The theorike and practike of moderne vvarres discoursed in dialogue vvise. VVherein is declared the neglect of martiall discipline: the inconuenience thereof: the imperfections of manie training captaines: a redresse by due regard had: the fittest weapons for our moderne vvarre: the vse of the same: the parts of a perfect souldier in generall and in particular: the officers in degrees, with their seuerall duties: the imbattailing of men in formes now most in vse: with figures and tables to the same: with sundrie other martiall points. VVritten by Robert Barret. Comprehended in sixe bookes.
Barret, Robert, fl. 1600.

The Generall of the Artillerie, or Maister of the Ordinance, his election and office.


THE place and office of the Generall of the Artillerie, or Maister of the Ordinance,* is appointed by the Prince. His function is of great qualitie and trust, for the reputation had of the same, and for the effects which the same performeth: and therefore is alwayes encommended and bestowed vpon personages of great grauitie and authority, and of great pru∣dence, valour and experience: for besides the gouernement which he hath of the Artillerie of the Armie, when the same encampeth: it tou∣cheth him,* by reason and course of warre, to prouide for all the sorts & strengths of the realme; and to appoint the orders for their fortification and defence.


These things are no doubt of great consideration, therefore we would Page  122 willingly heare what courses might be taken for the fortifying and defence of a realme, to withstand the enemies attempts.


The strength of euery King or Prince, consisteth in the quantitie and quality of his subiects, and in the good quality of his dominion and countrie.


I pray shew vs more particularly hereof.


I say (gentlemen) that those Princes and Republikes are iudged most mighty, which in their kingdomes and states, doe maintaine, 1 good religion, 2 good lawes,* 3 and good armes; and who doe enioy holsome ayre, 2 fertill ground, and 3 naturall strength, with such other desirable commodities; where∣fore to explane the matter more, you are to vnderstand, that all kingdomes or prouinces are strong either by nature, or by art, or by both.

They are strong by nature, when they are enuironed with the seas round a∣bout, or part thereof, or backed with lakes, mountaines, riuers, or desertes. And those are strong by art, which in their frontiers, and in places most conuenient, haue townes, castels, and fortresses, fortified by art.


It seemeth by this, that the Captaine Generall of the Artillery ought to be very skilfull in artificiall fortifications, I pray therefore declare vnto vs, the considerations to be had in fortifying a place or realme.


All confines are either Mediterraneall, or Maritime, or both the one and the other;* and either they are in mountainous places, or in plaine champain, or do participate of the one, and the other. If they be Mediterraneall, it must bee viewed and considered on what part the enemy might enter to offend the coun∣trie, and what passages he might haue most commodious to conduct his Army, with his munitions and impediments. And it is to bee considered also, on what partes he may most easily make his inrodes, and retire againe with safety, and whether there be any situation, which being fortified by the enemy, might molest and annoy the countrey adioyning.

*If the confines of the kingdome bee Maritime or sea coast, all the coastes and compases are to be viewed and remarked; and to see and consider, whether there be any gulfe, shore, baye, creeke, hauen, port, or any riuer mouth, whereinto the enemy entring with his nauie, and there landing, might annoy and assayle a countrie.* For sea coasts, although they be in some respects strong, yet are they to be entred by a nauie by sea, and do hold the defendant in great suspence and care, not knowing where, or in what part, such nauy will arriue; and so is he driuen to greater charge, being constrained to keepe garrisons in euery suspected place.

And yet it is not inough to keepe good strengths in places most necessarie, and well prouided, for that many times there is found a shore, a baye, a creeke, or riuer mouth, not before esteemed or thought vpon, whereunto the enemy arri∣uing and entring with a mighty nauy,* and there fortifying himselfe vpon some strong and fit situation, doth put the countrey and kingdome in great perill and daunger. As was seene by the Spanish nauy and army, at the conquest of the Por∣tugall kingdome, who touched at the head of Caxcais, and landed in a place neuer thought vpon by the Portingall, so they found themselues deceiued, thin∣king that the disembarkment should haue beene betwixt the city and San Gillians Castle, where they stood fortified in their trenches, with determination to de∣fend Page  123 the landing.* And the sundry braue lādings of Sir Francis Drake in the Indias, and in many partes of Spaine and Portugall (at most of the which I my selfe haue bin) do verifie the same: wherby it is manifestly to be gathered, that sea coast coun∣tries are to be defended with great difficulty, cost, and charge, and with doubtfull successe, yea although that they haue many places strong by nature. And for as much as there be diuerse and variable qualities of confines, and no certaine rule to be giuen thereupon, nor what distance there should be from frontier to fron∣tier, it must be presupposed that the confines of a kingdome,* doth hold some correspondency with the circuit of a city: in the fortification whereof, the bul∣warkes are the most important members, the which are set in the place where they may most offend the enemy, and also defend themselues, and the city; regard∣ing therein due distance, in such sort that the one may defend the other, with their Artillery and small shot, and in like manner the Curtines betwixt bulwarke and bulwarke; with other aduertisements therein to be considered. And euen so the sortes to be made in the frontiers,* are to hold the like proportion, and corres∣pondency with the confines of the countrie, as do the bulwarks with the courtines of a city; the one being placed so neare vnto the other, that they may assist and suc∣cour one another, and in such partes as may most damnifie the enemy, and best defend themselues.

The places most apt to receiue offence by the enemy, being found out, and also to offend him,* it is necessary to fortifie the same, as well the sea coasts as the in∣land, with strong fortifications, castles, and bulwarkes taking wonderfull adui∣sement, and carefull consideration in chusing the situations thereof, whether it be on plaines, or hils, or Maritime; or consisting of all three, vnderstanding onely the compasse or circuit of the fort, with a certaine conuenient space round a∣bout the same.

Of situations in plaines,* those are strong, which are enuironed with deepe lakes, great moores, and high water shores, and bankes, and those which may bee sunke vnder water in time of necessitie, as in Holland and Zealand, and these which haue a Campania raza, or plaine Champain, sufficient distant from all things that might ouer-commaund the same, as is the Castle of Millan and Antwerpe, and such like.

Of situation vpon a hill,* that is strong which standeth in the most highest part thereof, all vnderlayed with naturall rockes round about, not hauing neare it a∣ny superiour nor equall mount: for in effect all situations which haue a difficult accesse are strong, when they cannot be offended from other adioyning mounts; and much more stronger, if not minable; as is the fort of San Sebastian in Guipus∣cua, and that of Denia in Valencia, with sundry others the like: for mining is the greatest offence that such fortes can receiue.

The Maritime situations are strong,* when they be compassed with the sea, as is the litle fort at Plimouth, or partly compassed with the sea, and the rest deuided from the maine, by great and deepe ditches, as is the Castle of San Gyllians by Lisbona; or built vpon some toppe of a rocke, with the aboue sayd commodi∣ties; as is the Pennion of Veles Malaga within the straightes of Gribratar in Spaine,* and such others.

All strong places are expugned either by force or battery and armes, or by Page  124 treason, or by surprize, or by long besieging, but we are now to treate of no more, but of the manifest expugnation wherewith holds and fortes are wonne, which is, by battery, by assault, by scaling, by vndermining, and such like.

Citties are made strong by nature and industrie; of that by nature, we haue al∣ready spoken in the strength of situations.

*Cities by industry are strong, by the forme and by the matter.

Strong by the matter, when they haue thicke walles, great Terraplenes, and broade and deepe ditches.

By the forme they are strong, when it is framed such, that when the most far∣thest off that may be, and from most parts and quarters, it may offend the enemy with Cannon and fiery shot.

*Of this sort are those, which do most neare aproach vnto the Circular figure; but with good regard of the due largenes of the Curtines, and the equall distance of bulwarke to bulwarke.

*There entreth amongst these all Fortes and strong Townes, consisting of fiue, sixe, seuen, eight or ten Angles; and Curtaines, by direct line, and how many more Angles, so much the better, the foure Anguled of all others is the worst.

And it is to be noted, that very small places are of themselues but weake, be∣cause they cannot so sufficiently resist any excessiue battery, and other offences, as great places may, which haue roome capable inough to raise defences, and ne∣cessary Rampartes against any great force: neither yet ought they to be so large, that the circuit therof would require a whole army to defend it.

*The fortifications of Cities and Castels is grounded principally against the offence of artillery, and is also defended with the same.

And it is to be noted, that the artillery is deuided and differenced, into great∣nesse or Sizes royall, and into lesser sizes.

Of the Size royal, is that peece which shooteth a bullet from seuenteene pound waight vpward; as is the Culuerine, the quarter Cannon, the demy Cannon, the Cannon and double Cannon; the Pedrera, Basilisco, and such like. And for the lesser size and difference, is to be vnderstood all peeces that shoot bullet of waight from seuenteene pound downeward, as is the demy Culuerine, the Saker, the Minion, the Falcon, the Falconet, euen to the Rabinet, and Hargubuze a Croek.

*The artillery from whence a City, Fortresse or Fort, may receiue most offence and dammage, is that of the greatest size, and greatnesse: for of the lesser size there is no great doubt to be had, sith that the demy Culuerine can do no great offence nor dammage, and from that size downeward: and therefore the Bulwarkes, Ter∣raplenes, and Parapets, are to be made in such sort and strength, as they may be able to resist and beare of the blow and gulpe of the artillery of the greatest size: and Mattockes, shouels and spades are fit instruments and tooles to the same.

