The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci, Volume 2
Leonardo Da Vinci
Part 5 out of 10
Canals in connection with the Arno (1001-1008).
CANAL OF FLORENCE.
Sluices should be made in the valley of la Chiana at Arezzo, so that
when, in the summer, the Arno lacks water, the canal may not remain
dry: and let this canal be 20 braccia wide at the bottom, and at the
top 30, and 2 braccia deep, or 4, so that two of these braccia may
flow to the mills and the meadows, which will benefit the country;
and Prato, Pistoia and Pisa, as well as Florence, will gain two
hundred thousand ducats a year, and will lend a hand and money to
this useful work; and the Lucchese the same, for the lake of Sesto
will be navigable; I shall direct it to Prato and Pistoia, and cut
through Serravalle and make an issue into the lake; for there will
be no need of locks or supports, which are not lasting and so will
always be giving trouble in working at them and keeping them up.
And know that in digging this canal where it is 4 braccia deep, it
will cost 4 dinari the square braccio; for twice the depth 6 dinari,
if you are making 4 braccia [Footnote: This passage is illustrated
by a slightly sketched map, on which these places are indicated from
West to East: Pisa, Luccha, Lago, Seravalle, Pistoja, Prato,
Firenze.] and there are but 2 banks; that is to say one from the
bottom of the trench to the surface of the edges of it, and the
other from these edges to the top of the ridge of earth which will
be raised on the margin of the bank. And if this bank were of double
the depth only the first bank will be increased, that is 4 braccia
increased by half the first cost; that is to say that if at first 4
dinari were paid for 2 banks, for 3 it would come to 6, at 2 dinari
the bank, if the trench measured 16 braccia at the bottom; again, if
the trench were 16 braccia wide and 4 deep, coming to 4 lire for the
work, 4 Milan dinari the square braccio; a trench which was 32
braccia at the bottom would come to 8 dinari the square braccio.
>From the wall of the Arno at [the gate of] la Giustizia to the bank
of the Arno at Sardigna where the walls are, to the mills, is 7400
braccia, that is 2 miles and 1400 braccia and beyond the Arno is
[Footnote: 2. _Giustizia_. By this the Porta della Giustizia seems
to be meant; from the XVth to the XVIth centuries it was also
commonly known as Porta Guelfa, Porta San Francesco del Renaio,
Porta Nuova, and Porta Reale. It was close to the Arno opposite to
the Porta San Niccolo, which still exists.]
By guiding the Arno above and below a treasure will be found in each
acre of ground by whomsoever will.
The wall of the old houses runs towards the gate of San Nicolo.
[Footnote: By the side of this text there is an indistinct sketch,
resembling that given under No.973. On the bank is written the word
_Casace_. There then follows in the original a passage of 12 lines
in which the consequences of the windings of the river are
discussed. A larger but equally hasty diagram on the same page
represents the shores of the Arno inside Florence as in two parallel
lines. Four horizontal lines indicate the bridges. By the side these
measures are stated in figures: I. (at the Ponte alla Carraja):
_230--largho br. 12 e 2 di spoda e 14 di pile e a 4 pilastri;_ 2.
(at the Ponte S. Trinita); _l88--largho br. 15 e 2 di spode he 28
di pilastri for delle spode e pilastri so 2;_ 3. (at the Ponte
vecchio); _pote lung br. 152 e largo;_ 4. (at the Ponte alle
Grazie): _290 ellargo 12 e 2 di spode e 6 di pili._
There is, in MS. W. L. 2l2b, a sketched plan of Florence, with the
following names of gates:
_Nicholo--Saminiato--Giorgo--Ghanolini--Porta San Fredian
The ruined wall is 640 braccia; 130 is the wall remaining with the
mill; 300 braccia were broken in 4 years by Bisarno.
They do not know why the Arno will never remain in a channel. It is
because the rivers which flow into it deposit earth where they
enter, and wear it away on the opposite side, bending the river in
that direction. The Arno flows for 6 miles between la Caprona and
Leghorn; and for 12 through the marshes, which extend 32 miles, and
16 from La Caprona up the river, which makes 48; by the Arno from
Florence beyond 16 miles; to Vico 16 miles, and the canal is 5; from
Florence to Fucechio it is 40 miles by the river Arno.
56 miles by the Arno from Florence to Vico; by the Pistoia canal it
is 44 miles. Thus it is 12 miles shorter by the canal than by the
[Footnote: This passage is written by the side of a map washed in
Indian ink, of the course of the Arno; it is evidently a sketch for
a completer map.
These investigations may possibly be connected with the following
documents. _Francesco Guiducci alla Balia di Firenze. Dal Campo
contro Pisa_ 24 _Luglio_ 1503 (_Archivio di Stato, Firenze, Lettere
alla Balia_; published by J. GAYE, _Carteggio inedito d'Artisti,
Firenze_ 1840, _Tom. II_, p. 62): _Ex Castris, Franciscus
Ghuiduccius,_ 24. _Jul._ 1503. _Appresso fu qui hieri con una di V.
Signoria Alexandro degli Albizi insieme con Leonardo da Vinci et
certi altri, et veduto el disegno insieme con el ghovernatore, doppo
molte discussioni et dubii conclusesi che l'opera fussi molto al
proposito, o si veramente Arno volgersi qui, o restarvi con un
canale, che almeno vieterebbe che le colline da nemici non
potrebbono essere offese; come tucto referiranno loro a bocha V. S._
And, _Archivio di Stato, Firenze, Libro d'Entrata e Uscita di cassa
de' Magnifici Signori di luglio e agosto_
1503 _a_ 51 _T.: Andata di Leonardo al Campo sotto Pisa. Spese
extraordinarie dieno dare a di XXVI di luglio L. LVI sol. XII per
loro a Giovanni Piffero; e sono per tanti, asegnia avere spexi in
vetture di sei chavalli a spese di vitto per andare chon Lionardo da
Vinci a livellare Arno in quello di Pisa per levallo del lilo suo._
(Published by MILANESI, _Archivio Storico Italiano, Serie III, Tom.
XVI._} VASARI asserts: _(Leonardo) fu il primo ancora, che
giovanetto discorresse sopra il fiume d'Arno per metterlo in canale
da Pisa a Fiorenza_ (ed. SANSONI, IV, 20).
The passage above is in some degree illustrated by the map on Pl.
CXII, where the course of the Arno westward from Empoli is shown.]
The eddy made by the Mensola, when the Arno is low and the Mensola
[Footnote: _Mensola_ is a mountain stream which falls into the Arno
about a mile and a half above Florence.
A=Arno, I=Isola, M=Mvgone, P=Pesa, N=Mesola.]
That the river which is to be turned from one place to another must
be coaxed and not treated roughly or with violence; and to do this a
sort of floodgate should be made in the river, and then lower down
one in front of it and in like manner a third, fourth and fifth, so
that the river may discharge itself into the channel given to it, or
that by this means it may be diverted from the place it has damaged,
as was done in Flanders--as I was told by Niccolo di Forsore.
How to protect and repair the banks washed by the water, as below
the island of Cocomeri.
Ponte Rubaconte (Fig. 1); below [the palaces] Bisticci and Canigiani
(Fig. 2). Above the flood gate of la Giustizia (Fig. 3); _a b_ is a
sand bank opposite the end of the island of the Cocomeri in the
middle of the Arno (Fig. 4). [Footnote: The course of the river Arno
is also discussed in Nos. 987 and 988.]
Canals in the Milanese (1009-1013).
The canal of San Cristofano at Milan made May 3rd 1509. [Footnote:
This observation is written above a washed pen and ink drawing which
has been published as Tav. VI in the _,,Saggio."_ The editors of
that work explain the drawing as _"uno Studio di bocche per
OF THE CANAL OF MARTESANA.
By making the canal of Martesana the water of the Adda is greatly
diminished by its distribution over many districts for the
irrigation of the fields. A remedy for this would be to make several
little channels, since the water drunk up by the earth is of no more
use to any one, nor mischief neither, because it is taken from no
one; and by making these channels the water which before was lost
returns again and is once more serviceable and useful to men.
[Footnote: _"el navilio di Martagano"_ is also mentioned in a note
written in red chalk, MS. H2 17a Leonardo has, as it seems, little
to do with Lodovico il Moro's scheme to render this canal navigable.
The canal had been made in 1460 by Bertonino da Novara. Il Moro
issued his degree in 1493, but Leonardo's notes about this canal
were, with the exception of one (No. 1343), written about sixteen
No canal which is fed by a river can be permanent if the river
whence it originates is not wholly closed up, like the canal of
Martesana which is fed by the Ticino.
>From the beginning of the canal to the mill.
>From the beginning of the canal of Brivio to the mill of Travaglia
is 2794 trabochi, that is 11176 braccia, which is more than 3 miles
and two thirds; and here the canal is 57 braccia higher than the
surface of the water of the Adda, giving a fall of two inches in
every hundred trabochi; and at that spot we propose to take the
opening of our canal.
[Footnote: The following are written on the sketches: At the place
marked _N: navilio da dacquiue_ (canal of running water); at _M:
molin del Travaglia_ (Mill of Travaglia); at _R: rochetta ssanta
maria_ (small rock of Santa Maria); at _A: Adda;_ at _L: Lagho di
Lecho ringorgato alli 3 corni in Adda,--Concha perpetua_ (lake of
Lecco overflowing at Tre Corni, in Adda,-- a permanent sluice). Near
the second sketch, referring to the sluice near _Q: qui la chatena
ttalie d'u peso_ (here the chain is in one piece). At _M_ in the
lower sketch: _mol del travaglia, nel cavare la concha il tereno
ara chotrapero co cassa d'acqua._ (Mill of Travaglia, in digging
out the sluice the soil will have as a counterpoise a vessel of
If it be not reported there that this is to be a public canal, it
will be necessary to pay for the land; [Footnote 3: _il re_. Louis
XII or Francis I of France. It is hardly possible to doubt that the
canals here spoken of were intended to be in the Milanese. Compare
with this passage the rough copy of a letter by Leonardo, to the
_"Presidente dell' Ufficio regolatore dell' acqua"_ on No. 1350. See
also the note to No. 745, 1. 12.] and the king will pay it by
remitting the taxes for a year.
