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The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci, Complete by Leonardo Da Vinci

Part 12 out of 17

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Forlimpopoli lies in the same direction at 25 miles from Imola.

Bertinoro, as regards Imola, is five points from the East to wards
the South East, at 27 miles.


Imola as regards Bologna is five points from the West towards the
North West at a distance of 20 miles.

Castel San Pietro lies exactly North West of Imola, at a distance of
7 miles.

Faenza, as regards Imola lies exactly half way between the East and
South East at a distance of 10 miles; and Forli lies in the same
direction from Imola at a distance of 20 miles; and Forlimpopolo
lies in the same direction from Forli at a distance of 25 miles.

Bertinoro is seen from Imola two points from the East towards the
South East at a distance of 27 miles.

[Footnote: Leonardo inserted this passage on the margin of the
circular plan, in water colour, of Imola--see Pl. CXI No. 1.--In the
original the fields surrounding the town are light green; the moat,
which surrounds the fortifications and the windings of the river
Santerno, are light blue. The parts, which have come out blackish
close to the river are yellow ochre in the original. The dark groups
of houses inside the town are red. At the four points of the compass
drawn in the middle of the town Leonardo has written (from right to
left): _Mezzodi_ (South) at the top; to the left _Scirocho_ (South
east), _levante_ (East), _Greco_ (North East), _Septantrione_
(North), _Maesstro_ (North West), _ponente_ (West) _Libecco_ (South
West). The arch in which the plan is drawn is, in the original, 42
centimetres across.

At the beginning of October 1502 Cesare Borgia was shut up in Imola
by a sudden revolt of the Condottieri, and it was some weeks before
he could release himself from this state of siege (see Gregorovius,
_Geschichte der Stadt Rom im Mittelalter_, Vol. VII, Book XIII, 5,

Besides this incident Imola plays no important part in the history
of the time. I therefore think myself fully justified in connecting
this map, which is at Windsor, with the siege of 1502 and with
Leonardo's engagements in the service of Cesare Borgia, because a
comparison of these texts, Nos. 1050 and 1051, raise, I believe, the
hypothesis to a certainty.]


>From Bonconventi to Casa Nova are 10 miles, from Casa Nova to Chiusi
9 miles, from Chiusi to Perugia, from, Perugia to Santa Maria degli
Angeli, and then to Fuligno. [Footnote: Most of the places here
described lie within the district shown in the maps on Pl. CXIII.]


On the first of August 1502, the library at Pesaro.



On the tops and sides of hills foreshorten the shape of the ground
and its divisions, but give its proper shape to what is turned
towards you. [Footnote: This passage evidently refers to the making
of maps, such as Pl. CXII, CXIII, and CXIV. There is no mention of
such works, it is true, excepting in this one passage of MS. L. But
this can scarcely be taken as evidence against my view that Leonardo
busied himself very extensively at that time in the construction of
maps; and all the less since the foregoing chapters clearly prove
that at a time so full of events Leonardo would only now and then
commit his observations to paper, in the MS. L.

By the side of this text we find, in the original, a very indistinct
sketch, perhaps a plan of a position. Instead of this drawing I have
here inserted a much clearer sketch of a position from the same MS.,
L. 82b and 83a. They are the only drawings of landscape, it may be
noted, which occur at all in that MS.]

Alessandria in Piedmont (1055. 1056).


At Candia in Lombardy, near Alessandria della Paglia, in making a
well for Messer Gualtieri [Footnote 2: Messer Gualtieri, the same
probably as is mentioned in Nos. 672 and 1344.] of Candia, the
skeleton of a very large boat was found about 10 braccia
underground; and as the timber was black and fine, it seemed good to
the said Messer Gualtieri to have the mouth of the well lengthened
in such a way as that the ends of the boat should be uncovered.


At Alessandria della Paglia in Lombardy there are no stones for
making lime of, but such as are mixed up with an infinite variety of
things native to the sea, which is now more than 200 miles away.

The Alps (1057-1062).


At Monbracco, above Saluzzo,--a mile above the Certosa, at the foot
of Monte Viso, there is a quarry of flakey stone, which is as white
as Carrara marble, without a spot, and as hard as porphyry or even
harder; of which my worthy gossip, Master Benedetto the sculptor,
has promised to give me a small slab, for the colours, the second
day of January 1511.

[Footnote: Saluzzo at the foot of the Alps South of Turin.]

[Footnote 9. 10.: _Maestro Benedetto scultore_; probably some native
of Northern Italy acquainted with the place here described. Hardly
the Florentine sculptor Benedetto da Majano. Amoretti had published
this passage, and M. Ravaisson who gave a French translation of it
in the _Gazette des Beaux Arts_ (1881, pag. 528), remarks as
follows: _Le maitre sculpteur que Leonard appelle son "compare" ne
serait-il pas Benedetto da Majano, un de ceux qui jugerent avec lui
de la place a donner au David de Michel-Ange, et de qui le Louvre a
acquis recemment un buste d'apres Philippe Strozzi?_ To this it may
be objected that Benedetto da Majano had already lain in his grave
fourteen years, in the year 1511, when he is supposed to have given
the promise to Leonardo. The colours may have been given to the
sculptor Benedetto and the stone may have been in payment for them.
>From the description of the stone here given we may conclude that it
is repeated from hearsay of the sculptor's account of it. I do not
understand how, from this observation, it is possible to conclude
that Leonardo was on the spot.]


That there are springs which suddenly break forth in earthquakes or
other convulsions and suddenly fail; and this happened in a mountain
in Savoy where certain forests sank in and left a very deep gap, and
about four miles from here the earth opened itself like a gulf in
the mountain, and threw out a sudden and immense flood of water
which scoured the whole of a little valley of the tilled soil,
vineyards and houses, and did the greatest mischief, wherever it


The river Arve, a quarter of a mile from Geneva in Savoy, where the
fair is held on midsummerday in the village of Saint Gervais.

[Footnote: An indistinct sketch is to be seen by the text.]


And this may be seen, as I saw it, by any one going up Monbroso
[Footnote: I have vainly enquired of every available authority for a
solution of the mystery as to what mountain is intended by the name
Monboso (Comp. Vol. I Nos. 300 and 301). It seems most obvious to
refer it to Monte Rosa. ROSA derived from the Keltic ROS which
survives in Breton and in Gaelic, meaning, in its first sense, a
mountain spur, but which also--like HORN--means a very high peak;
thus Monte Rosa would mean literally the High Peak.], a peak of the
Alps which divide France from Italy. The base of this mountain gives
birth to the 4 rivers which flow in four different directions
through the whole of Europe. And no mountain has its base at so
great a height as this, which lifts itself above almost all the
clouds; and snow seldom falls there, but only hail in the summer,
when the clouds are highest. And this hail lies [unmelted] there, so
that if it were not for the absorption of the rising and falling
clouds, which does not happen more than twice in an age, an enormous
mass of ice would be piled up there by the layers of hail, and in
the middle of July I found it very considerable; and I saw the sky
above me quite dark, and the sun as it fell on the mountain was far
brighter here than in the plains below, because a smaller extent of
atmosphere lay between the summit of the mountain and the sun.
[Footnote 6: _in una eta._ This is perhaps a slip of the pen on
Leonardo's part and should be read _estate_ (summer).]

Leic. 9b]


In the mountains of Verona the red marble is found all mixed with
cockle shells turned into stone; some of them have been filled at
the mouth with the cement which is the substance of the stone; and
in some parts they have remained separate from the mass of the rock
which enclosed them, because the outer covering of the shell had
interposed and had not allowed them to unite with it; while in other
places this cement had petrified those which were old and almost
stripped the outer skin.


Bridge of Goertz-Wilbach (?).

[Footnote: There is a slight sketch with this text, Leonardo seems
to have intended to suggest, with a few pen-strokes, the course of
the Isonzo and of the Wipbach in the vicinity of Gorizia (Goerz). He
himself says in another place that he had been in Friuli (see No.
1077 1. 19).]

The Appenins (1063-1068).


That part of the earth which was lightest remained farthest from the
centre of the world; and that part of the earth became the lightest
over which the greatest quantity of water flowed. And therefore that
part became lightest where the greatest number of rivers flow; like
the Alps which divide Germany and France from Italy; whence issue
the Rhone flowing Southwards, and the Rhine to the North. The Danube
or Tanoia towards the North East, and the Po to the East, with
innumerable rivers which join them, and which always run turbid with
the soil carried by them to the sea.

The shores of the sea are constantly moving towards the middle of
the sea and displace it from its original position. The lowest
portion of the Mediterranean will be reserved for the bed and
current of the Nile, the largest river that flows into that sea. And
with it are grouped all its tributaries, which at first fell into
the sea; as may be seen with the Po and its tributaries, which first
fell into that sea, which between the Appenines and the German Alps
was united to the Adriatic sea.

That the Gallic Alps are the highest part of Europe.


And of these I found some in the rocks of the high Appenines and
mostly at the rock of La Vernia. [Footnote 6: _Sasso della Vernia._
The frowning rock between the sources of the Arno and the Tiber, as
Dante describes this mountain, which is 1269 metres in height.

This note is written by the side of that given as No. 1020; but
their connection does not make it clear what Leonardo's purpose was
in writing it.]


At Parma, at 'La Campana' on the twenty-fifth of October 1514.
[Footnote 2: _Capano_, an Inn.]

