(כִּר, kar, a lamb, Eze 4:2; Eze 21:22; and so Josephus, κριός, War, 3:7, 19, where the instrument is described; but Sept. in the above passages distinctively βελόστασις; Targ. and Kimchi, מֵחַי קָבַלוֹ), a military engine for forcing a breach in walls (comp. 1 Maccabees 13:43), of very high antiquity, being in use by the Babylonians (Ezekiel 1. c.), and apparently still earlier by the Israelites in the siege of Abel-Beth-Maachah (2Sa 20:15); it may have been one of the "engines" of war employed by Uzziah, king of Judah (2Ch 26:15). This machine was a long beam of strong wood, usually oak. One end was made of iron, shaped like a ram's head, and when driven repeatedly and with great force against the wall of a city or fortification, either pierced it or battered it down (see Diod. Sic. 12:28; Pliny, 7:57, p. 416, ed. Hard.; Vitruv. 10:19 , 2). There were three kinds of battering-rams:
(1.) One that was held in suspension, like a scale-beam, by means of cables or chains in a frame of strong timber. This must have been easy to work and of great power, as a very heavy body suspended in the air requires no great strength to move it with much force.
(2.) In another kind of ram, the mighty instrument acted upon rollers, and its power appears to have been very great, although it must have been worked with more labor than the preceding.
(3.) There was another ram, which was not suspended or mounted on rollers, but borne and worked by manual strength.
The machine was generally covered by a movable shed or roof, which protected the men by whom it was worked. It has been calculated, that the momentum of a battering-ram 28 inches in diameter, 180 feet long., with a head of a ton and a half, weighing 41,112 pounds, and worked by a thousand men, would only be equal to a point-blank shot from a thirty-six pounder. The ram was used by Nebuchadnezzar. against Jerusalem, and also by Titus, with terrible force, in the final destruction of that city (Ezekiel and Josephus, ut sup.). It was a favorite method of attack by the Romans (see Smith's Dict. of Class. Antiq. s.v. Aries), and no less so with the Babylonians (Layard's Nineveh, 2:274). SEE ENGINE; SEE WAR; SEE SIEGE.