Military equipment

  • Helen Nicholson


Christine de Pisan, writing in 1408–9, set out the military equipment required for a siege. She was apparently listing the materials actually used in a real siege described to her by the military men who were her informants on current military practice. The equipment required to besiege a tresforte place, a very strong place, included some impressive ordnance: ‘Again, four great cannons, one of which is called garite, the next rose, the next seneca and the next maye.’ These were presumably cannons that had recently fought for France; it was normal to give large artillery pieces names, be they stonethrowers or gunpowder weapons. They might, however, have been particular types of cannon. Garite, Christine tells us, hurls weights of 400–500 pounds (180–225 kilograms); Rose hurls weights of 300 pounds (135 kilograms) and the last two hurl weights of 200 pounds (90 kilograms) or more. Finally, there was a gun called Montfort hurling 300-pound weights. Interestingly, Caxton’s translation of this section of her work gives 500 pounds for Garite and 400 for Rose; perhaps his manuscript gave different figures, or perhaps the larger cannon of his day were more powerful.1


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Further reading

  1. Sydney Anglo, The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000)Google Scholar
  2. Paul E. Chevedden, ‘The Invention of the Counterweight Trebuchet: A Study in Cultural Diffusion’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 54 (2000), 71–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. John Clark, ed., The Medieval Horse and its Equipment, c.1150-c.1450 (London: HMSO, 1995)Google Scholar
  4. Peter Coss and Maurice Keen, eds, Heraldry, Pageantry and Social Display in Medieval England (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2002)Google Scholar
  5. Simon Coupland, ‘Carolingian Arms and Armor in the Ninth Century’, Viator, 21 (1990), 29–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Kelly DeVries, Medieval Military Technology (Ontario: Broadview, 1998)Google Scholar
  7. Peter H. Humphries, Engines of War: Replica Medieval Siege Weapons at Caerphilly Castle, 2nd edn (Cardiff: Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments, 1996)Google Scholar
  8. Ann Hyland, The Medieval Warhorse: From Byzantium to the Crusades (London: Grange, 1994)Google Scholar
  9. Ann Hyland, The Warhorse, 1250–1600 (Stroud: Sutton, 1998)Google Scholar
  10. Ewart Oakeshott, Records of the Medieval Sword (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1991)Google Scholar
  11. David C. Nicolle, Arms and Armour of the Crusading era, 1050–1350 (London: Greenhill, 1999)Google Scholar
  12. David C. Nicolle, ed., A Companion to Medieval Arms and Armour (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2002)Google Scholar
  13. Alan Williams, The Knight and and the Blast Furnace: A History of Metallurgy of Armour in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period (Leiden: Brill, 2002) See also the works listed under Chapter 2.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Helen J. Nicholson 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Nicholson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations