Dragon-shaped war machine, 1534.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Imaginative dragon-shaped machine mounted on wheels with a projectile spurting from its mouth. Roberto Valturio (1405-1475) attributed its invention to the Arabs. Woodcut from Valturio's 'De Re Militari', 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 Renaisance. It was the earliest printed book to show illustrations of a technical nature and included all types of military equipment.