This remarkable manuscript, completed on 7 May 1545, contains a range of treatises on warfare and weaponry, including texts from both ancient Greece and Byzantium. It is lavishly decorated, with diagrams of the machines described in the various texts painted in a combination of yellow, red, green and grey. The texts include general discussions of tactics, treatises on specific topics such as siege-engines and catapults, and more general texts on military machinery.
The manuscript was created in Venice, but later moved east and formed part of the collection of the Monastery of St Catherine, Mount Sinai. It was acquired by Charles Burney (1757–1817) at an anonymous sale in 1810, and forms part of the Burney Collection, the vast collection of manuscripts, theatrical ephemera, and newspapers that was acquired by the British Museum in 1818.
- Article by:
- Ian Ruffell
A fascinating group of manuscripts from the 15th and 16th centuries preserve a range of ancient and Byzantine works on mechanics. Here, Ian Ruffell gives an introduction to the discipline of Greek mechanical writing.