Military Review

Kazimir Semenovich - the founder of rocket technology from the 17th century

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If you ask anyone with whom, in his opinion, is connected история development of rocket technology, he almost certainly calls you at least the name of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. However, in the history there are almost forgotten people today who talked about prototype missiles long before the beginning of the 20th century. One of these people is the mysterious Kazimir Semenovich, military engineer of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Semenovich was a theoretician of artillery; in 1650, he wrote the book “The Great Mastery of Artillery”, which was already ahead of its time. Also, Kazimir Semenovich was the inventor of the prototype multi-stage rocket.


This character is one of the most mysterious figures of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Scientists have been arguing about its nationality for more than one hundred years. Even the dates of his birth and death (1600 — 1651's) are known today only approximately. For scientists, this is no less a mystery than the nationality of a theoretical scientist, who already in the seventeenth century wrote about the creation of missiles and charges to them. The degree of his relationship today is disputed between Poland, Belarus and Lithuania. Each side pulls the blanket over itself, writing down Kazimir Semenovich to his compatriots.

By its origin, Semenovich belonged to the gentry, but which one is the question. According to one version, his family estate was located in the Vitebsk region, on the territory of modern Belarus. It is believed that the arms of his kind was the noble arms of Ostoy. At the same time, Polish historiography calls Kazimir Semenovich a Polish engineer and a polonized gentry. At the same time, the Lithuanians claim that he was born within the borders of Zhmudi in the family of the poor Lithuanian gentry coat of arms of Osto. And according to Belarusian historians, he was born not far from Dubrovna, in a family of small Russian princes Semenovich.



According to some specialists in the field of linguistics, some lexical features really speak in favor of the fact that he was Belarusian. Casimir himself in his works avoided the place of his birth by the side, at the same time calling himself a Litvin nobleman. There is also a version that the right to print the coat of arms of Osto in his book, he simply acquired in the hope of increasing his own popularity.

The main work of his life was the book “The Great Art of Artillery. Part One ”, which was published in 1650 year in the Netherlands at the Jan Janson’s Printing Office. In this book he laid the foundations of rocket science long before they were formulated by scholars of the twentieth century. This work was devoted to both theory and practical use of artillery and pyrotechnics. For almost two centuries after writing, this book was the basis of the European art of warfare, being a respected textbook on artillery science. The work written by Kazimir Semenovich in Latin ("Artis Magnae Artilleriae pars prima"), made him, in fact, the predecessor of modern rocket science. In this book, among other things, he described the principle of multi-stage rockets, cited drawings of volley fire systems and the delta-wing stabilizer. All this he wrote and published even 250 years before the appearance of the works of Tsiolkovsky.

Today it is difficult to judge, but, most likely, Kazimir Semenovich studied at the Vilna Academy, but there is no exact confirmation of this. However, there is no doubt that this was a man with great knowledge in various fields. His knowledge was in the spirit of the Renaissance, which required universal geniuses: in addition to chemistry, physics, optics, hydraulics and acoustics, he studied many arts, both mechanical and free. Apparently, he was well acquainted with sculpture, visual arts, foundry and engraving. About his education and love of reading is the fact that in his book he refers to more than 200 works by various authors.

It is now known that Kazimir Semenovich took part in at least two battles. Thus, it can be said that he was related to military service in the troops of the Commonwealth. It is known that in 1647, he received the position of engineer of the crown artillery. But even before that, he appeared to be in the service. The first known case from his military career was participation in the siege of the White fortress (today located on the territory of the Tver region in Russia), which lasted from March 22 to May 27 1634 of the year and ended with the victory of a small Russian garrison. He wrote about this siege as a direct witness of events, without specifying what role he was playing at that time. Some historians believe that Kazimir Semenovich took part in the entire Smolensk war of 1632-1634, but this is difficult to confirm with facts.



