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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

Posts: 279

PostPosted: Thu 21 Dec, 2017 5:22 pm    Post subject: Medieval Canon's Nomenclature         Reply with quote

Since I downloaded a famous manuscript about Kaiser Maximilian I's artillery train I became interested in the subject of how cannon-types were differentiated from each other, but I'm having some problems with some cannons called Serpentines, Basilisks, and Culverins.

Basilisks were known for having large barrels being breech-loaded. But can we consider shorter canons like this as basilisks?


A short reasearch on google doesn't clarify either, since the culverins are basically identical to the basilisks:



Other images: https://www.google.com.br/search?rlz=1C1AVNE_enBR678BR678&biw=1440&bih=794&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=V108Wr2pJcmowATE9obgAw&q=Serpentine+canon&oq=Serpentine+canon&gs_l=psy-ab.3...2231.3615.0.3924.5.5.0.0.0.0.193.735.0j5.5.0....0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.3.489...0i19k1.0.hdjQQOIsJvg#imgrc=6bRlVcex1yeddM:

My other questions is related to naval use of gunpowder between 14th to early 16th centuries: according to Ian Heath, quoting a series of franco-castillian raids in english coast, the Castillians were the first people to make use of gunpowder to throw rocks and iron balls at their ships. The Portuguese improved iberian and european tecnology to make the best offensive navy in the Great Discoveries, often using naval artillery to support the army fighting on land. However, some relevant updatings made at the School of Sagres were done by adopting other european tecnologies, like the flemmish invention of those rectangular "windows" in the lower levels of the ships (made somewhere by mid-15th century), which allowed the cannons to fire from bellow, thus stabilizing the ship's balance, which otherwise couldn't had to much artillery on the deck for that sake. This and a mention of the use of canonry in an early 16th Venetian-ottoman naval battle makes me wonder how popular was artillery in naval warfare. Do you know anything of these?

“Burn old wood, read old books, drink old wines, have old friends.”
Alfonso X, King of Castile (1221-84)
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Iagoba Ferreira





Joined: 15 Sep 2008

Posts: 156

PostPosted: Thu 21 Dec, 2017 10:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The terminology in period Spanish is rich and very confusing.

For ship artillery, check naval requirements, there are several from the XVth-XVIth centuries, I'll try to share them.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

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PostPosted: Sat 03 Mar, 2018 10:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Try buying a copy of John Guilmartin's "Gunpowder and Galleys." He's rather weak on land warfare but his work on Renaissance naval warfare pretty much sets the standard in the field.
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

Posts: 279

PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec, 2018 4:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Try buying a copy of John Guilmartin's "Gunpowder and Galleys." He's rather weak on land warfare but his work on Renaissance naval warfare pretty much sets the standard in the field.


Is it an illustrated work? I believe it would be harder to understand the models without pictures (believe me, I bought a book about portuguese swords and arms without a single picture).

-------------
By the way, I found the Inventories of Henry VIII and discovered plenty of different cannons listed Link, for example:

culverins and demi-culverins, sakers; falcons; port pieces; fowlers; bases; small bases; single bases; batard-saker; falconets; iron/brass slings ; hagbuts a croke; 40 hagbuts (I belive this were arquebuses) etc

There is an online page or book that treats about these canons or perhaps a book explaining the items of Henry's inventory?

“Burn old wood, read old books, drink old wines, have old friends.”
Alfonso X, King of Castile (1221-84)
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Michael Zimmermann





Joined: 19 Dec 2018

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec, 2018 7:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recently read 'The Artillery of the Dukes of Burgundy 1363-1477' by Smith & DeVries. which contains both an analysis of documentary sources on gunpowder weapons, as well as an illustrated catalogue of surviving guns from that period & region.

As far as I recall, the authors attempt to make sense of the somewhat fluid, imprecise terminology used in the sources as well as comment on some ancillary issues (naval usage, transport & infrastructure improvements to facilitate artillery movement among them).

Hope this is of use.

- Michael
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Henry O.





Joined: 18 Jun 2016

Posts: 172

PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec, 2018 4:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know of some late 16th-17th century english lists of cannon types. but going back even earlier I don't think the terminology was ever completely consistant and it could vary from period to period and place to place.

Here's the one William Bourne gives: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A16508.0001.001/1:5.20?rgn=div2;view=fulltext;q1=Artillery+--++Early+works+to+1800

As a brief note, the elizabethan term for "breach-loader" was usually "chambered piece" and I think it's a description independent of the gun's actual classification. So for example a falconet might be a chambered piece or it might not be. From the same author: "Now, as concerning chambred peeces, for the dispar∣ting of them, there can be no perfecte writing, for it must be considered and handled, according vnto the forme of the Chamber, and fashion of the hall of the peece, whe∣ther it be Sling, Foller, Portepeece, or Baces: but any reasonable man, (when hee doth see the peece and the Chamber) may easily know what he must doe, as touching those matters."

Here's a section originally written by Niccolao Tartaglia in the 1530s or 40s, but translated into english by Cyprian Lucar in 1588: https://imgur.com/a/Gd64UQt

From Lucar's Appendix which added to the same book, chapter 37 lists different names for artillery and complains about careless gunfounders not keeping things consistent:


Lastly this one I find interesting. It's from John Cruso's 1639 translation of Du Praissac's "The art of war" which goes into detail about each sort of gun and even mentions the estimated "point blank" of each piece, which shows how some of the heavier guns are outperformed in a straight line by smaller caliber, higher velocity guns: https://imgur.com/a/KTwIekW
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Henry O.





Joined: 18 Jun 2016

Posts: 172

PostPosted: Wed 19 Dec, 2018 6:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.staugustinelighthouse.org/LAMP/Con...Bronze.pdf

This article breaks different types of artillery into 4 basic types based on caliber, or ratio of length to diameter which seems to make sense.

Culverin: ~32 caliber

Cannon: ~18 caliber

Perrier: ~8 caliber

Mortar: ~2.5 caliber


The author puts port-pieces, slings, and fowlers in the perrier category, relatively short-barreled weapons meant to fire at short range, likely with either stone or hailshot. (It's probably worth noting that since stone balls are lighter, they could typically be accelerated to a higher velocity and achieve a greater point-blank range than iron shot fired out of the same cannon)

This seems to make a lot of sense when looking the ammunition listed for ships the antony rolls, with the exception that the slings or demi slings are listed as using iron shot instead of stone like the perriers:

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Anthony_Roll

Shotte of yron
For cannons - c
For demy cannons - lx
For culveryns - cxx
For demy culveryns - lxx
For sakers - cxx
For fawcons - c
For slynges - c
For demy slynges - l
Crosse barre shotte - c
Dyce of yron for hayle shotte - iiij^ml

Shotte of stoen and leade
For cannon perer - lx
For porte pecys - ccc
For fowlers - c
For toppe peces - xl
For baessys, shotte of leade - ij^ml
For handgonnes, shotte of leade - ij^ml


The "baessys" are listed having lead shot like the handguns, so it might refer to something like a heavy arquebus mounted on a swivel.
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Michael Zimmermann





Joined: 19 Dec 2018

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Thu 20 Dec, 2018 2:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also, and apologies for forgetting about this work, since it is also very close to the time period & geographic area you're interested in, there is Depreter: De Gavre à Nancy (1453-1477): L’artillerie bourguignonne sur la voie de la « modernité ».

Haven't read it yet, but should be useful, especially the part about the provenance of the ducal artillery park.

It's published by Brepols, so pretty pricey, but there's a table of contents available here:

https://www.brepolsonline.net/doi/pdf/10.5555/M.BURG-EB.4.00041

- Michael
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