I've been interested in old artillery pieces for many years and have done a lot of reading about them, but one thing that's always escaped me is how the French and Spanish assigned proper names to their bronze cannons.
Who was charged with assigning the names? Was there some kind of christening ritual? Why were the cannons named?
Here is a sampling of names which are typically found in a banner near the muzzle of the cannon. Earlier cannons may have the names actually cast into them, but most I've seen have the names engraved within an engraved banner near the muzzle. The sampling is taken from the Naval Historical Center Publication, a pamphlet entitled "The Bronze Guns of Leutze Park, Washington Navy Yard, Washington DC" by John C. Reilly Jr. (undated)
The pamphlet numbering system reference numbers are used.
No. 8, Spanish 12 pdr. gun, "EL ALANO"
No. 9, Spanish 6 pdr. gun cast in 1686 "S. BRVNO" for San Bruno
Nos. 10-13, (text is comingled here so bear with me)
No. 10, 13, Spanish 27 pdr.(?) guns "CAMILLO" and "CORZO"
No. 11, 12, French 12 pdr.: "LE VIGOREAUX" and "LE BELLIQUEUX"
No. 14, Spanish 6 pdr.: "GENEROSO"
No. 15, Spanish 12 pdr.: (no name listed in text, if anyone knows it please advise.)
No. 16, Spanish 12 pdr: "ALEATOR"
No. 17, Spanish 12 pdr: "EL TORO"
No. 18, Spanish 12 pdr: "EL TOSICO"
No. 19, Spanish 9 pdr. (should perhaps read "8 pdr?) "EL GALGO"
No. 20, Spanish 9 pdr. (8 pdr?) "CAMBERNON"
No. 24, Spanish 24 pdr. howitzer: "JUSTICIERO" (this shows Spanish cannon names are not unique, as I've seen a Spanish 9 inch mortar also named "Justiciero."
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