*Resolution taken of the forme of the City, Fortresse, or fort, be it either of 5, 6, 7, or 10 Angles, or of how many soeuer, it is necessarie to couple the same with their conuenient members, to make it of proportionall strength; which are these following.


*The Bulwarkes are made vpon the Angles or corners of the forme of the City or Fort, and of such size and measure as shall seeme due and conuenient vnto the Page  125 skilfull engyner; and they ought to be made obtuse or blunt, and not sharpe: for so they are more strong and capable.

The parts of a Bulwarke are the Trauesses or flankers;* the Orecchion or Pome, or gard, or shoulder; the front or Curtaine; the Counter front or Spurres; the Pestiles or Parapets; the place or roome for the artillery in the vnder Trauesse or flanker, & in the vpper; the entrances into the one and the other, and into the place aboue.

The Bulwarkes, as I sayd, are placed vpon the Angles, and from any part (you will) of the Angle is taken 120,* or 130 foote, for the places of the Artillery both aboue & beneath, and for his Parapets & place of the same Bulwark, and at the end of this said number is taken the Trauesse vnto the right Angle aboue the Curtine of the sayd measure; from the head of the which measure, & from the point of the first Trauesse next adioyning, is drawne an indefinitiue line; & doing the like from the other part of the Angle and from the other Trauesse, these two straight lines shall come to be cut, in the which cutting shall the Angle of the Bulwarke be.

And it is to be noted, that it shall be better that the Curtines of the Bulwarke, do stand in such sort, that they may bee touched or beaten from the first Can∣nonera,* from whose flanker or Trauesse it taketh his defence and the point may be taken somwhat more distant from the flanker in a large Curtine; and according as one wold make the Bulwarke great or little, so the measures must be encreased or diminished with conueniencie.

It is necessary to make in the Bulwarkes certaine issues or sallies, the which are made on the part that looketh toward the flanker or Trauesse: & the Bulwark ha∣uing an Orecchion,* they are made in the first Trauesse, vnder the first Cannonera or Cannō roome: and at the least it ought to haue one, for that they be very neces∣sary for the defence of the ditch, and to put people out thereat. And for the better to giue you to vnderstand, I should draw a Plat or figure of the Bulwarke, but time now permitteth me not.

The Tronera or which standeth next vnto the Orecchion ought to defend the front of the Bulwarke, and part of the ditch, although the first may de∣fend the whole,* & therfore the point or front of the Orecchion shall alwayes ende with two blunt or obtuse Angles, and shall be somwhat more narrow in the said front or end, th in then beginning neare vnto the Tronera.

The Pendent or bending of the Parapet should be somwhat round or slope, to the end that the shot of the artillery,* beating thereupon, might glance vp, for not to annoy those that stand at the defence, which would if they are made straight vpon a right line: & from the sayd Parapet shall be discouered the couert way a long the edge or border of the ditch. The Counterfortes, and the other ap∣pertenances of the Bulwarke haue also their measures and proportions; the which I leaue to repeate to auoide prolixitie; and because they may be more or lesse, ac∣cording to the desseigns and Plats of the perfe Inginers.

The Cauallero within side, adioyning to the Curtine.

The Caualleres within side adioyning to the Curtine,* are builded in the middest of them; and from such Caualleres are the Curtins or walls of the Bulwarke de∣fended, and also the field. And for this cause are the Bulwarkes wont to be made more sharpe, and lesse strong, and they are to be more higher then the Curtines, and open toward the field.

Page  126
*Cauallere a Cauallo, called a Platforme or bastard.

The Platformes or Cauallers without the Curtines, are in like sort built about the midle of the wall, and without, as are the bulwarkes, and his height is of the highnesse of the wall. These against a good battery are but weake, for that one of their flankers is easily beaten downe, and so the city more easie to be annoyed; and haue no more but one Cannonera, with his place high & low, which defendeth the great curitne & the curtin of the bulwarke: the angle is made in respect of the two bulwarkes. This sort of platformes is made vpon necessitie, betwixt the two bul∣warkes, by reason that the wals or curtines are ouer long, and aboue due measure: it were better to seeke some other remedy, and not to vse this sort of flankers; for they be weake and dangerous.

The Caualleres within side, and distant from the Curtines.

