an ancient military engine for throwing stones or other missiles.
Historical Examples

ballistae are constructed on varying principles to produce an identical result.
Ten Books on Architecture Vitruvius

In this way the blows of ballistae and the force of fires will be repelled by them.
Ten Books on Architecture Vitruvius

It is said that from the ballistae stones weighing one hundred pounds could be sent half a mile.
Selections from Viri Romae Charles Franois L’Homond

But Belisarius placed upon the towers engines which they call “ballistae.”
Procopius Procopius

They are usually classed as (a) catapults and (b) ballistae (λιθοβόλοι).
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 5, Slice 5 Various

I have now given those symmetrical proportions of ballistae and catapults which I thought most useful.
Ten Books on Architecture Vitruvius

Their ballistae threw stones, weighing a hundred weight, a distance of a quarter of a mile.
For the Temple G. A. Henty

noun (pl) -tae (-tiː)
an ancient catapult for hurling stones, etc
an ancient form of large crossbow used to propel a spear

ancient war engine, late 14c., from Latin ballista, literally “a throwing machine,” from Greek ballein “to throw” (see ballistics).


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