WHITEHORNE, Peter Certain waies for the orderyng of souldiers in battelray

London, [Printed by John Kingston for] Niclas Inglande, 1562


FIRST EDITION. 4to. ff. 48, [iv] leaves. A-N . Black letter, some Roman. Title within four piece woodcut border, white on black criblé initials, seven full page woodcuts of fortifications, numerous woodcut diagrams in text. Light age yellowing, the odd little marginal spot. A fine copy, crisp and clean, in handsome late C19th brown crushed morocco by Rivière and Son, spine with raised bands, title gilt lettered, turn ins gilt ruled, a.e.g.

The very rare and important first edition of Whitehorne’s seminal treatise on warfare, the first Englishman to write on the subject. This is the second part of STC 17164, Machiavelli’s The Arte of Warre translated by Whitehorne, with its own title; “Certain waies for the orderyng of souldiers in battelray” has separate title page (within woodcut border), foliation, and register.” ESTC. Cockle catalogues the two works separately. “Owing, perhaps to having been brought out merely as a supplement to the ‘Art of war,” Whitehorne’s book has almost been lost sight of as a separate work. It supplies information on the subjects not treated by Machiavelli, that is to say, on fortification, and the manner of making gunpowder, saltpetre, fireworks, etc. This information is collected chiefly from Italian writers; nevertheless Whitehorne must be allowed the honour of being the first Englishman to write on these subjects, though, as regards ‘fireworks’, it is Bourne to whom the credit is usually given. There is an interesting chapter on signalling, based on the actual systems of Aeneas, Tacitus and Polybius.” Cockle.

“The method many would-be reformers used to suggest improvements in training was the military book, which became increasingly popular in England during the 1570s and 1580s. The first influential military book of the Elizabethan period, Peter Whitehorne’s ‘Certain waies for the orderyng of souldiers in battelray’ was printed in 1560. (sic). The work, which accompanied Whitehorne’s translation of Machiavelli’s ‘Art of warre’ came from the press of the London printer John Kingston for Nicholas England. Like so many of the military authors, Whitehorne was a veteran, a former soldier in the army of Charles V, the King of Spain and the holy Roman Emperor and he served throughout the Mediterranean during Charles’s campaign against the Turks in the 1550s. ‘Certain waies for the orderyng of souldiers in battelray’ opened with a discussion of how to organise men into battle squares and also include the chapters on fortification, siegecraft, and artillery, the first in English to address the transformation of siege warfare that had been taking place on the Italian peninsula. The book, written with the express purpose of training the ranks to operate as a cohesive unit in the field, was also one of the first English military books to include text and diagrams depicting various infantry formations used on the continent. New additions of appeared in 1573 and 1588, each been printed with Machiavelli’s treaties on war. .. Whitehorne was the first Englishman to write on the subject of gunnery …” David R. Lawrence, The complete soldier Military Books and Military Culture in Early Stuart England.

Rare and important English military work.

Cockle 13. ESTC S111854. STC 17164.
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