Alongside the many developments within the arts and sciences, technological development flourished as well during the Renaissance. The sponsors of many of these developments, the courts, commissioned inventors, artists, and engineers, among others, to create or design things that would make the patron look good or more powerful to other city-states. As such, much focus was directed towards developing military technologies, with other areas of focus being architecture, art, courtly entertainment, and after the printing press was invented, technical books (Misa, 3,19).
Technologies were designed with potential military uses in mind so the patron’s military strength could dominate, or at least intimidate, other city-states and groups of people whilst protecting themselves. Political chaos in the Italian peninsula contributed to the many military conflicts within the city-states of the peninsula, while outside forces such as the Turks and French posed threats too(Misa, 2). Thus, military technologies were essentially required by a city-state to hold its own; even more military developments were needed to be able to conquer or control more land. People, like Leonardo da Vinci, who could design and create these technologies, became incredibly desirable to courts (Misa, 2). The political conditions at the time led to mutualistic relationships between courts and military engineers, which resulted in technological inventions and innovations. During the period where Leonardo worked for Ludovico Sforza, pirates attacked the seaport of Genoa, which led to Sforza prompting Leonardo to design ways to protect ships and counter the pirates (Misa, 7). Leonardo came up with an idea for a submarine, but refrained from telling others about the prop…
…personal benefit in the forms of military advancement, architecture, art, entertainment, and technical books. Nonetheless, courts’ patronage to inventors, architects, artists, engineers, printers, and others helped shape the physical world (buildings, machines, etc.) as well as the psychological world(geometric perspective, ideas in printed works like empiricism and Protestantism, etc.) of the time. The thoughts and feelings of the people who thought of the technologies and innovations played a role in what ideas materialized. The Renaissance illustrates well how both the interests of the people and how the context in which technological development occurs shape the types of technologies that are developed and how they are put to use.
Misa, Thomas J. “Leonardo to the Internet.”
Perry, John. “Technology in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe.” 2/5/14.