Title page of Valturio's 'De re militari', 1534.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
'De re Militari' (translated as 'On War'), by Roberto Valturio (1405-1475) was 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 such as trebuchets and siege engines, folding boats, rope ladders and battering rams.