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An engineer was, in period, the term for a practical scientist and artificer, someone who could design and construct (few engineers would trust someone else to build their designs, as opposed to stealing them) mechanical contrivances.

The earliest engineers were probably the designers of the pyramids, and the machines which helped build them; the major development came in Roman times, when the creation of aqueducts also enabled the systematic use of water power, for mills, workshops, factories and so forth.

Engineers also designed and built the war engines of the classical and medieval eras -- catapults, ballista, trebuchets and the like. In the Ottoman Empire they also developed the first cannon-type weapons.

Engineers in the SCA

In Lochac (and elsewhere?) the term engineer is sometimes used for the light fighters operating siege weapons.