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Artillery improvements Title: Artillery improvements and warring city-states encouraged changes in the art of fortification in Renaissance Italy.

Authors: Rapetti, Giovanni Source: Military History; Apr99, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p72, 2p, 1c Document Type: Article Subject Terms: FIREARMS ISTANBUL (Turkey) -- History -- Siege, 1453 SIEGE warfare TECHNOLOGICAL innovations Geographic Terms: TURKEY Abstract: Discusses the advent of technological development of firearms in the 15th century. Why Italy is the place where development of firearms started; Factors that engineers found to be contributing to the defeat of a party; Construction of fortresses with geometrical layouts from Leon Batista Alberti; Modernization of fortifications. Full Text Word Count: 1628 ISSN: 0889-7328 Accession Number: 1570670 Database: MasterFILE Premier Section: WEAPONRY ARTILLERY IMPROVEMENTS AND WARRING CITY-STATES ENCOURAGED CHANGES IN THE ART OF FORTIFICATION IN RENAISSANCE ITALY

A report on the Ottoman siege of Constantinople in 1943, written by the German clerk Henry of Soemmern for the Vatican chancery, stated that "the emperor of the Turks... brought also over 1,000 bombards, among which there were three very important....With these three biggest bombards he shelled Constantinople unceasingly for fifty-one days....Firing more than seven hundred stone balls against several points of city walls, with these three bombards he succeeded in crumbling and demolishing the walls in many places." During the 15th century, the technological development of firearms completely changed medieval siege warfare, as illustrated by the fall of Constantinople, and necessitated the study of more effectual defensive systems. It is impossible to state exact dates and places for the "invention" of modern fortifications, but most historians agree that the first ones appeared in Italy during the second half of the 15th century. Why Italy? First of all, the continuous struggles among Italian princedoms and republics nurtured the evolution of a military class skilled and experienced in the art of war. Moreover, Italian states, Strnka 1

Artillery improvements although relatively small, had great financial resources to invest in military ventures, owing to their economic superiority over the rest of Europe. Military demands became so great that auctions were held to secure the best condottieri (mercenary captains) and their armies, as well as military engineers. Coming from the lower and middle urban bourgeoisie, Renaissance engineers expanded on their basic education by becoming apprentices, learning the arti meccaniche (mechanical arts) from their maestro's actions and through practical testing. With a typical Renaissance spirit, their interests spread in all fields, from painting to horology, from hydraulics to architectonics. During his career, an engineer could plan churches and fortresses, as well as build spinning machines and catapults or cast bells and cannons. Despite such skills, engineers were often only partially literate, and few left behind written evidence of their plans, or even their names. Absolute masters of siege techniques, the engineers recognized the insufficiency of old fortresses. Medieval castles had been developed in a vertical direction to hamper scaling devices. Embrasures and wall-walks allowed the defenders to hurl missiles and stones on the assailants. Faced with guns able to open breaches in these relatively thin walls, military architects began to focus their design energies in two new directions--to reinforce passive defenses and to increase the amount of defensive ordnance. Walls, therefore, were lowered and thickened with escarped ramparts. Sometimes there were also simple inclined earthworks built up with the dirt left from ditch excavation. Those earthworks, cheaper than any other masonry structure, proved very efficient-shots were either deflected by the inclined walls or absorbed by soft earthworks. Guns were very effective in defense as well as offense, so many Italian towns spent vast sums on artillery pieces. Even a small town like Imola owned no less than 33 pieces of various calibers in 1473. Circular holes were opened in the castle walls at ground level in order to shoot straight over the enemy ranks. The best sites for placing the guns were deemed to be the towers jutting out of the fencing walls, both for their strength and for cross-firing in front of the walls. Because the recoil and vibration of the cannons were enough to damage their walls, medieval towers were lowered to wall level and reinforced, sometimes by simply filling their first floors with earth. Between 1442 and 1450, the Majorcan architect Guillen Sagrera accomplished one of the very first such modernizations when he updated the mighty but antiquated Maschio Angioino in Naples. The Florentine urban planner Leon Battista Alberti, in his De Re Strnka 2

