Launched in June 2018, the Ultima Ratio Project seeks to engage with scholars, curators, arms specialists, historical preservation organisations, individual researchers, and other key stakeholders in recording the history of important muzzle-loading ‘big guns’, and making such data publicly available.

To support this mission of historical preservation, the Ultima Ratio Project (URP) is developing a centralised database of historical muzzle-loading artillery guns. This is being achieved primarily through a citizen-science data collection effort administered by URP, the Big Cannon Project (BCP). BCP users are encouraged to seek out cannon around the world, and add relevant details to an interactive map.

In addition to the ongoing database development, the Project works with institutions and organisations such as the Royal Armouries and the Nautical Archaeology Society, corresponds with noted scholars in related fields, and publishes short articles highlighting interesting or noteworthy historical  guns.

The name of the project is derived from the Latin phrase ‘Ultima Ratio Regum’, often translated as ‘the final argument of kings’. This phrase adorned some French cannon, initially by order of Louis XIV (1638–1715), but has come to be synonymous with artillery more generally.

The Ultima Ratio Project is administered by Armament Research Services (ARES), a specialist intelligence consultancy. ARES provides core funding to the Project.

You can support the work of the Ultima Ratio Project by donating via PayPal, or by contacting us to discuss high-level support.

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