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Old 13th January 2014, 10:45 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310
Default 1417 - The World's Oldest Dated Handgun!!!

This highly important and finely wrought iron tiller gun is preserved in the Museo Storico della Caccia, Villa Medici, in Cerreto Guidi, near Florence, Northern Italy.

It is hardly known in weaponry and shaped like a fire breathing sea serpent or dragon in the characteristic Italian taste over all its length, the wrought-iron tiller terminating in a swamped knob. The barrel is wrought as the serpent's head, with ears, eyes, teeth and mouth all clearly defined!
The museum interprets its shape as that of a wolf's head. Given the fact though that the muzzle of a gun would literally breathe fire, the embodiment of a sea dragon or monster is much more probable.
Its length is 99 cm overall, the bore is 20 mm.

The date 1417 is, due to its late High-Gothic period of manufacture, at the very threshold to the Italian Early Renaissance, still represented by Gothic miniscules in the Latin tradition of writing numerals, becoming obsolete in the early 15th century:

+ m c c c c x v i i -

This stunning sample sort of 'downgrades' my fine Munich/Passau barrel dated 1481 to being 'only' the second oldest dated handgun of the world:

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