Ancient Impossible (2014) s01e01 Episode Script

Ultimate Weapons

How did the ancients create the ultimate weapons of mass destruction more than 2,000 years ago? Could the energy of the sun be used to torch invading ships? Did a cannon powered by steam crush an enemy fleet? Holy crap, look at that! And did the ancients build a warship so mighty it could rival today's most advanced aircraft carriers? The forty is a monstrous vessel, but it's truly an impossible feat of engineering.
Monuments more colossal than our own, ancient super weapons as mighty as today's, technology so precise it defies reinvention.
The ancient world was not primitive.
Their marvels were so advanced, we still use them.
Travel to a world closer than we imagine, an ancient age where nothing was impossible.
Ancient impossible ultimate weapons weapons and warfare, the backbone of world superpowers.
But when we think of ancient civilizations, we imagine simpler arsenals.
But is that really how it was? Was it possible that the ancients could harness the laws of science to create the ultimate super weapons? Today when you think of super weapons, you think of modern militaries armed with supersonic fighters and nukes.
But did you know that the ancients also had their very own super weapons? A series of brutal battles reveals the remarkable power of ancient technology.
More than 2,000 years ago, the city state of Syracuse on the island of sicily held out against Rome.
Sicily is a great prize for its natural resources, for its grain.
This doesn't escape the attention of Rome and its ever expanding empire.
General marcellus is sent to Syracuse with the mighty Roman Navy.
His mission is to capture the city.
Syracuse has a big problem.
It's now being attacked by a major superpower, and the romans arrive and lay siege to this important kingdom.
It's going to defend itself, it's going to use tactics and engineering.
The syracusians had a secret weapon.
His name was Archimedes.
Archimedes was a brilliant inventor and a mathematician.
He was born around 2,300 years ago on the island of sicily, slap bang in the middle of three continents of Europe, Asia and Africa.
Archimedes was feared throughout the ancient world as a mastermind of warfare.
We know that the romans were petrified of Archimedes' inventions.
We're told that the general and his soldiers fell to despair when they knew that his inventions were going to be employed.
And so we find that Archimedes is actually inventing weapons of mass destruction.
The first lethal invention in his arsenal was known simply as the Archimedes claw.
Sicilians did not have a huge amount of manpower, so Archimedes had to use his brain power to win out against the romans.
The Archimedes claw is a very simple but highly advanced weapon for its day.
With fulcrums and pulleys controlling large metal hooks, a group of men could grab and tip enemy ships, making them capsize.
But that's not all.
We're also told that it could then physically pull the ships out of the water, which must have been petrifying.
But the claw was just the first of Archimedes' many game changing ultimate weapons.
In Florence, Italy, on the wall of the uffizi gallery is an intriguing painting.
This 14th century depiction is a vital clue to what could be Archimedes' most sinister weapon A death ray.
The existence of this weapon and its viability have long been the subject of debate among scientists and historians.
Could Archimedes have created a lethal weapon using only the power of the sun? We do know that Archimedes used reflective technology, and in sicily there were lots of these highly polished bronze or copper shields, and Archimedes could possibly have harnessed the power of the sun reflecting those rays back out onto wooden ships.
The Archimedes death ray is essentially the first directional weapon.
You could harness the power of the sun, focus it into a tight beam like a laser, creating the death ray.
If the death ray could channel enough solar energy, it would set the enemy fleet on fire.
Ever since war at sea began, fire has been a devastating weapon.
It has destroyed even the most advanced modern warships.
It's a fear that former Navy pilot hunter Ellis knows well.
Fire is definitely one of the worst things you can have on board a ship, and history's proven that.
Even on these modern day aircraft carriers that are made of steel and titanium, I mean, we've experienced horrible fires in our past with the forrestal and the ranger.
Fire at sea is nothing any captain ever wants to deal with.
So imagine if Archimedes was able to harness the power of the sun and turn it into a death ray.
There are other examples of how the sun's rays were utilized in the ancient world.
One of these was at the harbor of Alexandria in Egypt, where a huge mirror in the pharos lighthouse guided ships into the harbor.
We know the ancients clearly understood the potential of reflective light.
But the question remains, could Archimedes harness enough solar power to pose a threat to enemy warships? Perhaps the answer lies hidden in the new Mexico desert.
One scientist believes that the Archimedes death ray is not the stuff of science fiction.
We're here at the national solar thermal test facility at sandia national laboratories in Albuquerque, new Mexico.
I'm a mechanical engineer here, and I do research on concentrating solar power.
