‘The rascal with his fire stick’: The Artist, the Arquebus, and the Italian Wars

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Date / time: 26 July, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

The Royal Armouries Museum

The Italian Wars of the sixteenth century established Spanish power from Sicily to Milan, but also spurred the development of new firearms. Manufactured in international production centres in Italy and southern Germany, these new matchlock, wheel-lock, and flintlock arquebuses and pistols changed the face of battle and promoted changes in battlefield tactics. However, they also spread rapidly among the civilian population. This new access to firearms affected social relations, crime, and popular cultures.

This talk begins by using the example of the goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini of Florence to demonstrate the influence of these early gun cultures. It explains the attractiveness of firearms in sixteenth-century Italy, and highlights their impact in cities, villages, and fields. Drawing on the lived experiences of those who encountered firearms, the talk presents a new lens through which to view these weapons. In doing so, it gives fresh insights into the dynamism of an early modern world that is often presented as being socially static and exposes the bloody reality of the celebrated Italian Renaissance.

To sign up for the talk, go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/online-lecture-the-rascal-with-his-firestick-tickets-645896171837