SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Fifteenth century illustration of a mounted soldier firing a hand cannon (bombarde). This firearm, of bronze or wrought iron, rests on a fork attached to the pommel of the saddle. In his right hand he holds a slow-burning cord to be applied to the touch hole in the breech to fire the gun. This illustration comes from De Machinis, a technological treatise of 1449 by the Italian artist-engineer Mariano di Jacopo (Marianus Jacobus) (1381-1453), also known as Taccola. This is the first recorded use of a hand cannon as a cavalry weapon.
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