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Old 6th June 2018, 02:06 PM   #1
Marcus den toom
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Default Possibly the oldest hand cannon dated 1346

This piece might very well be the oldest cannon known sofar, beeing from the same time as the Loshult cannon which is commonly dated to the mid 14th century. As Michael pointed out to us in his Magnus Opus "Dating Earliest Barrels: the Importance of the Position of the Touch Hole" (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ight=touch+hole) the earliest cannons where cast bronze or wrought of wound band-iron. This cannon i present here is of the latter type with iron wrought bands of 28mm in width. The total cannon measures 13.1 cm with a bore lenght of 11cm. The Touchhole is small as per the time period (3,5mm).

The most interesting part about this barrel are the markings stamped on the right side. They read, to my interpretation, *D* 13 XXXXVI* which translates to 1346. It was during this time that the Roman numerals where replaced by the Arabian type we know and use today (see also post 3 here http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ht=dated+tiller).

My claim is a bold one, but to me there is little doubt these markings are a date, which would make it the oldest dated cannons known sofar.

More reference:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=loshult
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=loshult
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...&highlight=1481
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Old 6th June 2018, 05:35 PM   #2
fernando
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A couple questions, if i may, Marcus ...
What is the caliber (bore) ?
If those marks mean to be a date in roman numerals, why the first two are 'arabic' ?
... And are you sure those two symbols are in fact a 1 and a 3 ? Difficult to check, specially not having this barrel in hands ...
Same goes for the first symbol between the two dots; is it really a D ? Couldn't it be two separate symbols close from each other and not just one ?
... And aren't there little barrels like this one already seen here, from about the same date, although not with a date written ?

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=cannon

Just trying to test your tolerance

M.V.G.
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Old 6th June 2018, 05:44 PM   #3
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I always have some doubts regarding the dating inscription on the barrel. So far, I know almost no weapons from the 14th or early 15th century, carrying a makers year. Also on other objects, such as tools, paintings, sculptures, furniture, from the same period dating inscriptions are rather unusual. My doubt is based on statistical facts, but from my experiences with objects from that period so far. If it is indeed a contemporary inscription, this would be an exceptionally rare piece of paramount importance.

My fears about such pieces are always that they may be manipulations from the 19th or early 20th century for the art trade market.

But I hope that I am wrong
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Old 6th June 2018, 06:24 PM   #4
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1346 in Roman numerals would be MCCCXLVI.
You would not write out four "X"s (XXXX) to represent 40. 40=XL
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Old 6th June 2018, 06:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
... You would not write out four "X"s (XXXX) to represent 40 ...

I guess you would ... in some versions through time ... as there were quite a few. The issue would be more the roman/arab 'composite'
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Old 6th June 2018, 07:11 PM   #6
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Hi Nando, Andi and David,

thank you for all your questions, together we will be able to get to the bottom of this. Well than, first question Nando the bore measures 31mm. -Before buying this barrel i did some digging around, i remembered a piece written by Michael about just this dilema. I posted a link of this thread along my original posting (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ht=dated+tiller). During the mid 14th century the Arabian numerals made their way into Europe, beeing more practical they where adopted above the Roman style. Still, during this transition years both types where used in mixture (see Michaels posting for proof). As for the D type symbol, Wikipedia pointed me to the answer. The Letter D was used in the Roman numeric system to state 500, it was also commonly written I with a inverted C (see attached). What this means for the date i don't yet understand, it might be something completly different seeing as it is also in between two dots (marking a difference for reading purposes).
Exactly, wrought wound iron band barrels where made from the first half up to the last years of the 14th century (see Michaels threads on this).

Andi, Yes you are doubtlessy right about it beeing uncommon and therefor more likely to be a later specimen from perhaps the 19th century. Still, i have handled it, which gives me an unfair advantages, and i am able to compare it to the rest of my collection of medieval barrels (which are ranging over a dozen by now). It is exactly of the same make as some of my other barrels, the patina and corrosive surface match it. Now more than ever i wish Michael was here, but i think if we put oir mind together we can make him proud.

David, Your question falls in line with Nando's and the answer is in the same thread as i point Nando to. The mistake is easily made, as you can read in the apointed thread, i thought exactly like you do. I learned in school there couldn't be 3 characters of the same type with Roman numbers. BUT, there where never really strict rules about this, especially during the medieval times. So XXXXVI is perfectly normal for arms and art of that era.
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Old 9th June 2018, 10:07 AM   #7
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Default The 'XXXX' riddle

It should perhaps be said that there have been two Roman numeral tables, one in more archaic early times and a so called modern one; notwithstanding that one used by illiterate peoples, where figurative symbols were used.
The early one had an 'addictive' principle whereas in the later a 'subtractive' principle took place, were symbols added to a point and then subtracted.
Like so:

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Old 9th June 2018, 02:38 PM   #8
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Right you are Nando.

I will also qoute Michael from his thread i posted the link of earlier about the mixture of Roman and Arabic numerals: "Also note a frequently employed mixture of the Latin and Arabic numerals in the early 15th century; attached is the sample of the founding inscription of the Church of the Holy Spirit (Heilig-Geist-Kirche) in Landshut, Lower Bavaria, where the founding date 1407 is composed of the Roman m for the cypher 1 while the rest is written in Arabic numerals!"
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Old 10th June 2018, 01:54 PM   #9
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What happens if we mess with numbers, Marcus ? We find out this is no linear subject !
If we assume that the date you mention to be that in the Landshut stone is 1407, variations between Indo-Arabic numerals and the contemporary inscription must be considered; in that some digits suffered a "rotation", for a start.
The number you point out as a 7 used to be a 8, and the number 4 was earlier in the inverted position. So we may face in this case an European version of Arab numerals. On the other hand, the marriage of Roman number M with those of another origin is still a riddle ... for me, that certainly not for numerologists.

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Old 13th June 2018, 07:08 PM   #10
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Hello, Marcus! Thank You for this great research
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