1902 Encyclopedia > Arms and Armour

Arms and Armour




ARMS AND ARMOUR. The history of arms and
armour forms one of the most suggestive chapters in the
history of civilisation. The use of stone weapons appears
to have been universally characteristic of the earlier, as it
is still distinctive of the ruder races of mankind. The
forms of the weapons fabricated in this intractable material
were of necessity few and simple. The commonest and
most widely distributed type is that of the imperforate
axe, varying from the roughly-dressed wedge of flint, to
the finely-shaped and highly-polished lenticular " celt."
They were fabricated of flint, diorite, greenstone, serpentine,
indurated clay-slate, in short, of almost every material
capable of being worked into the desired form, and of
retaining the requisite sharpness of edge. Spear-heads
and arrow-points were chipped in flint with such surprising
dexterity and skill, that they were nearly as effective as
those subsequently fabricated in metals, and not much
inferior in form and finish. The highest efforts of the
ancient stone-workers culminated in the short leaf-shaped
knife-dagger of flint, suggestive of the form which after-
wards became the characteristic weapon of the Bronze
Age, the leaf-shaped sword. These knife-daggers of flint
exhibit considerable variety
of form, though always of
the same type. They vary
also in size, but seldom ex-
ceed about 12 inches in _ , ,., . „.
i ii. mi, 1.—Leaf-shaped flmt Dagger,
length. They are never r 6S
ground or polished, but delicately chipped to a straight edge, while the flakes are so regularly removed from the convex portions of the blade as to give a rippled or wavy surface, and the corners of the handle are deli-cately crimped, thus producing an appearance of great beauty and finish.

The Bronze Age.—In the earliest interments in which the weapons deposited with the dead are of other materials than stone, a peculiar form of bronze dagger occurs It consists of a well-finished, thin, knife-like blade, usually about 6 inches in length, broad at the hilt and tapering to the point, and always riveted to the handle by massive rivets of bronze. It has been found associated with stone celts, both of the roughly-chipped and the highly-polished kind, showing that these had not been entirely disused when bronze became available. A later type of bronze dagger is a broad, heavy, curved weapon, usually from 9 to 15 inches in length, with massive rivets for attachment to an equally massive handle. The leaf-shaped sword, however, is the characteristic weapon of the Bronze Period. It is found all over Europe, from Lapland to the Mediter-ranean. No warlike weapon of any period is more graceful in form or more beautifully finished. The finish seems to have been given in the mould without the aid of hammer or file, the edge being formed by suddenly reducing the thickness of the metal, so as to produce a narrow border of extreme thinness along both sides of the blade from hilt to point. The handle-plate and blade were cast in one piece, and the handle itself was formed by side plates of bone, horn, or wood, riveted through the handle-plate. There was no guard, and the weapon, though short, was



FIG. 2.—Leaf-shaped bronze Sword.
well balanced, but more fitted, however, for stabbing and thrusting than for cutting with the edge. The Scandinavian variety is not so decidedly leaf-shaped, and is longer and heavier than the common British form; and instead of a handle-plate, it was furnished with a tang on which a round, flat-topped handle was fastened, like that of the modern Highland dirk, sometimes surmounted by a erescent-like ornament of bronze. A narrow, rapier-shaped variety, tapering from hilt to point, was made without a handle-plate, and attached to the hilt by rivets like the bronze daggers already mentioned. This form is more common in the British Isles than in Scandinavia, and is most abundant in Ireland. The spear-heads of the Bronze Period present a considerable variety of form, though the leaf-shaped pre-dominates, and barbed examples are extremely rare. Some British forms of this weapon are of great size, occasionally reaching a length of 27 inches. The larger varieties are often beautifully designed, having segmental openings on both sides of the central ridge of the blade, and elaborately

Fia. 3.—Bronze Spearhead, length 19 inches.

ornamented with chevrony patterns of chased or inlaid work both on the socket and blade. Arrow-points are much rarer in bronze than in flint. In all probability the flint arrow-point (which was equally effective and much more easily replaced when lost) continued to be used throughout the Bronze Period. Shields of bronze, circular, with hammered-up bosses, concentric ridges, and rows of studs, were held in the hand by a central handle underneath the boss. The transition period between the Bronze and Iron Ages in Central Europe is well defined by the occur-rence of iron swords, which are simple copies of the leaf-shaped weapon, with flat handle-plate previously fabricated in bronze. These have been found associated with articles assigned to the 3d or 4th century B.C.

