Müller, Axel (2019) The Firework Book: An edition, translation, and analysis of Royal Armouries Ms. I.34 as an example of tradition and change in fifteenth‐century gunpowder technology. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

In the Royal Armouries collection is a manuscript which comprises a text in Early New High German, known as RA I.34. It has never been published in its entirety, and has never been transcribed or translated. It forms part of a corpus of Firework Books which were produced from the early fifteenth century onwards. In total, 65 fragments of the Firework Book could be traced, and each text has different content and components while retaining core elements of text common to all. The Firework Book is a significant example of the development of fifteenth‐century gunpowder technology and makes a core contribution to arguments surrounding the so‐called ‘Military Revolution’. RA I.34 displays common core elements of the Firework Book tradition, but it is also distinctive in a number of different ways. Unlike most copies of the Firework Book RA I.34 is still in what appears to be its original format and binding, with text written by two distinctly different hands with regional variations in the language. It also contains a section with illustrations.

This thesis provides an edition and translation into English of RA I.34, an analysis of its content, and a comparison to other Firework Book manuscripts, and their historiography. Chapter 1 provides a description of the Firework Book tradition and its historiography. Chapter 2 provides a description of the physical attributes, the content and the provenance of RA I.34. Chapter 3 comprises an edition of the manuscript and a translation from Early New High German into English. Chapter 4 offers a close analysis of the content of the text of RA I.34 while chapter 5 explores the use and the ownership of the Firework Book.

This thesis positions the Firework Book at a crucial stage in the development of gunpowder artillery, thus offering an unparalleled insight into fifteenth‐century gunpowder technology, and its position in the change of military technology at the end of the Middle Ages.

FINAL THESIS - MULLER.pdf - Accepted Version
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