What you see here is a field of heliostats.
Heliostats are mirrors that track the sun to concentrate and focus the sunlight onto a receiver to generate steam, which spins a turbine to create electricity.
If solar power can generate electricity, can it also be used as a lethal weapon? Dr.
Cliff Ho believes it is the shape of the shields acting as mirrors that holds the secret to whether this super weapon could have worked or not.
It may have been that Archimedes employed curved mirrors, not necessarily just flat, but maybe a little bit of curved mirror to give you a focusing effect.
Now even though these mirrors look flat, there is actually a little bit of a curvature to give you a focusing, more concentrating effect, and you can see on the back, the way we do that on our mirrors is we have a bolt here.
We can pull back on this center plate, and we have bolts on each of the four corners that's used to push in slightly to give you a little bit of a curvature.
So each of our mirrors on each of the different heliostats have a different focal length depending on how far they are from the intended target.
So the ones that are further away from the target have less curvature.
The heliostats that are closer in have more of a curvature.
Ho believes that the impact of the curved shields is a factor that has been previously overlooked and would have made the death ray a reality and more lethal than previously imagined.
So with regard to Archimedes, all the previous studies I've seen have actually only looked at flat mirrors, and as you can see, having focused mirrors can really do wonders for increasing the concentration on the target.
Having that curvature would have given Archimedes a bit of an advantage in terms of burning the ships.
Having a large number of smaller mirrors can also do the trick.
Ho also believes that Archimedes possessed the raw materials to get the job done.
I understand it could have been polished bronze or copper shields, and by using the reverse side of that shield, having that concave surface, would have given it a focusing effect.
Archimedes could have been using advanced optics 2,000 years ahead of our current modern time.
There is no doubt that Archimedes was far ahead of his time, but could he really have used 21st century technology to beat the mighty Roman Navy? In their effort to repel the invading Roman Navy, the ancient city state of Syracuse was totally overmatched.
But they did have one secret weapon Archimedes, one of the greatest human minds that has ever lived.
His ingenious ultimate weapons were thousands of years ahead of their time.
The Archimedes claw, an ingeniously simple weapon, had an enormous reach that instilled fear in Roman sailors.
But it was Archimedes' death ray that had even greater potential for reaping mass destruction by concentrating the deadly rays of the sun to torch Roman warships.
Archimedes' theory was if you polished a surface finely, like take one of your soldier's shields, Polish it finely and then capture the rays and focus it into a tight beam like a laser, creating the death ray.
But the lethality of the weapon has remained unproven until now.
At the sandia laboratories in Albuquerque, Dr.
Cliff Ho has a one of a kind test to see if Archimedes could have achieved this weapon of destruction.
So is it possible that Archimedes could have actually developed an ancient solar death ray? I've actually developed some equations and models to scientifically evaluate this.
What we're looking at here shows the reflections off of a single mirror about the same size and shape as a shield, and from that we can determine how many mirrors are required to achieve the required heat flux to ignite wood.
Ho has calculated that it would take 200 to 300 shields working together to set a wooden ship ablaze.
If we simulate a large array of these mirrors and you reflect the sunlight onto a target, it turns out that the concentrated heat flux on the target is sufficient to ignite wood.
I think it's possible that Archimedes could have developed this ancient death ray over 2,000 years ago.
With the right number of mirrors, the quality of mirrors and some steady hands, it's possible.
I think it would have been difficult to do, but it's plausible.
But Dr.
Ho has the power to take his tests to the next level.
This secure facility houses one of the most powerful solar rays on earth.
Known as the solar furnace, this high tech array uses exactly the same principle of reflective solar energy that Archimedes used more than 2,000 years ago.
We're here at the solar furnace where we do high temperature testing of various materials.
This large parabolic mirror here is nearly 400 square feet of reflective surface area.
When the sunlight is reflected towards this parabolic mirror, it then focuses that light onto an area that's only a few inches across.
So what we're going to attempt to do is to demonstrate the immense power, the concentration of sunlight that can be focused onto this brick.
This is a very high temperature material.
It melts at about 1,500 degrees c.
I think this is a good example of Archimedes' mirrors in terms of using a large array of mirrors and focusing down that sunlight into a much smaller area, so a very intense, highly concentrated beam of sunlight, which can create very, very high temperatures.
We're going to be bringing the furnace up to 100% in ten Nine Eight seven six five Four three two One going 100.
Every time the solar furnace is turned on, extreme caution needs to be applied because of the awesome power of the machine.
