A Cannon Gifted to Pope Pius IX with Inscription
The canon was gifted to Pope Pius IX in 1848 during the time of the Papal States, which were defended by the Vatican. It has an unusual round barrel and was manufactured in both iron and bronze.
The breech, central part and nozzle are all bronze, and the rest, even the trunnions, and most likely the whole bore, were made of iron.
The canon has a 68 mm caliber nozzle with a length of 150 cm.
In the center is the dedication of the cannon noting the place it was manufactured.
Pocaterra di Ferrara
Ferrara is a city and commune in the Emilia-Romagna area of northern Italy with a population today of over 130,000 people.
At its base is the manufacturer’s marking: Torquato Tasso di Ferrara fece.
NOTE: It is unclear exactly what the manufacturer’s marking refers to. Torquato Tasso was considered the greatest Italian poet of the late Renaissance and is celebrated for his heroic epic poem, Gerusalemme liberate (1581, “Jerusalem Liberated”). It dealt with the capture of Jerusalem during the First Crusade.
Why this is included in the markings is, at present, unknown.
The cannon is a highly unusual addition to this Collection and emphasizes a period of time when the defense of a large swathe of papal owned land was necessary.
The Papal States
The Papal States were territories in central Italy that were directly governed by the papacy—not only spiritually but in a temporal, secular sense. The extent of papal control, which officially began in 756 and lasted until 1870, varied over the centuries, as did the geographical boundaries of the region.