The second well-known participation of Semenovich in battles was the battle with the Crimean Tatars near Akhmatova, which occurred on January 30, 1644 of the year (today is the territory of Cherkasy region of Ukraine). On the course of this battle, he also spoke in the first person. Perhaps at this time, Casimir was in the artillery of the crown hetman Stanislav Konetspolsky. Speaking about this battle, he noted that Tatar pyrotechnicians covered their troops' retreat with a thick smoke screen.

It is known that in Holland Semenovich was at least twice. The first time, it seems, was sent there by King Vladislav IV. He served in the Duke Frederick of Orange, took part in the Spanish-Dutch war, including the siege of Huyst, which occurred in 1645 year. He returned to the territory of the Commonwealth in 1646, when King Vladislav IV began to gather artillery specialists throughout Europe to wage a big war with the Turks. Since then, he served in the crown artillery, with 1648, he was deputy chief. According to the advice of the new king Jan-Casimir, around 1649, he returned to the Netherlands to print his artillery work there. According to another version, he was forced to leave the country because of a conflict with his immediate superior, K. Artashevsky, who accused Kazimir Semenovich of misappropriation of money.

One way or another, once again in the Netherlands, Kazimir Semenovich wrote a book in which he tried to summarize all the accumulated military experience in the use of artillery and systematize the knowledge gained. Prior to that, he was quite actively learning the available literature not only on military affairs, but also on history, culture, pyrotechnics, and communicated with gun manufacturers and fireworks manufacturers. While still in the service of King Vladislav IV, he independently carried out experiments and experiments on internal and external ballistics, carried out launches of missiles designed by him. It is not surprising that in the end he set himself the task of creating a literary work that would allow us to tie together the practice with the theory and summarize all the accumulated knowledge and achievements of the exact sciences of those years.

In his treatise “The Great Art of Artillery,” the author collected 304 pages of material, including 22 prints and 206 various drawings. The engravings were made according to the sketches of the author himself by the famous Dutch engraver Jacob van Meyers. This work has become a real textbook for gunners, combining the accumulated knowledge and experience with the original thoughts and best practices of Kazimir Semenovich. Some sections of this book are well ahead of their time. In particular, in the work was a description and production technology of several dozen models of various aircraft.

Kazimir Semenovich - the founder of rocket technology from the 17th century


The popularity of the book in Europe for two centuries due to its encyclopedic. Semenovich managed to create the quintessence of the technical knowledge of his time, which he successfully combined with the observations of ancient philosophers and scientists. His work was characterized by compressed, extractive and very accurate information on the creation of a variety of hand grenades, rockets and crackers - their main characteristics, materials and tools necessary for production. In the work of Kazimir Semenovich there was a place for the description of rockets and charges of different types. He described rockets from products with a stabilizing pole to "cruise" missiles. He also spoke about his theory of creating a "prototype of a multi-stage rocket." If he could in one form or another learn some of the principles of the structure and types of missiles he listed in the sources of information available to him, then the concept of a multi-stage rocket certainly became his breakthrough invention. Before him, no one has ever described such mechanisms. He proposed the concept of a multi-stage rocket combines three elements: “The largest rocket of the first stage should be filled with weaker material than its size requires, the other two have their own task so that the third one can rise up by means of them».

It is not surprising that for the contemporaries of the author and for today's scholars, the 5 chapter, which was called “De Rocketis”, represented the greatest interest in his book. On the pages of this chapter, the scientist presented his vision of a multi-stage rocket, which was a modification of a composite rocket with autonomous rocket engines, which were positioned one after the other and worked in turns. Each of the three composite missiles had its own fuel, igniter and nozzle. The scientist assumed that after the combustion of the fuel in the first stage, it would fall off and fall to the ground. Next, the powder in the second stage was set on fire, which would also fall to the ground after burning all the fuel. Then the fuel will light up in the third stage, all this time the rocket must rise up.

But a multistage rocket is not the only thing that Kazimir Semenovich proposed. He became a developer of delta-type stabilizers. Prior to this, in order to give the rocket stabilization during the flight, a special long pole was attached to it, which was equal to 7-8 to the hull size of the rocket itself. At the same time, Semenovich proposed abandoning the pole and attaching special triangular wings to the rocket. These stabilizing wings are still used today in modern rocket production.