*The Cauallers aparted from the wals, are built in places which haue any high ground without, and opposite, which may discouer and annoy the city; and on such part where the enemy may come in couert, euē vnto the ditch, without being seene or annoyed: they are to be made of such height, as may suffice to see ouer the seat that it wold discouer; and are made so broade and large, as may be capable for the artillery, which is pretended to be there planted, and the thicknesse of the Parapets, as shold be sufficient; for they come first to be battered with the enemies artillery: and are to bee builded so farre distant from the walles, that the ruines, when they be battered come not to annoy the souldiers, that stand at the defence. These Caualleres ought in no wise to be made within the bulwarkes, for so it wold occupy the place that should serue to defend them; but to be built in some place behind them, or on some other part; they haue also their Scarphe or Alambor, and are to be open on that part next vnto the towne, with their entrances good and sure from any offence that might come from without.

The Tenazas, or

*The Tenazas are made in place of the platformes, being set within the wall; and also are built in hilly situations, vpon, or toward the turning of the valley: and are the best manner of flankers, for it is nothing else but a Curtine defended with his bulwarkes.

The Tizeras, Dientes, and Casamats.

*The Dientes and Tizeras, and other simple flankers, are to be accommoda∣ted in situations or seates strong by nature; for they come euill to purpose on plaine grounds, not in place that may be battered: and therefore the curtines which be defended with such manner of Trauesses ought to bee short; for hauing but one flanker they are but badly defended. Their measure or sizes are bigger or lesser, according to the quality of the seat where they be set.

Casamats were wont to be made in steede and place, where we now plant our Page  127 Platformes, but so low that they arriued not vnto the alture of the ditch. They are vnprofitable, for they are soone ouer couered with the ruine that falles from the battery, and smothered with the smoke of their owne Ordenance: for they bee all close and couered, and do giue meanes vnto the enemy to aproach neare vnto the walles, with trenches, or such like aprochings.

The gates of the City, or Fortresse.

The gates or portes are to bee placed in partes most commodious for the ser∣uice of the city,* both in peace and warre, conuenient to receiue in, or put out peo∣ple, necessary, and most safe and sure from all manner of offences, and so low that the ditch may hide and couer them. The gate must haue his draw-bridge made of timber, and his rastell or drawer of strong timber or iron; and must also haue his Serracenesca or Percluys.

The way which commeth from without, should not come direct vpon the gate,* to the ende it be not easily discouered into the field; but of sufficient wide∣nesse, for the passages of cartes, waynes, and artillery; and of a moderate highnes.

The Terraplene, and place or broade way behind the same; and the spaces of Retreats.

The Terraplene,* the only remedy against the fury of the artillery, is to bee made within, or close behind the wall, and within the bulwarke and caualleros. It ought to be framed in such manner, that the wall being fallen, the same may re∣maine and stand like a mighty mount against the enemy: and should be made of such fast and massie earth, that it crumble, slippe, nor rowle not, and so fall downe; as did a fortification made at Carthagena in Spaine, for being made of running sand. The height and breadth thereof ought to be such as the commo∣dity and seat will require.

Toward the City on the inner part, it ought to decline and bend downe by little and little, for the easie ascending to the defence of the wall; not onely for the loose souldiers,* but also for a formed squadron, and the artillery. There should be within at the very foote of the Terraplene, an open way round about the city, and withall, behind the same, certaine conuenient spaces and roomes to con∣taine squadrons of soldiers for to succour & relieue those that stand at the defence of the walles, and also to make retraites into, when necessity should constraine.

The ditch small or great.

The ditch is made on the out side round about the wall,* and ought to be made so deepe, and cast vp so high, that it should couer the wall, at the least vnto the Cordone, and no more but to the beginning of the Parapete; for that, for to bat∣ter the wall, the enemy would be constrained to mount vp: and should be of such widenesse, that it might not be well passed ouer with bridges, ladders, or other engines, and difficult to be filled with any matter. It should haue in the middest a little ditch or gutter, which shall serue as well to receiue the waters, as to assure Page  128 them somewhat from the myne; and also to giue some hinderance to the enemy, when either perforce, or by surprise, or by treason, they should enter into the ditch. At the end of the ditch there should be made a close way or passage, by the which the souldiers might secretly sallie to annoy the enemy; and to defend the ditch; and themselues to be defended from the wall: and round about the ditch there should be another like vault or priuie way.

The Campania raza, or plaine Champain, without the towne.

*The Campania or field without the Citie ought to be razed or plained a thou∣sand pases round about, beginning from the border or ring of the ditch; or at the least of sixe hundred pases: and there should remaine neither ditches, wals, gar∣dens, orchards, nor buildings, nor boundes, nor by-pathes, nor hollow wayes, nor any thing else that might yeeld meanes vnto the enemy to approch the Citie, without being endangered: rasing downe in like sort, all other things that might serue for Cauallero or Mount, to aduantage the enemy to the batterie.

All these things are the members of a fortification, the which how much more fit, and proportionally they be placed about the body and circuite of a Citie, so much doth it make the same more strong and beautifull.