Estimates and preparatory studies for canals (1014. 1015).
The canal which may be 16 braccia wide at the bottom and 20 at the
top, we may say is on the average 18 braccia wide, and if it is 4
braccia deep, at 4 dinari the square braccia; it will only cost 900
ducats, to excavate by the mile, if the square braccio is calculated
in ordinary braccia; but if the braccia are those used in measuring
land, of which every 4 are equal to 4 1/2 and if by the mile we
understand three thousand ordinary braccia; turned into land
braccia, these 3000 braccia will lack 1/4; there remain 2250
braccia, which at 4 dinari the braccio will amount to 675 ducats a
mile. At 3 dinari the square braccio, the mile will amount to 506
1/4 ducats so that the excavation of 30 miles of the canal will
amount to 15187 1/2 ducats.
To make the great canal, first make the smaller one and conduct into
it the waters which by a wheel will help to fill the great one.
Notes on buildings in Milan (1016-1019)
Indicate the centre of Milan.
Moforte--porta resa--porta nova--strada nova--navilio--porta
cumana--barco--porta giovia--porta vercellina--porta sco
Anbrogio--porta Tesinese--torre dell' Imperatore-- porta
[Footnote: See Pl. CIX. The original sketch is here reduced to about
half its size. The gates of the town are here named, beginning at
the right hand and following the curved line. In the bird's eye view
of Milan below, the cathedral is plainly recognisable in the middle;
to the right is the tower of San Gottardo. The square, above the
number 9147, is the Lazzaretto, which was begun in 1488. On the left
the group of buildings of the _'Castello'_ will be noticed. On the
sketched Plan of Florence (see No. 1004 note) Leonardo has written
on the margin the following names of gates of Milan: Vercellina
Nova--Beatrice--Cumana--Compare too No. 1448, 11. 5, 12.]
The moat of Milan.
Canal 2 braccia wide.
The castle with the moats full.
The filling of the moats of the Castle of Milan.
To heat the water for the stove of the Duchess take four parts of
cold water to three parts of hot water.
[Footnote: _Duchessa di Milano_, Beatrice d'Este, wife of Ludovico
il Moro to whom she was married, in 1491. She died in June 1497.]
In the Cathedral at the pulley of the nail of the cross.
To place the mass _v r_ in the...
[Footnote: On this passage AMORETTI remarks _(Memorie Storiche_
chap. IX): _Nell'anno stesso lo veggiamo formare un congegno di
carucole e di corde, con cui trasportare in piu venerabile e piu
sicuro luogo, cioe nell'ultima arcata della nave di mezzo della
metropolitana, la sacra reliquia del Santo Chiodo, che ivi ancor si
venera. Al fol. 15 del codice segnato Q. R. in 16, egli ci ha
lasciata di tal congegno una doppia figura, cioe una di quattro
carucole, e una di tre colle rispettive corde, soggiugnandovi: in
Domo alla carucola del Chiodo della Croce._
AMORETTI'S views as to the mark on the MS, and the date when it was
written are, it may be observed, wholly unfounded. The MS. L, in
which it occurs, is of the year 1502, and it is very unlikely that
Leonardo was in Milan at that time; this however would not prevent
the remark, which is somewhat obscure, from applying to the
Cathedral at Milan.]
OF THE FORCE OF THE VACUUM FORMED IN A MOMENT.
I saw, at Milan, a thunderbolt fall on the tower della Credenza on
its Northern side, and it descended with a slow motion down that
side, and then at once parted from that tower and carried with it
and tore away from that wall a space of 3 braccia wide and two deep;
and this wall was 4 braccia thick and was built of thin and small
old bricks; and this was dragged out by the vacuum which the flame
of the thunderbolt had caused, &c.
[Footnote: With reference to buildings at Milan see also Nos. 751
and 756, and Pl. XCV, No. 2 (explained on p. 52), Pl. C (explained
on pages 60-62). See also pages 25, 39 and 40.]
Remarks on natural phenomena in and near Milan (1021. 1022).
I have already been to see a great variety (of atmospheric effects).
And lately over Milan towards Lago Maggiore I saw a cloud in the
form of an immense mountain full of rifts of glowing light, because
the rays of the sun, which was already close to the horizon and red,
tinged the cloud with its own hue. And this cloud attracted to it
all the little clouds that were near while the large one did not
move from its place; thus it retained on its summit the reflection
of the sunlight till an hour and a half after sunset, so immensely
large was it; and about two hours after sunset such a violent wind
arose, that it was really tremendous and unheard of.
[Footnote: _di arie_ is wanting in the original but may safely be
inserted in the context, as the formation of clouds is under
discussion before this text.]
On the 10th day of December at 9 o'clock a. m. fire was set to the
On the l8th day of December 1511 at 9 o'clock a. m. this second fire
was kindled by the Swiss at Milan at the place called DCXC.
[Footnote: With these two texts, (l. 1--2 and l. 3--5 are in the
original side by side) there are sketches of smoke wreaths in red
Note on Pavia.
The chimneys of the castle of Pavia have 6 rows of openings and from
each to the other is one braccio.
[Footnote: Other notes relating to Pavia occur on p. 43 and p. 53
(Pl. XCVIII, No. 3). Compare No. 1448, 26.]
Notes on the Sforzesca near Vigevano (1024-1028).
On the 2nd day of February 1494. At Sforzesca I drew twenty five
steps, 2/3 braccia to each, and 8 braccia wide.
[Footnote: See Pl. CX, No. 2. The rest of the notes on this page
refer to the motion of water. On the lower sketch we read: 4 _br._
(four braccia) and _giara_ (for _ghiaja_, sand, gravel).]
The vineyards of Vigevano on the 20th day of March 1494.
[Footnote: On one side there is an effaced sketch in red chalk.]
To lock up a butteris at Vigevano.
Again if the lowest part of the bank which lies across the current
of the waters is made in deep and wide steps, after the manner of
stairs, the waters which, in their course usually fall
perpendicularly from the top of such a place to the bottom, and wear
away the foundations of this bank can no longer descend with a blow
of too great a force; and I find the example of this in the stairs
down which the water falls in the fields at Sforzesca at Vigevano
over which the running water falls for a height of 50 braccia.
Stair of Vigevano below La Sforzesca, 130 steps, 1/4 braccio high
and 1/2 braccio wide, down which the water falls, so as not to wear
away anything at the end of its fall; by these steps so much soil
has come down that it has dried up a pool; that is to say it has
filled it up and a pool of great depth has been turned into meadows.
Notes on the North Italian lake. (1029-1033)
In many places there are streams of water which swell for six hours
and ebb for six hours; and I, for my part, have seen one above the
lake of Como called Fonte Pliniana, which increases and ebbs, as I
have said, in such a way as to turn the stones of two mills; and
when it fails it falls so low that it is like looking at water in a
[Footnote: The fountain is known by this name to this day: it is
near Torno, on the Eastern shore of Como. The waters still rise and
fall with the flow and ebb of the tide as Pliny described it (Epist.
IV, 30; Hist. Nat. II, 206).]
LAKE OF COMO. VALLEY OF CHIAVENNA.
Above the lake of Como towards Germany is the valley of Chiavenna
where the river Mera flows into this lake. Here are barren and very
high mountains, with huge rocks. Among these mountains are to be
found the water-birds called gulls. Here grow fir trees, larches and
pines. Deer, wildgoats, chamois, and terrible bears. It is
impossible to climb them without using hands and feet. The peasants
go there at the time of the snows with great snares to make the
bears fall down these rocks. These mountains which very closely
approach each other are parted by the river. They are to the right
and left for the distance of 20 miles throughout of the same nature.
>From mile to mile there are good inns. Above on the said river there
are waterfalls of 400 braccia in height, which are fine to see; and
there is good living at 4 soldi the reckoning. This river brings
down a great deal of timber.
Val Sasina runs down towards Italy; this is almost the same form and
character. There grow here many _mappello_ and there are great ruins
and falls of water [Footnote 14: The meaning of _mappello_ is
VALLEY OF INTROZZO.
This valley produces a great quantity of firs, pines and larches;
and from here Ambrogio Fereri has his timber brought down; at the
head of the Valtellina are the mountains of Bormio, terrible and
always covered with snow; marmots (?) are found there.
Opposite the castle Bellaggio there is the river Latte, which falls
from a height of more than 100 braccia from the source whence it
springs, perpendicularly, into the lake with an inconceivable roar
and noise. This spring flows only in August and September.
Valtellina, as it is called, is a valley enclosed in high and
terrible mountains; it produces much strong wine, and there is so
much cattle that the natives conclude that more milk than wine grows
there. This is the valley through which the Adda passes, which first
runs more than 40 miles through Germany; this river breeds the fish
_temolo_ which live on silver, of which much is to be found in its
sands. In this country every one can sell bread and wine, and the
wine is worth at most one soldo the bottle and a pound of veal one
soldo, and salt ten dinari and butter the same and their pound is 30
ounces, and eggs are one soldo the lot.
At Bormio are the baths;--About eight miles above Como is the
Pliniana, which increases and ebbs every six hours, and its swell
supplies water for two mills; and its ebbing makes the spring dry
up; two miles higher up there is Nesso, a place where a river falls
with great violence into a vast rift in the mountain. These
excursions are to be made in the month of May. And the largest bare
rocks that are to be found in this part of the country are the
mountains of Mandello near to those of Lecco, and of Gravidona
towards Bellinzona, 30 miles from Lecco, and those of the valley of
Chiavenna; but the greatest of all is that of Mandello, which has at
its base an opening towards the lake, which goes down 200 steps, and
there at all times is ice and wind.
IN VAL SASINA.
In Val Sasina, between Vimognio and Introbbio, to the right hand,
going in by the road to Lecco, is the river Troggia which falls from
a very high rock, and as it falls it goes underground and the river
ends there. 3 miles farther we find the buildings of the mines of
copper and silver near a place called Pra' Santo Pietro, and mines
of iron and curious things. La Grigna is the highest mountain there
is in this part, and it is quite bare.
[Footnote: 1030 and 1031. From the character of the handwriting we
may conclude that these observations were made in Leonardo's youth;
and I should infer from their contents, that they were notes made in
anticipation of a visit to the places here described, and derived
from some person (unknown to us) who had given him an account of
The lake of Pusiano flows into the lake of Segrino [Footnote 3: The
statement about the lake Segrino is incorrect; it is situated in the
Valle Assina, above the lake of Pusiano.] and of Annone and of Sala.
The lake of Annone is 22 braccia higher at the surface of its water
than the surface of the water of the lake of Lecco, and the lake of
Pusiano is 20 braccia higher than the lake of Annone, which added to
the afore said 22 braccia make 42 braccia and this is the greatest
height of the surface of the lake of Pusiano above the surface of
the lake of Lecco.
[Footnote: This text has in the original a slight sketch to
At Santa Maria in the Valley of Ravagnate [Footnote 2: _Ravagnate_
(Leonardo writes _Ravagna_) in the Brianza is between Oggiono and
Brivio, South of the lake of Como. M. Ravaisson avails himself of
this note to prove his hypothesis that Leonardo paid two visits to
France. See Gazette des Beaux Arts, 1881 pag. 528:
_Au recto du meme feuillet, on lit encore une note relative a une
vallee "nemonti brigatia"; il me semble qu'il s'agit bien des monts
de Briancon, le Brigantio des anciens. Briancon est sur la route de
Lyon en Italie. Ce fut par le mont Viso que passerent, en aout 1515,
les troupes francaises qui allaient remporter la victoire de
Leonard de Vinci, ingenieur de Francois Ier, comme il l'avait ete de
Louis XII, aurait-il ete pour quelque chose dans le plan du celebre
passage des Alpes, qui eut lieu en aout 1515, et a la suite duquel
on le vit accompagner partout le chevaleresque vainqueur? Auraitil
ete appele par le jeune roi, de Rome ou l'artiste etait alors, des
son avenement au trone?_] in the mountains of Brianza are the rods
of chestnuts of 9 braccia and one out of an average of 100 will be
At Varallo di Ponbia near to Sesto on the Ticino the quinces are
white, large and hard.
[Footnote 5: Varallo di Ponbia, about ten miles South of Arona is
distinct from Varallo the chief town in the Val di Sesia.]
Notes on places in Central Italy, visited in 1502 (1034-1054).
Pigeon-house at Urbino, the 30th day of July 1502. [Footnote: An
indistinct sketch is introduced with this text, in the original, in
which the word _Scolatoro_ (conduit) is written.]
Made by the sea at Piombino. [Footnote: Below the sketch there are
eleven lines of text referring to the motion of waves.]
Acquapendente is near Orvieto. [Footnote: _Acquapendente_ is about
10 miles West of Orvieto, and is to the right in the map on Pl.
CXIII, near the lake of Bolsena.]
The rock of Cesena. [Footnote: See Pl. XCIV No. 1, the lower sketch.
The explanation of the upper sketch is given on p. 29.]
Siena, _a b_ 4 braccia, _a c_ 10 braccia. Steps at [the castle of]
Urbino. [Footnote: See Pl. CX No. 3; compare also No. 765.]
The bell of Siena, that is the manner of its movement, and the place
of the attachment of the clapper. [Footnote: The text is accompanied
by an indistinct sketch.]
On St. Mary's day in the middle of August, at Cesena, 1502.
[Footnote: See Pl. CX, No. 4.]
Stairs of the [palace of the] Count of Urbino,--rough. [Footnote:
The text is accompanied by a slight sketch.]
At the fair of San Lorenzo at Cesena. 1502.
Windows at Cesena. [Footnote: There are four more lines of text
which refer to a slightly sketched diagram.]
At Porto Cesenatico, on the 6th of September 1502 at 9 o'clock a. m.
The way in which bastions ought to project beyond the walls of the
towers to defend the outer talus; so that they may not be taken by
[Footnote: An indistinct sketch, accompanies this passage.]
The rock of the harbour of Cesena is four points towards the South
West from Cesena.
In Romagna, the realm of all stupidity, vehicles with four wheels
are used, of which O the two in front are small and two high ones
are behind; an arrangement which is very unfavourable to the motion,
because on the fore wheels more weight is laid than on those behind,
as I showed in the first of the 5th on "Elements".
Thus grapes are carried at Cesena. The number of the diggers of the
ditches is [arranged] pyramidically. [Footnote: A sketch,
representing a hook to which two bunches of grapes are hanging,
refers to these first two lines. Cesena is mentioned again Fol. 82a:
_Carro da Cesena_ (a cart from Cesena).]
There might be a harmony of the different falls of water as you saw
them at the fountain of Rimini on the 8th day of August, 1502.
The fortress at Urbino. [Footnote: 1049. In the original the text is
written inside the sketch in the place here marked _n_.]
Imola, as regards Bologna, is five points from the West, towards the
North West, at a distance of 20 miles.
Castel San Piero is seen from Imola at four points from the West
towards the North West, at a distance of 7 miles.
Faenza stands with regard to Imola between East and South East at a
distance of ten miles. Forli stands with regard to Faenza between
South East and East at a distance of 20 miles from Imola and ten
Forlimpopoli lies in the same direction at 25 miles from Imola.
Bertinoro, as regards Imola, is five points from the East to wards
the South East, at 27 miles.
Imola as regards Bologna is five points from the West towards the
North West at a distance of 20 miles.
Castel San Pietro lies exactly North West of Imola, at a distance of
Faenza, as regards Imola lies exactly half way between the East and
South East at a distance of 10 miles; and Forli lies in the same
direction from Imola at a distance of 20 miles; and Forlimpopolo
lies in the same direction from Forli at a distance of 25 miles.
Bertinoro is seen from Imola two points from the East towards the
South East at a distance of 27 miles.
[Footnote: Leonardo inserted this passage on the margin of the
circular plan, in water colour, of Imola--see Pl. CXI No. 1.--In the
original the fields surrounding the town are light green; the moat,
which surrounds the fortifications and the windings of the river
Santerno, are light blue. The parts, which have come out blackish
close to the river are yellow ochre in the original. The dark groups
of houses inside the town are red. At the four points of the compass
drawn in the middle of the town Leonardo has written (from right to
left): _Mezzodi_ (South) at the top; to the left _Scirocho_ (South
east), _levante_ (East), _Greco_ (North East), _Septantrione_
(North), _Maesstro_ (North West), _ponente_ (West) _Libecco_ (South
West). The arch in which the plan is drawn is, in the original, 42
At the beginning of October 1502 Cesare Borgia was shut up in Imola
by a sudden revolt of the Condottieri, and it was some weeks before
he could release himself from this state of siege (see Gregorovius,
_Geschichte der Stadt Rom im Mittelalter_, Vol. VII, Book XIII, 5,
Besides this incident Imola plays no important part in the history
of the time. I therefore think myself fully justified in connecting
this map, which is at Windsor, with the siege of 1502 and with
Leonardo's engagements in the service of Cesare Borgia, because a
comparison of these texts, Nos. 1050 and 1051, raise, I believe, the
hypothesis to a certainty.]
>From Bonconventi to Casa Nova are 10 miles, from Casa Nova to Chiusi
9 miles, from Chiusi to Perugia, from, Perugia to Santa Maria degli
Angeli, and then to Fuligno. [Footnote: Most of the places here
described lie within the district shown in the maps on Pl. CXIII.]
On the first of August 1502, the library at Pesaro.
On the tops and sides of hills foreshorten the shape of the ground
and its divisions, but give its proper shape to what is turned
towards you. [Footnote: This passage evidently refers to the making
of maps, such as Pl. CXII, CXIII, and CXIV. There is no mention of
such works, it is true, excepting in this one passage of MS. L. But
this can scarcely be taken as evidence against my view that Leonardo
busied himself very extensively at that time in the construction of
maps; and all the less since the foregoing chapters clearly prove
that at a time so full of events Leonardo would only now and then
commit his observations to paper, in the MS. L.
By the side of this text we find, in the original, a very indistinct
sketch, perhaps a plan of a position. Instead of this drawing I have
here inserted a much clearer sketch of a position from the same MS.,
L. 82b and 83a. They are the only drawings of landscape, it may be
noted, which occur at all in that MS.]
Alessandria in Piedmont (1055. 1056).
At Candia in Lombardy, near Alessandria della Paglia, in making a
well for Messer Gualtieri [Footnote 2: Messer Gualtieri, the same
probably as is mentioned in Nos. 672 and 1344.] of Candia, the
skeleton of a very large boat was found about 10 braccia
underground; and as the timber was black and fine, it seemed good to
the said Messer Gualtieri to have the mouth of the well lengthened
in such a way as that the ends of the boat should be uncovered.
At Alessandria della Paglia in Lombardy there are no stones for
making lime of, but such as are mixed up with an infinite variety of
things native to the sea, which is now more than 200 miles away.
The Alps (1057-1062).
At Monbracco, above Saluzzo,--a mile above the Certosa, at the foot
of Monte Viso, there is a quarry of flakey stone, which is as white
as Carrara marble, without a spot, and as hard as porphyry or even
harder; of which my worthy gossip, Master Benedetto the sculptor,
has promised to give me a small slab, for the colours, the second
day of January 1511.
[Footnote: Saluzzo at the foot of the Alps South of Turin.]
