Weird History
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The Craziest Weapons Of War Leonardo Da Vinci Ever Invented

Updated April 26, 2019 519 votes 80 voters 4.4k views15 items

List RulesVote up the wildest weapons of war Leonardo da Vinci ever designed.

As the original Renaissance Man, Leonardo da Vinci did it all; the polymath was interested in everything from art to science to writing. The famous Renaissance artist's paintings, sculptures, and architectural achievements are as stunning as his intellectual contributions to history, anatomy, and mathematics.

One of the areas where Leonardo truly excelled was inventing. While observing the world around him, Leonardo took copious notes and made sketches detailing his surroundings. In the process, he came up with practical and impractical mechanisms alike, many designed to be used as tools of destruction. The expanse of Leonardo's imagination is apparent in some of these inventions, while others reveal just how ahead of his time the man was. He applied scientific principles to siege devices, crafted elaborate systems to move water, and developed what is largely believed to be the predecessor to the helicopter.

Leonardo da Vinci had conflicting views on combat, but he was pragmatic and came up with some pretty crazy wartime inventions.

  • 1

    A Rotating Scythed Chariot Would Cut Down Anyone In Its Path 

    Photo: Leonardo da Vinci / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The ancient world of chariots would have fascinated a humanist like Leonardo da Vinci, and he sought to make improvements on that technology. In one of his drawings, Leonardo drew a chariot with large, powerful blades on the sides. Presumably, the sharp side-pieces were meant to rotate and cause maximum harm to all in the chariot's path. 


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  • 2

    The 33-Barreled Organ Fired A Simultaneous Barrage Of Projectiles 

    Photo: Leonardo da Vinci / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    While developing military equipment for the leading families in Florence and Milan, Leonardo da Vinci designed a 33-barreled organ that could fire cannon rounds simultaneously rather than one at a time. The device had rows, so while one row was firing, the other could be reloaded. 

    Leonardo himself called his design a "barreled organ" and developed another version with 11 barrels as well. There's no evidence the 33-barrel organ was ever used.

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  • 3

    A Triple-Barreled Cannon Allowed Artillery To Rapidly Fire Without Overheating

    Comparable to his design for the 33-barreled organ, Leonardo da Vinci designed a cannon with three barrels to be fired in sequence. Leonardo realized the barrels needed to be cooled after firing; while that occurred, additional barrels on the device could be loaded and fired. Thanks to Leonardo's design, the cannon was much more effective and useful, with little to no downtime. 

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  • 4

    A Crossbow Wheel Would Fire A Rapid Onslaught Of Projectiles

    Simply referred to as ingranaggio, or gear, Leonardo da Vinci devised a wooden wheel upon which crossbows could be attached and fired in succession. The wheel was propelled by a person or a group who walked along the top while others, presumably, reloaded the crossbows. 

    Is this a fearsome invention?