A note on the petrifactions, or fossils near Parma will be found
under No. 989.]


A method for drying the marsh of Piombino. [Footnote: There is a
slight sketch with this text in the original.--Piombino is also
mentioned in Nos. 609, l. 55-58 (compare Pl. XXXV, 3, below). Also
in No. 1035.]


The shepherds in the Romagna at the foot of the Apennines make
peculiar large cavities in the mountains in the form of a horn, and
on one side they fasten a horn. This little horn becomes one and the
same with the said cavity and thus they produce by blowing into it a
very loud noise. [Footnote: As to the Romagna see also No. 1046.]


A spring may be seen to rise in Sicily which at certain times of the
year throws out chesnut leaves in quantities; but in Sicily chesnuts
do not grow, hence it is evident that that spring must issue from
some abyss in Italy and then flow beneath the sea to break forth in
Sicily. [Footnote: The chesnut tree is very common in Sicily. In
writing _cicilia_ Leonardo meant perhaps Cilicia.]





a. Austria, a. Picardy.
b. Saxony. b. Normandy.
c. Nuremberg. c. Dauphine.
d. Flanders.


a. Biscay.
b. Castille.
c. Galicia.
d. Portugal.
e. Taragona.
f. Granada.

[Footnote: Two slightly sketched maps, one of Europe the other of
Spain, are at the side of these notes.]


Perpignan. Roanne. Lyons. Paris. Ghent. Bruges. Holland.

[Footnote: _Roana_ does not seem to mean here Rouen in Normandy, but
is probably Roanne (Rodumna) on the upper Loire, Lyonnais (Dep. du
Loire). This town is now unimportant, but in Leonardo's time was
still a place of some consequence.]


At Bordeaux in Gascony the sea rises about 40 braccia before its
ebb, and the river there is filled with salt water for more than a
hundred and fifty miles; and the vessels which are repaired there
rest high and dry on a high hill above the sea at low tide.
[Footnote 2: This is obviously an exaggeration founded on inaccurate
information. Half of 150 miles would be nearer the mark.]


The Rhone issues from the lake of Geneva and flows first to the West
and then to the South, with a course of 400 miles and pours its
waters into the Mediterranean.


_c d_ is the garden at Blois; _a b_ is the conduit of Blois, made in
France by Fra Giocondo, _b c_ is what is wanting in the height of
that conduit, _c d_ is the height of the garden at Blois, _e f_ is
the siphon of the conduit, _b c_, _e f_, _f g_ is where the siphon
discharges into the river. [Footnote: The tenor of this note (see
lines 2 and 3) seems to me to indicate that this passage was not
written in France, but was written from oral information. We have no
evidence as to when this note may have been written beyond the
circumstance that Fra Giocondo the Veronese Architect left France
not before the year 1505. The greater part of the magnificent
Chateau of Blois has now disappeared. Whether this note was made for
a special purpose is uncertain. The original form and extent of the
Chateau is shown in Androvet, _Les plus excellents Bastiments de
France, Paris MDCVII,_ and it may be observed that there is in the
middle of the garden a Pavilion somewhat similar to that shown on

See S. DE LA SAUSSAYE, _Histoire du Chateau de Blois 4eme edition
Blois et Paris_ p. 175: _En mariant sa fille ainee a Francois, comte
d'Angouleme, Louis XII lui avait constitue en dot les comtes de
Blois, d'Asti, de Coucy, de Montfort, d'Etampes et de Vertus. Une
ordonnance de Francois I. lui laissa en_ 1516 _l'administration du
comte de Blois.

Le roi fit commencer, dans la meme annee, les travaux de celle belle
partie du chateau, connue sous le nom d'aile de Francois I, et dont
nous avons donne la description au commencement de ce livre. Nous
trouvons en effet, dans les archives du Baron de Foursanvault, une
piece qui en fixe parfaitement la date. On y lit: "Je, Baymon
Philippeaux, commis par le Roy a tenir le compte et fair le payement
des bastiments, ediffices et reparacions que le dit seigneur fait
faire en son chastu de Blois, confesse avoir eu et receu ... la
somme de trois mille livres tournois ... le cinquieme jour de
juillet, l'an mil cinq cent et seize._ P. 24: _Les jardins avaient
ete decores avec beaucoup de luxe par les differents possesseurs du
chateau. Il ne reste de tous les batiments qu'ils y eleverent que
ceux des officiers charges de l'ad_ministration et de la culture des
jardins, et un pavilion carre en pierre et en brique flanque de
terrasses a chacun de ses angles. Quoique defigure par des mesures
elevees sur les terrasses, cet edifice est tris-digne d'interet par
l'originalite du plan, la decoration architecturale et le souvenir
d'Anne de Bretagne qui le fit construire._ Felibien describes the
garden as follows: _Le jardin haut etait fort bien dresse par grands
compartimens de toutes sortes de figures, avec des allees de
meuriers blancs et des palissades de coudriers. Deux grands berceaux
de charpenterie separoient toute la longueur et la largeur du
jardin, et dans les quatres angles des allees, ou ces berceaux se
croissent, il y auoit 4 cabinets, de mesme charpenterie ... Il y a
pas longtemps qu'il y auoit dans ce mesme jardin, a l'endroit ou se
croissent les allees du milieu, un edifice de figure octogone, de
plus de 7 thoises de diametre et de plus de neuf thoises de haut;
avec 4 enfoncements en forme de niches dans les 4 angles des allies.
Ce bastiment.... esloit de charpente mais d'un extraordinairement
bien travaille. On y voyait particulierement la cordiliere qui
regnati tout autour en forme de cordon. Car la Reyne affectait de la
mettre nonseulement a ses armes et a ses chiffres mais de la faire
representer en divers manieres dans tous les ouvrages qu'on lui
faisait pour elle ... le bastiment estati couvert en forme de dome
qui dans son milieu avait encore un plus petit dome, ou lanterne
vitree au-dessus de laquelle estait une figure doree representant
Saint Michel. Les deux domes estoient proprement couvert d'ardoise
et de plomb dore par dehors; par dedans ils esloient lambrissez
d'une menuiserie tres delicate. Au milieu de ce Salon il y avait un
grand bassin octogone de marbre blanc, dont toutes les faces
estoient enrichies de differentes sculptures, avec les armes et les
chiffres du Roy Louis XII et de la Reine Anne, Dans ce bassin il y
en avait un autre pose sur un piedestal lequel auoit sept piedz de
diametre. Il estait de figure ronde a godrons, avec des masques et
d'autres ornements tres scauamment taillez. Du milieu de ce
deuxiesme bassin s'y levoit un autre petit piedestal qui portait un
troisiesme bassin de trois pieds de diametre, aussy parfaitement
bien taille; c'estoit de ce dernier bassin que jallissoit l'eau qui
se rependoit en suitte dans les deux autres bassins. Les beaux
ouvrages faits d'un marbre esgalement blanc et poli, furent brisez
par la pesanteur de tout l'edifice, que les injures de l'air
renverserent de fond en comble.]


The river Loire at Amboise.

The river is higher within the bank _b d_ than outside that bank.

The island where there is a part of Amboise.

This is the river that passes through Amboise; it passes at _a b c
d_, and when it has passed the bridge it turns back, against the
original current, by the channel _d e_, _b f_ in contact with the
bank which lies between the two contrary currents of the said river,
_a b_, _c d_, and _d e_, _b f_. It then turns down again by the
channel _f l_, _g h_, _n m_, and reunites with the river from which
it was at first separated, which passes by _k n_, which makes _k m_,
_r t_. But when the river is very full it flows all in one channel
passing over the bank _b d_. [Footnote: See Pl. CXV. Lines 1-7 are
above, lines 8-10 in the middle of the large island and the word
_Isola_ is written above _d_ in the smaller island; _a_ is written
on the margin on the bank of the river above 1. I; in the
reproduction it is not visible. As may be seen from the last
sentence, the observation was made after long study of the river's
course, when Leonardo had resided for some time at, or near,


The water may be dammed up above the level of Romorantin to such a
height, that in its fall it may be used for numerous mills.


The river at Villefranche may be conducted to Romorantin which may
be done by the inhabitants; and the timber of which their houses are
built may be carried in boats to Romorantin [Footnote: Compare No.
744.]. The river may be dammed up at such a height that the waters
may be brought back to Romorantin with a convenient fall.


As to whether it is better that the water should all be raised in a
single turn or in two?

The answer is that in one single turn the wheel could not support
all the water that it can raise in two turns, because at the half
turn of the wheel it would be raising 100 pounds and no more; and if
it had to raise the whole, 200 pounds in one turn, it could not
raise them unless the wheel were of double the diameter and if the
diameter were doubled, the time of its revolution would be doubled;
therefore it is better and a greater advantage in expense to make
such a wheel of half the size (?) the land which it would water and
would render the country fertile to supply food to the inhabitants,
and would make navigable canals for mercantile purposes.

The way in which the river in its flow should scour its own channel.

By the ninth of the third; the more rapid it is, the more it wears
away its channel; and, by the converse proposition, the slower the
water the more it deposits that which renders it turbid.

And let the sluice be movable like the one I arranged in Friuli
[Footnote 19: This passage reveals to us the fact that Leonardo had
visited the country of Friuli and that he had stayed there for some
time. Nothing whatever was known of this previously.], where when
one sluice was opened the water which passed through it dug out the
bottom. Therefore when the rivers are flooded, the sluices of the
mills ought to be opened in order that the whole course of the river
may pass through falls to each mill; there should be many in order
to give a greater impetus, and so all the river will be scoured. And
below the site of each of the two mills there may be one of the said
sluice falls; one of them may be placed below each mill.


A trabocco is four braccia, and one mile is three thousand of the
said braccia. Each braccio is divided into 12 inches; and the water
in the canals has a fall in every hundred trabocchi of two of these
inches; therefore 14 inches of fall are necessary in two thousand
eight hundred braccia of flow in these canals; it follows that 15
inches of fall give the required momentum to the currents of the
waters in the said canals, that is one braccio and a half in the
mile. And from this it may be concluded that the water taken from
the river of Ville-franche and lent to the river of Romorantin
will..... Where one river by reason of its low level cannot flow
into the other, it will be necessary to dam it up, so that it may
acquire a fall into the other, which was previously the higher.

The eve of Saint Antony I returned from Romorantin to Amboise, and
the King went away two days before from Romorantin.

>From Romorantin as far as the bridge at Saudre it is called the
Saudre, and from that bridge as far as Tours it is called the Cher.

I would test the level of that channel which is to lead from the
Loire to Romorantin, with a channel one braccio wide and one braccio

[Footnote: Lines 6-18 are partly reproduced in the facsimile on p.
254, and the whole of lines 19-25.

The following names are written along the rivers on the larger
sketch, _era f_ (the Loire) _scier f_ (the Cher) three times. _Pote
Sodro_ (bridge of the Soudre). _Villa francha_ (Villefranche)
_banco_ (sandbank) _Sodro_ (Soudre). The circle below shows the
position of Romorantin. The words '_orologio del sole_' written
below do not belong to the map of the rivers. The following names
are written by the side of the smaller sketch-map:--_tors_ (Tours),
_Abosa_ (Amboise) _bres_--for Bles (Blois) _mo rica_ (Montrichard).
_Lione_ (Lyons). This map was also published in the 'Saggio'
(Milano, 1872) Pl. XXII, and the editors remark: _Forse la linia
retta che va da Amboise a Romorantin segna l'andamento proposto d'un
Canale, che poi rembra prolungarsi in giu fin dove sta scritto

M. Ravaisson has enlarged on this idea in the Gazette des Beaux Arts
(1881 p. 530): _Les traces de Leonard permettent d'entrevoir que le
canal commencant soit aupres de Tours, soit aupres de Blois et
passant par Romorantin, avec port d'embarquement a Villefranche,
devait, au dela de Bourges, traverser l'Allier au-dessous des
affluents de la Dore et de la Sioule, aller par Moulins jusqu' a
Digoin; enfin, sur l'autre rive de la Loire, depasser les monts du
Charolais et rejoindre la Saone aupres de Macon._ It seems to me
rash, however, to found so elaborate an hypothesis on these sketches
of rivers. The slight stroke going to _Lione_ is perhaps only an
indication of the direction.--With regard to the Loire compare also
No. 988. l. 38.]



At 1/4 from the South to the South East. At 1/3 from the South to
the South East. At 1/4 from the South to the South East. At 1/5 from
the South to the South East. Between the South West and South, to
the East bearing to the South; from the South towards the East 1/8;
thence to the West, between the South and South West; at the South.

[Footnote: The meaning is obscure; a more important passage
referring to France is to be found under No. 744]

On the Germans (1080. 1081).


The way in which the Germans closing up together cross and
interweave their broad leather shields against the enemy, stooping
down and putting one of the ends on the ground while they hold the
rest in their hand. [Footnote: Above the text is a sketch of a few
lines crossing each other and the words _de ponderibus_. The meaning
of the passage is obscure.]


The Germans are wont to annoy a garrison with the smoke of feathers,
sulphur and realgar, and they make this smoke last 7 or 8 hours.
Likewise the husks of wheat make a great and lasting smoke; and also
dry dung; but this must be mixed with olive husks, that is olives
pressed for oil and from which the oil has been extracted.
[Footnote: There is with this passage a sketch of a round tower
shrouded in smoke.]

The Danube.


That the valleys were formerly in great part covered by lakes the
soil of which always forms the banks of rivers,--and by seas, which
afterwards, by the persistent wearing of the rivers, cut through the
mountains and the wandering courses of the rivers carried away the
other plains enclosed by the mountains; and the cutting away of the
mountains is evident from the strata in the rocks, which correspond
in their sections as made by the courses of the rivers [Footnote 4:
_Emus_, the Balkan; _Dardania_, now Servia.], The Haemus mountains
which go along Thrace and Dardania and join the Sardonius mountains
which, going on to the westward change their name from Sardus to
Rebi, as they come near Dalmatia; then turning to the West cross
Illyria, now called Sclavonia, changing the name of Rebi to Albanus,
and going on still to the West, they change to Mount Ocra in the
North; and to the South above Istria they are named Caruancas; and
to the West above Italy they join the Adula, where the Danube rises
[8], which stretches to the East and has a course of 1500 miles; its
shortest line is about l000 miles, and the same or about the same is
that branch of the Adula mountains changed as to their name, as
before mentioned. To the North are the Carpathians, closing in the
breadth of the valley of the Danube, which, as I have said extends
eastward, a length of about 1000 miles, and is sometimes 200 and in
some places 300 miles wide; and in the midst flows the Danube, the
principal river of Europe as to size. The said Danube runs through
the middle of Austria and Albania and northwards through Bavaria,
Poland, Hungary, Wallachia and Bosnia and then the Danube or Donau
flows into the Black Sea, which formerly extended almost to Austria
and occupied the plains through which the Danube now courses; and
the evidence of this is in the oysters and cockle shells and
scollops and bones of great fishes which are still to be found in
many places on the sides of those mountains; and this sea was formed
by the filling up of the spurs of the Adula mountains which then
extended to the East joining the spurs of the Taurus which extend to
the West. And near Bithynia the waters of this Black Sea poured into
the Propontis [Marmora] falling into the Aegean Sea, that is the
Mediterranean, where, after a long course, the spurs of the Adula
mountains became separated from those of the Taurus. The Black Sea
sank lower and laid bare the valley of the Danube with the above
named countries, and the whole of Asia Minor beyond the Taurus range
to the North, and the plains from mount Caucasus to the Black Sea to
the West, and the plains of the Don this side--that is to say, at
the foot of the Ural mountains. And thus the Black Sea must have
sunk about 1000 braccia to uncover such vast plains.

[Footnote 8: _Danubio_, in the original _Reno_; evidently a mistake
as we may infer from _come dissi_ l. 10 &c.]



The straits of Gibraltar (1083-1085).



A river of equal depth runs with greater speed in a narrow space
than in a wide one, in proportion to the difference between the
wider and the narrower one.

This proposition is clearly proved by reason confirmed by
experiment. Supposing that through a channel one mile wide there
flows one mile in length of water; where the river is five miles
wide each of the 5 square miles will require 1/5 of itself to be
equal to the square mile of water required in the sea, and where the
river is 3 miles wide each of these square miles will require the
third of its volume to make up the amount of the square mile of the
narrow part; as is demonstrated in _f g h_ at the mile marked _n_.

[Footnote: In the place marked A in the diagram _Mare Mediterano_
(Mediterranean Sea) is written in the original. And at B, _stretto
di Spugna_ (straits of Spain, _i.e._ Gibraltar). Compare No. 960.]



The reason is that if you put together the mouths of the rivers
which discharge into the Mediterranean sea, you would find the sum
of water to be larger than that which this sea pours through the
straits into the ocean. You see Africa discharging its rivers that
run northwards into this sea, and among them the Nile which runs
through 3000 miles of Africa; there is also the Bagrada river and
the Schelif and others. [Footnote 5: _Bagrada_ (Leonardo writes
Bragada) in Tunis, now Medscherda; _Mavretano_, now Schelif.]
Likewise Europe pours into it the Don and the Danube, the Po, the
Rhone, the Arno, and the Tiber, so that evidently these rivers, with
an infinite number of others of less fame, make its great breadth
and depth and current; and the sea is not wider than 18 miles at the
most westerly point of land where it divides Europe from Africa.


The gulf of the Mediterranean, as an inland sea, received the
principal waters of Africa, Asia and Europe that flowed towards it;
and its waters came up to the foot of the mountains that surrounded
it and made its shores. And the summits of the Apennines stood up
out of this sea like islands, surrounded by salt water. Africa
again, behind its Atlas mountains did not expose uncovered to the
sky the surface of its vast plains about 3000 miles in length, and
Memphis [Footnote 6: _Mefi._ Leonardo can only mean here the citadel
of Cairo on the Mokattam hills.] was on the shores of this sea, and
above the plains of Italy, where now birds fly in flocks, fish were
wont to wander in large shoals.



The greatest ebb made anywhere by the Mediterranean is above Tunis,
being about two and a half braccia and at Venice it falls two
braccia. In all the rest of the Mediterranean sea the fall is little
or none.



Describe the mountains of shifting deserts; that is to say the
formation of waves of sand borne by the wind, and of its mountains
and hills, such as occur in Libya. Examples may be seen on the wide
sands of the Po and the Ticino, and other large rivers.



Circumfulgore is a naval machine. It was an invention of the men of
Majorca. [Footnote: The machine is fully described in the MS. and
shown in a sketch.]