The solar blinds are slowly opened.
Within seconds the massed reflective light from the mirrors begins to melt the brick.
The effect is astounding as the beam reaches the intensity of the surface of the sun.
The solar furnace melts the fire brick, an amazing demonstration of the sun's deadly force.
So you can see with just that brief exposure to that very highly concentrated sunlight, you can just feel the heat radiating from the brick, and it's created this molten glass that's dripping down, and that means we've exceeded temperatures of over 2,700 degrees fahrenheit.
So compared to burning wood on a ship, the ignition point of wood is about 700, 800 degrees fahrenheit, so we're well over that auto ignition temperature of wood.
The test leaves little doubt that Archimedes had the knowledge and most likely the ability to create a solar death ray that could have brought the Roman Navy to a fiery end.
We think of super weapons as modern inventions, but in the ancient city of Syracuse, renowned inventor Archimedes was building an arsenal of ultimate weapons more than 2,000 years ago.
We've seen how he harnessed the sun into a lethal death ray, but there is evidence that he did much more than that.
It's believed that he invented the first gun in history, the steam cannon.
Archimedes is said to have fired projectiles at deadly speeds, thrashing enemy ships, using nothing but the power of water.
The mystery surrounding this weapon can finally be explained.
Only one ancient image of Archimedes' design survives.
It's actually Leonardo da vinci who credits Archimedes with the invention of the steam cannon.
This would have been an amazing bit of technology a huge copper tube sealed at one end that was heated up.
Steam would then be injected into the bottom, and it would eject out these projectiles around 2,600 feet.
James Dean uses the most advanced 21st century technology to shed light on this 2,000 year old mystery.
This simple tube is the basis of an impossibly sophisticated ancient super weapon.
This is steam power 2,000 years before the industrial revolution.
The heating chamber is cooked up to over 212 degrees fahrenheit or 100 degrees centigrade.
When a small amount of water is introduced, it rapidly turns to steam, and the pressure from these expanding gases fires the ball out at incredible speeds.
It's the same principle that fires muskets and cannons, even the ak47 or the m777 howitzer.
But would this design from 2,200 years ago have worked? To understand the impact this weapon could have had on the mighty Roman Navy, we must look at the devastation that cannonballs could inflict.
Experimental model maker Richard windley knows exactly why the Cannon produced such great fear.
If they were fired at ships with enough energy, they would probably pierce the hulls.
They would probably send splinters flying in all directions.
We know for example that in Nelson's time, far more men were killed through flying splinters than actually being hit by the cannonball themselves.
You imagine pieces of sharp wood maybe a foot long traveling at very, very high velocities, they just pierce a body absolutely with no problem whatsoever.
But could Archimedes' Cannon pack the punch needed for such destruction using only the power of steam? In Austin Texas we have challenged Steve wolf to reconstruct this ancient super weapon.
Steve will have to find a way to compress steam under enormous pressure, a dangerous task.
In his workshop, he uses available parts to see if he can re create the impossible and prove that Archimedes was thousands of years ahead of his time.
Once he has finished the weapon, he aims to test it with live fire.
Well the fundamental design that we used is essentially the same as we saw in the Archimedes drawings that Da Vinci had.
What we have is a vessel that's capable of holding a lot of pressure, and we add a little bit of water to it, and then we start a fire underneath it, and the fire heats the vessel, and that causes water molecules to leave the liquid and populate the rest of the tank and as the temperature increases, the pressure in here increases so we have pressure acting against the entire inside of the tank here.
But could Archimedes control the pressure of the compressed steam inside the cylinder and fire a cannonball at lethal velocity? Here's one method that's been suggested.
This piece of wood holds the ball in place, while the pressure is trying to push out, the wood exerts a counter force.
But what holds the wood in? More wood across here like this holds the wooden rod in, and it's tethered like this.
So this mechanism pushes the rod back down against the ball to allow sufficient pressure to develop.
Once the pressure is high enough, it snaps, the rod comes out, and the ball shoots away.
Mounted atop the city defenses, the steam cannon would have been a formidable weapon.
But we still have no proof that it could have fired.
Steve wolf is getting close to a working model.
I've been working on the steam cannon here.
Test the concept And the results were really great.
Here we go in three, two, one Wow.
With the preliminary testing complete, Steve is ready to go live.
Many people think that building a cannon that would fire off steam power is impossible.
I'm pretty sure it works.
Today's the big day we're gonna find out.
