The Last Argument of Kings: The Art and Science of 18th-century Artillery

Fort Ticonderoga's exhibit The Last Argument of Kings: The Art and Science of 18th-century Artillery tells the story of the weapons that dominated 18th-century battlefields. The exhibit also includes the re-installation of elements of the permanent artillery collection along the fort's wall, conservation work on several key artillery pieces, an interactive activity space, a new mobile application, a symposiums featuring world-renowned scholars, and the publication of an exhibition catalog.

Fort Ticonderoga's artillery collection is internationally recognized as the largest and most significant of its kind in North America. This incredible collection has been set dressing to the reconstructed fort since the early 20th century. The Last Argument of Kings reveals the story of these complex weapons through exploring the creation, use, and after lives of these remarkable objects. 

Artillery were more than just weapons, they were technological marvels and financial investments that required immense theoretical and practical training to use effectively. The Last Argument of Kings takes its name from the swaggering motto of Louis XIV of France, who had his cannons engraved with the Latin saying, "Ultima Ratio Regum," or "the last argument of kings." These were the dominant weapons of the 18th century and the ultimate in destruction. They were so highly regarded on the battlefield that they were preserved for more than two centuries and not melted down like so many weapons of that era were.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, grant # MA-10-15-0182-15.