[Footnote 9. 10.: _Maestro Benedetto scultore_; probably some native
of Northern Italy acquainted with the place here described. Hardly
the Florentine sculptor Benedetto da Majano. Amoretti had published
this passage, and M. Ravaisson who gave a French translation of it
in the _Gazette des Beaux Arts_ (1881, pag. 528), remarks as
follows: _Le maitre sculpteur que Leonard appelle son "compare" ne
serait-il pas Benedetto da Majano, un de ceux qui jugerent avec lui
de la place a donner au David de Michel-Ange, et de qui le Louvre a
acquis recemment un buste d'apres Philippe Strozzi?_ To this it may
be objected that Benedetto da Majano had already lain in his grave
fourteen years, in the year 1511, when he is supposed to have given
the promise to Leonardo. The colours may have been given to the
sculptor Benedetto and the stone may have been in payment for them.
>From the description of the stone here given we may conclude that it
is repeated from hearsay of the sculptor's account of it. I do not
understand how, from this observation, it is possible to conclude
that Leonardo was on the spot.]
That there are springs which suddenly break forth in earthquakes or
other convulsions and suddenly fail; and this happened in a mountain
in Savoy where certain forests sank in and left a very deep gap, and
about four miles from here the earth opened itself like a gulf in
the mountain, and threw out a sudden and immense flood of water
which scoured the whole of a little valley of the tilled soil,
vineyards and houses, and did the greatest mischief, wherever it
The river Arve, a quarter of a mile from Geneva in Savoy, where the
fair is held on midsummerday in the village of Saint Gervais.
[Footnote: An indistinct sketch is to be seen by the text.]
And this may be seen, as I saw it, by any one going up Monbroso
[Footnote: I have vainly enquired of every available authority for a
solution of the mystery as to what mountain is intended by the name
Monboso (Comp. Vol. I Nos. 300 and 301). It seems most obvious to
refer it to Monte Rosa. ROSA derived from the Keltic ROS which
survives in Breton and in Gaelic, meaning, in its first sense, a
mountain spur, but which also--like HORN--means a very high peak;
thus Monte Rosa would mean literally the High Peak.], a peak of the
Alps which divide France from Italy. The base of this mountain gives
birth to the 4 rivers which flow in four different directions
through the whole of Europe. And no mountain has its base at so
great a height as this, which lifts itself above almost all the
clouds; and snow seldom falls there, but only hail in the summer,
when the clouds are highest. And this hail lies [unmelted] there, so
that if it were not for the absorption of the rising and falling
clouds, which does not happen more than twice in an age, an enormous
mass of ice would be piled up there by the layers of hail, and in
the middle of July I found it very considerable; and I saw the sky
above me quite dark, and the sun as it fell on the mountain was far
brighter here than in the plains below, because a smaller extent of
atmosphere lay between the summit of the mountain and the sun.
[Footnote 6: _in una eta._ This is perhaps a slip of the pen on
Leonardo's part and should be read _estate_ (summer).]
In the mountains of Verona the red marble is found all mixed with
cockle shells turned into stone; some of them have been filled at
the mouth with the cement which is the substance of the stone; and
in some parts they have remained separate from the mass of the rock
which enclosed them, because the outer covering of the shell had
interposed and had not allowed them to unite with it; while in other
places this cement had petrified those which were old and almost
stripped the outer skin.
Bridge of Goertz-Wilbach (?).
[Footnote: There is a slight sketch with this text, Leonardo seems
to have intended to suggest, with a few pen-strokes, the course of
the Isonzo and of the Wipbach in the vicinity of Gorizia (Goerz). He
himself says in another place that he had been in Friuli (see No.
1077 1. 19).]
The Appenins (1063-1068).
That part of the earth which was lightest remained farthest from the
centre of the world; and that part of the earth became the lightest
over which the greatest quantity of water flowed. And therefore that
part became lightest where the greatest number of rivers flow; like
the Alps which divide Germany and France from Italy; whence issue
the Rhone flowing Southwards, and the Rhine to the North. The Danube
or Tanoia towards the North East, and the Po to the East, with
innumerable rivers which join them, and which always run turbid with
the soil carried by them to the sea.
The shores of the sea are constantly moving towards the middle of
the sea and displace it from its original position. The lowest
portion of the Mediterranean will be reserved for the bed and
current of the Nile, the largest river that flows into that sea. And
with it are grouped all its tributaries, which at first fell into
the sea; as may be seen with the Po and its tributaries, which first
fell into that sea, which between the Appenines and the German Alps
was united to the Adriatic sea.
That the Gallic Alps are the highest part of Europe.
And of these I found some in the rocks of the high Appenines and
mostly at the rock of La Vernia. [Footnote 6: _Sasso della Vernia._
The frowning rock between the sources of the Arno and the Tiber, as
Dante describes this mountain, which is 1269 metres in height.
This note is written by the side of that given as No. 1020; but
their connection does not make it clear what Leonardo's purpose was
in writing it.]
At Parma, at 'La Campana' on the twenty-fifth of October 1514.
[Footnote 2: _Capano_, an Inn.]
A note on the petrifactions, or fossils near Parma will be found
under No. 989.]
A method for drying the marsh of Piombino. [Footnote: There is a
slight sketch with this text in the original.--Piombino is also
mentioned in Nos. 609, l. 55-58 (compare Pl. XXXV, 3, below). Also
in No. 1035.]
The shepherds in the Romagna at the foot of the Apennines make
peculiar large cavities in the mountains in the form of a horn, and
on one side they fasten a horn. This little horn becomes one and the
same with the said cavity and thus they produce by blowing into it a
very loud noise. [Footnote: As to the Romagna see also No. 1046.]
A spring may be seen to rise in Sicily which at certain times of the
year throws out chesnut leaves in quantities; but in Sicily chesnuts
do not grow, hence it is evident that that spring must issue from
some abyss in Italy and then flow beneath the sea to break forth in
Sicily. [Footnote: The chesnut tree is very common in Sicily. In
writing _cicilia_ Leonardo meant perhaps Cilicia.]
a. Austria, a. Picardy.
b. Saxony. b. Normandy.
c. Nuremberg. c. Dauphine.
[Footnote: Two slightly sketched maps, one of Europe the other of
Spain, are at the side of these notes.]
Perpignan. Roanne. Lyons. Paris. Ghent. Bruges. Holland.
[Footnote: _Roana_ does not seem to mean here Rouen in Normandy, but
is probably Roanne (Rodumna) on the upper Loire, Lyonnais (Dep. du
Loire). This town is now unimportant, but in Leonardo's time was
still a place of some consequence.]
At Bordeaux in Gascony the sea rises about 40 braccia before its
ebb, and the river there is filled with salt water for more than a
hundred and fifty miles; and the vessels which are repaired there
rest high and dry on a high hill above the sea at low tide.
[Footnote 2: This is obviously an exaggeration founded on inaccurate
information. Half of 150 miles would be nearer the mark.]
The Rhone issues from the lake of Geneva and flows first to the West
and then to the South, with a course of 400 miles and pours its
waters into the Mediterranean.
_c d_ is the garden at Blois; _a b_ is the conduit of Blois, made in
France by Fra Giocondo, _b c_ is what is wanting in the height of
that conduit, _c d_ is the height of the garden at Blois, _e f_ is
the siphon of the conduit, _b c_, _e f_, _f g_ is where the siphon
discharges into the river. [Footnote: The tenor of this note (see
lines 2 and 3) seems to me to indicate that this passage was not
written in France, but was written from oral information. We have no
evidence as to when this note may have been written beyond the
circumstance that Fra Giocondo the Veronese Architect left France
not before the year 1505. The greater part of the magnificent
Chateau of Blois has now disappeared. Whether this note was made for
a special purpose is uncertain. The original form and extent of the
Chateau is shown in Androvet, _Les plus excellents Bastiments de
France, Paris MDCVII,_ and it may be observed that there is in the
middle of the garden a Pavilion somewhat similar to that shown on
Pl. LXXXVIII No. 7.
See S. DE LA SAUSSAYE, _Histoire du Chateau de Blois 4eme edition
Blois et Paris_ p. 175: _En mariant sa fille ainee a Francois, comte
d'Angouleme, Louis XII lui avait constitue en dot les comtes de
Blois, d'Asti, de Coucy, de Montfort, d'Etampes et de Vertus. Une
ordonnance de Francois I. lui laissa en_ 1516 _l'administration du
comte de Blois.
Le roi fit commencer, dans la meme annee, les travaux de celle belle
partie du chateau, connue sous le nom d'aile de Francois I, et dont
nous avons donne la description au commencement de ce livre. Nous
trouvons en effet, dans les archives du Baron de Foursanvault, une
piece qui en fixe parfaitement la date. On y lit: "Je, Baymon
Philippeaux, commis par le Roy a tenir le compte et fair le payement
des bastiments, ediffices et reparacions que le dit seigneur fait
faire en son chastu de Blois, confesse avoir eu et receu ... la
somme de trois mille livres tournois ... le cinquieme jour de
juillet, l'an mil cinq cent et seize._ P. 24: _Les jardins avaient
ete decores avec beaucoup de luxe par les differents possesseurs du
chateau. Il ne reste de tous les batiments qu'ils y eleverent que
ceux des officiers charges de l'ad_ministration et de la culture des
jardins, et un pavilion carre en pierre et en brique flanque de
terrasses a chacun de ses angles. Quoique defigure par des mesures
elevees sur les terrasses, cet edifice est tris-digne d'interet par
l'originalite du plan, la decoration architecturale et le souvenir
d'Anne de Bretagne qui le fit construire._ Felibien describes the
garden as follows: _Le jardin haut etait fort bien dresse par grands
compartimens de toutes sortes de figures, avec des allees de
meuriers blancs et des palissades de coudriers. Deux grands berceaux
de charpenterie separoient toute la longueur et la largeur du
jardin, et dans les quatres angles des allees, ou ces berceaux se
croissent, il y auoit 4 cabinets, de mesme charpenterie ... Il y a
pas longtemps qu'il y auoit dans ce mesme jardin, a l'endroit ou se
croissent les allees du milieu, un edifice de figure octogone, de
plus de 7 thoises de diametre et de plus de neuf thoises de haut;
avec 4 enfoncements en forme de niches dans les 4 angles des allies.