To put this cannon through its test we've got to fire a projectile that's really capable of causing damage.
I've got a 5 pound magnesium ball here.
It's about the size of a billiard ball, very heavy, very hard.
If this thing came at you, you better be running, and if you've got a ship, I don't think there's any ducking it.
Can Steve get enough heat into his steam Cannon to get the required temperature? I've got kindling here, I've got logs, I've got a little diesel on there just for safe measure.
We're gonna light this up.
If we get this metal over 212 degrees fahrenheit or 100 degrees celsius then any water that we put in here is gonna turn to steam which means that the heat coming through here is gonna excite that water.
The molecules are gonna move around so fast that they fly apart from each other, ceasing to be a liquid and becoming a gas.
So when we add heat to this liquid in a sealed vessel, we're creating a ton of pressure, and pressure's what it takes to fire cannonballs.
We're gonna see the pressure on this gauge climb.
When we're ready to fire this, we open this valve here just by yanking that this way.
So we're gonna create a tremendous amount of force going this way.
It's gonna push against the back of the cannonball.
We usually talk in terms of speed, but I prefer to think of it in terms of effectiveness.
Are we firing that ball fast enough to go through the hull of a ship that's attacking us, and that's really what matters.
Over 2,000 years ago at the siege of Syracuse, the mother of modern guns was born, but did it really work? We've seen evidence of the impressive arsenal that Archimedes built at the siege of Syracuse.
It's clear that he could have harnessed the power of the sun to create a lethal death ray.
But could his steam cannon have enough impact to obliterate a Roman warship? We're about to find out.
Only one ancient image of Archimedes' design survives.
It is amazing to think that Archimedes over 2,200 years ago was sitting in his home in sicily and dreaming up a super weapon.
In Austin, Texas, Steve wolf has been building a steam cannon to see if the technology could really have worked.
It's time to light this homemade super weapon up.
This is the first time he attempts to fire it.
We're gonna find out today whether Archimedes was right, whether the steam cannon could have fired, and I couldn't be more excited.
Archimedes' design is based on using water heated up to extreme temperatures over an open fire to create steam.
When the steam is released, it propels a cannonball.
Working with steam under this kind of pressure can be deadly.
We're gonna fire a 5 pound cannonball 150 feet using nothing but a couple of ounces of water.
Gonna open the valve And that's all it takes.
Steve has to heat the cylinder enough so that the steam climbs to a pressure of at least 150 psi.
Ok, pressure's climbing.
Here we go, baby.
We're ready to test this thing.
Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole! Holy crap, look at that! Awesome, check it out proof positive.
They said it couldn't be done.
They said it was impossible.
Archimedes, you were right and mwah! 200 feet, beautiful.
That blows me away.
Archimedes had it all right, and I think we just proved it.
It's incredible to think that Archimedes could have achieved such a low angle of trajectory.
And even more incredible is that the same technology powers the most formidable super weapon today, the nimitz class aircraft carrier.
Hunter Ellis, an ex fighter pilot, is on the USS Ronald Reagan looking for the legacy of Archimedes.
So Archimedes designed a steam cannon 2,000 years ago, but steam still plays a very important role in modern warfare.
This is the catapult two charging panel room.
This is what fires the aircraft off the ships.
Well, basically the steam catapult is the modern day steam Cannon, in a sense.
I have over 400 catapult shots and still, no words do it justice.
It is the most amazing feeling in the world.
You're taking a 45,000 plus pound aircraft.
You're launching it at 160 Miles per hour in under two seconds.
It is a modern day phenomenon.
This right here is essentially your projectile of the modern day steam cannon, the steam catapult.
As an aircraft comes up, it attaches itself with a launch bar into the front side of this shuttle right here.
It'll hook into the front, and then when the aircraft is ready to fly, that steam will released, driving the piston through the cylinder, carrying the shuttle that's attached to the launch bar, which is attached to the aircraft, and as it hits the end right here, the aircraft is released, and it goes flying.
This is the valve room for catapult one, which is the bow cat on a nimitz class carrier.
Below us, all the high pressure steam from the nuclear reactors is ported up into this valve right there where it's stored at about 450 psi.
You can hear the aircraft above us throttling up.
He's now getting into position on the catapult.
And right there is the magic that makes those airplanes go.
Archimedes beat us to the punch by 2,000 years.
It's clear that modern weapon systems are able to generate enormous power from steam But could Archimedes have created enough energy to fire a cannonball with lethal force? Leonardo gave a maximum range of 800 yards for the steam cannon.
