Scythed balls

Scythed balls

Scythed balls

Inv. 9909
Interpretation by Luigi Tursini, 1953

"Scythes a will be 4 braccia long, and from one tip to the other will be 4 braccia. And these ought to be shot at the cords of the great ships, so that the sails will fall down. And have the craft that carries them carry enough of them, and let them be of strong beams, so that the ship’s smaller bombards will not break them. And the projectile will be 200 pounds."

The model represents a weapon designed by Leonardo to damage the sails on the enemy ships. A cannonball drags a device which opens up and, by hitting the shrouds, causes the sails to fall. This makes the manoeuvres of the enemy ship extremely difficult. In the notes, Leonardo also specifies the dimensions of the scythes (4 arms) and the weight of the balls (200 lb), advising also to reinforce the ship that has to transport them.

The model is based on the drawing:

  • Codex Ashburnham 2037 f. 4 v. (1487-1492)
    Paris, Institut de France