The Greek Heroic Age.—The Greek sword of the heroic age is described by Homer as double-edged, long, sharp, and trenchant, the blade of bronze, and the hilt and scab-bard adorned with gold or silver studs. In the Homeric combats, however, the spear, lance, or javelin always plays the principal part, and the sword is only used when the combatants meet at close quarters, the spear having failed to decide the contest. Both sword and spear appear to have been of the forms which are characteristic of these weapons in the Bronze A.ge of Central and Northern Europe. The bow of Pandarus is described as made of ibex-horn and strung with sinews. The arrow-head is the only part of the warrior's equipment which Homer expressly describes as of iron, and the mode of its insertion in a split in the head of the shaft, where it was made fast by a liga-

tare of sinew, is precisely that which is still adopted by modern savages with their arrow-points of flint. The defensive armour of the heroic ages was also entirely of bronze. In consisted of helmet, cuirass, greaves, and shield. The helm was sometimes a simple casque, or close-fitting headpiece, but more frequently adorned with crest and plumes. The cuirass of bronze was often elaborately engraved and adorned with gold. The greaves covered the leg to the instep, and were either of bronze or some similar compound metal of great toughness and flexibility. The shield, round or oval in form, is described as of bronze, backed or covered with hide, and decorated with bosses and concentric rings of metal. We have a gauge of the size of Hector's shield in the lines—
"Hector of the gleaming helm Turned to depart; and as he moved along The black bull's-hide his neck and ancles smote, The outer circle of his bossy shield."
II. vi. 116-118.

Greek Historic Age.—In the early historic ages the characteristic weapons of the Greek armies were determined by the military tactics of the period. The mode of fight-ing in heavy phalanx necessitated the use of long, heavy spears. The Hoplitea when massed in phalanx stood sixteen deep, the men of each rank close together, shield touching shield, the pikes of each line, 21 to 24 feet long, projecting from 2 to 13 feet in front of the foremost rank at equal distances. The shield of the early monuments, though still large, is not nearly so large as that of Hector, usually reaching from the shoulder to the knee, and still retaining its round or oval form and bold convexity. On the early vases the shields are represented as adorned with a great variety of devices. We now find the helm having a lengthened neck-guard, side-guards for the face, frontlet, and prolonged crest, sweeping gracefully over the rounded top of the head-piece and fabling down the back. At the time of the Peloponnesian war the linen corselet, so much in favour among the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Asiatics generally, was introduced instead of the heavy cuirass of the Hoplites, and a smaller shield substituted for the larger and heavier one previously in use, while the length of the sword was considerably increased. The light-armed troops were furnished with a light javelin provided with a strap or thong attached to the middle to assist in hurling it. The mounted troops were similarly equipped as to their defensive armour, and fur-nished with a longer sword, a javelin, and a short dagger.

Egyptian.—The strength of the Egyptian armies in the earliest times consisted of archers, who fought either on foot or from chariots. The Egyptian bow was somewhat shorter than the height of a man. The string was of hide, catgut, or cord. The arrows varied from 24 to 34 inches in length, and were usually of reed, winged with three feathers and pointed with heads of bronze. These were sometimes cast with sockets and sometimes with tangs. Arrow-heads of flint are occasionally found in the tombs along with those of bronze, and Sir Gardner Wilkinson remarks on this, that " flint arrow-heads were not confined to an ancient era, nor were they peculiar to Egypt alone ; the Persians and other Eastern peoples frequently used them even in war." The Egyptian archers were provided with a falchion, dagger, mace, or battle-axe, for close combat ; their defensive armour consisted of a quilted head-piece and coat, but they carried no shield, which would have been an impediment to the free use of the bow The infantry were classified according to the weapons with which they fought, a3 spearmen, swordsmen, clubmen, and slingers. The spears were 5 or 6 feet long, with large triangular or leaf-shaped heads of bronze, spcketed and fastened to the shaft by a single rivet through the socket.

The spearmen fought in close phalanx, and were furnished with shields of a peculiar form, rectangular below and semicircular above, like a round-headed door, about half the height of a man. Their shields were covered with bull's hide, having the hair outwards, strengthened by rims and studs of metal, and furnished with a round sight-hole in the middle of the semicircular upper part. They had quilted helmets, and cuirasses of bronze scales or quilted with bands of metal, but no greaves. The early Egyptian sword was of bronze, straight, double-edged, tapering from hilt to point, and varying from 30 to 36 inches in length. Axes, with short handle and an oblong or crescentic blade, with segmental openings, fastened to the handle and unsocketed, maces and clubs of various forms, and short, leaf-shaped daggers of bronze, were also used.

