Dating to antiquity, siege towers were large, portable structures that aided soldiers in scaling defensive walls and shielded them as they did so. The massive towers were filled with soldiers and then wheeled up to the walls of a besieged fortress, whereupon gangplanks would be lowered to allow the invading force access. Archers and catapults were often positioned on top of the towers so that they could fire upon enemies during an assault. What protected the wooden towers from flaming arrows?
Back in the day
Construction on the Queen Mary ocean liner began in Scotland in 1930. In 1934, British King George V's consort, Queen Mary, christened the ship in her own name. Operated by the Cunard Line, the glamorous luxury ship carried passengers between New York and England for decades—except during World War II, when it was painted grey and converted to carry troops. In the 1960s, air travel rendered transatlantic passenger ships obsolete, and the Queen Mary was retired. Where is it now?
Born on a day like today
Eliot was an American-British poet and critic and an immensely distinguished literary figure who, from the 1920s on, was the most influential English-language modernist poet. His early poems, such as "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and "The Waste Land," express the anguish and barrenness of modern life and the isolation of the individual. In his later poetry, he turned from spiritual desolation to hope for human salvation. What book by Eliot is the basis for the musical Cats?