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Medieval weapon consisting of a heavy timber with a metal knob or point at the front. Rams were used to beat down the gates or walls of a besieged city or castle. Usually suspended by ropes from the roof of a movable shed, the timber was swung back and forth by its operators so that it banged against the structure under siege. The shed's roof was covered with animal skins to protect the operators inside it from bombardment with stones or fiery materials.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on battering ram, visit Britannica.com.