The Artillery of the Dukes of Burgundy, 1363-1477

The Artillery of the Dukes of Burgundy, 1363-1477

Robert Douglas Smith, Kelly DeVries


Boydell Press



A major new exploration of the history and development of gunpowder weapons in the 15th century based on the artillery of the Dukes of Burgundy.
The four Valois Dukes of Burgundy created, in little more than a century, a fabulously wealthy and independent state. Their centralised control and chancellery have bequeathed to us a vast treasure trove of documents, including accounts and inventories of the Masters of the artillery under the later Dukes. Although many of these were extracted and transcribed in the late 19th century, modern historians have largely ignored their unprecedented insights into 15th century guns and their use.

When Charles the Bold, the last Valois Duke, took on the combined Swiss confederate forces in 1476 he lost not just the battles and his personal fortune, but much of his artillery train as well. Of the dozens of cannons captured, at least 25 pieces survive in Swiss museums.

The documents that survive from the Valois state give us, almost for the first time in Medieval Europe, the ability to see the course of history in a period when Europe was undergoing some of the most profound changes before the 20th century.

The Artillery of the Dukes of Burgundy is the first attempt to combine all these sources, bringing new and fresh insights into the development and use of artillery in the 15th century. Moreover this is the first modern study of medieval cannon, one of the most important discoveries of the post-classical world.

KELLY DeVRIES has authored numerous books and articles on medieval warfare. ROBERT DOUGLAS SMITH formerly Head of Conservation in the Royal Armouries, Tower of London, is an acknowledged expert on medieval artillery. This study is the first major fruit of their combined researches.


November 2005
150 black and white, 25 line illustrations
386 pages
24.4x17.2 cm
Armour and Weapons
ISBN: 9781843831624
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BIC GBC, 1DDN, 2AB, 3H, 4P
BISAC HIS027000, HIS013000, HIS037010
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A carefully argued and well-produced volume. Anyone with an interest in warfare in the century covered will find much to educate and enthral the in this book. THE RICARDIAN

Der Band gibt eine verzügliche Übersicht über die Entwicklung und den Einsatz von Pulverwaffen unter den vier Valoirherzögen von Burgund (...) Index und Literarturverzeichnis beschliessen den Band, der durch Substanz und Kompetenz ein Standartwerk ist. DEUTSCHES ARCHIV FUER DIE ERFORSCHUNG DES MITTELALTERS

Fascinating and informative and should appeal to both scholar and interested reader alike. CASEMATE (Philip A. Magrath, Curator of Artillery, Royal Armouries)
Provides an excellent insight into the late medieval development of these weapons. (...) Obviously an important book for military historians because of its insight into the development of gunpowder weapons, but it will also be of interest to others concerned with the dukes of Burgundy and their impact on European history. HISTORY
This scholarly book is a definitive history of gunpowder weapons in the 14th and 15th centuries; the authors have revitalised the history of artillery. (...) Highly recommended. CLASSIC ARMS AND MILITARIA
An especially impressive book that casts an informed light upon gunpowder weaponry as it made inroads into medieval warfare (and) an invaluable reference resource to be very highly commended to the medieval re-enactor, or armchair historian. RANDLESREVIEWS.CO.UK
A very readable interesting account (which) provides some superb detail and background information. HOBILAR

Author Bio

Kelly DeVries is Professor of History at Loyola College, Baltimore, USA.

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