Assyrian.—The Assyrian sword, as represented on the monuments, resembled the Egyptian, but was worn on the left side, slung in a nearly horizontal position by the waist-belt. The bow was also a favourite weapon with the Assyrians, and lances, spears, and javelins, with oblong, leaf-shaped and unbarbed heads, constantly appear upon the sculptures. The shield was round and convex; the helm frequently conical, truncated or curved forward, and with pieces to protect the neck at the back and sides. Their cuirasses were close-fitting tunics made of many layers of flax, plaited or interwoven, and hardened and cemented with glue,—a species of linen corselet frequently referred to as in use also among the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans.

Etruscan.—The arms and armour of the Etruscans were in the main similar to those of the Greeks. Their cui-rasses, however, were provided with overlapping shoulder-guards, a peculiarity not observed in Greek armour. The shields were round and exceedingly convex, the helmets of very various forms, with a general tendency to a deep, bell-shaped contour, adorned with an excessively elevated and elongated crest, and sometimes with alated projections of considerable height rising from opposite sides near the apex of the helm.





Roman.—The early Roman sword, like that of the Greeks, Egyptians, and Etruscans, was of bronze. We have no direct statement as to its form, but in all proba-bility it was of the leaf-shaped form so universally charac-teristic of this weapon in bronze. We gather from the monuments that, in the 1st century B.C., the Roman sword was short, worn on the right side, suspended from a shoulder-belt, and reaching from the hollow of the back to the middle of the thigh, thus representing a length of from 22 inches to 2 feet. The blade was straight, double-edged, and obtusely pointed. On the Trajan column (114 A.D.) it is considerably longer, and under the Flavian emperors the long, single-edged spatha appears frequently along with the short sword. The characteristic weapon peculiar to the Romans, however, was the pilum. The form of this weapon and the mode of using it have been minutely described by Polybius, but his description has been much misunderstood in consequence of the rarity of representations or remains of the pilum. It is shown on a monument at St Remi, in Provence, assigned to the age of the first emperors, and in a bas-relief at Mayence, on the grave-stone of Quintus Petilius Secundus, a soldier of the 15th legion. A specimen of the actual weapon is in the museum at Weisbaden. It is a pike with a stout iron head, carried on an iron rod, about 20 inches in length, which terminates in a socket for the insertion of the wooden shaft. As represented on the monuments, the iron part of the weapon is about one-third of its entire length, and its junction with the wooden part of the shaft is fortified by a knob or swelling which is peculiar to this weapon. When used as a javelin at short distances it had a most embarrassing effect. Piercing the shield, the slender iron neck of the weapon bent with the weight of the shaft, which then dragged along the ground, so that the shield was rendered useless for defence. When used at close quarters it not only answered all the purposes of the modern bayonet, but when firmly wielded in both hands it was equally efficient to ward off sword-strokes, which fell harmless upon the long and strong iron neck of the weapon. Polybius states that the legionary receiving the sword-strokes, with cool steadiness, upon his pilum, soon turned the swords of the enemy into mere hacked and blunted strigils or skin-scrapers. Vegetius also describes the pilum in a modified form as used in the armies of the Lower Empire, and in a still more modified form it re-appears as the angon of the Franks, to be noticed further on. The defensive armour of the Romans in earlier times resembled that of the Greeks as previously described, and was chiefly of bronze, consisting usually of helmet with crest and cheek-pieces, cuirass of breast and back plates, modelled to the form of the bust, and having a border of leather bands or straps, falling vertically so as to protect the lower part of the body. On the columns of Trajan and Antonine the cui-rass proper is given to the chiefs only, the legionaries having their cuirasses of leather or linen, on which are sewn circular plates of metal, with shoulder-pieces and oblong plates descending vertically from the lower border of the cuirass. There are two varieties of shield on the Trajan column,—an oblong, rectangular, and highly convex form, peculiar to the legionaries, and an oval, flattened form borne by the knights and velites. In later times the oval shield was assumed by the legionaries. The Roman helmets in the time of the early emperors were simple skull-caps with a hollowed neck-guard, a small bar acting as a visor, and hinged cheek-pieces which fastened under the chin. In the declining days of the empire the helmet became deeper, the shield larger and more varied in form, the length of the sword was greatly increased, and uniformity of weapons and equipment was no longer observed.

