Friday, April 07, 2006

An Accident of War

To cut down on the cruft in results when searching I often add '-amazon' and '-ebay'. I was looking for something totally different to the above images today and omitted the modifying search terms. I took a chance on an ebay link and found myself on a page with a large set of high resolution images. The seller advises that they are woodcut illustrations but I'm about 99% sure they are engravings - plate marks can be seen around some of them.

It turns out that this 1596 book, Poliorceticon sive De Machinis Tormentis Telis Quinque by Dutch philologian and humanist Justus Lipsius, while not quite an accident, was a sideline product from study undertaken for an intended lengthy treatise on Roman antiquities.

Poliorcetica are Byzantine works on the art of seige warfare and it's probable that the illustrative work of Roman warcraft here is derivative. As Lipsius's talents lay anywhere but on the battlefield, the accuracy of the written content might also be questionable. Still, I thought they were interesting images and I just may have to make myself a slingshot on the weekend.

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