Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe
Gunpowder, Technology, and Tactics
Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe explores the history of gunpowder in Europe from the thirteenth century, when it was first imported from China, to the sixteenth century, as firearms became central to the conduct of war. Bridging the fields of military history and the history of technology—and challenging past assumptions about Europe's "gunpowder revolution"—Hall discovers a complex and fascinating story. Military inventors faced a host of challenges, he finds, from Europe's lack of naturally occurring saltpeter—one of gunpowder's major components—to the limitations of smooth-bore firearms. Manufacturing cheap, reliable gunpowder proved a difficult feat, as did making firearms that had reasonably predictable performance characteristics. Hall details the efforts of armorers across Europe as they experimented with a variety of gunpowder recipes and gunsmithing techniques, and he examines the integration of new weapons into the existing structure of European warfare.
About the Author
Bert S. Hall is associate professor at the University of Toronto's Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology and co-editor of Health, Disease and Healing in Medieval Culture.
Hall has long been recognized as a leading authority on early modern military technology. Scholars of the period and historians in general will find this the best treatment to date of the impact of gunpowder on Western Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Combines a good grasp of military history with an understanding of the history of technology... Hall manages to integrate his technical discussion into a refreshing reinterpretation of general military history in the period, and his book is an engrossing read.
The best book yet on military history in the era from the Hundred Years' War to the Thirty Years' War.
Hall's unmatched command of the sources and the science of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century military technology makes this book a must-read for any scholar interested in the subject.
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