In all, his book had 7 chapters. The rest of them were devoted to artillery and pyrotechnics. They outlined the classification and detailed description of the nuclei, contained a detailed account of the equipment and mechanisms used by European artillery masters, gave ways to calculate the mass and radius of the nuclei made from various materials, ways to determine the caliber of artillery pieces. Semenovich also described a method of obtaining the only known in that century of explosive, the so-called black powder.

His extensive and detailed work was translated into many languages ​​of European countries and reprinted many times. For one and a half centuries, he generally remained the only European artillery training manual. It is known that Kazimir Semenovich managed to prepare to death the second part of his book, which was to contain a detailed history of the development of artillery from the ancient world to the days of its life. However, this book has not survived to this day, although there was information that even at the beginning of the 20th century it was kept in St. Petersburg in the library of the Artillery Museum.

At one time, according to the book of Kazimir Semenovich, Newton studied, the Russian emperor Peter I and French Napoleon I. Tsiolkovsky, the father and founder of Russian cosmonautics, directly referred to Kazimir Semenovich in some of his works. And the US space agency NASA calls Semenovich one of the founders of the entire rocket technology.

Information sources:
http://polomedia.ru/news/lichnost/kazimir-semenovich-sozdatel-evropeyskoy-artillerii
http://history-belarus.by/pages/figures/simienowicz.php
http://inbelhist.org/genij-artillerii-kazimir-semenovich
http://warspot.ru/3596-raketchik-xvii-veka-kazimir-semenovich-i-ego-velikoe-iskusstvo-artillerii
http://www.expressnews.by/1352.html
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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 15 December 2015 08: 07 New
    +2
    To study the design of various types of missiles, K. Semenovich approached the same way as to the other issues that were considered in the book, not as a craftsman, but as a natural scientist, experimenter and practitioner.
    1. Conductor
      Conductor 15 December 2015 11: 04 New
      -1
      Quote: Andrey Skokovsky
      this photo especially cut me from this article
      look at the date, considering that the development is about a year earlier - it turns out systematic anti-Russian propaganda, perhaps the whole article is rooted in the same place - there is a systematic positive story about the primordially "European" roots of Belarus
      I hope this does not print today .....

      how are you already tired ... they offend the Russians again, they steal a great story ... ugh
      The degree of his kinship today is disputed among themselves by Poland, Belarus and Lithuania. Each side pulls a blanket over itself, writing Kazimir Semenovich to its compatriots.

      like so much more smile
      1. Kostya Andreev
        Kostya Andreev 15 December 2015 23: 46 New
        0
        But is Poland, Belarus and Lithuania, and then it was not the same thing?
    2. iConst
      iConst 15 December 2015 11: 06 New
      +3
      Quote: parusnik
      To study the design of various types of missiles, K. Semenovich approached the same way as to the other issues that were considered in the book, not as a craftsman, but as a natural scientist, experimenter and practitioner.
      - However, the author of the article compares, I'm sorry, purple with perpendicular.

      Compare the theory of Tsiolkovsky, who did not design rockets as such (this was secondary), but made calculations for the output of spacecraft.

      This very Casimir, I think, had no idea about the problems of gravity, the resistance of the atomosphere, the rotation of the Earth, etc.

      As a child, I started slipping in spring streams - let's compare me with ship designers.

      At the same time, Semenovich suggested abandoning the pole and mounting special wings of a triangular shape on a rocket. These stabilizer wings are still used today in modern rocket science.
      - For several thousand years before Semenovich, people attached stabilizers to arrows - to go nuts, as he thought of it!

      I consider the article to be harmful and provocative, because in a profane (or intentional) way there is a comparison: why the hell is Tsiolkovsky - Semenovich is power!

