9 Inventions that Prove Leonardo da Vinci Was a Supervillain

#4. Solar Power

"He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind."
- Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo's Design:

Now, when Leonardo said "star," this is what he meant:

Problem was, you couldn't exactly kill people with that. But with some know-how, and some planning...

...we get Leonardo the warlord.

Syracuse, 214 BC

Why it Would Have Worked:

That is a solar laser. Because much like Archimedes, the Chinese and the Machines from The Matrix, Leonardo da Vinci knew that the Sun was too abundant a resource to leave untapped. Fossil fuels like trees were limited, and gave off billowing smoke that gave away positions. What Leonardo did was tinker with the existing technology of "burning mirrors" to find other uses for them, like MacGyver.

While working for the Vatican, Leonardo correctly predicted that these mirrors could focus energy on a large scale. They could boil water and even be used as a never-ending resource for industry. More importantly, they could straight burn shit. Leonardo came up with solar power. Or at least, the Death Star.

It seriously works just like this.

#3. Flying Machines

"For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return."
- Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo's Design:

Make an entrance like Batman.

Eye in the sky.

And in case there were any crap-ups...

The robo-pilot survives.

Why it Would Have Worked:

Flight had fascinated Leonardo for most of his life, but would it ever prove its usefulness on the battlefield? Short answer: Yes.

Although most of Leonardo's flying machines would have likely crashed in real life, it was probably due to the fact that many of them were not tested. Nevertheless, even before a juicy government contract to iron out its defects, Leonardo's imagination alone was good enough for some of his gliders. Paint some dragon scales on it, and you've got a flying monster feeding you information about enemy movements, shooting fireworks and again... scaring the living fuck out of everyone on the battlefield.

Enter the dragon.

#2. The Armored Tank

"I can make armored cars, safe and unassailable, which will enter the close ranks of the enemy with their artillery, and no company of soldiers is so great that they will not break through them."
- Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo's Design:

If the Renaissance was a video game, this would be the end boss.

...until you destroyed it to discover that Leonardo wasn't really inside it.

Just another robot.

Why it Would Have Worked:

As cannons became smaller without sacrificing power, they also became easier to move on the battlefield. But since artillery crews were particular vulnerable to attack, Leonardo's plan was to protect them with the same tried and true methods that protected battering-ram crews for centuries. Only difference is that this siege-engine was deadly at 360 degrees, and wouldn't be seen again until WWI.

This picture is one second away from being NSFW.

You may notice that there is no space in the specs for an animal to power the craft, which makes about as much sense as designing a tank without tracks. However, this may have been Leonardo's plan all along. Much like his automobile, this carriage was horseless.

But can it kill people?

While Leonardo's tank does suffer from some serious flaws, the case has recently been made that the plans were deliberately sabotaged just in case a working model fell into the wrong hands. Some might argue that this proves that Leonardo da Vinci was, despite his career as a military engineer, a pacifist, but they're missing the point: Leonardo and Leonardo alone had the world's only working blueprints... in his head. Now tell us: Is that pacifist, or supervillain?

If it flew, it would be a fucking UFO.

"That's a bingo!"

#1. The Machine Gun

"This is the worst device, in all the years/ of the inventiveness of humankind/ which e'er imagined was by evil mind."
- Ludovico Ariosto, Orlando Furioso

Leonardo's Design:

And Ariosto was moaning about guns with only one barrel.

And yes, Leonardo designed plenty of ammo for the monster.

Full metal jacket.

Why it Would Have Worked:

Guns are useful on the battlefield; they kill people. However, Renaissance arquebuses were one hell of a pain in the ass for numerous reasons, the worst of them being how difficult they were to reload. What you basically had was a hand-cannon being loaded by a one-man crew in the middle of a battlefield, and with just your brains for defense. Oh, and for extra fun, the barrels had to cool before you did anything to avoid exploding. Leonardo's machine gun was designed with all these issues in mind, which is why it allowed its barrels to cool, be reloaded and fire all at the same time.

What the future looked like in the 15th century.

So, basically what we're saying is it's a damned good thing Leonardo had the art career to keep him busy.

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For bad guys that had distinguished lives, check out 6 Historic Villains You Didn't Know Had Incredible Careers. Or pad your supervillain resume by learning one of the techniques in 5 Movie Fighting Styles Too Awesome to Actually Exist.

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