Frankish.—The characteristic weapon of the Franks of the Merovingian epoch (450-760 A.D.) was the francisca or battle-axe, which they used as a missile. Procopius describes it as having a broad blade and a short haft, and it is said that the blow of an axe when hurled would pierce a shield or kill a man, and that the Franks rarely missed their aim. Agathias, the continuator of Procopius (535 A.D.), says they wear no body armour, few of them even having helmets, but they carry round shields, swords of the length of a man's thigh, axes having double edges, and darts which are used either for throwing or for thrusting. These darts had barbed iron heads, and were used as the


Flo. 4.—Iron head of Angon from a grave at Darmstadt, 38 in. long.

pilum was used by the Romans. When the angon was fixed in the enemy's shield the custom of the Frank was to bound forward, place his foot on the end of the dart as it trailed along the ground, thus compelling the enemy to lower his shield, when he killed him with his axe or sword. The Frankish sword was a short, straight, broad-bladed, double-edged weapon, somewhat obtusely pointed, and usually about 30 to 32 inches in length. The sword and francisca of Childeric, one of the first of the Merovingian kings (457-481), were discovered in his tomb at Tournay in 1653, and are now in the museum of the Louvre. The sword has a short, straight cross-piece at the lower end of the hilt, and the pommel is of the same form, but smaller. The Carlovingian epoch, though almost devoid of distinctive characteristics as regards the arms in use, is remark-able for the gradual change from infantry to cavalry, and represents the transition to the period of chivalry. The development of the two military orders of the knights or men-at-arms and the common infantry soldiers, serfs or peasants, may be said to have begun in the armies of Charle-magne, and the superior class of fighting men in his time had added to the ordinary equipment of the earlier Franks the helm and coat of mail.

Scandinavian.—The swords of the early Iron Age in Scandinavia are frequently found in the mosses of Schleswig, associated with objects bearing a strongly-marked analogy to those recovered from the graves of our own Pagan Anglo-Saxon ancestors, of the period dating approxi-mately from the 5th to the 7th centuries of the Christian era. They are long, straight, double-edged, and often richly damascened. On the tangs of several of those found at Nydam are the names of the armourers, some of which are of the Roman form. The grip of the hilt was circular, usually narrow in the middle, and the cross-pieces above and below were similar in shape. The sheaths were of wooden laths, adorned with tastefully-executed mountings in bronze. On one of the chapes an inscription in the earlier Runic alphabet occurred. Associ-ated with these swords were flat, circular wooden shields, of 22 J to 44 inches diameter, having a single handle under the central boss, and bosses and mountings sometimes of iron, but more frequently of bronze. Helmets were rare, but chain-armour of interlinked iron rings, of alternate rows of riveted and welded rings, was in use. The sword of the early Viking time in Scandinavia was long and heavy, usually double-edged, with strong rectangular cross-piece, narrow grip, and massive square or triangular pommel. In the later Viking time single-edged swords were more common, and the pommel was frequently tri-lobed, and the cross-piece elongated so as to form a decided guard. The shields were usually circular or oval, often painted and adorned with devices, and conical helmets and coats of mail were common.

Anglo-Saxon.—The early Anglo-Saxon sword was usually about 3 feet long, straight, double-edged, broad in the blade, and rounded at the point, with hilt and grip and cross-piece like those of the early Scandinavian swords previously described. As the sword was not carried by any man under the rank of thane, it is not often met with in Anglo-Saxon interments. With them, as with the Franks, it was a horseman's weapon, and the common accoutrement of the infantry was a spear, an axe, a shield, and a scramasax, or heavy single-edged knife. The Saxon spear was a narrow, long-bladed weapon, varying greatly in form and dimensions, but generally characterised by the socket being slit or unclosed throughout its length. The axe was narrow-bladed and single-edged, and sometimes peaked at the back. The shield, which was circular or oval in form, was of wood, covered with leather, and fur-nished with a high conical boss, often terminating in a pipe or a button. Anglo-Saxon warriors of the 10th century are represented in the manuscripts as wearing hauberks of mail and rounded casques. The Aelfric manuscript, of the end of the 11th century, shows the tri-lobed sword-hilt and round shield.