The Tyrrhene Sea.

Some at the Tyrrhene sea employ this method; that is to say they
fastened an anchor to one end of the yard, and to the other a cord,
of which the lower end was fastened to an anchor; and in battle they
flung this anchor on to the oars of the opponent's boat and by the
use of a capstan drew it to the side; and threw soft soap and tow,
daubed with pitch and set ablaze, on to that side where the anchor
hung; so that in order to escape that fire, the defenders of that
ship had to fly to the opposite side; and in doing this they aided
to the attack, because the galley was more easily drawn to the side
by reason of the counterpoise. [Footnote: This text is illustrated
in the original by a pen and ink sketch.]



The Levantine Sea.


On the shores of the Mediterranean 300 rivers flow, and 40, 200
ports. And this sea is 3000 miles long. Many times has the increase
of its waters, heaped up by their backward flow and the blowing of
the West winds, caused the overflow of the Nile and of the rivers
which flow out through the Black Sea, and have so much raised the
seas that they have spread with vast floods over many countries. And
these floods take place at the time when the sun melts the snows on
the high mountains of Ethiopia that rise up into the cold regions of
the air; and in the same way the approach of the sun acts on the
mountains of Sarmatia in Asia and on those in Europe; so that the
gathering together of these three things are, and always have been,
the cause of tremendous floods: that is, the return flow of the sea
with the West wind and the melting of the snows. So every river will
overflow in Syria, in Samaria, in Judea between Sinai and the
Lebanon, and in the rest of Syria between the Lebanon and the Taurus
mountains, and in Cilicia, in the Armenian mountains, and in
Pamphilia and in Lycia within the hills, and in Egypt as far as the
Atlas mountains. The gulf of Persia which was formerly a vast lake
of the Tigris and discharged into the Indian Sea, has now worn away
the mountains which formed its banks and laid them even with the
level of the Indian ocean. And if the Mediterranean had continued
its flow through the gulf of Arabia, it would have done the same,
that is to say, would have reduced the level of the Mediterranean to
that of the Indian Sea.

The Red Sea. (1091. 1092).


For a long time the water of the Mediterranean flowed out through
the Red Sea, which is 100 miles wide and 1500 long, and full of
reefs; and it has worn away the sides of Mount Sinai, a fact which
testifies, not to an inundation from the Indian sea beating on these
coasts, but to a deluge of water which carried with it all the
rivers which abound round the Mediterranean, and besides this there
is the reflux of the sea; and then, a cutting being made to the West
3000 miles away from this place, Gibraltar was separated from Ceuta,
which had been joined to it. And this passage was cut very low down,
in the plains between Gibraltar and the ocean at the foot of the
mountain, in the low part, aided by the hollowing out of some
valleys made by certain rivers, which might have flowed here.
Hercules [Footnote 9: Leonardo seems here to mention Hercules half
jestingly and only in order to suggest to the reader an allusion to
the legend of the pillars of Hercules.] came to open the sea to the
westward and then the sea waters began to pour into the Western
Ocean; and in consequence of this great fall, the Red Sea remained
the higher; whence the water, abandoning its course here, ever after
poured away through the Straits of Spain.


The surface of the Red Sea is on a level with the ocean.

A mountain may have fallen and closed the mouth of the Red Sea and
prevented the outlet of the Mediterranean, and the Mediterranean Sea
thus overfilled had for outlet the passage below the mountains of
Gades; for, in our own times a similar thing has been seen [Footnote
6: Compare also No. 1336, ll. 30, 35 and 36.-- Paolo Giovio, the
celebrated historian (born at Como in 1483) reports that in 1513 at
the foot of the Alps, above Bellinzona, on the road to Switzerland,
a mountain fell with a very great noise, in consequence of an
earthquake, and that the mass of rocks, which fell on the left
(Western) side blocked the river Breno (T. I p. 218 and 345 of D.
Sauvage's French edition, quoted in ALEXIS PERCY, _Memoire des
tremblements de terre de la peninsule italique; Academie Royale de
Belgique._ T. XXII).--]; a mountain fell seven miles across a valley
and closed it up and made a lake. And thus most lakes have been made
by mountains, as the lake of Garda, the lakes of Como and Lugano,
and the Lago Maggiore. The Mediterranean fell but little on the
confines of Syria, in consequence of the Gaditanean passage, but a
great deal in this passage, because before this cutting was made the
Mediterranean sea flowed to the South East, and then the fall had to
be made by its run through the Straits of Gades.

At _a_ the water of the Mediterranean fell into the ocean.

All the plains which lie between the sea and mountains were formerly
covered with salt water.

Every valley has been made by its own river; and the proportion
between valleys is the same as that between river and river.

The greatest river in our world is the Mediterranean river, which
moves from the sources of the Nile to the Western ocean.

And its greatest height is in Outer Mauritania and it has a course
of ten thousand miles before it reunites with its ocean, the father
of the waters.

That is 3000 miles for the Mediterranean, 3000 for the Nile, as far
as discovered and 3000 for the Nile which flows to the East, &c.

[Footnote: See Pl. CXI 2, a sketch of the shores of the
Mediterranean Sea, where lines 11 to 16 may be seen. The large
figures 158 are not in Leonardo's writing. The character of the
writing leads us to conclude that this text was written later than
the foregoing. A slight sketch of the Mediterranean is also to be
found in MS. I', 47a.]

The Nile (1093-1098).


Therefore we must conclude those mountains to be of the greatest
height, above which the clouds falling in snow give rise to the


The Egyptians, the Ethiopians, and the Arabs, in crossing the Nile
with camels, are accustomed to attach two bags on the sides of the
camel's bodies that is skins in the form shown underneath.

In these four meshes of the net the camels for baggage place their

[Footnote: Unfortunately both the sketches which accompany this
passage are too much effaced to be reproduced. The upper represents
the two sacks joined by ropes, as here described, the other shows
four camels with riders swimming through a river.]


The Tigris passes through Asia Minor and brings with it the water of
three lakes, one after the other of various elevations; the first
being Munace and the middle Pallas and the lowest Triton. And the
Nile again springs from three very high lakes in Ethiopia, and runs
northwards towards the sea of Egypt with a course of 4000 miles, and
by the shortest and straightest line it is 3000 miles. It is said
that it issues from the Mountains of the Moon, and has various
unknown sources. The said lakes are about 4000 braccia above the
surface of the sphere of water, that is 1 mile and 1/3, giving to
the Nile a fall of 1 braccia in every mile.

[Footnote 5: _Incogniti principio._ The affluents of the lakes are
probably here intended. Compare, as to the Nile, Nos. 970, 1063 and


Very many times the Nile and other very large rivers have poured out
their whole element of water and restored it to the sea.


Why does the inundation of the Nile occur in the summer, coming from
torrid countries?


It is not denied that the Nile is constantly muddy in entering the
Egyptian sea and that its turbidity is caused by soil that this
river is continually bringing from the places it passes; which soil
never returns in the sea which receives it, unless it throws it on
its shores. You see the sandy desert beyond Mount Atlas where
formerly it was covered with salt water.

Customs of Asiatic Nations (1099. 1100).


The Assyrians and the people of Euboea accustom their horses to
carry sacks which they can at pleasure fill with air, and which in
case of need they carry instead of the girth of the saddle above and
at the side, and they are well covered with plates of cuir bouilli,
in order that they may not be perforated by flights of arrows. Thus
they have not on their minds their security in flight, when the
victory is uncertain; a horse thus equipped enables four or five men
to cross over at need.



The small boats used by the Assyrians were made of thin laths of
willow plaited over rods also of willow, and bent into the form of a
boat. They were daubed with fine mud soaked with oil or with
turpentine, and reduced to a kind of mud which resisted the water
and because pine would split; and always remained fresh; and they
covered this sort of boats with the skins of oxen in safely crossing
the river Sicuris of Spain, as is reported by Lucant; [Footnote 7:
See Lucan's Pharsalia IV, 130: _Utque habuit ripas Sicoris camposque
reliquit, Primum cana salix madefacto vimine parvam Texitur in
puppim, calsoque inducto juvenco Vectoris patiens tumidum supernatat
amnem. Sic Venetus stagnante Pado, fusoque Britannus Navigat oceano,
sic cum tenet omnia Nilus, Conseritur bibula Memphitis cymbo papyro.
His ratibus transjecta manus festinat utrimque Succisam cavare nemus

The Spaniards, the Scythians and the Arabs, when they want to make a
bridge in haste, fix hurdlework made of willows on bags of ox-hide,
and so cross in safety.

Rhodes (1101. 1102).


In [fourteen hundred and] eighty nine there was an earthquake in the
sea of Atalia near Rhodes, which opened the sea--that is its
bottom--and into this opening such a torrent of water poured that
for more than three hours the bottom of the sea was uncovered by
reason of the water which was lost in it, and then it closed to the
former level.

