II New dynamics for the circulation of experts

The presence of the Spanish monarchy in various areas of Europe, especially in Italy and Flanders, facilitated the recruitment of international military experts who were attracted by a career under the patronage of the king of Spain. Therefore, many specialists of artillery and fortification who served the Spanish Habsburgs moved to Portugal through the cross-border network of the captain general of artillery.

The new design of fortification, called trace italienne, which is at the core of Parker’s concept of military revolution, was implemented by a handful of specialists, among which the most renowned were Italian engineers. Before the Iberian Union, King Sebastiao of Portugal hired such an Italian expert, Filippo Terzi, who later passed to the service of the Spanish Habsburgs.29 However, after 1580, the circulation of Italian engineers in Portugal was enhanced by the fact that many of them were already on the Spanish artillery payrolls and just moved inside the Iberian Peninsula through the authority of the captain general of artillery.30 Thus, after a long experience in designing fortresses for the Spanish Habsburgs in Milan, Pamplona, Sardinia, the Balearic islands, and Alicante, Italian engineer Giovan Giacomo Paleari Fratino (called El Fratin by the Spaniards) and his brother Giorgio, supervised the fortification of Porto Viana do Castelo, Sao Juliao da Barra (near Lisbon), and Setiibal.31 In the early 1590s, a Florentine artist and engineer, Brother Giovanni Vincenzo Casale, worked on the forts protecting the entrance of the Tagus river in front of Lisbon.32 In 1590, he realized firing tests with heavy artillery in order to check the defence of the bay of Lisbon. He did so with the lieutenant of artillery and Tiburzio Spannocchi, a Sienese engineer who was considered by the Council of War the best reference in fortification after he designed fortresses in many territories including Sicily, the Basque country, Cadiz and Galicia.33 After the death of Casale in 1593, his works were completed by Leonardo Torriani, an engineer from Lombardy who had fortified the Canary Islands and some Spanish citadels in North Africa before making a long career in the fortifications of Portugal.34

Similar dynamics happened in the manufacturing of cannons. Gun-manufacturing facilities already existed in Lisbon before the Iberian Union, but they became especially productive when the demand for large bronze cannons rose as a result of the organization of huge armadas.35 Thus, in 1587, four Spanish master gun founders were transferred from Castile to Lisbon to participate in the production of cannons for the armada against England.36 There they worked together with Luis Cesar, a local master gun founder, and Bartolomeo Sommariva, an Italian master who had been serving King Philipp II for a decade.37 The supervision and control of this production was assigned to Diego de Prado, a Castilian officer who later wrote two manuscripts on gunnery and cannon-making techniques.38 In 1589, a German gun founder from Aachen, Jan Vantrier, was hired by the Duke of Parma in the Low Countries under orders to join Lisbon, where he produced cannons until his death, in 1603.39 In other words, Lisbon converted into a point of encounter for gun founders coming from various areas of Europe, and this situation certainly stimulated the exchange of knowledge and techniques from different manufacturing traditions.

From the beginning of sixteenth century, gunners, who were specialists in the use of cannons, were traditionally either Portuguese or recruited by Portuguese agents in Flanders and Germany.40 After 1580, this recruitment was reshaped by the international networks of the Spanish Habsburgs. A document of the Portuguese squadron of the Armada del Mar Oceano in 1602 shows only a small proportion of Portuguese among a crew of forty-five gunners (Figure 7.1).41 Flemish artillerists

Origins of forty-five gunners from the Portuguese squadron of the Armada del Mar Oceano (1602)

FIGURE 7.1 Origins of forty-five gunners from the Portuguese squadron of the Armada del Mar Oceano (1602).

were still present, coming essentially from the lands loyal to the Habsburgs, while Germans came predominantly from Hamburg, certainly because of the strong diplomatic and commercial ties this Hanseatic city kept with Spain.42 Spaniards amounted to only about 25 per cent of this group of gunners and were in majority from northern Spain. However, the most striking characteristic is the massive presence of Italian gunners, who constituted almost one-third of the group. Most of them were subjects of the Spanish Habsburgs from Lombardy, Sicily, and especially Naples, but some had also been recruited in the neighbouring territories such as Venice, the Papal States, and Genoa. The Mediterranean emphasis on the recruitment was perceptible in the presence of one Ragusan, two Greeks, and even one man from Kazan, identified as a Turk. This international crew' was completed by a French person and a handful of Scots who might have been Catholics seeking the protection of the Spanish Habsburgs.

This gathering of technicians who had learnt their art in so many places and who must have had as many different work experiences was undoubtedly favourable to the circulation of the most up-to-date knowledge and techniques. In addition, the Spanish monarchy fostered the exchange of technical knowledge by creating new teaching institutions.