Joan Palou, Foundryman and Master Cannon Maker of the City of Barcelona at the End of the 15th Century

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Amenós Martínez, Luisa
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cc-by (c) Edicions de la Universitat de Lleida, 2020
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In the Late Middle Ages, artillery became a key element of military tactics. Monarchy, nobility and government institutions were aware of the need to employ the services of craftsmen specialised in the art of building, repairing and using firearms. This study analyses the working and professional reality of these craftsmen using the biography of the Barcelona foundryman and cannon maker, Joan Palou. The numerous written sources located in the Historical Archive of the City and in the Archive of Notarial Protocols, have made it possible to trace a detailed portrait of his professional activity —and thus, of the first cannon makers— in the early days of artillery making. The inventory of his widow’s goods, made in 1526 and transcribed at the end of the article, offers a detailed description of the craftsman’s workshop and his work tools, of his personal property and real estate and of the documentary archive he kept in a corner of his house.
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Imago temporis: medium Aevum, 2020, núm. 14, p. 337-380