How exactly gunpowder came in Europe

Oct 2019
34
Budapest
Sep 2019
183
Slovenia
@janusdviveidis as i know mainstream view in history is that Europeans and Mongols tried to reach an alliance but did not succeed. It seems strange that Mongols would give gunpowder to Europeans. But it is true that diplomatic efforts for alliance were made pretty much at the same time when Roger Bacon was writting about gunpowder as the first in Europe. At least as we know.

@Self Appointed Scholar it might be that a Dutch missionary William of Rubruck brought somehow knowledge about gunpowder in Europe. He was a friend of Roger Bacon and traveled a lot between Mongols.


In 1257 he returned from Mongols and a year later you had reports of experiments with gunpowder in Cologne.

 
Last edited:
Oct 2019
34
Budapest
@janusdviveidis as i know mainstream view in history is that Europeans and Mongols tried to reach an alliance but did not succeed. It seems strange that Mongols would give gunpowder to Europeans. But it is true that diplomatic efforts for alliance were made pretty much at the same time when Roger Bacon was writting about gunpowder as the first in Europe. At least as we know.

@Self Appointed Scholar it might be that a Dutch missionary William of Rubruck brought somehow knowledge about gunpowder in Europe. He was a friend of Roger Bacon and traveled a lot between Mongols.


In 1257 he returned from Mongols and a year later you had reports of experiments with gunpowder in Cologne.

So, Why did the early gunpowder tools and pieces have Italian names?
 
Mar 2014
1,993
Lithuania
I really have no idea, but Italians were traders with real power around Mediterranean. It is very likely, that they supplied gunpowder weapons to other Europeans, so names that they gave stuck. It as least makes sense.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,971
Sydney
There is the Mongol and the Arab path of transmition ,
it is uncertain which one
by the early 14th century they were known and used for military use in Europe
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,937
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
I just know it firstly used at The 100 Years War by England
I once read in an article about heraldry in medieval warfare, that in an English invasion of Scotland in the first half of the 14th century, (or 1301-1350) two innovations of the English forces were noted:

1) the knights wore crests on their helmets,

2) there were a few guns in the English army.

This suggests that the English were already using some form of guns or cannons before the Hundred Years War.
 
Sep 2019
183
Slovenia
I found an article written by Iqtidar Alam Khan and published in Journal of Asian history in 1996 in which the author says that Mongols learned to use gunpowder from Chinese around 1230. Author says gunpowder was not used before in India, Arab world or Europe. In their campaign in Syria in 1256 Mongols very likely used gunpowder. The gunpowder weapons used by Mongols in Syria were:

Huo pao designed to propel gunpowder based incendiary shells and Huo ch'iang a bamboo tube filled with explosive powder.

In that time before mentioned William of Rubruck came back from his travelings between Mongols and experiments with gunpowder started in Europe.
 
Aug 2019
13
SPAIN
Arabs certainly know about saltpetre, naming it "snow of China" or "salt of China". But initially they seem more interested in it as a component to make remedies:
Perhaps the first word used by the Arabic-speaking peoples to denote the new saltpetre-containing powder, a word of universal application, was "dawâ" (remedy), medicament, or drug. It was in fact the term used by Hassan al-Rammiih (d. circa 1295), to denote the mixture used to fill the midfa ( gun): 10 parts of "barud", 2 of charcoal, and 1.5 of sulphur.
The form of the word "barud", appears for the first time twice in the Djami' of Ibn al-Baytar (d. 1248); which is the foremost Arabic and medieval treatise of its kind. It is stated there that barud; is the name given in the Maghrib by the common people and physicians to the "snow of China", or tsaltpetre. Again, for Ibn al-Kutubi (fl. about 1310), barud,, only meant saltpetre.
From the mention of "barud", in Ibn al-Baytar, Romocki concluded that saltpetre first came to the Arabs from China in c. 1225-50, and the Arabs then passed on the knowledge of it to Europe, where it was known to Roger Bacon in 1248.

A. Rahman Zhaky. Gunpowder and Arab firearms in Middle Ages.
Gladius Vol.67 (1967)

It´s hard to reach a conclusion, maybe both paths (arab and mongol) were parallel. Incidentally, I think that at least in Iberian Peninsule is more probable that gunpowder came via translating arab treatises; in fact, Ibn al-Baitar was born in Malaga.