VALLE, Giambattista delle.
Vallo Libro continente appertinente à capitanii, ritenere & fortificare una città con bastioni, con novi artificii de fuoco aggionti, come nella tavola appare, & de diverse sorte polvere, & de espugnare una città con ponti, scale, argani, trombe, trenciere, artegliarie, cave, dare avisamenti senza messo allo amico, fare ordinanze, battaglioni, & ponti de disfida con lo pingere. Opera molto utile con la esperientia de l’arte militare.
[Colophon:] Stampata in Vineggia [Venice]: per gli heredi di Piero Ravano, & compagni. .1550
Small 8vo, ff. (viii), 71, (1) printer’s device. Title within woodcut border, woodcut initials, italic type, with 21 woodcuts in the text (10 full-page) and 25 typographical diagrams of troop formations. Later mottled sheep. A few small marks, but a nice copy.
The first book on fortification. This edition, the seventh overall, is the last of six almost identical editions printed by Ravano. The first edition, printed in Naples by Antonio de Frizis, is extremely rare such that its very existence was at one time in doubt. “Vallo’s manual is a practical work for the lower ranks, written in the vernacular by a soldier of wide experience. It is divided into four books: Book I deals with fortification and defence, especially artillery and fireworks; Book II with attack, illustrating ladders and bridges; Book III shows battle orders; Book IV is mostly about ‘ethics’. Of greatest importance in the present context are the chapters on earthwork fortification, illustrating methods of making bastions out of wood-reinforced stamped earth… These chapters are the first writings about fortification to appear in print anywhere… The Venice editions, with their three (new ?) illustrated chapters on fireworks, became very popular, judging by the frequency with which they were reprinted: obviously Vallo filled a gap in the market, and it is astonishing that no other author filled it until 1554…” (Breman). The woodcuts illustrate many aspects of the book including siege engines, fireworks, earthworks, and even diving equipment. Breman, Books on Military Architecture printed in Venice, 328.