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Object Title

Gun - Turkish Bombard

Gun - Turkish Bombard

Date

1464

Object Number

XIX.164

Provenance

Cast for the siege train of Sultan Mahomet II, Sultan of Turkey between 1430 and 1481. Thereafter, perhaps during the eighteenth century, it became part of the battery in one or other of the forts at Chanak or Kilid-Bahr, on either side of the Dardanelles. This gun was presented to Queen Victoria as a gift in 1868 by Sultan Abdul Azziz (1830-1876) where it was placed in the Rotunda Museum. The initial negotiations were commenced by Major-General J.H. Lefroy (1817-1890) when XIX.115 was sent to England in error.

Physical Description

This very large siege gun is made in two pieces, chase and breech, the two parts screwing together. The breech which contained the powder charge is shorter and of slightly smaller diameter than the chase which was loaded with the stone projectile. Both parts are cast with prominent double mouldings at either end which are joined longitudinally by sixteen crosspieces to form an equal number of sockets for the insertion of the levers used in screwing or unscrewing the two parts. The rest of the length is divided by rounded mouldings, five on the chase and three on the breech. The surface between the outermost of these mouldings and the prominent mouldings at the ends is filled with two interlocking bands of formalised flower or leaf ornament, one raised, the other sunken. The muzzle is inscribed in Turkish in relief: 'Help O God. The Sultan Muhammad Khan, son of Murad. The work of Munir Ali in the month of Rejeb. In the year 868' (Muhammad Khan= Mahomet II, Sultan of Turkey, 1430-81; 868=A.D. 1464). Near the vent are engraved directions for loading which may be translated as follows:
Diameter, chamber, 7 parmak, 80 nokta (9.4in) (23.9cm): muzzle, 20 parmak (26.7in) (67.8cm): shot, 19 parmak, 25 nokta (23.8in) (60.4cm). Weight of shot, 240 okes (676lb) (306.6kg) Charge, 17.5 okes (49.35lb) (22.4kg). The bore shows score marks made by the stone shot.

Featured in

Techniques

Cast

Materials

Dimensions

BarrelBore25 in
BarrelBore635 mm
BarrelWeight8128 kg
BarrelWeight17919 lbs
ChamberBore9 in
ChamberBore229 mm
BreechLength66 in
BreechLength1676 mm
BreechWeight8941 kg
BreechWeight19711.5 lbs

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number None visible

Calibre

635 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

Engraving
Diameter, chamber, 7 parmak, 80 nokta (9.4in) (23.9cm): muzzle, 20 parmak (26.7in) (67.8cm): shot, 19 parmak, 25 nokta (23.8in) (60.4cm). Weight of shot, 240 okes (676lb) (306.6kg) Charge, 17.5 okes (49.35lb) (22.4kg).
Near the vent, directions for loading translated thus:
Inscribed
Inscription
Help O God. The Sultan Mohammed Khan son of Murad. The work of Munir Ali in the month of Rejeb. In the year 868
Muzzle, in Turkish.
In relief

Associations

Places Turkey

Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London, Ordnance Catalogue, H.M.S.O. London 1976, p.172.

Notes

Originally part of the battery in one or other of the Forts at Chanak or Kilid-Bahr on either side of the Dardanelles and acquired from the Turkish Government in 1868. This Bombard was cast in two pieces to facilitate transport. Mehmet's artillery group was populated with skilful designers and engineers including Saruca Usta and architect Muslihiddin Usta. It also included non-Muslims like the Hungarian Urban. Five stone shot for this gun are in the Armouries collection (XX.13 to XX.17). The Turkish units of measurement 'parmak' (lit. 'fingers') and 'notka' (lit. 'points') are the approximate equivalent of 1.25in and .03in respectively, an 'oke' being equivalent to 2.82lb. In an article on this gun, General Lefroy stated that the engraved inscription was a modern addition, basing this assertion on the fact that the powder chamber would in fact hold a charge of 150 lbs of powder, the much lesser amount given in the inscription being due to the improved and stronger powder of the early 19th century ('The Great Cannon of Muhammad II, 'Arch. Journ.' XXV (1868, 261-80). However, Turkish measurements varied so greatly in different periods and even from place to place that they must be regarded as unreliable evidence. For firing, this gun and its companions were mounted on wooden beds with large wooden recoil beds behind them and they were capable of firing across the Straits of the Dardanelles, i.e. over one mile. They damaged six of the ships of Sir John Duckworth's squadron when he attempted to force the Straits in 1807. The bombard would have been mounted on wooden cradles free to slide on a low wooden substructure. The five granite projectiles (XX.13-17) associated with this bomabrd are composed of Biotite granite. There were several quarries near Constantinople where this could have been sourced, the nearest was at Mount Olympus. A former for the screw thread may have been made by twisting a thick rope round a wooden block and then marking between the twists of the rope before being cut out by hand.

Thumbnail image of Great bronze gun known as the "Dardanelles Gun". Turkish, dated 1464. Cast by Munit 'Ali for Sultan Mehmet II (r. 1430-81)
Thumbnail image of Great bronze gun known as the "Dardanelles Gun". Turkish, dated 1464. Cast by Munit 'Ali for Sultan Mehmet II (r. 1430-81)
Thumbnail image of Great bronze gun known as the "Dardanelles Gun". Turkish, dated 1464. Cast by Munit 'Ali for Sultan Mehmet II (r. 1430-81)
Thumbnail image of XIX.164, Gun
The Great Turkish Bombard
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of View of the great bronze gun, 'The Dardanelles Gun,' dated 1464, Turkey, situated within the Voice of the Guns Gallery, (XIX.164), Royal Armouries Museum, Fort Nelson, Fareham, United Kingdom
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.
Thumbnail image of Gun - Turkish Bombard Also referred to as the Dardanelles gun and the Great Bronze Gun. Two large bronze pieces, the smaller powder chamber cast at one end with a screw thread to engage the female thread of the larger piece.