, lack of diffusion) of the obviously great innovation. We cannot conclude from this that Chinese engineers had counterweight engines before the battle of Xianyang.
The discussion at http://authors.history-forum.com/liang_jieming/chinesesiegewarfare/ of the philosophy of Chinese strategy is interesting, but I don't buy at all that Chinese engineers "didn't believe in using brute force." Chinese artillery was the most advanced in the world, probably until the invention of the counterweight trebuchet. There was no philosophical principle stopping them from developing heavy artillery, or from using it.
Also, I'm not sure I understand ImSoCool's objection to the opinion that the Islamic engineers at Xianyang introduced a European design, the bricola, at that battle. Are you saying it was really a single counterweight? If, as you claim, Chevedden's analysis of the engine as a bricola is the minority opinion, surely you can produce some recent sources who claim the engine was a single counterweight device. And if you do, what difference does it make? What kind of device are you actually claiming it was? Are you seriously saying that they stationed the trebuchet in a trench? That would be the stupidest place in the world to put a trebuchet, because it would dramatically reduce the range of the engine. There is no reason at all to doubt that the hole described by Rashid al-Din was a hole for mounting the engine.
Based on your style of rhetoric, ImSoCool, I think you would appreciate the "rotary ballista", invented by the engineer Ma Chun in 240 AD. it's pictured on page 200 of Needham's v.5, part 6, mentioned above. It uses a great flywheel to dispatch several missiles in rapid succession. Chinese engineers produced many excellent siege engines. Unfortunately for them, the counterweight trebuchet was not one of them. Ocanter 23:09, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't understand what you are trying to get at Ocanter. On the idea of the existence of pre-Xiangyang counterweight trebuchets, I have already stated that this was an opinion from Needleham, who himself also labeled it as an opinion. I have stated that the trench is the possibility, since it fits nicely into the definition of a "hole"(notice that cannons and other long ranged weapons were used inside trenches, for the decrease in range is not enough to matter, but the defensive bonuses do), whereas a pole staked into the ground does not. Do any of us call the poles of our national flag as "inside a hole" or "staked into the ground?" Obviously the latter. A trench may not be the only defintion and possibility about the counterweight trebuchet at Xiangyang, but a stake doesn't even fit the definition. But whether the bricola was really used in this battle does not matter, for as an encycopedia we are here to give the official view of things, and miniority opinions as a sidenote. To do otherwise breaks the neutrality rule of wikipedia. A scientist, upon discovering something new, do not pompously erase every scientific rule that disagrees with his at the start. He must tell his findings to a panel of judges and it is they, as well as many others, who decides which findings are right. But at present, majority opinion wins. You asked me for authors that agree with the majority stance of the counterweight trebuchet, and I will do so. Authors such as Stephen Turnball, Wayne Reynolds, and Christopher Peers stand on this ground, with their opinions shown in books such as the Osprey series(although I myself do not like Osprey, it is undeniably the most famous and common types of military history books out there). As I said repeatedly, if one erases wikipedia's information, as seen here, and puts in new ones as the "right" one based on a minority opinion that is newly made, then that has just as much right as me going to the Ming dynasty section and putting in things about how Zheng He discovered the Americas before Columbus due to the book 1421, the day China discovered the world. Right or no, both are minority opinions, and one should only leave these as a sidenote. On the day it becomes a majority opinion, you may add it, and on the day it is so old that no one agrees with it anymore, you may erase it.User:ImSoCool
Cannons can be fired from trenches because the size of the weapon is negligible compared to its range. You can sink a cannon completely into a trench, protecting its crew, without reducing its range very much at all. To completely hide a trebuchet, you would have to dig a "trench" 50 feet deep (and 50 feet wide, to accomodate the base), and if you put the machine in there, you would reduce the range by more than 50 feet (the artillery men generally tried for a 45-degree firing angle). It was much easier to build a little wooden wall to protect the crew from arrows. But leaving common sense aside for a moment, why do you believe anybody did put it in a trench? Do you have some evidence that anybody actually did this? Your comment about the flag is a non sequitor. You're saying that because one would describe a flagpole as "staked in the ground," instead of "mounted in a hole," the historians should also have described a giant trebuchet post, if there had been one, as being "staked in the ground"? That simply doesn't follow. "Staked in the ground," implies to me that it was driven into the ground without digging a hole first, which obviously would not work for the bricola post. Also, full citations to scholarly sources would be great, if you are going to argue a position on what kind of engine it was. It doesn't sound like you have a position on it.
Personally, I'm not convinced of all of Chevedden's arguments, including this one. I agree we should probably word it less confidently. Also, the "however" is a little misleading. So is "western Eurasia." Obviously Germany is in "western Eurasia," which is where HRE Frederick II was from. Why then the "however"? In fact it's not clear that "western Eurasia" (as opposed to North Africa, Byzantium, the Levant, etc.) was the birthplace of the invention. The fact is that we don't know where it came from, except that, according to the Chinese historians, it didn't come from China (woops, make that "eastern Eurasia"). Let me take a crack at that paragraph, and please let me know what you think. Ocanter 19:35, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Ocanter, read back, all the citations were already mentioned. Paul Chevedden based the idea of the bricola within a hole from a 15th century picture of a bricola in De ingenius. I checked on it previously before, and I know that the picture shows the pole being staked to the ground. If you don't believe me, look for yourself. I don't understand why you label it as non sequiter. Before you do that, why don't you find more info on the bricola? Yes, they probably digged a small hole to fit the pole, but the pole itself would have covered the hole entirely, meaning the hole is staked, and most of the trebuchet shown in the picture is outside the hole. As for the 50 feet, this is negligible considering that counterweight trebs can go as much as 300 yards or more while the Song traction trebs of this time can only go 200 yards. 50 feet won't change much when you want to outrange your opponents. The only problem with the theory is the size of the hole needed. I don't even know why I'm arguing this with you, considering there are way more theories than just this. Others may include the idea that the Mongols digged a hole because of uneven ground otherwise, etc... It's not a definite answer ImSoCool 9:45, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Every opinion starts necessarily as a minority opinion. Kopernikus, Newton, Einstein, every theory. Regards Gun Powder Ma 01:41, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
And as such, it is the duty of the mass encycopedia to treat it as a minority opinion, not an opinion of the masses. As such, a minority opinion should be merely a sidenote to mass opinion until opinions of the top scholars start changing. This is the basic rule on the making of a mass encycopedia, something built for everybody. As I said, it is a minority opinion that Zheng He traveled to China, it is a minority opinion that the Mayans had alien technology, and it is a minority opinion that I am the smartest person alive. Why don't I install all these minority opinions into Wikipedia and erase everything that disagrees with it? ImSoCool 12:05, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
Are you more interested in mass opinion or in correct opinions? And, anyway, who defines what a mass opinion is and what not? The reason why Chevedden is included is because he gives a sound argument based on credible sources. The reason why Menzies's theory is not worth the toilet paper is, because he does not. Regards Gun Powder Ma 14:11, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
That is YOUR own opinion. Due to the fact that we argued more than a couple of pages on Paul Chevedden's "sound opinion", it is more than obvious that Chevedden's "sound opinion" is an opinion as well, whether true or no, that opinion can be challenged, just like Menzie's. Like it or not, this is the rule of wikipedia. Now, because you changed everything back to your reversion last time, I do not want wikipedia to be a place of reversion war. But if you keep wiping away information that is of the mass and replace it with information that is not of the typical trend instead of just adding more onto it, then by the rule of wikipedia you can be banned. Wikipedia is not a place to replace the given fact with minority opinions. It is a place where all opinions are shown, but the typical trend remains inthe spotlight. Now I don't want to be harsh or threatening, but the rule's the rule. Like it or leave it ImSoCool 9:31, 7 Decdember 2006 (UTC)

