Ever since they were invented, catapults have been a deadly war weapon. The catapult was invented by Dionysius of Syracuse around 400 B.C. In Greek, the word catapult means "to throw into". When he designed the catapult, Dionysius wanted to create an effective war weapon. The first catapult designed worked like a crossbow. To be able to make the catapult more powerful, it was made larger and stronger and set on a tripod. See the animation below to see how it works. Derived from Dionysius' original invention, two types of catapults were made: the double-armed ballista for shooting arrows, and the single-armed catapult designed for hurling stones. Later on, these catapults were replaced by catapults that used a winch system. The catapult changed how war was fought and influenced future war weapons.