Norman.—The arms and armour of the Normans at the period of the conquest of Normandy were, of course, Scandinavian. The Norman arms of the period of the conquest of England are portrayed on the Bayeux tapestry. The sword is still of the Scandinavian type, long, straight, double-edged, and somewhat tapering, and round or ob-tusely pointed with cross piece and pommel. The horse-men are armed with long lances as well as swords. On the tapestry the Normans are represented as well provided with archers and cavalry, of which the Saxons are ap-parently destitute. Maces and clubs appear also among the weapons; and axes, with shafts from 4 to 5 feet in length, appear in the hands of both Normans and Saxons. The Norman shield is large and kite-shaped, provided with arm-strap and handle, and adorned with emblazon-ments of badges or devices. Few examples of the older circular shield appear on the tapestry, and these few are Saxon. The body armour consisted of a long hauberk, ringed or trellised, with di-vided skirt, and having the hood and body in one piece. The helmet was deep, coni-cally topped, and furnished with a nasal.

English after the Norman Conquest.—The armour in use in England since the pe- _ _ riodof theNorman Conquest Fl0' 5—From the Bayeux tapestry-may be briefly divided into four groups, each associated with its own historical period. True mail armour of inter-linked rings was generally adopted in the time of the Crusades, and its use extended to about the beginning of the 14th century. Towards the close of the 12th century the long plaited or mailed skirt, divided at the bottom, as we see in the Bayeux tapestry, had been superseded by a short-sleeved tunic, generally of chain-mail, reaching only to the knees, but sometimes covered with variously-shaped plates of metal. This short hauberk was confined by a belt about the waist, and furnished with a hood or coif, over which a close-fitting helm was worn. In the 13th century there was less uniformity of military equipment. The hauberk was again lengthened to the middle of the leg, and had a coif to cover the head, over which the massive helm, with or without a nasal, was worn, sometimes with a movable visor. The sleeves of the hauberk were prolonged, and mittens added to protect the hands; the lower limbs were covered with mail, the coverings above the knee being called chaussons, and those below the knee chausses. The sword was long, straight, and pointed, generally with a short recurved guard and rounded pommel. The shield was small, triangular, or heater-shaped; the helm massive, high, and flat-topped. After the middle of the 13th century secondary defences of plate for the protection of the joints began to be introduced; the hauberk was shortened, the mittens of mail were divided into fingers, the helm was often rounded at the top, and greaves and shoulder-plates were introduced. The period of mixed mail and plate armour extends from about 1300 to about 1410. The introduction of secondary defences of plate for the weaker and more exposed parts of the mail-suit gradually changed the character of the armour, until it produced the complete panoply of plate-armour. In the first half of the 14th century the sleeves of the hauberk were shortened, demi-brasarts were introduced for the protection of the back of the upper arm, and vambraces worn on the front of the lower arm, roundles were added in front of the shoulder-joints and at the elbows, and the greaves or jambarts were continued over the feet in laminated plates. The bassinet was now worn beneath the huge sugar-loafed helm, and had a camail, or curtain of mail, descending down the back for the protection of the neck, which subsequently assumed the form of a close-fitting tippet. By the middle of the century splinted armour had become common, and the cuirass with gussets of mail appears. As the second half of the century advanced, the arms and legs were cased entirely in plate, laminated soliereis, acutely pointed at the toes, covered the feet, while the body was protected by a long-sleeved hauberk of mail, reaching to about the middle of the thigh, with krninated epaulieres or shoulder-guards, and coudieres or elbow-guards. The long sword, with cross-guard, and the short dagger or misericorde were now in fashion, and heraldic crests were generally adopted before the close of the century. The first ten years of the 15 th century were a period of transi-tion, and from about 1410 the armour became a complete panoply of plate. The period of complete armour of plate which commenced about 1410 extended to the beginning of the 17th century. At the commencement of this period, or towards the middle of the first quarter of the 15th century, the body armour consisted of breast and back-plates of one piece, the roundles at the shoulders were replaced by plates resembling small shields fixed in front of the shoulder-joints, and a fan-like arrangement of plates protected the elbows. Below the waist the body was pro-tected by the taces, a series of narrow, overlapping plates attached to a lining of leather. The crested helm, some-times with the addition of a collar, was still in use in battle and tournament. The bassinet was more globular in form, and connected by a gorget with the suit of plate. By the middle of the century the same system of re-inforcing, or adding secondary protections to cover the weaker points, which gradually changed the mail into a complete panoply of plate, had effected considerable changes on the character of the plate-suits, until the corresponding defences of the right and left sides of the figure became totally unlike each other. The tabard, a short surcoat with short sleeves, emblazoned with the arms of the wearer, now commonly appears over the armour. By the end of this century the defensive system of plate-armour had reached its high-est development., At the commencement of the 16th cen-tury, a species of armour of less rigid and cumbrous de-scription, often formed of small plates of metal quilted within garments of linen or other tissues, had come into fashion, skirts of mail also came again into use, while the armour generally became more massive and more richly decorated. Pointed or rounded sollerets gave place to sabatons cut off square at the toes, and plumes were gene-rally attached to the helms. The salade and the morion, light open head-pieces, gave place to the closed helmet, with visor and beevor; the recurved finger-guard, with the long straight sword, and all varieties of the sabre, came into use; and two-handed swords and sword-breakers (curious implements, with notches and springs for catching the blade of an antagonist's sword) were also used. As the century advances the decadence of armour begins to be evidenced by its assimilation to the forms of dress and prevailing fashions of the time. Mere surface ornamenta-tion is more and more regarded; fluted, laminated, and puffed suits are fashionable, and the gradual disuse of armour is foreshadowed in the increasing use of fire-arms, against which it afforded no sufficient protection. After the close of the 16th century it continued to be worn as much for display as for real service. Cuirasses began to be superseded by buff coats and jerkins, but demi-suits of plate were worn by cuirassiers far on in the 17th century. The variations of tilting arms and armour, and of horse armour, are too numerous to be specified in a short notice. For these and other details the works of Grose, Meyrick, Skelton, Stothard. and Hewitt may be consulted by those who wish to study them fully, while the copiously-illus-trated works of Demmin and Lacombe, recently trans-lated by Mr Black of the South Kensington Museum and Charles Boutell, are excellent popular manuals of the general subject.