And your opinion that my opinion is my opinion is YOUR opinion. And your opinion that Chevedden presents a minority opinion is also YOUR opinion. Can we agree that without further hard facts and evidence the discussion remains only valuable from an epistemological point of view? Gun Powder Ma 16:40, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Is this statement an attempt to better wikipedia or merely an attempt to bypass my statement with a shrug? I have provided numerous sources to prove that Chevedden holds a minority opinion, be that opinion true or no. That is a hard fact. For humanity's sake, an "epistemological point of view" has nothing to do with wikipedia, or even this discussion! I repeat, unless you bring more substantiation on the idea that Chevedden's opinion(or any other opinion) is NOT a majority opinion but still modifies and alterates Wikipedia due to your individual opinions or outlying individual opinions, then you are at risk on being banned. That is also a hard fact. ImSoCool

Dear Gun Powder Ma, I am familiar with Chevedden's work on trebuchets, and as convenient as it would be to place complete confidence in his conclusions, I have to say that he goes out on a limb pretty often, and this is one of those times. The notion that the word "bricola" always refers to a double-counterweight engine is based on the single illustration C. produced in his article (his articles always have nice pictures) and his etymology of the word bricola from bi + coleus, which, I'm sorry to say, is far from established and completely unattested in literature. Besides, it doesn't even explain the orthography of the word. For example, how did the r get there? Bi > bri is not found in any other Italian word. Far more likely seem the etymologies given by generations of Italian dictionaries, which sometimes relate the word to burrus (cf onager) > burrica > burricula > bricola, but at any rate, have nothing to do with anyone's testicles. Incidentally, I am not arguing against European invention of the engine, or even of counterweight engines in general--in my opinion, C. could very well be right when he argues that Alexios invented them. All I'm saying is that C.'s reconstruction of the engine based on the evidence he's produced is far from certain. Ocanter 02:34, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
The etymology of bricola can be considered established since
  • The relevant contemporary Latin source actually speaks of "bricolis" dispatched to the Levant in 1242 (Paul E. Chevedden, “Black Camels and Blazing Bolts: The Bolt-Projecting Trebuchet in the Mamluk Army,” Mamluk Studies Review Vol. 8/1, 2004, pp.233).
  • Taccola himself captions his depiction of the bricola as "brichola" as can be seen from the pic in Paul E. Chevedden, “Black Camels and Blazing Bolts: The Bolt-Projecting Trebuchet in the Mamluk Army,” Mamluk Studies Review Vol. 8/1, 2004, pp.271

In addition:

  • The word "bricola" and derivatives is not only common in Italian, but also in various other languages Romanic languages plus Greek, so a look at the Italian dictionaries cannot give us a full picture, unless of course the word comes from Italian, but which has to be proven first.
  • As a hobby linguist who also passed oral exams in Latin I can also assure you that the insertion of the "r" is nothing unusual.