      The article is minus only for comparing the talented but inventor with the greatest space theorist.
      That is, what he described - it was possible to verify in practice immediately, and the calculations of K.E. Tsiolkovsky were confirmed decades later. One had materials and workshops, the second only had a pen and paper.
      1. Conductor
        Conductor 15 December 2015 11: 09 New
        -1
        Having become a military specialist, he took part in the war of the Commonwealth with the Moscow state in 1632-34, in the battle of the Commonwealth with the Tatars near Akhmatov on January 30, 1644.
        Soon K. Semenovich went to the Netherlands, where during the Thirty Years War (1618-48) he participated in the siege of many cities. In 1646, the King of the Commonwealth, Władysław IV Waza, recalled him from the Netherlands and appointed him to serve in the crown artillery of the Kingdom of Poland as an artillery engineer.

        take it easy, no one is above Semenovich Tsiolkovsky and even does not compare with him
        That is, what he described - it was possible to verify in practice immediately, and the calculations of K.E. Tsiolkovsky were confirmed decades later. One had materials and workshops, the second only had a pen and paper.
  2. Reptiloid
    Reptiloid 15 December 2015 08: 12 New
    +2
    Thanks so much for the story.
    1. Nikolaevich I
      Nikolaevich I 15 December 2015 15: 45 New
      +1
      Yes, the article is very interesting! References to the work of Casimir have been met to me earlier in articles devoted to the history of the development of missile weapons, but this article allowed me to see some facets of the identity of Kazimir Semenovich, which were hidden from the village before me.
  3. V.ic
    V.ic 15 December 2015 08: 29 New
    -1
    And they said that Russia is the birthplace of elephants!
  4. Aitvaras
    Aitvaras 15 December 2015 10: 06 New
    -1
    I think it’s more correct to consider Semenovich as a Lithuanian, maybe. at that time, manhood was decisive. In Lithuanian his name is spelled like this -Kazimieras Simonavičius
    1. saturn.mmm
      saturn.mmm 15 December 2015 10: 29 New
      +2
      Quote: Aitvaras
      I think it’s more correct to consider Semenovich as a Lithuanian

      Lithuanian or Litvin?
      1. Aitvaras
        Aitvaras 15 December 2015 10: 56 New
        -2
        This, I think, is about the same as the Rosichi -Russians -Russians.
        1. Riv
          Riv 15 December 2015 12: 54 New
          +2
          You are mistaken. Some Uzbek with Russian citizenship is also a Russian. And Semenovich is just Litvin. To call him Lithuanian is the same as to call a Russian a brush.
        2. moskowit
          moskowit 15 December 2015 13: 31 New
          0
          Russians are the Great People creating history, and Russians are citizens of the Russian Federation. Huge difference.
        3. saturn.mmm
          saturn.mmm 15 December 2015 14: 34 New
          0
          Quote: Aitvaras
          This, I think, is about the same as the Rosichi -Russians -Russians.

          Litvins were called Western Belarusians and eastern, southeastern Lithuanians, so somewhere you are right.
    2. KP8789
      KP8789 15 December 2015 10: 42 New
      +3
      Semenovich was Litvin, not Lithuanian. Modern Lithuanians (squeeze) try
      "privatize" the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

      1. Lex.
        Lex. 7 October 2016 18: 23 New
        +1
        This is yes and it’s great for them.
    3. V.ic
      V.ic 15 December 2015 10: 43 New
      +2
      Quote: Aitvaras
      In Lithuanian his name is spelled like this -Kazimieras Simonavičius

      Kazimir Semenovich, as well as in English.
      Quote: Aitvaras
      I think it’s more correct to consider Semenovich as a Lithuanian, maybe. at that time, manhood was decisive.