[Footnote: _Nello ottanto_ 9. It is scarcely likely that Leonardo
should here mean 89 AD. Dr. H. MULLER- STRUBING writes to me as
follows on this subject: "With reference to Rhodes Ross says (_Reise
auf den Griechischen Inseln, III_ 70 _ff_. 1840), that ancient
history affords instances of severe earthquakes at Rhodes, among
others one in the second year of the 138th Olympiad=270 B. C.; a
remarkably violent one under Antoninus Pius (A. D. 138-161) and
again under Constantine and later. But Leonardo expressly speaks of
an earthquake "_nel mar di Atalia presso a Rodi_", which is
singular. The town of Attalia, founded by Attalus, which is what he
no doubt means, was in Pamphylia and more than 150 English miles
East of Rhodes in a straight line. Leake and most other geographers
identify it with the present town of Adalia. Attalia is rarely
mentioned by the ancients, indeed only by Strabo and Pliny and no
earthquake is spoken of. I think therefore you are justified in
assuming that Leonardo means 1489". In the elaborate catalogue of
earthquakes in the East by Sciale Dshelal eddin Sayouthy (an
unpublished Arabic MS. in the possession of Prof. SCHEFER, (Membre
de l'Institut, Paris) mention is made of a terrible earthquake in
the year 867 of the Mohamedan Era corresponding to the year 1489,
and it is there stated that a hundred persons were killed by it in
the fortress of Kerak. There are three places of this name. Kerak on
the sea of Tiberias, Kerak near Tahle on the Libanon, which I
visited in the summer of l876--but neither of these is the place
alluded to. Possibly it may be the strongly fortified town of
Kerak=Kir Moab, to the West of the Dead Sea. There is no notice
about this in ALEXIS PERCY, _Memoire sur les tremblements de terres
ressentis dans la peninsule turco- hellenique et en Syrie (Memoires
couronnes et memoires des savants etrangers, Academie Royale de
Belgique, Tome XXIII)._]


Rhodes has in it 5000 houses.

Cyprus (1103. 1104).



You must make steps on four sides, by which to mount to a meadow
formed by nature at the top of a rock which may be hollowed out and
supported in front by pilasters and open underneath in a large

[Footnote: See Pl. LXXXIII. Compare also p. 33 of this Vol. The
standing male figure at the side is evidently suggested by Michael
Angelo's David. On the same place a slight sketch of horses seems to
have been drawn first; there is no reason for assuming that the text
and this sketch, which have no connection with each other, are of
the same date.

_Sito di Venere._ By this heading Leonardo appears to mean Cyprus,
which was always considered by the ancients to be the home and birth
place of Aphrodite (Kirpic in Homer).]

in which the water may fall into various vases of granite,
porphyryand serpentine, within semi-circular recesses; and the water
may overflow from these. And round this portico towards the North
there should be a lake with a little island in the midst of which
should be a thick and shady wood; the waters at the top of the
pilasters should pour into vases at their base, from whence they
should flow in little channels.

Starting from the shore of Cilicia towards the South you discover
the beauties of the island of Cyprus.

The Caspian Sea (1105. 1106).


>From the shore of the Southern coast of Cilicia may be seen to the
South the beautiful island of Cyprus, which was the realm of the
goddess Venus, and many navigators being attracted by her beauty,
had their ships and rigging broken amidst the reefs, surrounded by
the whirling waters. Here the beauty of delightful hills tempts
wandering mariners to refresh themselves amidst their flowery
verdure, where the winds are tempered and fill the island and the
surrounding seas with fragrant odours. Ah! how many a ship has here
been sunk. Ah! how many a vessel broken on these rocks. Here might
be seen barks without number, some wrecked and half covered by the
sand; others showing the poop and another the prow, here a keel and
there the ribs; and it seems like a day of judgment when there
should be a resurrection of dead ships, so great is the number of
them covering all the Northern shore; and while the North gale makes
various and fearful noises there.


Write to Bartolomeo the Turk as to the flow and ebb of the Black
sea, and whether he is aware if there be such a flow and ebb in the
Hyrcanean or Caspian sea. [Footnote: The handwriting of this note
points to a late date.]



>From the straits of Gibraltar to the Don is 3500 miles, that is one
mile and 1/6, giving a fall of one braccio in a mile to any water
that moves gently. The Caspian sea is a great deal higher; and none
of the mountains of Europe rise a mile above the surface of our
seas; therefore it might be said that the water which is on the
summits of our mountains might come from the height of those seas,
and of the rivers which flow into them, and which are still higher.

The sea of Azov.


Hence it follows that the sea of Azov is the highest part of the
Mediterranean sea, being at a distance of 3500 miles from the
Straits of Gibraltar, as is shown by the map for navigation; and it
has 3500 braccia of descent, that is, one mile and 1/6; therefore it
is higher than any mountains which exist in the West.

[Footnote: The passage before this, in the original, treats of the
exit of the waters from Lakes in general.]

The Dardanelles.


In the Bosphorus the Black Sea flows always into the Egean sea, and
the Egean sea never flows into it. And this is because the Caspian,
which is 400 miles to the East, with the rivers which pour into it,
always flows through subterranean caves into this sea of Pontus; and
the Don does the same as well as the Danube, so that the waters of
Pontus are always higher than those of the Egean; for the higher
always fall towards the lower, and never the lower towards the



The bridge of Pera at Constantinople, 40 braccia wide, 70 braccia
high above the water, 600 braccia long; that is 400 over the sea and
200 on the land, thus making its own abutments.

[Footnote: See Pl. CX No. 1. In 1453 by order of Sultan Mohamed II.
the Golden Horn was crossed by a pontoon bridge laid on barrels (see
Joh. Dukas' History of the Byzantine Empire XXXVIII p. 279). --The
biographers of Michelangelo, Vasari as well as Condivi, relate that
at the time when Michelangelo suddenly left Rome, in 1506, he
entertained some intention of going to Constantinople, there to
serve the Sultan, who sought to engage him, by means of certain
Franciscan Monks, for the purpose of constructing a bridge to
connect Constantinople with Pera. See VASARI, _Vite_ (ed. Sansoni
VII, 168): _Michelangelo, veduto questa furia del papa, dubitando di
lui, ebbe, secondo che si dice, voglia di andarsene in
Gostantinopoli a servire il Turco, per mezzo di certi frati di San
Francesco, che desiderava averlo per fare un ponte che passassi da
Gostantinopoli a Pera._ And CONDIVI, _Vita di M. Buonaroti chap._
30_; Michelangelo allora vedendosi condotto a questo, temendo
dell'ira del papa, penso d'andarsene in Levante; massimamente
essendo stato dal Turco ricercato con grandissime promesse per mezzo
di certi frati di San Francesco, per volersene servire in fare un
ponte da Costantinopoli a Pera ed in altri affari._ Leonardo's plan
for this bridge was made in 1502. We may therefore conclude that at
about that time the Sultan Bajazet II. had either announced a
competition in this matter, or that through his agents Leonardo had
first been called upon to carry out the scheme.]

The Euphrates.


If the river will turn to the rift farther on it will never return
to its bed, as the Euphrates does, and this may do at Bologna the
one who is disappointed for his rivers.

Centrae Asia.


Mounts Caucasus, Comedorum, and Paropemisidae are joined together
between Bactria and India, and give birth to the river Oxus which
takes its rise in these mountains and flows 500 miles towards the
North and as many towards the West, and discharges its waters into
the Caspian sea; and is accompanied by the Oxus, Dargados, Arthamis,
Xariaspes, Dargamaim, Ocus and Margus, all very large rivers. From
the opposite side towards the South rises the great river Indus
which sends its waters for 600 miles Southwards and receives as
tributaries in this course the rivers Xaradrus, Hyphasis, Vadris,
Vandabal Bislaspus to the East, Suastes and Coe to the West, uniting
with these rivers, and with their waters it flows 800 miles to the
West; then, turning back by the Arbiti mountains makes an elbow and
turns Southwards, where after a course of about 100 miles it finds
the Indian Sea, in which it pours itself by seven branches. On the
side of the same mountains rises the great Ganges, which river flows
Southwards for 500 miles and to the Southwest a thousand ... and
Sarabas, Diarnuna, Soas and Scilo, Condranunda are its tributaries.
It flows into the Indian sea by many mouths.

On the natives of hot countries.


Men born in hot countries love the night because it refreshes them
and have a horror of light because it burns them; and therefore they
are of the colour of night, that is black. And in cold countries it
is just the contrary.

[Footnote: The sketch here inserted is in MS. H3 55b.]


_Naval Warfare.--Mechanical Appliances.--Music._

_Such theoretical questions, as have been laid before the reader in
Sections XVI and XVII, though they were the chief subjects of
Leonardo's studies of the sea, did not exclusively claim his
attention. A few passages have been collected at the beginning of
this section, which prove that he had turned his mind to the
practical problems of navigation, and more especially of naval
warfare. What we know for certain of his life gives us no data, it
is true, as to when or where these matters came under his
consideration; but the fact remains certain both from these notes in
his manuscripts, and from the well known letter to Ludovico il Moro
(No._ 1340_), in which he expressly states that he is as capable as
any man, in this very department._

_The numerous notes as to the laws and rationale of the flight of
birds, are scattered through several note-books. An account of these
is given in the Bibliography of the manuscripts at the end of this
work. It seems probable that the idea which led him to these
investigations was his desire to construct a flying or aerial
machine for man. At the same time it must be admitted that the notes
on the two subjects are quite unconnected in the manuscripts, and
that those on the flight of birds are by far the most numerous and
extensive. The two most important passages that treat of the
construction of a flying machine are those already published as Tav.
XVI, No._ 1 _and Tav. XVIII in the_ "Saggio delle opere di Leonardo
da Vinci" _(Milan_ 1872_). The passages--Nos._ 1120-1125--_here
printed for the first time and hitherto unknown--refer to the same
subject and, with the exception of one already published in the
Saggio-- No._ 1126--_they are, so far as I know, the only notes,
among the numerous observations on the flight of birds, in which the
phenomena are incidentally and expressly connected with the idea of
a flying machine._

_The notes on machines of war, the construction of fortifications,
and similar matters which fall within the department of the
Engineer, have not been included in this work, for the reasons given
on page_ 26 _of this Vol. An exception has been made in favour of
the passages Nos._ 1127 _and_ 1128, _because they have a more
general interest, as bearing on the important question: whence the
Master derived his knowledge of these matters. Though it would be
rash to assert that Leonardo was the first to introduce the science
of mining into Italy, it may be confidently said that he is one of
the earliest writers who can be proved to have known and understood
it; while, on the other hand, it is almost beyond doubt that in the
East at that time, the whole science of besieging towns and mining
in particular, was far more advanced than in Europe. This gives a
peculiar value to the expressions used in No._ 1127.