Ce bastiment.... esloit de charpente mais d'un extraordinairement
bien travaille. On y voyait particulierement la cordiliere qui
regnati tout autour en forme de cordon. Car la Reyne affectait de la
mettre nonseulement a ses armes et a ses chiffres mais de la faire
representer en divers manieres dans tous les ouvrages qu'on lui
faisait pour elle ... le bastiment estati couvert en forme de dome
qui dans son milieu avait encore un plus petit dome, ou lanterne
vitree au-dessus de laquelle estait une figure doree representant
Saint Michel. Les deux domes estoient proprement couvert d'ardoise
et de plomb dore par dehors; par dedans ils esloient lambrissez
d'une menuiserie tres delicate. Au milieu de ce Salon il y avait un
grand bassin octogone de marbre blanc, dont toutes les faces
estoient enrichies de differentes sculptures, avec les armes et les
chiffres du Roy Louis XII et de la Reine Anne, Dans ce bassin il y
en avait un autre pose sur un piedestal lequel auoit sept piedz de
diametre. Il estait de figure ronde a godrons, avec des masques et
d'autres ornements tres scauamment taillez. Du milieu de ce
deuxiesme bassin s'y levoit un autre petit piedestal qui portait un
troisiesme bassin de trois pieds de diametre, aussy parfaitement
bien taille; c'estoit de ce dernier bassin que jallissoit l'eau qui
se rependoit en suitte dans les deux autres bassins. Les beaux
ouvrages faits d'un marbre esgalement blanc et poli, furent brisez
par la pesanteur de tout l'edifice, que les injures de l'air
renverserent de fond en comble.]
The river Loire at Amboise.
The river is higher within the bank _b d_ than outside that bank.
The island where there is a part of Amboise.
This is the river that passes through Amboise; it passes at _a b c
d_, and when it has passed the bridge it turns back, against the
original current, by the channel _d e_, _b f_ in contact with the
bank which lies between the two contrary currents of the said river,
_a b_, _c d_, and _d e_, _b f_. It then turns down again by the
channel _f l_, _g h_, _n m_, and reunites with the river from which
it was at first separated, which passes by _k n_, which makes _k m_,
_r t_. But when the river is very full it flows all in one channel
passing over the bank _b d_. [Footnote: See Pl. CXV. Lines 1-7 are
above, lines 8-10 in the middle of the large island and the word
_Isola_ is written above _d_ in the smaller island; _a_ is written
on the margin on the bank of the river above 1. I; in the
reproduction it is not visible. As may be seen from the last
sentence, the observation was made after long study of the river's
course, when Leonardo had resided for some time at, or near,
The water may be dammed up above the level of Romorantin to such a
height, that in its fall it may be used for numerous mills.
The river at Villefranche may be conducted to Romorantin which may
be done by the inhabitants; and the timber of which their houses are
built may be carried in boats to Romorantin [Footnote: Compare No.
744.]. The river may be dammed up at such a height that the waters
may be brought back to Romorantin with a convenient fall.
As to whether it is better that the water should all be raised in a
single turn or in two?
The answer is that in one single turn the wheel could not support
all the water that it can raise in two turns, because at the half
turn of the wheel it would be raising 100 pounds and no more; and if
it had to raise the whole, 200 pounds in one turn, it could not
raise them unless the wheel were of double the diameter and if the
diameter were doubled, the time of its revolution would be doubled;
therefore it is better and a greater advantage in expense to make
such a wheel of half the size (?) the land which it would water and
would render the country fertile to supply food to the inhabitants,
and would make navigable canals for mercantile purposes.
The way in which the river in its flow should scour its own channel.
By the ninth of the third; the more rapid it is, the more it wears
away its channel; and, by the converse proposition, the slower the
water the more it deposits that which renders it turbid.
And let the sluice be movable like the one I arranged in Friuli
[Footnote 19: This passage reveals to us the fact that Leonardo had
visited the country of Friuli and that he had stayed there for some
time. Nothing whatever was known of this previously.], where when
one sluice was opened the water which passed through it dug out the
bottom. Therefore when the rivers are flooded, the sluices of the
mills ought to be opened in order that the whole course of the river
may pass through falls to each mill; there should be many in order
to give a greater impetus, and so all the river will be scoured. And
below the site of each of the two mills there may be one of the said
sluice falls; one of them may be placed below each mill.
A trabocco is four braccia, and one mile is three thousand of the
said braccia. Each braccio is divided into 12 inches; and the water
in the canals has a fall in every hundred trabocchi of two of these
inches; therefore 14 inches of fall are necessary in two thousand
eight hundred braccia of flow in these canals; it follows that 15
inches of fall give the required momentum to the currents of the
waters in the said canals, that is one braccio and a half in the
mile. And from this it may be concluded that the water taken from
the river of Ville-franche and lent to the river of Romorantin
will..... Where one river by reason of its low level cannot flow
into the other, it will be necessary to dam it up, so that it may
acquire a fall into the other, which was previously the higher.
The eve of Saint Antony I returned from Romorantin to Amboise, and
the King went away two days before from Romorantin.
>From Romorantin as far as the bridge at Saudre it is called the
Saudre, and from that bridge as far as Tours it is called the Cher.
I would test the level of that channel which is to lead from the
Loire to Romorantin, with a channel one braccio wide and one braccio
[Footnote: Lines 6-18 are partly reproduced in the facsimile on p.
254, and the whole of lines 19-25.
The following names are written along the rivers on the larger
sketch, _era f_ (the Loire) _scier f_ (the Cher) three times. _Pote
Sodro_ (bridge of the Soudre). _Villa francha_ (Villefranche)
_banco_ (sandbank) _Sodro_ (Soudre). The circle below shows the
position of Romorantin. The words '_orologio del sole_' written
below do not belong to the map of the rivers. The following names
are written by the side of the smaller sketch-map:--_tors_ (Tours),
_Abosa_ (Amboise) _bres_--for Bles (Blois) _mo rica_ (Montrichard).
_Lione_ (Lyons). This map was also published in the 'Saggio'
(Milano, 1872) Pl. XXII, and the editors remark: _Forse la linia
retta che va da Amboise a Romorantin segna l'andamento proposto d'un
Canale, che poi rembra prolungarsi in giu fin dove sta scritto
M. Ravaisson has enlarged on this idea in the Gazette des Beaux Arts
(1881 p. 530): _Les traces de Leonard permettent d'entrevoir que le
canal commencant soit aupres de Tours, soit aupres de Blois et
passant par Romorantin, avec port d'embarquement a Villefranche,
devait, au dela de Bourges, traverser l'Allier au-dessous des
affluents de la Dore et de la Sioule, aller par Moulins jusqu' a
Digoin; enfin, sur l'autre rive de la Loire, depasser les monts du
Charolais et rejoindre la Saone aupres de Macon._ It seems to me
rash, however, to found so elaborate an hypothesis on these sketches
of rivers. The slight stroke going to _Lione_ is perhaps only an
indication of the direction.--With regard to the Loire compare also
No. 988. l. 38.]
THE ROAD TO ORLEANS
At 1/4 from the South to the South East. At 1/3 from the South to
the South East. At 1/4 from the South to the South East. At 1/5 from
the South to the South East. Between the South West and South, to
the East bearing to the South; from the South towards the East 1/8;
thence to the West, between the South and South West; at the South.
[Footnote: The meaning is obscure; a more important passage
referring to France is to be found under No. 744]
On the Germans (1080. 1081).
The way in which the Germans closing up together cross and
interweave their broad leather shields against the enemy, stooping
down and putting one of the ends on the ground while they hold the
rest in their hand. [Footnote: Above the text is a sketch of a few
lines crossing each other and the words _de ponderibus_. The meaning
of the passage is obscure.]
The Germans are wont to annoy a garrison with the smoke of feathers,
sulphur and realgar, and they make this smoke last 7 or 8 hours.
Likewise the husks of wheat make a great and lasting smoke; and also
dry dung; but this must be mixed with olive husks, that is olives
pressed for oil and from which the oil has been extracted.
[Footnote: There is with this passage a sketch of a round tower
shrouded in smoke.]
That the valleys were formerly in great part covered by lakes the
soil of which always forms the banks of rivers,--and by seas, which
afterwards, by the persistent wearing of the rivers, cut through the
mountains and the wandering courses of the rivers carried away the
other plains enclosed by the mountains; and the cutting away of the
mountains is evident from the strata in the rocks, which correspond
in their sections as made by the courses of the rivers [Footnote 4:
_Emus_, the Balkan; _Dardania_, now Servia.], The Haemus mountains
which go along Thrace and Dardania and join the Sardonius mountains
which, going on to the westward change their name from Sardus to
Rebi, as they come near Dalmatia; then turning to the West cross
Illyria, now called Sclavonia, changing the name of Rebi to Albanus,
and going on still to the West, they change to Mount Ocra in the
North; and to the South above Istria they are named Caruancas; and
to the West above Italy they join the Adula, where the Danube rises
, which stretches to the East and has a course of 1500 miles; its
shortest line is about l000 miles, and the same or about the same is
that branch of the Adula mountains changed as to their name, as
before mentioned. To the North are the Carpathians, closing in the
breadth of the valley of the Danube, which, as I have said extends
eastward, a length of about 1000 miles, and is sometimes 200 and in
some places 300 miles wide; and in the midst flows the Danube, the
principal river of Europe as to size. The said Danube runs through
the middle of Austria and Albania and northwards through Bavaria,
Poland, Hungary, Wallachia and Bosnia and then the Danube or Donau
flows into the Black Sea, which formerly extended almost to Austria
and occupied the plains through which the Danube now courses; and
the evidence of this is in the oysters and cockle shells and
scollops and bones of great fishes which are still to be found in
many places on the sides of those mountains; and this sea was formed
by the filling up of the spurs of the Adula mountains which then
extended to the East joining the spurs of the Taurus which extend to
the West. And near Bithynia the waters of this Black Sea poured into
the Propontis [Marmora] falling into the Aegean Sea, that is the
Mediterranean, where, after a long course, the spurs of the Adula
mountains became separated from those of the Taurus. The Black Sea
sank lower and laid bare the valley of the Danube with the above
named countries, and the whole of Asia Minor beyond the Taurus range
to the North, and the plains from mount Caucasus to the Black Sea to
the West, and the plains of the Don this side--that is to say, at
the foot of the Ural mountains. And thus the Black Sea must have
sunk about 1000 braccia to uncover such vast plains.
