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Patriots Live

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Tales From the City

An ancient sort of accent

What do Boston and medieval siege machines have in common?

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I teach science and engineering in a small private elementary school at the foot of Beacon Hill. One day in fifth-grade engineering class, we were contemplating what next to build. As the students were very interested in medieval siege machines, I was listing types that they might enjoy building: “OK, there are catapults, trebuchets, ballistas. Does anyone know what a ballista is?” Charlotte’s hand shot up. I called on her, and she answered, eyes bright: “Yes! A ballista is what you get on your foot when you walk too much in Boston!”

Tooey Rogers / Concord

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