_I have been unable to find in the manuscripts any passage whatever
which throws any light on Leonardo's great reputation as a musician.
Nothing therein illustrates VASARPS well-known statement:_ Avvenne
che morto Giovan Galeazze duca di Milano, e creato Lodovico Sforza
nel grado medesimo anno 1494, fu condotto a Milano con gran
riputazione Lionardo al duca, il quale molto si dilettava del suono
della lira, perche sonasse; e Lionardo porto quello strumento
ch'egli aveva di sua mano fabbricato d'argento gran parte, in forma
d'un teschio di cavallo, cosa bizzarra e nuova, acciocche l'armonia
fosse con maggior tuba e piu sonora di voce; laonde supero tutti i
musici che quivi erano concorsi a sonare.

_The only notes on musical matters are those given as Nos._ 1129
_and_ 1130, _which explain certain arrangements in instruments._

The ship's logs of Vitruvius, of Alberti and of Leonardo



The ancients used various devices to ascertain the distance gone by
a ship each hour, among which Vitruvius [Footnote 6: See VITRUVIUS,
_De Architectura lib. X._ C. 14 (p. 264 in the edition of Rose and
Muller- Strubing). The German edition published at Bale in 1543 has,
on fol. 596, an illustration of the contrivance, as described by
Vitruvius.] gives one in his work on Architecture which is just as
fallacious as all the others; and this is a mill wheel which touches
the waves of the sea at one end and in each complete revolution
describes a straight line which represents the circumference of the
wheel extended to a straightness. But this invention is of no worth
excepting on the smooth and motionless surface of lakes. But if the
water moves together with the ship at an equal rate, then the wheel
remains motionless; and if the motion of the water is more or less
rapid than that of the ship, then neither has the wheel the same
motion as the ship so that this invention is of but little use.
There is another method tried by experiment with a known distance
between one island and another; and this is done by a board or under
the pressure of wind which strikes on it with more or less
swiftness. This is in Battista Alberti [Footnote 25: LEON BATTISTA
ALBERTI, _De Architectura lib. V._, c. 12 treats '_de le navi e
parti loro_', but there is no reference to the machine, mentioned by
Leonardo. Alberti says here: _Noi abbiamo trattato lungamente in
altro luogo de' modi de le navi, ma in questo luogo ne abbiamo detto
quel tanto che si bisogna_. To this the following note is added in
the most recent Italian edition: _Questo libro e tuttora inedito e
porta il titolo, secondo Gesnero di_ '_Liber navis_'.].

Battista Alberti's method which is made by experiment on a known
distance between one island and another. But such an invention does
not succeed excepting on a ship like the one on which the experiment
was made, and it must be of the same burden and have the same sails,
and the sails in the same places, and the size of the waves must be
the same. But my method will serve for any ship, whether with oars
or sails; and whether it be small or large, broad or long, or high
or low, it always serves [Footnote 52: Leonardo does not reveal the
method invented by him.].

Methods of staying and moving in water


How an army ought to cross rivers by swimming with air-bags ... How
fishes swim [Footnote 2: Compare No. 821.]; of the way in which they
jump out of the water, as may be seen with dolphins; and it seems a
wonderful thing to make a leap from a thing which does not resist
but slips away. Of the swimming of animals of a long form, such as
eels and the like. Of the mode of swimming against currents and in
the rapid falls of rivers. Of the mode of swimming of fishes of a
round form. How it is that animals which have not long hind quartres
cannot swim. How it is that all other animals which have feet with
toes, know by nature how to swim, excepting man. In what way man
ought to learn to swim. Of the way in which man may rest on the
water. How man may protect himself against whirlpools or eddies in
the water, which drag him down. How a man dragged to the bottom must
seek the reflux which will throw him up from the depths. How he
ought to move his arms. How to swim on his back. How he can and how
he cannot stay under water unless he can hold his breath [13]. How
by means of a certain machine many people may stay some time under
water. How and why I do not describe my method of remaining under
water, or how long I can stay without eating; and I do not publish
nor divulge these by reason of the evil nature of men who would use
them as means of destruction at the bottom of the sea, by sending
ships to the bottom, and sinking them together with the men in them.
And although I will impart others, there is no danger in them;
because the mouth of the tube, by which you breathe, is above the
water supported on bags or corks [19].

[Footnote: L. 13-19 will also be found in Vol. I No. 1.]

On naval warfare (1115. 1116).


Supposing in a battle between ships and galleys that the ships are
victorious by reason of the high of heir tops, you must haul the
yard up almost to the top of the mast, and at the extremity of the
yard, that is the end which is turned towards the enemy, have a
small cage fastened, wrapped up below and all round in a great
mattress full of cotton so that it may not be injured by the bombs;
then, with the capstan, haul down the opposite end of this yard and
the top on the opposite side will go up so high, that it will be far
above the round-top of the ship, and you will easily drive out the
men that are in it. But it is necessary that the men who are in the
galley should go to the opposite side of it so as to afford a
counterpoise to the weight of the men placed inside the cage on the


If you want to build an armada for the sea employ these ships to ram
in the enemy's ships. That is, make ships 100 feet long and 8 feet
wide, but arranged so that the left hand rowers may have their oars
to the right side of the ship, and the right hand ones to the left
side, as is shown at M, so that the leverage of the oars may be
longer. And the said ship may be one foot and a half thick, that is
made with cross beams within and without, with planks in contrary
directions. And this ship must have attached to it, a foot below the
water, an iron-shod spike of about the weight and size of an anvil;
and this, by force of oars may, after it has given the first blow,
be drawn back, and driven forward again with fury give a second
blow, and then a third, and so many as to destroy the other ship.

The use of swimming belts.



Have a coat made of leather, which must be double across the breast,
that is having a hem on each side of about a finger breadth. Thus it
will be double from the waist to the knee; and the leather must be
quite air-tight. When you want to leap into the sea, blow out the
skirt of your coat through the double hems of the breast; and jump
into the sea, and allow yourself to be carried by the waves; when
you see no shore near, give your attention to the sea you are in,
and always keep in your mouth the air-tube which leads down into the
coat; and if now and again you require to take a breath of fresh
air, and the foam prevents you, you may draw a breath of the air
within the coat.

[Footnote: AMORETTI, _Memorie Storiche_, Tav. II. B. Fig. 5, gives
the same figure, somewhat altered. 6. _La canna dell' aria_. Compare
Vol. I. No. I. Note]

On the gravity of water.


If the weight of the sea bears on its bottom, a man, lying on that
bottom and having l000 braccia of water on his back, would have
enough to crush him.

Diving apparatus and Skating (1119-1121).


Of walking under water. Method of walking on water.

[Footnote: The two sketches belonging to this passage are given by
AMORETTI, _Memorie Storiche_. Tav. II, Fig. 3 and 4.]


Just as on a frozen river a man may run without moving his feet, so
a car might be made that would slide by itself.

[Footnote: The drawings of carts by the side of this text have no
direct connection with the problem as stated in words.--Compare No.
1448, l. 17.]


A definition as to why a man who slides on ice does not fall.
[Footnote: An indistinct sketch accompanies the passage, in the

On Flying machines (1122-1126).


Man when flying must stand free from the waist upwards so as to be
able to balance himself as he does in a boat so that the centre of
gravity in himself and in the machine may counterbalance each other,
and be shifted as necessity demands for the changes of its centre of


Remember that your flying machine must imitate no other than the
bat, because the web is what by its union gives the armour, or
strength to the wings.

If you imitate the wings of feathered birds, you will find a much
stronger structure, because they are pervious; that is, their
feathers are separate and the air passes through them. But the bat
is aided by the web that connects the whole and is not pervious.



Destruction to such a machine may occur in two ways; of which the
first is the breaking of the machine. The second would be when the
machine should turn on its edge or nearly on its edge, because it
ought always to descend in a highly oblique direction, and almost
exactly balanced on its centre. As regards the first--the breaking
of the machine--, that may be prevented by making it as strong as
possible; and in whichever direction it may tend to turn over, one
centre must be very far from the other; that is, in a machine 30
braccia long the centres must be 4 braccia one from the other.

[Footnote: Compare No. 1428.]


