JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 510
Continuing a minor thread on "Odd Things in the Sky", which also joins up nicely with another odd thread, "Things Out of Place", come these two interesting, just-remembered images, showing a stiff-armed god and a big old bomb coming out of the sky. The first, left, is the title page of the Strassburg-born army surgeon Hieronymus Brunschwig's Apoteck fuer den Gmeine man der die Ertzet. Published posthumously in 1530, the good dead doctor offers wide and varied instructions and ruminations on medicine (per se) and health care to the average person--meaning, basically, the person with enough money to buy a book but who could not afford a doctor (probably a slim margin). the book was filled with reasoned and reasonable approaches to taking care of health and illness, with cures and recipes for everything from itchyness to syphilis. Presumably the Der Herr Gott of Einstein is doing a little more than throwing dice, taking a very prescribed interest in the hoeing man and gathering woman. It is interesting to see that the man emerging from the cloud, somehow needs a cape.
Coming from the sky next is a bomb, the creation of Francois Blondel, (1618-1686) in his L'art de jetter les bombes…, published 1699. Blondel was as good in building as he was in un-building, being in charge of the public works of Paris (and appointed so by Louis XIV, being perhaps one of the most important architectural/engineering positions that could be imagined by the French mind), as well as being an expert in the construction of forts and fortifications. His work on bombs and artillery was ready to be published 15 years or so before 1699, but the King saw that even though there was a lot of interest and use to his military in seeing the treatise published, the same was also true of his enemies.
But of interest to me here is the title page and the bomb not only falling from the sky, but falling from the bannered heavens. There's nothing soft or spooky about the book itself, which is all business, of course, as important to the military man of 1700 as, say, Robert Coles' book on underwater explosions was in 1965 or Urbanski's Chemistry of Explosives a decade earlier. And even though Blondel certainly built on Galileo's work on the parabolic flight of such weapons, the bomb on the front cover is falling straight down.