[Footnote 8: _Danubio_, in the original _Reno_; evidently a mistake
as we may infer from _come dissi_ l. 10 &c.]
THE COUNTRIES OF THE WESTERN END OF THE MEDITERRANEAN.
The straits of Gibraltar (1083-1085).
WHY THE SEA MAKES A STRONGER CURRENT IN THE STRAITS OF SPAIN THAN
A river of equal depth runs with greater speed in a narrow space
than in a wide one, in proportion to the difference between the
wider and the narrower one.
This proposition is clearly proved by reason confirmed by
experiment. Supposing that through a channel one mile wide there
flows one mile in length of water; where the river is five miles
wide each of the 5 square miles will require 1/5 of itself to be
equal to the square mile of water required in the sea, and where the
river is 3 miles wide each of these square miles will require the
third of its volume to make up the amount of the square mile of the
narrow part; as is demonstrated in _f g h_ at the mile marked _n_.
[Footnote: In the place marked A in the diagram _Mare Mediterano_
(Mediterranean Sea) is written in the original. And at B, _stretto
di Spugna_ (straits of Spain, _i.e._ Gibraltar). Compare No. 960.]
WHY THE CURRENT OF GIBRALTAR IS ALWAYS GREATER TO THE WEST THAN TO
The reason is that if you put together the mouths of the rivers
which discharge into the Mediterranean sea, you would find the sum
of water to be larger than that which this sea pours through the
straits into the ocean. You see Africa discharging its rivers that
run northwards into this sea, and among them the Nile which runs
through 3000 miles of Africa; there is also the Bagrada river and
the Schelif and others. [Footnote 5: _Bagrada_ (Leonardo writes
Bragada) in Tunis, now Medscherda; _Mavretano_, now Schelif.]
Likewise Europe pours into it the Don and the Danube, the Po, the
Rhone, the Arno, and the Tiber, so that evidently these rivers, with
an infinite number of others of less fame, make its great breadth
and depth and current; and the sea is not wider than 18 miles at the
most westerly point of land where it divides Europe from Africa.
The gulf of the Mediterranean, as an inland sea, received the
principal waters of Africa, Asia and Europe that flowed towards it;
and its waters came up to the foot of the mountains that surrounded
it and made its shores. And the summits of the Apennines stood up
out of this sea like islands, surrounded by salt water. Africa
again, behind its Atlas mountains did not expose uncovered to the
sky the surface of its vast plains about 3000 miles in length, and
Memphis [Footnote 6: _Mefi._ Leonardo can only mean here the citadel
of Cairo on the Mokattam hills.] was on the shores of this sea, and
above the plains of Italy, where now birds fly in flocks, fish were
wont to wander in large shoals.
The greatest ebb made anywhere by the Mediterranean is above Tunis,
being about two and a half braccia and at Venice it falls two
braccia. In all the rest of the Mediterranean sea the fall is little
Describe the mountains of shifting deserts; that is to say the
formation of waves of sand borne by the wind, and of its mountains
and hills, such as occur in Libya. Examples may be seen on the wide
sands of the Po and the Ticino, and other large rivers.
Circumfulgore is a naval machine. It was an invention of the men of
Majorca. [Footnote: The machine is fully described in the MS. and
shown in a sketch.]
The Tyrrhene Sea.
Some at the Tyrrhene sea employ this method; that is to say they
fastened an anchor to one end of the yard, and to the other a cord,
of which the lower end was fastened to an anchor; and in battle they
flung this anchor on to the oars of the opponent's boat and by the
use of a capstan drew it to the side; and threw soft soap and tow,
daubed with pitch and set ablaze, on to that side where the anchor
hung; so that in order to escape that fire, the defenders of that
ship had to fly to the opposite side; and in doing this they aided
to the attack, because the galley was more easily drawn to the side
by reason of the counterpoise. [Footnote: This text is illustrated
in the original by a pen and ink sketch.]
The Levantine Sea.
On the shores of the Mediterranean 300 rivers flow, and 40, 200
ports. And this sea is 3000 miles long. Many times has the increase
of its waters, heaped up by their backward flow and the blowing of
the West winds, caused the overflow of the Nile and of the rivers
which flow out through the Black Sea, and have so much raised the
seas that they have spread with vast floods over many countries. And
these floods take place at the time when the sun melts the snows on
the high mountains of Ethiopia that rise up into the cold regions of
the air; and in the same way the approach of the sun acts on the
mountains of Sarmatia in Asia and on those in Europe; so that the
gathering together of these three things are, and always have been,
the cause of tremendous floods: that is, the return flow of the sea
with the West wind and the melting of the snows. So every river will
overflow in Syria, in Samaria, in Judea between Sinai and the
Lebanon, and in the rest of Syria between the Lebanon and the Taurus
mountains, and in Cilicia, in the Armenian mountains, and in
Pamphilia and in Lycia within the hills, and in Egypt as far as the
Atlas mountains. The gulf of Persia which was formerly a vast lake
of the Tigris and discharged into the Indian Sea, has now worn away
the mountains which formed its banks and laid them even with the
level of the Indian ocean. And if the Mediterranean had continued
its flow through the gulf of Arabia, it would have done the same,
that is to say, would have reduced the level of the Mediterranean to
that of the Indian Sea.
The Red Sea. (1091. 1092).
For a long time the water of the Mediterranean flowed out through
the Red Sea, which is 100 miles wide and 1500 long, and full of
reefs; and it has worn away the sides of Mount Sinai, a fact which
testifies, not to an inundation from the Indian sea beating on these
coasts, but to a deluge of water which carried with it all the
rivers which abound round the Mediterranean, and besides this there
is the reflux of the sea; and then, a cutting being made to the West
3000 miles away from this place, Gibraltar was separated from Ceuta,
which had been joined to it. And this passage was cut very low down,
in the plains between Gibraltar and the ocean at the foot of the
mountain, in the low part, aided by the hollowing out of some
valleys made by certain rivers, which might have flowed here.
Hercules [Footnote 9: Leonardo seems here to mention Hercules half
jestingly and only in order to suggest to the reader an allusion to
the legend of the pillars of Hercules.] came to open the sea to the
westward and then the sea waters began to pour into the Western
Ocean; and in consequence of this great fall, the Red Sea remained
the higher; whence the water, abandoning its course here, ever after
poured away through the Straits of Spain.
The surface of the Red Sea is on a level with the ocean.
A mountain may have fallen and closed the mouth of the Red Sea and
prevented the outlet of the Mediterranean, and the Mediterranean Sea
thus overfilled had for outlet the passage below the mountains of
Gades; for, in our own times a similar thing has been seen [Footnote
6: Compare also No. 1336, ll. 30, 35 and 36.-- Paolo Giovio, the
celebrated historian (born at Como in 1483) reports that in 1513 at
the foot of the Alps, above Bellinzona, on the road to Switzerland,
a mountain fell with a very great noise, in consequence of an
earthquake, and that the mass of rocks, which fell on the left
(Western) side blocked the river Breno (T. I p. 218 and 345 of D.
Sauvage's French edition, quoted in ALEXIS PERCY, _Memoire des
tremblements de terre de la peninsule italique; Academie Royale de
Belgique._ T. XXII).--]; a mountain fell seven miles across a valley
and closed it up and made a lake. And thus most lakes have been made
by mountains, as the lake of Garda, the lakes of Como and Lugano,
and the Lago Maggiore. The Mediterranean fell but little on the
confines of Syria, in consequence of the Gaditanean passage, but a
great deal in this passage, because before this cutting was made the
Mediterranean sea flowed to the South East, and then the fall had to
be made by its run through the Straits of Gades.
At _a_ the water of the Mediterranean fell into the ocean.
All the plains which lie between the sea and mountains were formerly
covered with salt water.
Every valley has been made by its own river; and the proportion
between valleys is the same as that between river and river.
The greatest river in our world is the Mediterranean river, which
moves from the sources of the Nile to the Western ocean.
And its greatest height is in Outer Mauritania and it has a course
of ten thousand miles before it reunites with its ocean, the father
of the waters.
That is 3000 miles for the Mediterranean, 3000 for the Nile, as far
as discovered and 3000 for the Nile which flows to the East, &c.
[Footnote: See Pl. CXI 2, a sketch of the shores of the
Mediterranean Sea, where lines 11 to 16 may be seen. The large
figures 158 are not in Leonardo's writing. The character of the
writing leads us to conclude that this text was written later than
the foregoing. A slight sketch of the Mediterranean is also to be
found in MS. I', 47a.]
The Nile (1093-1098).
Therefore we must conclude those mountains to be of the greatest
height, above which the clouds falling in snow give rise to the
The Egyptians, the Ethiopians, and the Arabs, in crossing the Nile
with camels, are accustomed to attach two bags on the sides of the
camel's bodies that is skins in the form shown underneath.
In these four meshes of the net the camels for baggage place their
[Footnote: Unfortunately both the sketches which accompany this
passage are too much effaced to be reproduced. The upper represents
the two sacks joined by ropes, as here described, the other shows
four camels with riders swimming through a river.]
The Tigris passes through Asia Minor and brings with it the water of
three lakes, one after the other of various elevations; the first
being Munace and the middle Pallas and the lowest Triton. And the
Nile again springs from three very high lakes in Ethiopia, and runs
northwards towards the sea of Egypt with a course of 4000 miles, and
by the shortest and straightest line it is 3000 miles. It is said
that it issues from the Mountains of the Moon, and has various
unknown sources. The said lakes are about 4000 braccia above the
surface of the sphere of water, that is 1 mile and 1/3, giving to
the Nile a fall of 1 braccia in every mile.