Artillery.— The adoption of gunpowder as an agent in warfare gradually revolutionised the whole system of mili-tary tactics, and was not only the ultimate cause of the total disuse of defensive armour, but rendered obsolete the whole of the projectile machines and weapons of the Middle Ages. Bows and shields were the first to give way before it, as they were the oldest forms of weapons of offence and defence. Shields are not represented on English effigies after the last quarter of the 14th century, though the round Highland target survived with the broad-sword till 1745. The long-bow, which became such an important weapon in the 13th and 14th centuries, was usually of yew, about five feet in length, and a practised archer would send an arrow of a yard long through his mark at a distance of 240 yards. The cross-bow, which is first mentioned by the Princess Anna Comnena, appears in an Anglo-Saxon manuscript of the 11th century. Its use against Christians was prohibited by the Lateran Council in 1139, although it was allowed against the infidels. The long-bow continued in use in England till the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign, and the cross-bow was only disused in the French army in the 17th century, so slow was the process of transition from one system to another, even after the superiority of gunpowder had been long well known. Gunpowder had been in use for cen-turies, however, before it was applied to projectiles. The Chinese used it in their fireworks at a very early date, and it is believed to have been introduced into Europe by the intercourse of the Arabs with the natives of the far East. The earliest receipt for its composition with which we are acquainted occurs in the Liber Ignium ad com-burendos hosies of Marcus Grsecus (846 A.D.), where it is described as including six parts of saltpetre, two of sulphur, and two of charcoal. A similar receipt occurs in the De Mirabilibus Mundi of Albertus Magnus, bishop of Batis-bon, 1280 A.D. Until about the beginning of the 14th century, however, it had not been applied in warfare to the purpose of throwing projectiles, and was probably regarded merely as an explosive mixture, like the "Greek fire " and similar preparations, employed to spread terror and conflagration. Large cannon were used on the Con-tinent in siege operations, however, as early as the beginning of the 14th century. Cannon are first mentioned in Eng-land in 1338; Froissart alludes to them in 1340, and it is certain that they were used by the English at the siege of Cambray in 1339. At the same time experiments were being made at Tournay with long, pointed projectiles, and the duke of Brunswick had substituted leaden bullets for those of stone which were then in common use in his artillery. Carronades were used on board the French ships at the battle of Bhodes in 1372, and bronze cannon were cast at Augsburg in 1378. Towards the end of the 14th century there were bombardes in existence, capable of throwing balls of stone of 200 lbs. in weight. All early cannon were breech-loaders, and at first they were built of bars of wrought-iron hooped together. The well-known Scottish bombarde, Mons Meg, which was used at the sieges of Dumbarton and Norham in 1489 and 1497 is made in this way. So early as the beginning of the 15th century the prototypes of the modern mitrailleuse were invented. In Germany they were subsequently styled "death-organs," and Weigel mentions one which had as many as thirty-three pipes. In the 15th century cannon of a lighter kind than those used in siege operations began to be employed in the field, carriages with trails were introduced, trunnions were added to the guns, and iron balls became common. With the improvement in the manufacture of the gun-powder it was found that the increased velocity of the pro-jectile made up for the diminution of its weight; and throughout the 16th century, the course of improvement was chiefly directed to the lightening of the enormous weights of the guns and projectiles, so as to secure facility of transport. So much progress had been made in this direction by the middle of the century, that, in 1556, the Emperor Ferdinand was able to march against the Turks with 54 heavy and 127 light pieces of artillery. At this period the French artillery were restricted by Henry II. to the following sizes:—Cannon throwing a projectile of about 34 ffi>; culverins of three sizes, throwing projectiles of 15 lb, 7 J lb, and 2 Tb respectively ; and the falcon and the falconet, the former of which threw a projectile of about 1 B), and the latter of less than half a pound. In the second half of the 16th century mortars began to be used in Germany, and howitzers, or pieces for discharging hollow projectiles in a horizontal direction, came into use in England about the same period. At first the mortars were discharged by double firing, the artilleryman lighting the fuse of the shell with one hand and the priming of the mortar with the other. It was not until 1634 that the mortar was introduced into the French army; and towards the close of the 17th century the method of igniting the fuse of the shell by the discharge of the piece itself became general, and greatly simplified the use of the arm. Though Benjamin Robins (who died in 1742) is sometimes spoken of as the inventor of the greatest improvement of modern times,—the application of the system of rifling to artillery,—he was merely the first who treated the subject scientifically. There are rifled cannon of the 16 th century in the museum of the Hague. One in the arsenal at Ber-lin, dated 1661, is rifled with 16 grooves, and one at Nuremberg, of 1694, has 8 grooves. But it was not til] after the time of Benjamin Robins that, by the application of an armature of softer metal to the iron projectiles of the rifled guns, the difficulty was surmounted of enabling them at the moment of explosion to fit themselves tightly into the grooves of the rifling. The improvements of Paixhans in 1822, and of Armstrong in England and Krupp in Prussia, have brought the manufacture of these monster pieces of ordnance to the highest pitch of perfection. Krupp's cannon are made of cast-steel, and one of these, a breech-loader, exhibited in 1867, weighed close on fifty tons, and its shot, also of cast-steel, were somewhat over half a ton in weight. The most recent, and perhaps the most important improvement in the working of heavy ordnance is that of Captain Moncreiff, by which the recoil of the gun itself is utilised, so as to withdraw it under the parapet, and by means of a counterpoise to elevate it again, after it has been reloaded and laid by means of a reflecting sight. These operations are thus conducted without exposing a man, and the gun itself is only exposed at the moment of delivering its fire.

