Italian engineer, wood-carver, and author Mariano di Jacopo, known as Il Taccola, was born on 4 February 1382 in Siena. His nickname “taccola” refers to a type of bird (jackdaw) that is known for its inquisitiveness. Taccola was also known as the “Archimedes of Siena,” a reference to the famous Greek mathematician and inventor. Among his designs was a trebuchet, a double-armed catapult that offered greater firepower and numerous drawings of engines and machines found in his treatises De Ingeneis and De machinis. Taccola’s writings had great influence on other Italian architects and engineers, including Filippo Brunelleschi, Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Leonardo da Vinci, and Antonio da Sangallo.

Reference: Gustina Scaglia. “Taccola, Mariano.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press.

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