Artillery improvements Aedificatoria, written in the 1440s, proposed the construction of fortresses with geometrical layouts and angled walls for crossing defensive fire. It was a very advanced idea that failed to gain an adequate response at that time, possibly because of the wide cultural gap between humanists like Alberti and empirical engineers, who were accustomed to testing their ideas with little theoretical reflection. The ton/one (keep) was lowered and thickened. External walkways called ravelins connected the keeps to the walls. One of the first known examples (which still exists in good condition) was built in 1497 by the Genoese in front of the fortress of Sarzanello, sited on the volatile border between the territories of Florence and Genoa. Although the term had already appeared Italy by the end of the 14th century, the first bastion in a modem style was the Bastione Verde, erected in Turin by Michele Canale in 1461. The bastion differed from the keep by its triangular or polygonal base. Some of the most experienced engineers of the Renaissance were engaged in modernizing fortifications. Lorenzo di Pietro (1412-80), called il Vecchietta (the Little Old Woman), built fortresses for the Sienese Republic, while Francesco Giamberti (1405-80) worked on the Florentine fortress of Pietrasanta. Another Florentine architect, Baccio Pontelli (1450-92), was in the pope's service. The so-called Addizione Erculea (Herculean Addition), a very expensive attempt to add bastions to the medieval town walls of Ferrara, was carried out by Biagio Rossetti (1447-1516) between 1484 and 1495 on behalf of Duke Ercole I of Este. Francesco di Giorgio Martini (14391501), a Sienese disciple of il Vecchietta, was the greatest engineer of his age. He worked in Urbino in 1477 at the request of Duke Federico of Montefeltro, a great condottiere, and later in Maecenas. Martini developed very advanced architectural ideas (asserting, for example, that the security of a fortress depended not on the thickness of its walls, but on the shape of its base), but none of the seven strongholds that he built in Montefeltro may be regarded as completely up-to-date. In each of them, he adopted different and fanciful solutions. At San Leo, he took advantage of the inaccessibility of the cliff, while at Mondavio he gave every keep a different ground plan. Keeps of various shapes were built at Tavoleto (round), Serra San Abbondio (rhomboidal) and Sassofeltrio (polygonal). The ground plans of Sassocorvaro were vessel-shaped, while those at Mondolfo were arrow-shaped. In October 1494, King Charles VIII of France marched into Italy with 18,000 men and an artillery train of more than 40 big cannons--impressive for that time. In only four months, he blasted his way through all resistance and entered Naples. Two illustrious witnesses, Francesco Guicciardini and Niccolo Machiavelli, attributed the expedition's success to French firepower and to the obsolescence of the Italian defense system. In actuality, the French, who had staged Strnka 3

Artillery improvements only a few minor sieges, were aided by rivalries among the Italian states and the weakness of the Florentine, Naples and Papal armies. Nevertheless, the psychological effects of Charles VIII's exploits motivated almost all of the Italian states to build new strongholds, restore existing castles or fortify their strategic approaches with bastions. Control of roads and the region outside a city's walls, indispensable to guarantee supplies, was made more secure by constructing ravelins and redoubts to help slow the progress of an enemy force. The architectural developments of the Sangallo brothers, Giuliano (1443-1516) and Antonio (1453-1534), dominated the 15th and 16th centuries. Florentine like their father, Francesco Giamberti da Sangallo, the two brothers worked in perfect symbiosis, and very often Antonio completed his elder brother's works. Antonio's nephew was also named Antonio (14841546), called il Giovane ("The Younger") to distinguish him from his illustrious uncle, and he carried on the family tradition. The Sangallos' fortresses, such as the stronghold of Nettuno, the bastions of Castel Sant' Angelo in Rome, or Da Basso fort in Florence, are considered masterpieces of Renaissance architecture, as are their civil and religious buildings. Even the great artist Michelangelo Buonarotti did not shy away from building bastions both in Florence and Rome. The Serenissima Republic of Venice committed the defense of her weak territorial borders to the Veronese engineer Michele Sanmicheli (1484-1559). Beside Verona, Padua and other cities, Sanmicheli constructed modem bastions for Venice's main colonies in the Mediterranean Sea: Zadar (formerly Zara), Corfu, Cyprus and Crete. The remarkable proportions of the new defensive works raised costs to such a level that the construction of modem fortresses soon became prohibitive even for the rich Italian states. Feeling threatened by neighboring Florence, the Republic of Siena launched a project in 1553 that involved fortifying both the city and strategic spots in the countryside. The cost was so high that the program could not be completed, and in the following year, the Sienese were not able to raise an army and drive back their foes. The once independent and thriving republic of Siena became a mere province of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. The trend to update defenses, according to the trace italienne (Italian layout), began to spread through Europe as many Italian engineers emigrated beyond the Alps. Donato Buoni worked for the United Provinces of the Low Countries. Girolamo Marini and Antonio Melloni fortified the northern French border in the 1540s. Giovanni Battista Antonelli, at the service of King Philip II of Spain, reinforced Spanish garrisons in Northern Africa and Cuba and built Forte Agostino in Florida, while Giovanni Battista Cairati built forts for Portugal in Mombasa (Kenya), Bassein (Burma) and Daman (India). Strnka 4

Artillery improvements Until the beginning of the 18th century, the elimination of enemy strongholds became an essential condition for conquering a country, and sieges were the prevailing feature of every campaign. Many of the great battles of 17th century, such as those at Nordlingen, Rocroi, Marston Moor and Vienna, were fought between an army besieging a fortress and a relieving column trying to succor the besieged. 72n1.jpg Sarzanello, whose main fortress ditch and ravelin are shown here, reflects the transition from medieval to modern defensive concepts. ~~~~~~~~ By Giovanni Rapetti _____ Copyright of Military History is the property of Primedia Special Interest Publications. Copyright of PUBLICATION is the property of PUBLISHER. The copyright in an individual article may be maintained by the author in certain cases. Content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. Source: Military History, Apr99, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p72, 2p Item: 1570670

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