Hand Fire-arms.—Hand-cannons appear almost simul-taneously with the larger bombardes. They were made by the Flemings in the early part of the 14th century, and before the end of the century considerable bodies of troops were in existence armed with portable culverins. At the battle of Morat (1476) the Swiss army is said to have been provided with 6000 of these hand fire-arms. In England the yeomen of the guard were armed with them in 1485. At first these portable fire-arms were served by two men, but a smaller kind termed petronels were used by the cavalry. The long-barrelled harquebus, the prototype of the modern firelock, having the touch-hole on the right side of the barrel, with a pan for the priming, a trigger, and a pair of movable nippers, called serpentine, for holding the match, was invented in Spain in the time of Francis I. (1515-1547). The muschite (so named from the sparrow-hawk, like the falcon or small cannon) which was larger, heavier, and more powerful than the harquebus, came into use shortly afterwards, and was well known in England before the close of the 16th century. On account of its weight it was provided with a long rest, forked in the upper part and furnished with a spike to stick in the ground. The musket and harquebus when first employed by the French armies were contemptuously spoken of by contemporary writers, by whom they were considered inferior to arblasts and cross-bows. The wheel-lock, which was invented at Nuremberg in 1515, was but sparingly applied to the harquebus and musket on account of the costliness of its mechanism and the uncertainty of its action. The same objection applied to the snaphaunces, the precursors of the first flint locks, and even to the flint locks themselves, which were invented in France about 1640, and it was not till the beginning of the 18th century that the flint-lock musket finally superseded the old match-lock. In 1807 a Scottish clergyman, Alexander Forsyth, took out a patent for a percussion gun, though it was not till 1820 that it began to come into general use. The system of firing the charge by a fulminate was followed by the invention of the needle-gun, the first model of which was constructed in 1827 by Jean Nicolas Dreyse, a native of Erfurt. Improvements in the mode of adapting the bullet to the rifled grooves successively led to the perfected Bystem of the Minie rifle, by which the explosion of the charge expands the cup-shaped end of the conical bullet, and drives it into all the grooves, a process which was previously effected by hammering with the ramrod. The needle-gun was first made breech-loading in 1836, and since that time the improvements effected have been mainly directed to the combination of length of range with accuracy of aim and rapidity of fire. According to an official report, the results of the trial at Spandau of the needle-gun used by the different nations of Europe was as follows:—the Prussian, 12 shots per minute; the Chasse-pôt, 11 ; the Snider (England) 10; the Peabody (Switzer-land), 13; the Werndl (Austria), 12; the Remington (Denmark), 14. Neither breech-loaders nor revolvers, however, are inventions of modern date. Both were known in Germany as early as the close of the 15th century. There are in the Musée d'Artillerie at Paris wheel-lock harquebuses of the 16th century which are breech-loaders ; and there is, in the Tower armoury, a revolver with the old match-lock, the date of which is about 1550. A German harquebus of the 16th century, in the museum of Sigma-ringen, is a revolver of seven barrels. Nor is rifling a new thing in fire-arms, for there was a rifled variety of the old harquebus of the 15th century, in which the balls were driven home by a mallet, and a patent was taken out in England for rifling in 1635. All these systems were thus known at an early period in the history of fire-arms, but it is only the perfecting of their mechanism and rifling, the improvements in the gunpowder and the cartridge, and above all the adoption of the system of firing by a fulminate, that have enabled them to be used with the pre-cision, length of range, and rapidity of fire, that now form such striking features in the warfare of modern times. It remains only to notice the bayonet, the invention of which, about 1650, has been claimed for Puséygur, a native of Bayonne. The bayonet in its simple plug form, inserted into the mouth of the barrel, was adopted in France and England about 1675. In 1689 it was attached by two rings to the barrel by General Mackay and the socketed bayonet was introduced by Vauban into the French army in 1703. In these days of precision of aim with long-range projectiles the bayonet, once the most decisive of modern weapons, has become of secondary importance.