Regards Gun Powder Ma 02:42, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Dear Gun Powder Ma, I fail to see how that passage establishes Chevedden's etymology of the word bricola. All it says is, "Et cum inimici mari et terra cum machinis, prederiis, bricolis, scalis et aliis hedifficiis eorum infortunio ad locum Levanti pervenissent." It doesn't say exactly how the bricolae were designed, let alone mention any testicles. It's clear from the sources that the word refers, in its most general sense, to a siege engine. The only thing connecting it to the double-counterweight engine, however, is that silly picture and Chevedden's speculative etymology. That the artist wrote the word brichola over the picture does not prove that the word bricola always refers to that kind of engine, because it is not clear whether the artist meant to say, "This is the brichola," or "This is a brichola," that is, "This is a siege engine." The sources in Italian do not clearly refer to a double-counterweight engine. They apparently refer to a siege engine, but it is not clear whether they have one counterweight or two, or seventy-eight, or none. Do you have any French, Greek, or Italian sources that clearly use that word to describe a double counterweight engine? The thing is, C. is so enamored of his clever etymology that whenever he sees bricola in a book, he envisions his two swinging testicles. He's even managed to convince himself that every Muslim source that mentions the manjanik firanji is also referring to the testicles. But without the etymology, there's no connection.
If bi- > bri- is nothing unusual, surely you can tell me at least one other word in which it occurs. And since you managed to pass Latin I, I'm sure you know what the title of Taccola's book, Liber Tertius de ingeneis ac edifitiis non usitatis, means. If the engines and structures were "not of the usual kind," I fail to see how they could have been the standard Frankish siege engine for 200 years prior to that.

Actually, I wrote the WP article on Taccola. ;-) While Taccola presents many unusual designs, most scholars are usually agreed that he was no inventor himself, but took his inspiration from mechanical devices already around. Do you have by chance Chevedden's article like 'King James I's Artillery'? There he seems to treat the etymology of bricola more detailed. Regards & Merry X-mas Gun Powder Ma 16:40, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

I can't help but notice that ImSoCool was vigorously arguing that there is no mention of "Frankish/European" catapult anywhere in the sources, and then when he saw the direct quote from Rashid al-Din, a Muslim, saying that they used Frankish catapults, ImSoCool went very quiet on that issue in particular, and starting arguing about holes in the ground, and other vague and indecypherable nonsense. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.173.101.236 (talk) 04:37, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

al Rashid[edit]

Please stop trying to relativize Al Rashids account. If the presence of the author is such paramount to his credibility, pleae show that Chinese authors who cover the siege

  • were also present (with independent sources proving that. Why taking own accounts more at face value than Al Rashid's)
  • visited also the Muslim lands to be sufficiently able to make qualified judgments about Muslims

Btw most accounts date from a (much) later time, and were not written by contemporary eye-witness. Stop now your little nonsense. Gun Powder Ma 14:07, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

The fact that you labeled al Rashid as an "contemporary source" is already nonsense, because that implies he is at the battle. Sorry, but that won't do. I have already labeled all of my sources in this section, if you want to see it then just read through it again. User: ImSoCool:ImSoCool
Your command of English is certainly as creative as your signature...Gun Powder Ma 17:13, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
If that is a sincere complement(as hard as it is to believe), then thank you, I take great pride on my superior sophistication over everybody else on the planet. If that is a resort to sarcasm, then watch it! You'll have to sleep sometime, all peaceful and quiet, and then... BOOM! Hehhehheh. I have already given reasons, and was even willing to place your minority view as a possibility. Pushing your view completely, having it steamroll through the majority view(against the RULE of Wikipedia) doesn't really help this relationship. ImSoCool


Achu or Aju not Ashu[edit]

I changed the name of General such as Ashu, and added Arikhgiya, probably Uighur warrior. --Enerelt (talk) 05:26, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Guo kan did not provide new weapon, but Ilkhan did. --Enerelt (talk) 05:28, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

As far as I know, Liu Zheng was the vice-commander.--207.112.5.153 (talk) 01:31, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I remember him. Thanks --Enerelt (talk) 04:14, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Name of the article[edit]

This event appears to qualify as a siege, and is referred to as the Siege of Xiangyang in many of the article's own sources. Is there any particular reason why it's called the "Battle of Xiangyang"? —General534 (talk) 22:46, 11 November 2017 (UTC)