Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-5f95dd588d-l872j Total loading time: 0.234 Render date: 2021-10-28T21:53:25.866Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

5 - A “Clock-and-Bow” Story: Late Medieval Technology from Monastic Evidence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 September 2012

Get access

Summary

That our descriptions of some forms of medieval military technology suffer from a frustrating lack of specificity is well-known to historians of the period. This modern thirst for precision is frustrated in most other areas of medieval research as well, and distinctions most of us believe to be clear and natural are not always so; even basic terms like monachus and canonicus, Templarius and Hospitalarius, oblatus and donatus, were sometimes used in pairs or in ways that seem to presume a degree of interchangeability. Military history is not immune from such difficulties, and perhaps the most well-known example is the term ballista, which is used in ways that can mean anything from a personal crossbow to a larger siege weapon. This brief communication employs a unique source in an effort to explore further our vocabulary associated with ballistae and their accouterments, touching as they do in this instance upon the broader interplay of late medieval military and orological technologies, and to consider the implications of sometimes contradictory evidence which emerges from non-technical texts and image-laden treatises of a more technical origin.

The source in question originated at San Lorenzo in Campo, a Benedictine house in the northern portions of the modern Marche, approximately twenty-five kilometers northwest of Ancona and twenty-five kilometers southeast of Urbino. Its origins before the eleventh century are unclear, and the exact means by which the monastery became integrated into the defense system of the city of San Lorenzo remains a mystery, although one local and likely apocryphal tradition places the event within the reign of Theodoric the Ostrogoth.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2007

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×