That really does seem impossible.
But experiments at the Massachusetts institute of technology created a pressure of 3,000 to 4,000 psi, giving a muzzle velocity of around 800 feet per second.
This weapon would have been devastating at closer ranges.
Military historian Mike loades has come to see if Steve wolf's steam cannon can shoot a projectile with enough velocity to penetrate a boat's hull.
So what defines a super weapon? It's a weapon that has capabilities greater than any other weapons of its time.
And if this works, it's certainly that.
It sounds like an impossible idea, but that's what marks out the minds of men like Archimedes they make the impossible possible.
For the first time ever, Steve pushes the weapon dangerously close to a 175 psi.
Will it work, or will it explode? We're at 150, 175! Three! Two! One! The cannonball pierces the wooden hull with no problem, proving that the steam Cannon was indeed a super weapon well ahead of its time.
Archimedes was on to something, and so are we, huh? Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Wow, that was great fun, but it was also a very powerful demonstration of what a powerful thing this is.
It really is.
And the real power of this is there is nothing more powerful than an idea.
All of this progress simply based on water going from a liquid to a gas.
That idea.
Steve wolf has done the impossible and created a steam cannon based on Archimedes' design which is both lethal and accurate.
But even with the intimidating arsenal created by Archimedes, Syracuse eventually fell to the mighty romans, and Archimedes was slain.
But the influence of his designs is still felt today thousands of years later.
We now know that ancient civilizations created impossible super weapons way ahead of their time.
But there is one military super ship built by an Egyptian pharaoh 2,000 years ago, that historians believe could be the forerunner of the modern aircraft carrier.
Could the ancients have built this impossibly huge mega ship? Sources reveal this floating super weapon of the ancient seas could carry more than an aircraft carrier today.
How similar is this ancient goliath of the sea to its modern equivalent? I'm on board the USS Ronald Reagan.
It's one of the largest and most powerful super weapons of all time.
The nimitz class nuclear powered aircraft carrier, one of the most advanced super weapons ever to exist.
It is the top of the ladder of any military weapons system honestly, there is nothing more intimidating than an aircraft carrier.
It's a moving runway.
It's four and a half acres that you can take anywhere in the world and deploy thousands of warriors in a moment's notice.
That's going to strike fear in the heart of your enemy.
As a fighter pilot, hunter Ellis knows the capabilities of the modern aircraft carrier, and he can only imagine the impact a warship of this magnitude would have had thousands of years ago.
Now just imagine if you could take something the size of an aircraft carrier, with the lethality of an aircraft carrier and apply that in ancient times, the pure intimidation factor you would have with that would be phenomenal.
It was called the forty, probably because of the number of oarsmen at each rowing station.
This mega warship was built for the pharaoh ptolemy iv 2,200 years ago.
The forty was a massive ship for its day.
The forty was 420 feet long, 57 feet wide, 72 feet high and you think about trying to build a ship out of wood that size in that day, it's a technological marvel.
It's unbelievable that something like that existed.
The forty holds a number of records.
No ship ever had a greater troop capacity.
It is the largest catamaran ever built, and it is the largest human powered vessel ever known.
Derek muller is in Egypt, the home of the forty, to discover how important ships were in the ancient world wow.
Here at this temple in Southern Egypt you can see here there is a boat, and this boat belonged to ramses ii.
So you can see that boats were a very important part of Egyptian culture.
Over the centuries, boats just became more and more important until the ptolemaic times when they were building truly ginormous ships, the likes of which we've never seen again.
The forty would have been the largest wooden boat in history, right, truly an impossible feat of engineering and the greatest example of mega building in the ancient world.
The forty was built by pharaoh ptolemy iv over 2,000 years ago in Alexandria, while Egypt was under Greek rule.
It was at the pinnacle of an ancient arms race.
The forty's all about power.
It's about demonstrating ptolemy iv's extreme wealth, the wealth of Egypt, the threat of its armies and its Navy and also his military might.
But how could the Egyptians have powered a ship such as the forty, which weighed nearly 4,000 tons.
Today's nimitz class carriers have the benefit of nuclear power.
We have two giant reactors sitting below us here that are able to move this vessel that displaces 95,000 tons at speeds of over 30 Miles per hour.
But think about the ingenuity it took to create the rowing banks for 4,000 rowers, 50 oars a side to be able to move that giant 420 foot wooden ship from your coast to the enemy's coast.
There is much debate in historical records about how the staggering number of oarsmen on the forty could possibly have worked in sync.
