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Old 3rd November 2008, 07:01 PM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310

Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Thank you Michael for explaining that, and mentioning the instance of the Duke of Brunswicks initials and date on the cannon balls. I was wondering if perhaps since these destructive (obviously) pieces of ordnance were being sent to destroy an enemy...that maybe as in the bombs dropped from aircraft in the wars were marked with slogans or taunting phrases toward the enemy...there might have been similar cases in medieval times.

It is known that in some instances in warfare in Biblical times, sometimes the arrowheads were marked to afford the warrior the claim to his victory over an opponent by proving his arrow was the felling one. In North America, the Indian tribes often marked thier arrows with distinctive stripes, colors or identifying features to claim the hunted game brought down.

Obviously there are differences in the arrows marked to claim prey or victims, and items such as cannonballs or bombs which carried symbolic messages, and would be ultimately destroyed themselves....but I thought the idea of personalized and symbolic messaged projectiles or ammunition an interesting aside in our study of the weapons themselves.

All best regards,


Jim, I believe that you are exactly right in your reckonings based on the examples cited. I am convinced that some war lords and patriotically minded craftsmen and citiens alike indeed cherished the imagination of those projectiles being fired into the enemies' bodies - 'with our best greetings'.

In the case of the Brunswick slag balls, their date 1575 was cast in the mould. Other cannon balls are known to have been inscribed later.

Fernando, actually I have a Napoleonic cannon ball which was found in a ruined house in the medieval city center of Regensburg, some 40 km from my present home. I used to live in Regensburg for amolst 25 years and I bought that ball from one of the workers who had wrecked the ruine. Interesting enough, it is inscribed in white ink

25. April

('Napoleon' has become almost illegible).
This was undoubtedly regarded as a reminder of Napoleon's taking Regensburg under fire and conquering it on that day.

I will also take pictures of my Brunswick cannon balls and post them.

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