A page from 16th C German manuscript ("Das Feuer Buch") from the University of Pennsylvania's collection, depicts a cat and a bird attacking a castle with bombs strapped to them. As if that wasn't enough, the illustrator chose to depict these bombs in a way that made the poor critters look jet-propelled. The caption is "To ignite a castle with a cat."

Beyond the novel inclusion of our rocket bird and turbo cat - up top - this 1584 treatise on explosive devices appears to illustrate weaponry seen in earlier manuscripts and offers no new technologies for the Renaissance commando types.

The sketches show various types of barrel bombs, hand grenades, nasty fragmentation/shrapnel explosives, cannons, caltrops (anti-personnel ground spikes), unsophisticated spear and staff-mounted 'rockets' or bombs, catherine or pin wheel fireworks and your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine fire vessels and defensive emplacement stakes. Good to know that our modern evil ways build on the twisted imaginations of artistic forebears.

Early Explosives (Thanks, Nicholas!)