      Naturally, the first man was Adamas.
      1. Riv
        Riv 15 December 2015 14: 50 New
        +1
        Do not confuse, comrade! The first person was an ancient Ukrainian.
  5. Andrey Skokovsky
    Andrey Skokovsky 15 December 2015 10: 46 New
    0
    this photo especially cut me from this article
    look at the date, considering that the development is about a year earlier - it turns out systematic anti-Russian propaganda, perhaps the whole article is rooted in the same place - there is a systematic positive story about the primordially "European" roots of Belarus
    I hope this does not print today .....
  6. AK64
    AK64 15 December 2015 11: 23 New
    +2
    How, now Belarus is the birthplace of elephants? what
    1. saturn.mmm
      saturn.mmm 15 December 2015 18: 06 New
      0
      Quote: AK64
      How, now Belarus is the birthplace of elephants?

      Belarús siempre ha sido el lugar de nacimiento de los elefantes.
  7. Amurets
    Amurets 15 December 2015 11: 51 New
    +1
    But why doesn’t anyone fight for the title of the birthplace of the last dead dinosaur? The article is interesting and indeed the schemes proposed in the 17th century are interesting. But the scheme is a scheme, and since at that time there was only gunpowder, the technology and forms had to be worked out bombs of fuel charge, formulations of gunpowder and many other problems. Both the Englishman Kongrev, and the Russian Konstantinov and Zasyadko did not swing their flights into space, but created combat missiles. The author also wants to say that it is necessary to honor outstanding inventors and scientists in whatever they were not born in the country, they moved forward all of humanity.
  8. parusnik
    parusnik 15 December 2015 12: 40 New
    +2
    I read the comments, it became sad .. The article is about something .. about a man, about his inquisitive mind, about how Kazimir Semenovich in the 17th century, possessing the level of knowledge endowed with his time in which he lived, tried to look beyond the horizon ..In his worldview on the Universe, Kazimir Semenovich basically adhered to the concept of Aristotle. He also knew well the teachings of ancient Greek philosophers about natural and forced movements, and the then concept - the movement of the body under the pressure of another body - the engine. Attention is drawn to the high level of culture of K. Semenovich, who knew well both ancient literature, and his technical achievements, and the works of modern European authors, which were published in German, Greek, Latin and other languages. The Polish historian G. Novak estimated that more than 200 authors were cited in the scientist’s book, about 260 works were used, mainly ancient treatises, about 40% were books of the Renaissance and the New Age, G. Novak writes that K. Semenovich made extensive use of the works of Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Euclid, Archimedes, Apollon of Pergamon, the works of famous medieval scholars on agriculture, chemistry, technology, and history.
    1. OlegLex
      OlegLex 16 December 2015 16: 42 New
      0
      Yes, I agree with you, what difference does it make to which people belonged to a genius (though I honestly read about it for the first time), and here there are comments about conspiracies and slander, in fact there are very few articles.
  9. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh 15 December 2015 17: 27 New
    +4
    Great!

    The drawings of the rockets are very true and modern. And steps and "bunches"
    engines around the main body of the rocket.

    200 years ahead of his time.
  10. Alex
    Alex 15 December 2015 21: 12 New
    +1
    A strange article. You read, so Semenovich invented all rocket artillery. But here is the phrase
    In this book he laid the foundations of rocket science long before they were formulated by 20th century scholars
    somehow a little fun. Thoughtful rocket design requires knowledge of the law of conservation of momentum, which was formulated by Rene Descartes only in the 1644 year, and even then only in the general philosophical sense. A strict mathematical form suitable for calculations was deduced much later on the basis of Newton’s second law, but this has nothing to do with Semenovich.

    Now about the pictures, more precisely about the one given in the text. Most likely, they are the fruit of his rich imagination: any attempt to launch this cloth "wunderwaffle" will end with an instant explosion. In short, the beautiful cartoon of the 17 century, which they are now trying to pass off as great scientific “advances”.

