Method for determining the height of a tower by using a 'theodolite', 1534.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
To the left is a metal ball with a handle to help with its transport and throwing. Woodcut from 'De Re Militari' by Roberto Valturio (1405-1475) published in Paris in 1534. Valturio was military engineer to Sigismondo Malatesta, the ruler of Rimini, at whose court this book was written. The first edition appeared in Italian in 1472 and became the standard guide to military leaders during the Renaissance. It was the earliest printed book to show illustrations of a technical nature and included all types of military equipment. These engravings have been attributed to Matteo De' Pasti (c 1420-c 1467) or his school. The woodcuts of this edition are reversed free copies of those illustrations. Some bear the monogram of Jollat (active 1490-1550).