under the cannon of one of the forts

enkidu68

Senior Member
turkish
Hi friends, this is cited from Colonel Jack by Defoe.
The Prince of Vaudemont lay intrenched with twenty thousand more at Rivalto, behind Mantua, to cover the frontiers of Milan, and there was near twelve thousand in Mantua itself; and Monsieur Pracontal lay with ten thousand men just under the cannon of one of the forts which guard the causeway which leads into the city of Mantua;

How would it be possible to put 10,000 men under a cannon (considering cannon has not another meaning than being a big gun)
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think “the cannon” here means all the weaponry facing outwards from the ramparts of the fort in which the men were located.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I cannot tell from the quote, but 'just under the cannon' to me would mean underneath the path the cannonballs would pass (from multiple cannons, as others have pointed out).

    If they were enemies of the fort, this would mean they could not be hit by cannonballs (though they would presumably be at risk from riflemen, musketeers or whatever firearms were in use at the time). If they were friends of the fort, their presence would not prevent the fort's cannon firing against an enemy.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I'm not entirely convinced that 'just under the cannon' would mean they could not be hit by cannonballs. Other phrases like "to come under fire" and "to be under attack" mean quite the opposite.

    What is certain is that "Monsieur Pracontal was encamped with ten thousand men close to one of the forts which guard the causeway which leads into the city of Mantua".
     
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