Friday, October 18, 2013

Knights in Armor

Cartoon by BALOO
Upon scrutiny, our medieval ancestors always turn out to be a lot smarter and more sophisticated than we thought they were. They could teach kids to read, for example, and after a couple of setbacks, they managed to keep Muslims out of Europe, a skill that has been lost to us. And the more I read about it, the more I think your average monk was wiser and more expressive than your average New York Times columnist.  As for their armor, check THIS out.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see this article! The myths and utter non-sense about swords and armor, particularly Medieval swords, gives me a headache.
    Some of my favorite bullshit:
    1. "Medieval swords were heavy" The typical sword single-handed sword weighted 2-3 pounds, the typical two-handed type 2.5-4, with some enormous two-handed swords for very strong men ranging up to six. Japanese and Chinese cutting swords, 19th century sabers, in fact all longish blades designed to cut the world over, fall into the same general range which is dictated by the strength of the human arm and weight and breadth needed to cut. 20-30 pound swords are myths.
    2. "Medieval swords were not sharp"-This is true if by "sharp" you mean a very thin ground blade such as a fillet knife. Sword edges are sharpened at a steeper angle for strength. But once you establish such an edge, you can hone it until it is razor-sharp without losing any strentgh-an edge of a given profile is the same edge. And this honing is vital. Heavy clothing such as worn in the Medieval era is extremely resistant to being cut by less than scary sharp blades. And studying the blossfechten or unarmored fighting techniques of the Medieval fighting texts reveals that all cuts are NOT powerful strikes, many cuts are snipes and slices that simply wouldn't work very well without a sharp sword. As for fighting against armor, no sword sharp or dull will cleave metal armor, and the most prevalent technique for harnissfechten or armored fighting was to stab at the joints.