Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe: Gunpowder, Technology, and Tactics

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Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997 - History - 320 pages

Winner of the Wallace K. Ferguson Prize from the Canadian Historical Association

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.

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User Review  - AndreasJ - LibraryThing

About gunpowder weapons in western Europe from their origins to about AD 1600, and how their development affected, and were affected by, trends in general military and political history. If a good ... Read full review

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User Review  - dsullivan800 - LibraryThing

Hall's book is an invaluable and rare analysis of the role of gunpowder in transforming warfare from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Somewhat academic and dry in spots, it nevertheless contains a wealth of information and is a rewarding read. Read full review

About the author (1997)

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.