Bags by which a man falling from a height of 6 braccia may avoid
hurting himself, by a fall whether into water or on the ground; and
these bags, strung together like a rosary, are to be fixed on one's


An object offers as much resistance to the air as the air does to
the object. You may see that the beating of its wings against the
air supports a heavy eagle in the highest and rarest atmosphere,
close to the sphere of elemental fire. Again you may see the air in
motion over the sea, fill the swelling sails and drive heavily laden
ships. From these instances, and the reasons given, a man with wings
large enough and duly connected might learn to overcome the
resistance of the air, and by conquering it, succeed in subjugating
it and rising above it. [Footnote: A parachute is here sketched,
with an explanatory remark. It is reproduced on Tav. XVI in the
Saggio, and in: _Leonardo da Vinci als Ingenieur etc., Ein Beitrag
zur Geschichte der Technik und der induktiven Wissenschaften, von
Dr. Hermann Grothe, Berlin_ 1874, p. 50.]

Of mining.


If you want to know where a mine runs, place a drum over all the
places where you suspect that it is being made, and upon this drum
put a couple of dice, and when you are over the spot where they are
mining, the dice will jump a little on the drum at every blow which
is given underground in the mining.

There are persons who, having the convenience of a river or a lake
in their lands, have made, close to the place where they suspect
that a mine is being made, a great reservoir of water, and have
countermined the enemy, and having found them, have turned the water
upon them and destroyed a great number in the mine.

Of Greek fire.



Take charcoal of willow, and saltpetre, and sulphuric acid, and
sulphur, and pitch, with frankincense and camphor, and Ethiopian
wool, and boil them all together. This fire is so ready to burn that
it clings to the timbers even under water. And add to this
composition liquid varnish, and bituminous oil, and turpentine and
strong vinegar, and mix all together and dry it in the sun, or in an
oven when the bread is taken out; and then stick it round hempen or
other tow, moulding it into a round form, and studding it all over
with very sharp nails. You must leave in this ball an opening to
serve as a fusee, and cover it with rosin and sulphur.

Again, this fire, stuck at the top of a long plank which has one
braccio length of the end pointed with iron that it may not be burnt
by the said fire, is good for avoiding and keeping off the ships, so
as not to be overwhelmed by their onset.

Again throw vessels of glass full of pitch on to the enemy's ships
when the men in them are intent on the battle; and then by throwing
similar burning balls upon them you have it in your power to burn
all their ships.

[Footnote: Venturi has given another short text about the Greek fire
in a French translation (Essai Section XIV). He adds that the
original text is to be found in MS. B. 30 (?). Libri speaks of it in
a note as follows (_Histoire des sciences mathematiques en Italie
Vol. II_ p. 129): _La composition du feu gregeois est une des chases
qui ont ete les plus cherchees et qui sont encore les plus
douteuses. On dit qu'il fut invente au septieme siecle de l'ere
chretienne par l'architecte Callinique (Constantini Porphyrogenetae
opera, Lugd. Batav._ 1617,-- _in-_8vo; p. 172, _de admin, imper.
exp._ 48_), et il se trouve souvent mentionne par les Historiens
Byzantins. Tantot on le langait avec des machines, comme on
lancerait une banche, tantot on le soufflait avec de longs tubes,
comme on soufflerait un gaz ou un liquide enflamme (Annae Comnenae
Alexias_, p. 335, _lib. XI.--Aeliani et Leonis, imperatoris tactica,
Lugd.-Bat._ 1613, _in_-4. part. 2 a, p. 322, _Leonis tact. cap._
l9.--_Joinville, histoire du Saint Louis collect. Petitot tom. II,_
p. 235). _Les ecrivains contemporains disent que l'eau ne pouvait
pas eteindre ce feu, mais qu'avec du vinaigre et du sable on y
parvenait. Suivant quelques historiens le feu gregeois etait compose
de soufre et de resine. Marcus Graecus (Liber ignium, Paris,_ 1804,
_in_-40_) donne plusieurs manieres de le faire qui ne sont pas tres
intelligibles, mais parmi lesquelles on trouve la composition de la
poudre a canon. Leonard de Vinci (MSS. de Leonard de Vinci, vol. B.
f. 30,) dit qu'on le faisait avec du charbon de saule, du salpetre,
de l'eau de vie, de la resine, du soufre, de la poix et du camphre.
Mais il est probable que nous ne savons pas qu'elle etait sa
composition, surtout a cause du secret qu'en faisaient les Grecs. En
effet, l'empereur Constantin Porphyrogenete recommende a son fils de
ne jamais en donner aux Barbares, et de leur repondre, s'ils en
demandaient, qu'il avait ete apporti du ciel par un ange et que le
secret en avait ete confie aux Chretiens (Constantini
Porphyrogennetae opera,_ p. 26-27, _de admin. imper., cap. _12_)._]

Of Music (1129. 1130).


A drum with cogs working by wheels with springs [2].

[Footnote: This chapter consists of explanations of the sketches
shown on Pl. CXXI. Lines 1 and 2 of the text are to be seen at the
top at the left hand side of the first sketch of a drum. Lines 3-5
refer to the sketch immediately below this. Line 6 is written as the
side of the seventh sketch, and lines 7 and 8 at the side of the
eighth. Lines 9-16 are at the bottom in the middle. The remainder of
the text is at the side of the drawing at the bottom.]

A square drum of which the parchment may be drawn tight or slackened
by the lever _a b_ [5].

A drum for harmony [6].

[7] A clapper for harmony; that is, three clappers together.

[9] Just as one and the same drum makes a deep or acute sound
according as the parchments are more or less tightened, so these
parchments variously tightened on one and the same drum will make
various sounds [16].

Keys narrow and close together; (bicchi) far apart; these will be
right for the trumpet shown above.

_a_ must enter in the place of the ordinary keys which have the ...
in the openings of a flute.


Tymbals to be played like the monochord, or the soft flute.

[6] Here there is to be a cylinder of cane after the manner of
clappers with a musical round called a Canon, which is sung in four
parts; each singer singing the whole round. Therefore I here make a
wheel with 4 teeth so that each tooth takes by itself the part of a

[Footnote: In the original there are some more sketches, to which
the text, from line 6, refers. They are studies for a contrivance
exactly like the cylinder in our musical boxes.]


Of decorations.

White and sky-blue cloths, woven in checks to make a decoration.

Cloths with the threads drawn at _a b c d e f g h i k_, to go round
the decoration.


_Philosophical Maxims. Morals. Polemics and Speculations_.

_Vasari indulges in severe strictures on Leonardo's religious views.
He speaks, among other things, of his_ "capricci nel filosofar delle
cose naturali" _and says on this point:_ "Per il che fece nell'animo
un concetto si eretico che e' non si accostava a qualsi voglia
religione, stimando per avventura assai piu lo esser filosofo che
cristiano" _(see the first edition of_ 'Le Vite'_). But this
accusation on the part of a writer in the days of the Inquisition is
not a very serious one--and the less so, since, throughout the
manuscripts, we find nothing to support it._

_Under the heading of "Philosophical Maxims" I have collected all
the passages which can give us a clear comprehension of Leonardo's
ideas of the world at large. It is scarcely necessary to observe
that there is absolutely nothing in them to lead to the inference
that he was an atheist. His views of nature and its laws are no
doubt very unlike those of his contemporaries, and have a much
closer affinity to those which find general acceptance at the
present day. On the other hand, it is obvious from Leonardo's will
(see No._ 1566_) that, in the year before his death, he had
professed to adhere to the fundamental doctrines of the Roman
Catholic faith, and this evidently from his own personal desire and

_The incredible and demonstrably fictitious legend of Leonardo's
death in the arms of Francis the First, is given, with others, by
Vasari and further embellished by this odious comment:_ "Mostrava
tuttavia quanto avea offeso Dio e gli uomini del mondo, non avendo
operato nell'arte come si conveniva." _This last accusation, it may
be remarked, is above all evidence of the superficial character of
the information which Vasari was in a position to give about
Leonardo. It seems to imply that Leonardo was disdainful of diligent
labour. With regard to the second, referring to Leonardo's morality
and dealings with his fellow men, Vasari himself nullifies it by
asserting the very contrary in several passages. A further
refutation may be found in the following sentence from the letter in
which Melsi, the young Milanese nobleman, announces the Master's
death to Leonardo's brothers:_ Credo siate certificati della morte
di Maestro Lionardo fratello vostro, e mio quanto optimo padre, per
la cui morte sarebbe impossibile che io potesse esprimere il dolore
che io ho preso; e in mentre che queste mia membra si sosterranno
insieme, io possedero una perpetua infelicita, e meritamente perche
sviscerato et ardentissimo amore mi portava giornalmente. E dolto ad
ognuno la perdita di tal uomo, quale non e piu in podesta della
natura, ecc.

