Álava y Viamont, Diego de. El perfeto capitan, instruido en la diciplina militar, y nueva ciencia de la artilleria [...].

Madrid, Pedro Madrigal, 1590.

Small folio (220 x 300 mm). (16), 258, (9) ff. With full-page woodcut portrait of the author, several woodcut illustrations in the text (3 of which full-page), as well as 1 folding woodcut pasted to Y2r. Contemporary full vellum with giltstamped green title-label to spine.


First edition of this very scarce reference guide for artillerymen by the Spanish engineer and military writer Álava y Viamont (born 1557), drawing on his own years of experience in the artillery corps. Intended for officers aspiring to become a "perfect captain", it gives instructions on the proper behaviour before, during, and after battle, information about ammunition, necessary calculations and instruments for the use of ordnance, and an investigation of the work of the Venetian mathematician Niccolò Tartaglia (1499-1557). The illustrations show artillery instruments and trigonometric calculations, as well as battle formations and a city under siege, featuring cannons and dugouts in the foreground. The handbook was republished by the Spanish Ministry of Defense in 1994.

Title-page and first 3 leaves frayed at fore-edge and remargined; several small tears and occasional slight worming to margins. Provenance: bookplates of Giovanni Domenico Berio, marchese di Salza (d. 1791), and of William Ward, Viscount Dudley and Ward of Dudley (1750-1823), to front pastedown. Contemporary ownership by Xaverius "de Sancto Elogio" to title-page. Later in the collection of Thomas Fremantle, 3rd Baron Cottesloe (1862-1956), commander of the Territorial Army and president of the Society for Army History Research.

Cockle 566. Palau 4834. USTC 334128.

Stock Code: BN#51151 Tag: