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The drawings of Tiburzio Spannocchi for the fortifications of the Pyrenees. Analysis and design.

Ignacio Cabodevilla-Artieda


The introduction of the use of gunpowder and the development of artillery as fundamental elements of the war changed it completely, leading to the development of new types of fortresses. These were generally designated as “de traza italiana”, being their main features the creation of triangular or pentagonal bastions, a lower rise of the walls to hinder the action of the enemy artillery, caponiers and batteries of cannons.
Tiburzio Spannocchi exemplifies the constant exchange of engineers between Italy and Spain throughout the 16th century, as he was commissioned by Philip II in 1592 to develop a defensive system for the central Pyrenees, from the Arán valley to the town of Berdún.
To carry out the task he took a trip throughout the whole mountain range in which he analysed topographic, climatic, hydrological and even demographic characteristics, informing in numerous letters a final report kept in the Archivo General de Simancas.
In these documents, we can find texts with minute descriptions of the conservation of the existing elements as well as graphical information that we can divide into three groups: geographical information, analysis of the surroundings, and design for construction or repair of the fortresses.
The analysis of these drawings is a way to understand the approach of Tiburzio Spannocchi to the design of fortresses, the elements that focus his attention on the study of the environment and existing elements, as well as the use of the various codes and representation systems aimed to facilitate the transmission of the project, both from a constructive and functional point of view.


Tiburzio Spannocchi; map; design; defensive system

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Copyright (c) 2019 Ignacio Cabodevilla-Artieda

ISSN 1828 5961
Registration at L'Aquila Law Court no 3/15 on 29th June, 2015.
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