|Unit type||Light siege engine|
|Line of sight||?|
|Available to|| |
An Oxybeles is a siege machine that packs a punch against infantry, as well as lighter fortifications, especially early-era Watchtowers. While not as destructive against buildings and fortifications as a Roman ballista or a Greek lithobolos, the oxybeles nevertheless has a range and rate of fire that makes it more than just a match for all but the finest archers: it surpasses them. Infantry will know all too well its sinister reputation when a oxybeles battery begins firing javelins into their ranks.
However, like all siege weapons the oxybeles is exceedingly slow and must be deployed in an area before it can begin firing away, and so it is vulnerable to close-up melee attacks, although it must be noted that it has a lower minimum range compared to catapult-type machines and compared to conventional units could well be costlier and harder to build. Still, if you are facing rudimentary defences or vast numbers of melee infantry, a few well-placed and well-defended Oxybeletai can make a difference between life and death. If you are able to keep troops in reserve at the back, and heavy infantry (ranged units like the Scutanann especially) entrenched before your oxybeletai, you have a very powerful mobile strong point that can be used to support your troops, unless heavier weapons such as ballistae are brought to bear against you. The Oxybeles is also very useful in marine warfare, especially against the micro-light war boat class. If you find yourself playing maps like Mare Nostrum or Nile Delta , it always pays to construct two Oxybeletai and to deploy them in a spot where a Watchtower is being built to deter attacks from the sea by units such as the pesky Xorixeulom or the deadly Dhow .
The Scorpion was a large crossbow-like weapon that was said to have been first created by the Greeks (and possibly introduced independently in China during the Warring States Period) and could be used to fire projectiles that outshot most light missile weapons such as crossbows or slings. The benefit of this weapon was that it could be used to devastate enemy formations well out of bowshot, and could be used to damage light fortifications as well. In the Classical West the names "Oxybeles" and "Scorpio" were used to refer to this weapon, the former Greek meaning "bolt shooter" (because of its primary ammunition) and the latter was used by Latin speakers in reference to its T-shaped appearance, with the torsion frame and its arms resembling the claws of a scorpion.
Although it was a fairly effective weapon, it was difficult to construct and equally costly to maintain owing to the need to keep the torsion of its cables intact over long-term use, and so it was eventually replaced by the cheaper and more effective Springald.