One theory is the oars were different lengths at different angles allowing rowing without tiers.
If you ask me the nightmare's at the rowing end.
The longest 57 foot oar would be angled to avoid other oars like this, but how can up to eight men row at this angle? With the rower nearest the water sitting, the end rower would be standing with the oar well above his head.
It would have been impossible to reach it.
Perhaps the hull of the ship bowed slightly like this.
This would mean the oars don't need to be angled so steeply, that would overcome this seemingly impossible problem.
If it was possible for the forty to be fueled by such tremendous manpower, it would have been one of the most intimidating weapons of the ancient world.
But what was it like on board for the men to row such a huge vessel? Picture thousands of years ago this massive warship, the forty.
It's almost impossible to imagine what would be going through the mind of one of those rowers knowing that they were going to have to row constantly for ten hours straight each day for the next several days.
Squeezing 4,000 men into those tight conditions even for a ship that large must have been unfathomable, the physical labor, just the mental exhaustion that they would go through.
You have to picture these rowers as being some of the most battle hardened people imaginable.
Historians have generally thought that the forty was simply a vehicle for mass transport of troops.
But could new evidence prove that the forty was also an overwhelming offensive weapon? In the ancient world, dominance at sea was the mark of a superpower.
The greatest technology and design went into warships, the ultimate super weapons of the ancient world.
But what was the strategy behind these ancient super ships? New evidence indicates that the greatest warship of all, the forty, might have had even more weapon's capabilities than previously thought possible.
The forty is a monstrous vessel, a huge catamaran with two hulls and a massive deck across the top, 400 feet long and about 100 feet wide.
It is a wooden ship the likes of which we have never seen again.
In ancient times control of the sea was the hallmark of any great superpower.
Captain bolt, commander of the USS Ronald Reagan, knows the importance of naval domination.
The importance of a Navy to any nation is hard to measure, the fact that 70% of the earth is covered by water and then, in the modern world, 90% of trade goes by water and I imagine the numbers were very similar 2,000 years ago.
So you think about controlling we call them sea lines of communication, those are the trade routes.
The navies are what keep them open for who you want to have access and closing those lines of communication for those you don't want to have access.
So that's how important the Navy is to world history.
The forty was topped with a vast deck, even bigger than a football field.
It has always been thought that the space was intended for troop transport but it might have had a more sinister function.
Could the forty have carried deadly catapults in its arsenal? In the hellenistic period, they had invented torsion artillery which was able to hurl stone balls at great distance at oncoming ships.
So consequently, sea battles may well have started with an artillery barrage before eventually the ships come together and the marines take over with the fighting.
In addition to artillery, it is now believed that seven massive beams at the bow of the ship had the power to act as a giant battering ram with unprecedented force.
Many harbors were protected by chains, and if these rams were set at various heights, this would be a very good way of breaking through this harbor protection system.
The force of a vessel of this weight and this magnitude hitting the chain with a ram, it would just simply burst straight through it, and then the harbor would be unprotected.
This bronze beam, known as the athlit ram, found off the coast of Israel is an example of the destructive power of the giant rams mounted on the bow of the forty.
The forty had seven different rams of varying length, and they were used offensively against the enemy in their ports.
So imagine harnessing the power of 4,000 rowers in using those rams to drive right into the heart of your enemy.
A 4,000 ton ship armed with bronze rams and powered by 4,000 men could have reduced enemy ships to splinters in no time.
But could the seven rams on the forty even wreak havoc on shore? We know that rams were used in siege warfare on land, such as the helepolis in ancient Greece or the huge siege ram used at masada.
If the forty was used to take down fortified harbors or city walls, this is an impossible piece of ancient siege warfare never seen before.
If you could compare similarities between the forty and an aircraft carrier, they're both massive warships, massive troop carriers for their day, employing thousands of warriors.
And also, if you look at the forty with its seven rams, you could think of an aircraft carrier as having 60 plus rams.
The difference is these rams can be launched and reach out and touch ya.
The forty was the ultimate super weapon of the ancient world.
No other ship deployed such massive manpower or had such destructive capabilities, making it a legend of impossible engineering.
The world would never see a ship like the forty ever again, a true piece of impossible engineering.
There was no shortage of sophisticated weapons in the ancient world.
Archimedes built a deadly arsenal harnessing the natural powers of the sun and even water to hold off the Roman Navy.
And the Egyptians built a warship that even surpassed some capabilities of the modern aircraft carrier, proving that even for the ancients, nothing was impossible.