Whenever we mention Da Vinci, there’s no question that the first thing that comes into our minds is this brilliant painter, sculptor, and humanist and, of course, his famous works like Mona Lisa and the Last Supper. I mean, they’re classic. They’re truly amazing and forever cemented in the history of humanity for the next generations to admire. Or perhaps it was his long and gorgeous beard and mustache? Whichever it was, no one would really picture Leonardo the Saboteur, who used his talents in designing weapons of war. But he did.

Called to War

Da Vinci’s parents knew from the very beginning that he was a gifted child, so they nurtured his talents from an early age with artistic training that he got from Florence. When the Italian Wars of 1499 to 1504 broke out, he was 47 and already established in the sense that he was a famous painter. Although, he had not painted Mona Lisa at that time yet. Once the French invaded Milan, he moved to Venice to try and avoid the conflict. He was, however, still called to serve in the military not as a soldier but as a weapon and military equipment designer. Da Vinci detested violence, and he would rather spend his time and effort on creating his artworks and human understanding, but he could not say no to those who helped him pursue his career, so he accepted. The patronage of the ruling class paid his bills after all. Thus, began his interesting career as a designer of futuristic weapons.

Triple-Barreled Cannon

During his time, cannons were in stationary positions rather than mobile weapons that could be wheeled into positions on the battlefield. This was because they were really heavy and took a lot of time to reload. To solve these issues, he came up with the triple barrel cannon that was not just fast and light but could also inflict significant damage to the enemies.

Da Vinci’s Cannons. (editions.covecollective.org)

The weapon was composed of three thin cannons that would be front-loaded and height-adjustable. The three barrels meant the soldiers could load three shots at once, enabling them to fire more frequently, while the wheels would allow the cannon to be moved from one area to another during battles. One of his triple-barrel cannons was discovered in an old Croatian fort in the 1970s, and in 2011, it was confirmed to be of Da Vinci’s design.