Monday, November 26, 2012

Early Explosives

Grenades, projectiles, fireworks and offensive weaponry
illustrations from a 16th century German manuscript

rocket bird + turbo cat or rocket-cat

Feuer Buech 68r

Feuer Buech 91v

Feuer Buech 122v

Feuer Buech 133v

Feuer Buech 148r

Feuer Buech 178v

Feuer Buech 114v

Feuer Buech 116r

Feuer Buech 194v

Feuer Buech 169r

Feuer Buech 96r

Feuer Buech 121v

Feuer Buech 168r

Feuer Buech 55v

Feuer Buech 162r

Feuer Buech 116v

Beyond the novel inclusion of our rocket bird and turbo cat - up top - this 1584 treatise on explosive devices appears to illustrate weaponry seen in earlier manuscripts and offers no new technologies for the Renaissance commando types.

The sketches show various types of barrel bombs, hand grenades, nasty fragmentation/shrapnel explosives, cannons, throwing stars caltrops (anti-personnel ground spikes), unsophisticated spear and staff-mounted 'rockets' or bombs, catherine or pin wheel fireworks and your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine fire vessels and defensive emplacement stakes. Good to know that our modern evil ways build on the twisted imaginations of artistic forebears.


Rolly Formawan said...

Wow, Amazing.

Eric S. Smith said...

I love everything about the slightly startled guy on page 55v. The right hand, the pursed lips...

peacay said...

..not to forget the fashionable tissue carrying pockets in the sleeves!

Anthony L . said...

I thing the first picture actually depicts animal borne bombs to bring down a castle. the caption says "ein schloss mit meiner[?] katzen[?] anzüge zündten"- something about using a cat to attack a castle?

rjmwindsor said...

I'm not sure if those are throwing stars. I think they may be caltrops.

peacay said...

Added above, thanks J-M W.

tyler709 said...

it's really amazing to see the amount of time and effort that went in to making books during this time compared to how simple and mechanized the process is now.

Ian said...

I'm pretty sure that's Streaky, Supergirl's cat.

det teoretiske mennesket said...

I think you're right Anthony L.

I read it as "Ein Schlosse mit E[?]iner Katzen an zue zündten."

That translates roughly to: "To ignite a castle with a cat"

Christina said...

Fun fact, one of the myths that may or may not be true about Ghengis Khan is that when laying siege to a city, he told the city that all he wanted was a "tribute of cats and birds" and once the animals were sent out he did just this- lighting them on fire and releasing them to run right back into the city.

Anonymous said...

@det teoretiske mennesket
I'm pretty sure it says "Ein Schloß mit Ainer Katzen an zür zündten", which would probably be rendered something like "Ein Schloß mit einer Katzen an zu zünden" in Modern German. (Yeah, yeah, actually Schloss in the more recent spelling.) Wikipedia has a picture of some blackletter typefaces for comparison:

Anonymous said...

On closer inspection of the bigger version I have to agree that it says züe. Also I suppose it actually says Schloſß (Schlosß), but definitely not Schlosse. :P

Ania said...

In fact, it seems to me that this book was well-known before: Heidelberg digital library has it and also there is an edition by Rainer Leng devoted to "Buch von den probierten Künsten". If I am wrong please tell me.

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