Walter de Milemete

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Earliest picture of a European cannon, De nobilitatibus sapientii et prudentiis regum, Walter de Milemete, 1326

Walter de Milemete was an English scholar[1] who in his early twenties was commissioned by Queen Isabella of France to write a treatise on kingship for her son, the young prince Edward, later king Edward III of England called De nobilitatibus, sapientiis, et prudentiis regum in 1326.[2] The Treatise includes images of siege weapons and what is probably the first[3] illustration of a firearm: a pot-de-fer.[4] One of the marginal border illustrations in the Milemete Treatise shows a soldier firing a large vase-shaped cannon, the arrow-shaped projectile is seen projecting from the cannon which is pointed at a fortification.[5] In the 1331 siege of Cividale, German knights used guns which were probably very similar to Milemete weapons.[6]

The treatise includes an illustration of St. George giving Prince Edward a shield decorated with coat of arms. [7] The manuscript, in a red velvet binding, is now held by the library of Christ Church, Oxford. The treatise also depicts a group of knights flying a firebomb kite laden black-powder filled firebomb over the wall of city.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ M.A. Michael. 'The iconography of kingship in the Walter of Milemete treatise'. Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 57 (1994), 35-47.
  2. ^ C.J. Nederman, Political thought in early fourteenth-century England : treatises by Walter of Milemete, William of Pagula, and William of Ockham, Turnhout, 2002.
  3. ^ Anne Curry, in The Hundred Years' War, 1337-1453 ISBN 1-84176-269-5 includes a drawing from a book of instruction for Edward III of England which "may predate slightly [Milimete's illustration]"
  4. ^ Walter de Milemet from Science and Its Times (2006)
  5. ^ Montague Rhodes James, ed., The Treatise of Walter de Milemete, 1913, p. 140, cited in Robert Douglas Smith, The Artillery of the Dukes of Burgundy, 1363-1477, p. 10 ISBN 978-1-84383-162-4
  6. ^ Rogers, Clifford J., Military Revolutions of the Hundred Years' War, in The Military Revolution Debate, p. 65. ISBN 0-8133-2054-2
  7. ^ Giles Morgan (2003), St George: Knight, Martyr, Patron Saint and Dragonslayer. Chartwell Books ISBN 0785822321
  8. ^ Taking Flight: Inventing the Aerial Age, from Antiquity Through the First World War, Richard Hallion, pages 9-10