ANST - Nasty Ballista in A&S

J'lynn Yeates jyeates at
Tue Aug 26 11:04:04 PDT 1997

On 26 Aug 97 at 13:48, Dennis Grace wrote:

> No no no no no.  You're making a lot of broad assumptions.  Mine wasn't a
> question of function, it was a question of adornment.  

and mine was a question of putting artistic sentiment over 
functionality and applying it to something that would probably have 
never been so ornamented ... a war-engine.  (i've never seen any 
illustrations or come on references that would lead me to believe 
that they were so ornamented ).  

a lot of the references i've run into over the years seem to suggest 
that in many cases they were designed to be broken down into 
component system for ease of transport and re-assembled at point of 
use - often with basic frameworks (that require less skill to 
construct) re-built into working configurations at that site ... 
especially for the heavier and less mobile engines (such as 
trebuchets).  hauling complete engines of this class around would 
produce a logisitics nightmare (not to mention that such slow moving 
trains would be very tempting targets and would require large 
expeditures of troops to screen.

> ... Where do modern Texans get this ludicrous assumptions that an
> object can't be both effective and attractive? 

speaking of "broad assumptions", do you really want to annoy that 
many people (grin w/fangs).  

being a "warrior-type" by nature, i've got a lot of gear - both 
archaic and modern that's both "effective" and "attractive" (though 
some would dissagree) ... my harley, HK's, body armour, lots of 
blades.  if something serves it purpose well, it is attractive to my 
eyes and my artistic sensibilities.  some of the *ugliest* bikes i've 
seen are ones that the owner put image first and function second.

i guess it all comes down to how you see the world around ... and 
everyone see's it though differrent eye's with opinions based on 
individual experience.

 >... Sorry, Wolf, but your claims here show little understanding of
> medieval economics.  

damn, you mean i wasted all that time and study getting the 
history degree for nothing and all those special military history 
courses were wasted .... harrumphh.  good thing i have computers and 
system work to fall back on.

> ... For every 2-3 "ugly" seige engines you could field, the Duc de
> Britagne could more likely field a couple dozen "pretty" mangonels--and his
> would be designed and built by the best engineers in Europe to boot.  

the point was "all things being equal" ... political position, funds, 

in the realm of massed warfare, he who can handle logistics and 
production better has a definite advantage ... if the choice comes 
down to fielding a dozen unadorned, but well constructed machines 
quickly over a lesser number (due to added cost) of ornamented 
machines over a longer period (due to extra work to pretiffy them) 
... which makes more sense to a professional commander / soldier.  

the professional soldier / commander was (and still is) a pragmatist 
who puts more stock in functionality than artistic concerns. 

> I agree, in part, with your claim that *some* late medieval art allowed
> aesthetic concerns to displace functional or production concerns, but look
> at the digs at Sutton Hoo and all over Sweden and England if you believe
> only late medieval warriors gilded and adorned their armor. Aesthetics and
> functionality need not be mutually exclusive.  To the medieval mind, they
> were linked.

i was talking about the resverse where the need was to arm and armour 
a great number of soldiers quickly gave rise to the "munitions" grade 
armour ... simpler, less finished, form over function, designed to be 
mass-produced to cope with immediate threats (the Turkish invasions 
for one ...).  

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