06 June 2014
My Most Illustrious Lord,
I know how, in the course of the siege of a terrain,
to remove water from the moats and how to make
an infinite number of bridges, mantlets
and scaling ladders and other instruments
necessary to such an enterprise.
I have also types of cannon, most convenient
and easily portable, with which to hurl small stones
almost like a hail-storm; and the smoke from the cannon
will instil a great fear in the enemy
on account of the grave damage and confusion.
I have means of arriving at a designated
spot through mines and secret winding passages
constructed completely without noise, even if
it should be necessary to pass underneath
moats or any river.
Also I will make cannon, mortar and light ordnance
of very beautiful and functional design
that are quite out of the ordinary.
I will assemble catapults, mangonels,
trebuckets and other instruments of wonderful
efficiency not in general use.
And should a sea battle be occasioned,
I have examples of many instruments
which are highly suitable either in attack
or defence, and craft which will resist the fire
of all the heaviest cannon and powder and smoke.
Also I can execute sculpture in marble,
bronze and clay. Likewise in painting, I can do
everything possible as well as any other.
From a letter Leonardo da Vinci wrote to Ludovico Sforza around 1483, commending himself for court employment. Via Letters of Note. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.