[Footnote 5: _Incogniti principio._ The affluents of the lakes are
probably here intended. Compare, as to the Nile, Nos. 970, 1063 and
Very many times the Nile and other very large rivers have poured out
their whole element of water and restored it to the sea.
Why does the inundation of the Nile occur in the summer, coming from
It is not denied that the Nile is constantly muddy in entering the
Egyptian sea and that its turbidity is caused by soil that this
river is continually bringing from the places it passes; which soil
never returns in the sea which receives it, unless it throws it on
its shores. You see the sandy desert beyond Mount Atlas where
formerly it was covered with salt water.
Customs of Asiatic Nations (1099. 1100).
The Assyrians and the people of Euboea accustom their horses to
carry sacks which they can at pleasure fill with air, and which in
case of need they carry instead of the girth of the saddle above and
at the side, and they are well covered with plates of cuir bouilli,
in order that they may not be perforated by flights of arrows. Thus
they have not on their minds their security in flight, when the
victory is uncertain; a horse thus equipped enables four or five men
to cross over at need.
The small boats used by the Assyrians were made of thin laths of
willow plaited over rods also of willow, and bent into the form of a
boat. They were daubed with fine mud soaked with oil or with
turpentine, and reduced to a kind of mud which resisted the water
and because pine would split; and always remained fresh; and they
covered this sort of boats with the skins of oxen in safely crossing
the river Sicuris of Spain, as is reported by Lucant; [Footnote 7:
See Lucan's Pharsalia IV, 130: _Utque habuit ripas Sicoris camposque
reliquit, Primum cana salix madefacto vimine parvam Texitur in
puppim, calsoque inducto juvenco Vectoris patiens tumidum supernatat
amnem. Sic Venetus stagnante Pado, fusoque Britannus Navigat oceano,
sic cum tenet omnia Nilus, Conseritur bibula Memphitis cymbo papyro.
His ratibus transjecta manus festinat utrimque Succisam cavare nemus
The Spaniards, the Scythians and the Arabs, when they want to make a
bridge in haste, fix hurdlework made of willows on bags of ox-hide,
and so cross in safety.
Rhodes (1101. 1102).
In [fourteen hundred and] eighty nine there was an earthquake in the
sea of Atalia near Rhodes, which opened the sea--that is its
bottom--and into this opening such a torrent of water poured that
for more than three hours the bottom of the sea was uncovered by
reason of the water which was lost in it, and then it closed to the
[Footnote: _Nello ottanto_ 9. It is scarcely likely that Leonardo
should here mean 89 AD. Dr. H. MULLER- STRUBING writes to me as
follows on this subject: "With reference to Rhodes Ross says (_Reise
auf den Griechischen Inseln, III_ 70 _ff_. 1840), that ancient
history affords instances of severe earthquakes at Rhodes, among
others one in the second year of the 138th Olympiad=270 B. C.; a
remarkably violent one under Antoninus Pius (A. D. 138-161) and
again under Constantine and later. But Leonardo expressly speaks of
an earthquake "_nel mar di Atalia presso a Rodi_", which is
singular. The town of Attalia, founded by Attalus, which is what he
no doubt means, was in Pamphylia and more than 150 English miles
East of Rhodes in a straight line. Leake and most other geographers
identify it with the present town of Adalia. Attalia is rarely
mentioned by the ancients, indeed only by Strabo and Pliny and no
earthquake is spoken of. I think therefore you are justified in
assuming that Leonardo means 1489". In the elaborate catalogue of
earthquakes in the East by Sciale Dshelal eddin Sayouthy (an
unpublished Arabic MS. in the possession of Prof. SCHEFER, (Membre
de l'Institut, Paris) mention is made of a terrible earthquake in
the year 867 of the Mohamedan Era corresponding to the year 1489,
and it is there stated that a hundred persons were killed by it in
the fortress of Kerak. There are three places of this name. Kerak on
the sea of Tiberias, Kerak near Tahle on the Libanon, which I
visited in the summer of l876--but neither of these is the place
alluded to. Possibly it may be the strongly fortified town of
Kerak=Kir Moab, to the West of the Dead Sea. There is no notice
about this in ALEXIS PERCY, _Memoire sur les tremblements de terres
ressentis dans la peninsule turco- hellenique et en Syrie (Memoires
couronnes et memoires des savants etrangers, Academie Royale de
Belgique, Tome XXIII)._]
Rhodes has in it 5000 houses.
Cyprus (1103. 1104).
SITE FOR [A TEMPLE OF] VENUS.
You must make steps on four sides, by which to mount to a meadow
formed by nature at the top of a rock which may be hollowed out and
supported in front by pilasters and open underneath in a large
[Footnote: See Pl. LXXXIII. Compare also p. 33 of this Vol. The
standing male figure at the side is evidently suggested by Michael
Angelo's David. On the same place a slight sketch of horses seems to
have been drawn first; there is no reason for assuming that the text
and this sketch, which have no connection with each other, are of
the same date.
_Sito di Venere._ By this heading Leonardo appears to mean Cyprus,
which was always considered by the ancients to be the home and birth
place of Aphrodite (Kirpic in Homer).]
in which the water may fall into various vases of granite,
porphyryand serpentine, within semi-circular recesses; and the water
may overflow from these. And round this portico towards the North
there should be a lake with a little island in the midst of which
should be a thick and shady wood; the waters at the top of the
pilasters should pour into vases at their base, from whence they
should flow in little channels.
Starting from the shore of Cilicia towards the South you discover
the beauties of the island of Cyprus.
The Caspian Sea (1105. 1106).
>From the shore of the Southern coast of Cilicia may be seen to the
South the beautiful island of Cyprus, which was the realm of the
goddess Venus, and many navigators being attracted by her beauty,
had their ships and rigging broken amidst the reefs, surrounded by
the whirling waters. Here the beauty of delightful hills tempts
wandering mariners to refresh themselves amidst their flowery
verdure, where the winds are tempered and fill the island and the
surrounding seas with fragrant odours. Ah! how many a ship has here
been sunk. Ah! how many a vessel broken on these rocks. Here might
be seen barks without number, some wrecked and half covered by the
sand; others showing the poop and another the prow, here a keel and
there the ribs; and it seems like a day of judgment when there
should be a resurrection of dead ships, so great is the number of
them covering all the Northern shore; and while the North gale makes
various and fearful noises there.
Write to Bartolomeo the Turk as to the flow and ebb of the Black
sea, and whether he is aware if there be such a flow and ebb in the
Hyrcanean or Caspian sea. [Footnote: The handwriting of this note
points to a late date.]
WHY WATER IS FOUND AT THE TOP OF MOUNTAINS.
>From the straits of Gibraltar to the Don is 3500 miles, that is one
mile and 1/6, giving a fall of one braccio in a mile to any water
that moves gently. The Caspian sea is a great deal higher; and none
of the mountains of Europe rise a mile above the surface of our
seas; therefore it might be said that the water which is on the
summits of our mountains might come from the height of those seas,
and of the rivers which flow into them, and which are still higher.
The sea of Azov.
Hence it follows that the sea of Azov is the highest part of the
Mediterranean sea, being at a distance of 3500 miles from the
Straits of Gibraltar, as is shown by the map for navigation; and it
has 3500 braccia of descent, that is, one mile and 1/6; therefore it
is higher than any mountains which exist in the West.
[Footnote: The passage before this, in the original, treats of the
exit of the waters from Lakes in general.]
In the Bosphorus the Black Sea flows always into the Egean sea, and
the Egean sea never flows into it. And this is because the Caspian,
which is 400 miles to the East, with the rivers which pour into it,
always flows through subterranean caves into this sea of Pontus; and
the Don does the same as well as the Danube, so that the waters of
Pontus are always higher than those of the Egean; for the higher
always fall towards the lower, and never the lower towards the
The bridge of Pera at Constantinople, 40 braccia wide, 70 braccia
high above the water, 600 braccia long; that is 400 over the sea and
200 on the land, thus making its own abutments.
[Footnote: See Pl. CX No. 1. In 1453 by order of Sultan Mohamed II.
the Golden Horn was crossed by a pontoon bridge laid on barrels (see
Joh. Dukas' History of the Byzantine Empire XXXVIII p. 279). --The
biographers of Michelangelo, Vasari as well as Condivi, relate that
at the time when Michelangelo suddenly left Rome, in 1506, he
entertained some intention of going to Constantinople, there to
serve the Sultan, who sought to engage him, by means of certain
Franciscan Monks, for the purpose of constructing a bridge to
connect Constantinople with Pera. See VASARI, _Vite_ (ed. Sansoni
VII, 168): _Michelangelo, veduto questa furia del papa, dubitando di
lui, ebbe, secondo che si dice, voglia di andarsene in
Gostantinopoli a servire il Turco, per mezzo di certi frati di San
Francesco, che desiderava averlo per fare un ponte che passassi da
Gostantinopoli a Pera._ And CONDIVI, _Vita di M. Buonaroti chap._
30_; Michelangelo allora vedendosi condotto a questo, temendo
dell'ira del papa, penso d'andarsene in Levante; massimamente
essendo stato dal Turco ricercato con grandissime promesse per mezzo
di certi frati di San Francesco, per volersene servire in fare un
ponte da Costantinopoli a Pera ed in altri affari._ Leonardo's plan
for this bridge was made in 1502. We may therefore conclude that at
about that time the Sultan Bajazet II. had either announced a
competition in this matter, or that through his agents Leonardo had
first been called upon to carry out the scheme.]
If the river will turn to the rift farther on it will never return
to its bed, as the Euphrates does, and this may do at Bologna the
one who is disappointed for his rivers.
Mounts Caucasus, Comedorum, and Paropemisidae are joined together
between Bactria and India, and give birth to the river Oxus which
takes its rise in these mountains and flows 500 miles towards the
North and as many towards the West, and discharges its waters into
the Caspian sea; and is accompanied by the Oxus, Dargados, Arthamis,
Xariaspes, Dargamaim, Ocus and Margus, all very large rivers. From
the opposite side towards the South rises the great river Indus
which sends its waters for 600 miles Southwards and receives as
tributaries in this course the rivers Xaradrus, Hyphasis, Vadris,
Vandabal Bislaspus to the East, Suastes and Coe to the West, uniting
with these rivers, and with their waters it flows 800 miles to the
West; then, turning back by the Arbiti mountains makes an elbow and
turns Southwards, where after a course of about 100 miles it finds
the Indian Sea, in which it pours itself by seven branches. On the
side of the same mountains rises the great Ganges, which river flows
Southwards for 500 miles and to the Southwest a thousand ... and
Sarabas, Diarnuna, Soas and Scilo, Condranunda are its tributaries.
It flows into the Indian sea by many mouths.
On the natives of hot countries.
Men born in hot countries love the night because it refreshes them
and have a horror of light because it burns them; and therefore they
are of the colour of night, that is black. And in cold countries it
is just the contrary.
[Footnote: The sketch here inserted is in MS. H3 55b.]
_Naval Warfare.--Mechanical Appliances.--Music._
_Such theoretical questions, as have been laid before the reader in
Sections XVI and XVII, though they were the chief subjects of
Leonardo's studies of the sea, did not exclusively claim his
attention. A few passages have been collected at the beginning of
this section, which prove that he had turned his mind to the
practical problems of navigation, and more especially of naval
warfare. What we know for certain of his life gives us no data, it
is true, as to when or where these matters came under his
consideration; but the fact remains certain both from these notes in
his manuscripts, and from the well known letter to Ludovico il Moro
(No._ 1340_), in which he expressly states that he is as capable as
any man, in this very department._
_The numerous notes as to the laws and rationale of the flight of
birds, are scattered through several note-books. An account of these
is given in the Bibliography of the manuscripts at the end of this
work. It seems probable that the idea which led him to these
investigations was his desire to construct a flying or aerial
machine for man. At the same time it must be admitted that the notes
on the two subjects are quite unconnected in the manuscripts, and
that those on the flight of birds are by far the most numerous and
extensive. The two most important passages that treat of the
construction of a flying machine are those already published as Tav.
XVI, No._ 1 _and Tav. XVIII in the_ "Saggio delle opere di Leonardo
da Vinci" _(Milan_ 1872_). The passages--Nos._ 1120-1125--_here
printed for the first time and hitherto unknown--refer to the same
subject and, with the exception of one already published in the
Saggio-- No._ 1126--_they are, so far as I know, the only notes,
among the numerous observations on the flight of birds, in which the
phenomena are incidentally and expressly connected with the idea of
a flying machine._
_The notes on machines of war, the construction of fortifications,
and similar matters which fall within the department of the
Engineer, have not been included in this work, for the reasons given
on page_ 26 _of this Vol. An exception has been made in favour of
the passages Nos._ 1127 _and_ 1128, _because they have a more
general interest, as bearing on the important question: whence the
Master derived his knowledge of these matters. Though it would be
rash to assert that Leonardo was the first to introduce the science
of mining into Italy, it may be confidently said that he is one of
the earliest writers who can be proved to have known and understood
it; while, on the other hand, it is almost beyond doubt that in the
East at that time, the whole science of besieging towns and mining
in particular, was far more advanced than in Europe. This gives a
peculiar value to the expressions used in No._ 1127.
_I have been unable to find in the manuscripts any passage whatever
which throws any light on Leonardo's great reputation as a musician.
Nothing therein illustrates VASARPS well-known statement:_ Avvenne
che morto Giovan Galeazze duca di Milano, e creato Lodovico Sforza
nel grado medesimo anno 1494, fu condotto a Milano con gran
riputazione Lionardo al duca, il quale molto si dilettava del suono
della lira, perche sonasse; e Lionardo porto quello strumento
ch'egli aveva di sua mano fabbricato d'argento gran parte, in forma
d'un teschio di cavallo, cosa bizzarra e nuova, acciocche l'armonia
fosse con maggior tuba e piu sonora di voce; laonde supero tutti i
musici che quivi erano concorsi a sonare.
_The only notes on musical matters are those given as Nos._ 1129
_and_ 1130, _which explain certain arrangements in instruments._
The ship's logs of Vitruvius, of Alberti and of Leonardo
ON MOVEMENTS;--TO KNOW HOW MUCH A SHIP ADVANCES IN AN HOUR.
The ancients used various devices to ascertain the distance gone by
a ship each hour, among which Vitruvius [Footnote 6: See VITRUVIUS,
_De Architectura lib. X._ C. 14 (p. 264 in the edition of Rose and
Muller- Strubing). The German edition published at Bale in 1543 has,
on fol. 596, an illustration of the contrivance, as described by
Vitruvius.] gives one in his work on Architecture which is just as
fallacious as all the others; and this is a mill wheel which touches
the waves of the sea at one end and in each complete revolution
describes a straight line which represents the circumference of the
wheel extended to a straightness. But this invention is of no worth
excepting on the smooth and motionless surface of lakes. But if the
water moves together with the ship at an equal rate, then the wheel
remains motionless; and if the motion of the water is more or less
rapid than that of the ship, then neither has the wheel the same
motion as the ship so that this invention is of but little use.
There is another method tried by experiment with a known distance
between one island and another; and this is done by a board or under
the pressure of wind which strikes on it with more or less
swiftness. This is in Battista Alberti [Footnote 25: LEON BATTISTA
ALBERTI, _De Architectura lib. V._, c. 12 treats '_de le navi e
parti loro_', but there is no reference to the machine, mentioned by
Leonardo. Alberti says here: _Noi abbiamo trattato lungamente in
altro luogo de' modi de le navi, ma in questo luogo ne abbiamo detto
quel tanto che si bisogna_. To this the following note is added in
the most recent Italian edition: _Questo libro e tuttora inedito e
porta il titolo, secondo Gesnero di_ '_Liber navis_'.].
Battista Alberti's method which is made by experiment on a known
distance between one island and another. But such an invention does
not succeed excepting on a ship like the one on which the experiment
was made, and it must be of the same burden and have the same sails,
and the sails in the same places, and the size of the waves must be
the same. But my method will serve for any ship, whether with oars
or sails; and whether it be small or large, broad or long, or high
or low, it always serves [Footnote 52: Leonardo does not reveal the
method invented by him.].
Methods of staying and moving in water
How an army ought to cross rivers by swimming with air-bags ... How
fishes swim [Footnote 2: Compare No. 821.]; of the way in which they
jump out of the water, as may be seen with dolphins; and it seems a
wonderful thing to make a leap from a thing which does not resist
but slips away. Of the swimming of animals of a long form, such as
eels and the like. Of the mode of swimming against currents and in
the rapid falls of rivers. Of the mode of swimming of fishes of a
round form. How it is that animals which have not long hind quartres
cannot swim. How it is that all other animals which have feet with
toes, know by nature how to swim, excepting man. In what way man
ought to learn to swim. Of the way in which man may rest on the
water. How man may protect himself against whirlpools or eddies in
the water, which drag him down. How a man dragged to the bottom must
seek the reflux which will throw him up from the depths. How he
ought to move his arms. How to swim on his back. How he can and how
he cannot stay under water unless he can hold his breath . How
by means of a certain machine many people may stay some time under
water. How and why I do not describe my method of remaining under
water, or how long I can stay without eating; and I do not publish
nor divulge these by reason of the evil nature of men who would use
them as means of destruction at the bottom of the sea, by sending
ships to the bottom, and sinking them together with the men in them.
And although I will impart others, there is no danger in them;
because the mouth of the tube, by which you breathe, is above the
water supported on bags or corks .
[Footnote: L. 13-19 will also be found in Vol. I No. 1.]
On naval warfare (1115. 1116).
Supposing in a battle between ships and galleys that the ships are
victorious by reason of the high of heir tops, you must haul the
yard up almost to the top of the mast, and at the extremity of the
yard, that is the end which is turned towards the enemy, have a
small cage fastened, wrapped up below and all round in a great
mattress full of cotton so that it may not be injured by the bombs;
then, with the capstan, haul down the opposite end of this yard and
the top on the opposite side will go up so high, that it will be far
above the round-top of the ship, and you will easily drive out the
men that are in it. But it is necessary that the men who are in the
galley should go to the opposite side of it so as to afford a
counterpoise to the weight of the men placed inside the cage on the
If you want to build an armada for the sea employ these ships to ram
in the enemy's ships. That is, make ships 100 feet long and 8 feet
wide, but arranged so that the left hand rowers may have their oars
to the right side of the ship, and the right hand ones to the left
side, as is shown at M, so that the leverage of the oars may be
longer. And the said ship may be one foot and a half thick, that is
made with cross beams within and without, with planks in contrary
directions. And this ship must have attached to it, a foot below the
water, an iron-shod spike of about the weight and size of an anvil;
and this, by force of oars may, after it has given the first blow,
be drawn back, and driven forward again with fury give a second
blow, and then a third, and so many as to destroy the other ship.
The use of swimming belts.
A METHOD OF ESCAPING IN A TEMPEST AND SHIPWRECK AT SEA.
Have a coat made of leather, which must be double across the breast,
that is having a hem on each side of about a finger breadth. Thus it
will be double from the waist to the knee; and the leather must be
quite air-tight. When you want to leap into the sea, blow out the
skirt of your coat through the double hems of the breast; and jump
into the sea, and allow yourself to be carried by the waves; when
you see no shore near, give your attention to the sea you are in,
and always keep in your mouth the air-tube which leads down into the
coat; and if now and again you require to take a breath of fresh
air, and the foam prevents you, you may draw a breath of the air
within the coat.
[Footnote: AMORETTI, _Memorie Storiche_, Tav. II. B. Fig. 5, gives
the same figure, somewhat altered. 6. _La canna dell' aria_. Compare
Vol. I. No. I. Note]
On the gravity of water.
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