Collections.—The formation of historical collections of
arms and armour dates no further back than the com-
mencement of the 16th century. The earliest is that
made by Louis XII. at Amboise in 1502. The magnifi-
cent collection at Dresden was begun about 1553. The
Ambras collection, now at Vienna, of which a series of
illustrative photographs has been published by the Baron
von Sacken, was commenced in 1570. There is also a
splendid collection in the Imperial Arsenal at Vienna,
which has been described, with illustrations, by Captain
Leitner. The Musée d'Artillerie at Paris, catalogued by
M. 1' Haridon, is one of the richest and best organised
collections in Europe. In the Armeria at Turin there is a
fine collection, of which a catalogue has been published by
Count Seyssel. The collection at Sigmaringen is cata-
logued and illustrated by Dr Lehner, and that of Munich
by M. de Hefner-Alteneck Of the remarkable collections
at Tzarskoe Selo, St Petersburg, and at Madrid, there are
no detailed descriptions. The collection in the Tower of
London, which was classified by Dr Meyrick, and cata-
logued by Mr John Hewitt, contains about 6000 examples,
from the commencement of the Middle Ages downwards.
The most remarkable private collection ever formed in this
or any other country was that of Llewelyn Meyrick at
Goodrich Court. It is to be regretted that the opportunity
of acquiring this collection in its integrity was missed by
the Government. It may be noticed as an indication of
popular interest in the subject, that a Museum of Arms,
including specimens from the earliest period, has been
recently established in Birmingham, containing, in addi-
tion to a series of fire-arms granted by the Government, a
fine and extensive collection made in Italy by the Cavalière
Callandra, of which the guardians of the Birmingham
Proof House have become the purchasers. Lf we except
the National Museum of the Antiquaries at Edinburgh,
which contains a fine series of stone and bronze weapons,
and a few typical examples of the arms of later times,
there is no public collection of arms and armour in Scot-
land, (J. AN.)




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