    By the way, does anyone have a working link to this work? Doubtful sites with registration through a phone number should not be offered: they swam, we know, then we need to reinstall the system.
    1. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh 16 December 2015 16: 36 New
      0
      "For thoughtful design of missiles" ////

      And for the thoughtless wink just strengthen the bamboo trunk
      strong hoops and stuff with gunpowder. How did the Chinese and then
      Tatar-Mongols with the help of the Chinese. They took the fortress "with a bang"
      with the help of such simple "Katyushas".
    2. The comment was deleted.
  11. Cap.Morgan
    Cap.Morgan 15 December 2015 22: 57 New
    -1
    It seems that the works of Tsiolkovsky and Kialchich are overrated. These are not engineering developments, but rather sci-fi manifestos. Jules Verne wrote opuses no worse. This has nothing to do with technical developments.
  12. Old26
    Old26 16 December 2015 16: 14 New
    0
    The article is interesting as a historical digression. Now many can claim the "position" of the founder of astronautics and rocket technology. Alas, even people like Kibalchich and Tsiolkovsky can claim this with a big stretch. Indeed, the same “Tsiolkovsky formula” is not “his invention”. He, like previous scientists, developed what was known. The merit of Tsiolkovsky is that he predicted some of what is now. But sometimes without mathematical calculations, as a theorist, "in general."
  13. Robert Nevsky
    Robert Nevsky 16 December 2015 22: 19 New
    0
    Thank you for the article! I actually take Casimir for a Russian person.
  14. Litsvin
    Litsvin 14 February 2016 15: 21 New
    +1
    Kazimr Semenovich - ethnic Litvin (in the modern sense - Belarus). He has nothing to do with jamoites (in the modern term ponyamani “Lithuanians”), all the more so with Poles. P Indeed, he first studied in Vilna, our second capital after Navagarodok (now Navahrudak). Vilna Stalin presented the Jamoytes on October 10, 1939. Until 1914, more than half of the population of the Vilnius region was ethnic Belarusians; jamoites in number were in 5th place. A good third of the inhabitants of modern “Lithuania” are ethnically Belarusians, who, when issuing passports in the 20s, the jamoites recorded in the Zhamoit manner of pronouncing Burak (Burakevicius), Adamovich (Adamauskas), Litvin / ovich / nyuk / chuk / chik (Litvinauskas) and etc.
    He wrote his works not only in Latin, but also in his native Old Belarussian language - three documents on the theory of artillery, written by K. Semenovich, are stored in the archives of Varashava and Karkov. The documents are not written just in Polish, but in Old Belorussian. No matter how corrupt the Poles did not want to record it Semenovich to their own, they will succeed. And from the point of view of "ethnomorphology", the surname Semenovich is 100% neither Polish nor Zhamoit. He is Litvin (Belarus) !!!
    1. Lex.
      Lex. 7 October 2016 18: 32 New
      +1
      Kazimr Semenovich - ethnic Litvin (in the modern sense - Belarus). He has nothing to do with jamoites (in the modern term ponyamani “Lithuanians”), all the more so with Poles. P Indeed, he first studied in Vilna, our second capital after Navagarodok (now Navahrudak). Vilna Stalin presented the Jamoytes on October 10, 1939. Until 1914, more than half of the population of the Vilnius region was ethnic Belarusians; jamoites in number were in 5th place. A good third of the inhabitants of modern “Lithuania” are ethnically Belarusians, who, when issuing passports in the 20s, the jamoites recorded in the Zhamoit manner of pronouncing Burak (Burakevicius), Adamovich (Adamauskas), Litvin / ovich / nyuk / chuk / chik (Litvinauskas) and etc.
      He wrote his works not only in Latin, but also in his native Old Belarussian language - three documents on the theory of artillery, written by K. Semenovich, are stored in the archives of Varashava and Karkov. The documents are not written just in Polish, but in Old Belorussian. No matter how corrupt the Poles did not want to record it Semenovich to their own, they will succeed. And from the point of view of "ethnomorphology", the surname Semenovich is 100% neither Polish nor Zhamoit. He is Litvin (Belarus
      So you prove it to the Lithuanians, for example, Dali Gribaskait you will only be laughed at in modern Belarus; another story that Stalin wrote you want to know whether or not Ukraine was not Russia at all and what