I do not mean modern art which does something like that humorously but rather for example a medieval painter showing Pharoah's army equipped with muzzleloaders due to the artist being unaware of the time when such weapons were first invented.

  • 3
    That boils down to art interpretation: Was the painter aware that his motive was anachronistic, or did he do it with a purpose? I think answering that would be the domain of art history. Is that on topic here?
    – ccprog
    Oct 17, 2023 at 16:38
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    This is more interesting than it first appears. You're looking for art created after the 14th century, depicting events before the 14th century and including firearms. What research have you done? But you exclude "modern" - can you clarify the period you're thinking about? Because otherwise TV Tropes et. al.
    – MCW
    Oct 17, 2023 at 17:09
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    Another non-firearm example: The Last Supper with a guinea pig as a dish.
    – Trang Oul
    Oct 18, 2023 at 12:45
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    @SJuan76 : using contemporary clothing, especially on paintings on church walls, actually served a purpose: it was to tell a story for commoners, so that they could recognize that this is a soldier, that one over there is a rich man, this is a poor guy, there is a shepherd, etc, instead of wondering who those strange people in those ridiculous clothes are.
    – vsz
    Oct 18, 2023 at 13:21
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    @AndrewGrimm my bad, the first link was mixed up, it seems I had it at the clipboard and I failed to copy the URL I intended. I do not remember which painting it did point to, I was looking for the Greco painting (alamy.com/…)
    – SJuan76
    Oct 19, 2023 at 7:26

1 Answer 1


In history "ancient" usually refers to the time period of Antiquity, the time before the beginning of the Middle Ages roughly about AD 500.

I note that King Arthur was said to have been killed at the Battle of Camlann, which is date to about AD 537/538/539 by the Annales Cambriae and to AD 542 by Geoffrey of Monmouth.

And some definitions of the start of the Middle Ages put it after AD 600, which would make King Arthur one of the "ancients".

In Le Morte d'Arthur of c. 1470, there is a description of a siege, probably Mordred besieging Guenivere in the Tower of London, mentioning "gonnes" or guns, cannons.

Thus I can imagine that possibly some illustrated editions of Le Morte d'Arthur included images of battles and sieges with cannons.

  • 6
    "Mordred besieging Guenivere in the Tower of London" is an anachronism all by itself.
    – Spencer
    Oct 19, 2023 at 0:23
  • @Spncer Yes. But in the Middle Ages and early modern times it was believe that the tower of London was first built by Julius Caesar. “Ye towers of Julius, London’s lasting shame, With many a foul and midnight murder fed.” Thomas Grey.
    – MAGolding
    Oct 20, 2023 at 18:24
  • Might just as well have been King Lud.
    – Spencer
    Oct 20, 2023 at 18:32

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