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New Medieval Books: Gunpowder Technology in the Fifteenth Century

Gunpowder Technology in the Fifteenth Century: A Study, Edition and Translation of the Firework Book

By Axel E. W. Müller

The Boydell Press
ISBN: 978-1-78327-731-5

After examining what we know about the development of gunpowder in late medieval Europe, this book offers an edition and translation of an early 15th-century manuscript known as a Firework Book.


While there is some information to be gleaned from fragments in local chronicles and other written evidence, as well as from isolated surviving fragments, it is arguably through the study of military manuscripts that we can obtain the most comprehensive insight into military techniques in the fifteenth century and the emergence of this technology. Particularly valuable is the genre of technical manuscripts known as the Firework Book (one of the first surviving group of manuals written for gunpowder technology). However, no sustained, comparative analysis of the Firework Book genre has yet been undertaken. Accordingly, this book aims to answer some of the basic questions about gunpowder and early artillery in order to create a solid foundation of good hard evidence and research for others to build upon.


Who is this book for?

This book will be of use to specialists in medieval warfare or medieval technology, with the introduction being the most useful. The text and translation of the manuscript Royal Armouries I.34 is a very technical read and probably difficult for most medievalists to understand.

The author/translator

Axel E. W. Müller teaches in the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds and is also the director of its International Medieval Congress. Besides his interest in military technology, Axel also studies the reception of the Middle Ages in more modern times.


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