Article ID: CBB273419847

Craftsmen, Artillery, and War Production in Renaissance Florence (August 2016)


This article examines technological developments in the production of weapons, especially firearms, during the Florentine Quattrocento, from the early conflicts against the Visconti (1423–1433) until the first years of the Pisan War (1494–1499). The aim is an analysis of the qualitative standards achieved by gunmakers and gunpowder makers before and after the appearance and the assimilation of the most efficient French ordnance into Italian warfare. Data have been collected from the State Archive of Florence. Fiscal sources (catasto, decima) and the documentation of guilds (fabbri and speziali) provided the information on craftsmen and their workshops. The registers of military officers (Dieci di Balìa and Otto di Pratica) show the leading role that public demand played in the introduction of technical changes and innovative tools such as new furnaces, bronze cannons, cast iron shot, and corned powder. The same records provide information about the spread of innovations and the migration of artisans. The results of the research demonstrate that the commune actually enhanced its management of war production, fostering improvements in the fabrication of firearms and a significant growth in the weapons market. Numerous artisans were employed in manufacturing munitions and in supplying soldiers and fortresses, and some famous artists, such as Andrea del Verrocchio, may have been involved in casting beautiful firearms for the Florentine Republic in this period.

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Authors & Contributors
Peter Smithurst
Bergman, Yoel
Buchanan, Brenda J.
Chattopadhyay, Pranab Kumar
Gurov, S. V.
Jiang, Xiaoyuan
Arms and Armour Society Journal
Icon: Journal of the International Committee for the History of Technology
Mariner's Mirror
IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
Indian Journal of History of Science
Technology and Culture
Louisiana State University Press
Presses universitaires François-Rabelais de Tours
Military technology
Technology and war; technology and the military
Leonardo da Vinci
Vieille, Paul
Milton, John
Edward IV
Bonaccorso di Vettorio Ghiberti (1451–1516)
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
16th century
15th century
17th century
Great Britain
Ottoman Empire
Thomas Firth
Royal Arsenal Woolwich

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