_It is true that, in April_ 1476, _we find the names of Leonardo and
Verrocchio entered in the_ "Libro degli Uffiziali di notte e de'
Monasteri" _as breaking the laws; but we immediately after find the
note_ "Absoluti cum condizione ut retamburentur" (Tamburini _was the
name given to the warrant cases of the night police). The acquittal
therefore did not exclude the possibility of a repetition of the
charge. It was in fact repeated, two months later, and on this
occasion the Master and his pupil were again fully acquitted.
Verrocchio was at this time forty and Leonardo four-and-twenty. The
documents referring to this affair are in the State Archives of
Florence; they have been withheld from publication, but it seemed to
me desirable to give the reader this brief account of the leading
facts of the story, as the vague hints of it, which have recently
been made public, may have given to the incident an aspect which it
had not in reality, and which it does not deserve._

_The passages here classed under the head "Morals" reveal Leonardo
to us as a man whose life and conduct were unfailingly governed by
lofty principles and aims. He could scarcely have recorded his stern
reprobation and unmeasured contempt for men who do nothing useful
and strive only for riches, if his own life and ambitions had been
such as they have so often been misrepresented._

_At a period like that, when superstition still exercised unlimited
dominion over the minds not merely of the illiterate crowd, but of
the cultivated and learned classes, it was very natural that
Leonardo's views as to Alchemy, Ghosts, Magicians, and the like
should be met with stern reprobation whenever and wherever he may
have expressed them; this accounts for the argumentative tone of all
his utterances on such subjects which I have collected in
Subdivision III of this section. To these I have added some passages
which throw light on Leonardo's personal views on the Universe. They
are, without exception, characterised by a broad spirit of
naturalism of which the principles are more strictly applied in his
essays on Astronomy, and still more on Physical Geography._

_To avoid repetition, only such notes on Philosophy, Morals and
Polemics, have been included in this section as occur as independent
texts in the original MSS. Several moral reflections have already
been given in Vol. I, in section "Allegorical representations,
Mottoes and Emblems". Others will be found in the following section.
Nos._ 9 _to_ 12, _Vol. I, are also passages of an argumentative
character. It did not seem requisite to repeat here these and
similar passages, since their direct connection with the context is
far closer in places where they have appeared already, than it would
be here._



Prayers to God (1132. 1133).


I obey Thee Lord, first for the love I ought, in all reason to bear
Thee; secondly for that Thou canst shorten or prolong the lives of



Thou, O God, dost sell us all good things at the price of labour.

The powers of Nature (1134-1139).


O admirable impartiality of Thine, Thou first Mover; Thou hast not
permitted that any force should fail of the order or quality of its
necessary results.


Necessity is the mistress and guide of nature.

Necessity is the theme and the inventress, the eternal curb and law
of nature.


In many cases one and the same thing is attracted by two strong
forces, namely Necessity and Potency. Water falls in rain; the earth
absorbs it from the necessity for moisture; and the sun evaporates
it, not from necessity, but by its power.


Weight, force and casual impulse, together with resistance, are the
four external powers in which all the visible actions of mortals
have their being and their end.


Our body is dependant on heaven and heaven on the Spirit.


The motive power is the cause of all life.

Psychology (1140-1147).


And you, O Man, who will discern in this work of mine the wonderful
works of Nature, if you think it would be a criminal thing to
destroy it, reflect how much more criminal it is to take the life of
a man; and if this, his external form, appears to thee marvellously
constructed, remember that it is nothing as compared with the soul
that dwells in that structure; for that indeed, be it what it may,
is a thing divine. Leave it then to dwell in His work at His good
will and pleasure, and let not your rage or malice destroy a
life--for indeed, he who does not value it, does not himself deserve
it [Footnote 19: In MS. II 15a is the note: _chi no stima la vita,
non la merita._].

[Footnote: This text is on the back of the drawings reproduced on
Pl. CVII. Compare No. 798, 35 note on p. 111: Compare also No. 837
and 838.]


The soul can never be corrupted with the corruption of the body,,
but is in the body as it were the air which causes the sound of the
organ, where when a pipe bursts, the wind would cease to have any
good effect. [Footnote: Compare No. 845.]


The part always has a tendency to reunite with its whole in order to
escape from its imperfection.

The spirit desires to remain with its body, because, without the
organic instruments of that body, it can neither act, nor feel


If any one wishes to see how the soul dwells in its body, let him
observe how this body uses its daily habitation; that is to say, if
this is devoid of order and confused, the body will be kept in
disorder and confusion by its soul.


Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than with the
imagination being awake?


The senses are of the earth; Reason, stands apart in contemplation.

[Footnote: Compare No. 842.]


Every action needs to be prompted by a motive.

To know and to will are two operations of the human mind.

Discerning, judging, deliberating are acts of the human mind.


All our knowledge has its origin in our preceptions.

Science, its principles and rules (1148--1161)


Science is the observation of things possible, whether present or
past; prescience is the knowledge of things which may come to pass,
though but slowly.


Experience, the interpreter between formative nature and the human
race, teaches how that nature acts among mortals; and being
constrained by necessity cannot act otherwise than as reason, which
is its helm, requires her to act.


Wisdom is the daughter of experience.


Nature is full of infinite causes that have never occured in


Truth was the only daughter of Time.


Experience never errs; it is only your judgments that err by
promising themselves effects such as are not caused by your

Experience does not err; only your judgments err by expecting from
her what is not in her power. Men wrongly complain of Experience;
with great abuse they accuse her of leading them astray but they set
Experience aside, turning from it with complaints as to our
ignorance causing us to be carried away by vain and foolish desires
to promise ourselves, in her name, things that are not in her power;
saying that she is fallacious. Men are unjust in complaining of
innocent Experience, constantly accusing her of error and of false


Instrumental or mechanical science is of all the noblest and the
most useful, seeing that by means of this all animated bodies that
have movement perform all their actions; and these movements are
based on the centre of gravity which is placed in the middle
dividing unequal weights, and it has dearth and wealth of muscles
and also lever and counterlever.



Mechanics are the Paradise of mathematical science, because here we
come to the fruits of mathematics. [Footnote: Compare No. 660, 11.
19--22 (Vol. I., p. 332). 1156.

Every instrument requires to be made by experience.


The man who blames the supreme certainty of mathematics feeds on
confusion, and can never silence the contradictions of sophistical
sciences which lead to an eternal quackery.


There is no certainty in sciences where one of the mathematical
sciences cannot be applied, or which are not in relation with these



Any one who in discussion relies upon authority uses, not his
understanding, but rather his memory. Good culture is born of a good
disposition; and since the cause is more to be praised than the
effect, I will rather praise a good disposition without culture,
than good culture without the disposition.


Science is the captain, and practice the soldiers.



Those who fall in love with practice without science are like a
sailor who enters a ship without a helm or a compass, and who never
can be certain whither he is going.



What is life? (1162. 1163).


Now you see that the hope and the desire of returning home and to
one's former state is like the moth to the light, and that the man
who with constant longing awaits with joy each new spring time, each
new summer, each new month and new year--deeming that the things he
longs for are ever too late in coming--does not perceive that he is
longing for his own destruction. But this desire is the very
quintessence, the spirit of the elements, which finding itself
imprisoned with the soul is ever longing to return from the human
body to its giver. And you must know that this same longing is that
quintessence, inseparable from nature, and that man is the image of
the world.


O Time! consumer of all things; O envious age! thou dost destroy all
things and devour all things with the relentless teeth of years,
little by little in a slow death. Helen, when she looked in her
mirror, seeing the withered wrinkles made in her face by old age,
wept and wondered why she had twice been carried away.

O Time! consumer of all things, and O envious age! by which all
things are all devoured.



Every evil leaves behind a grief in our memory, except the supreme
evil, that is death, which destroys this memory together with life.

How to spend life



0 sleepers! what a thing is slumber! Sleep resembles death. Ah, why
then dost thou not work in such wise as that after death thou mayst
retain a resemblance to perfect life, when, during life, thou art in
sleep so like to the hapless dead? [Footnote: Compare No. 676, Vol.
I. p. 353.]


One pushes down the other.

By these square-blocks are meant the life and the studies of men.


The knowledge of past times and of the places on the earth is both
an ornament and nutriment to the human mind.


To lie is so vile, that even if it were in speaking well of godly
things it would take off something from God's grace; and Truth is so
excellent, that if it praises but small things they become noble.

Beyond a doubt truth bears the same relation to falsehood as light
to darkness; and this truth is in itself so excellent that, even
when it dwells on humble and lowly matters, it is still infinitely
above uncertainty and lies, disguised in high and lofty discourses;
because in our minds, even if lying should be their fifth element,
this does not prevent that the truth of things is the chief
nutriment of superior intellects, though not of wandering wits.

But you who live in dreams are better pleased by the sophistical
reasons and frauds of wits in great and uncertain things, than by
those reasons which are certain and natural and not so far above us.


Avoid studies of which the result dies with the worker.


Men are in error when they lament the flight of time, accusing it of
being too swift, and not perceiving that it is sufficient as it
passes; but good memory, with which nature has endowed us, causes
things long past to seem present.


Learning acquired in youth arrests the evil of old age; and if you
understand that old age has wisdom for its food, you will so conduct
yourself in youth that your old age will not lack for nourishment.


The acquisition of any knowledge is always of use to the intellect,
because it may thus drive out useless things and retain the good.

For nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first known.


As a day well spent procures a happy sleep, so a life well employed
procures a happy death.


The water you touch in a river is the last of that which has passed,
and the first of that which is coming. Thus it is with time present.

Life if well spent, is long.


Just as food eaten without caring for it is turned into loathsome
nourishment, so study without a taste for it spoils memory, by
retaining nothing which it has taken in.


Just as eating against one's will is injurious to health, so study
without a liking for it spoils the memory, and it retains nothing it
takes in.


On Mount Etna the words freeze in your mouth and you may make ice of

[Footnote 2: There is no clue to explain this strange sentence.]

Just as iron rusts unless it is used, and water putrifies or, in
cold, turns to ice, so our intellect spoils unless it is kept in

You do ill if you praise, and still worse if you reprove in a matter
you do not understand.

When Fortune comes, seize her in front with a sure hand, because
behind she is bald.

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