ANST - Ornamentation, Education, and the Arts of War

J'lynn Yeates jyeates at
Wed Aug 27 09:55:58 PDT 1997

On 27 Aug 97 at 2:49, Dennis Grace wrote:

> Perhaps Lord Wolf's intent was to offer a question, but what he said was,
> "where 

just "wolf" if you don't mind ... dun'na like the "L-word" , amongst 
others ...

> Thank you, Wolf, for also answering that question (mine) in part by noting
> that you have never seen any illustrations or come on references that would
> lead you to believe seige engines were so adorned.  Unfortunately, your
> further reference to seige engines as "something that would probably have
> never been so ornamented ... a war-engine" begs the question.  Lord Gnith
> and Sir Kief have both posted reasons for believing that ornamentation was,
> in some cases at least, likely.

two mindset here ... emplaced engines that would be used as defense.  
these might be ornamented as they would be sitting in one place.  
being more of a open-field type, i was pondering along the lines of 
those engines that would be dragged from place to place (remembering 
accounts of broken down engines used by the romans that were 
reconstructed at pointt of use)

do like the idea of celtic-style ornamnetation (made in jest) of a 
particulary evil looking engine ... though i doubt that the celts 
ever used such engines (not their style of combat ... too "warrior" 

> All of which is fascinating but completely off-topic.

not necessarily.  points out constraints that would support my 
assumptions ... ie: reconstruction vs. hauing complete engines, and 
the practicalities of the battle-field (still a proponent of 
"ornamentation of field engines unlikely")

> Second, as to the fangs--are you threatening me or just boasting about your
> remodeled dentures?  If it was a threat, I suggest you take it off list and
> threaten me in your name alone rather than as part of "that many people."
> There's really nothing noble or courageous about saying, "There's more of us
> than of you."

will you chill out dude! 

nobody is threatening you, nobody has threatened you, nobody
will threaten ... at least from this house.  you can rest assured 
that my teeth are quite mundane.  you're making some really 
unwarranted and off-center assumptions here that seem designed to put 
me in a less than positive light.  

you're last two sentences are totally uncalled for and i request a
public apology.  you are inferring that i made a public challenge
directed against you when none was made or intended.

trust me, you would know it if/when i decide you were worthy 
of a serious challenge

obviously you have never lived with wolves (i have raised and lived 
with high-wolf  hybrids for 25+ years ... catching on about the 
name is use?).  with that in mind have you ever seen a wolf "smile" 

> Being a warrior type by disposition and desire, I've got a lot of training
> and spend a great deal of time reading and exercising.  Gear is cool, but
> all it proves is that you can shop.  

another low shot that is condescending and insulting and totally
uncalled for (remind me to wear my greaves if i ever decide to
participate on the field and you're around).  you are assuming that i 
don't train?  you do not know me or my life history (few do).

> ... Incidentally, I love hawgs, but you seem to be drifting
> off-topic again. 

not really, the discussion was ornamentation of utilitartian
objcets, in this case "tools of the profession".  in this age, i
ride a harley, in a previous it would have been a horse, still
previous a war chariot. 

> >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.
> To some degree, I agree with this claim.  We are, however, at least
> *ostensibly* a medieval re-creation group.  As such, ideally, the eyes
> through which we want to view artifacts like armor and mangonels are those
> of medieval people.  

but which "medieval people" .... the eye's of a chinese siege 
engineer see's the world quite differently than a roman, mongol, or 
a anglish type.  the "thing" is the same, but always different.

> (OFF-TOPIC:  I should hope the time was not wasted, but such may be the
> case.  My first degree was in Medieval Studies, and they tell me it
> qualifies me to flip burgers or wash windows in many fine establishments.
> What portion of history was your area of emphasis?)

ohh, it wasn't.  when i developed deadly intolerances to organic 
solvents that ended planned career as chemical engineer (oops, 
pardon make that "professional alchemist") fell back to a planned 
rally point and focused on "history" to allow a focus on liberal 
arts and stay at Rice.  decided to get a broad based, balanced, 
generalist education first (learning how to learn), and worry about 
job/carreer later (a tactic used by many SCAdians i know ...).    
this tactic served me well in later life (though i do aspire to 
return to acadamia at some point as a personal reward for dealing 
with "their wheel" for as many years as i have. 

> The English defeated the French again and again in battles of
> the Hundred Years War by virtue of strategic deployment of what the French
> considered ignoble and inelegant methods (yeomen with longbows and welsh
> longknifemen).  

basically, the anglish were a society already in economic and social
transition and had less resistance to technological and tactical
transition.    that coupled with the fortunes of war allowed them to 
defeat the french knights (wonder if the french heavy cavalry would 
have been more successful if the rains hadn't turned the fields into 
a quagmire ... accounts of knights being unhorsed by the archers and 
then smothering in the muck ... or slogging ahead on foot while 
taking incoming fire.  
> Here's where we part company on this one.  The professional soldiers /
> commanders weren't always primarily concerned with expedient warfare.  The
> medieval European knight was typically just as concerned with looking good
> as he was with winning the battles.  

that's one main reason they declined ... they were no longer 
effective against new tactics and weapons systems (in this case 
organized mass missle fire).  the social interia of the class made it 
difficult if not impossible for them to change as the world changed 
arouns them.  those changes also tended to weed them out of society 
quickly on the "new" battlefield.

as they were in decline, you see the rise of the "professional" 
soldier and shortly, the very efficient mercenary companies fighting 
in the wars that ravaged europe. 

> ... That's part of the reason the French
> kept getting their butts kicked for so long by English bowmen. They didn't
> want to "stoop" to the level the English were so proudly deploying.  The
> chevalier ahorse had long been the mainstay of their military might--this
> icon was so deeply rooted that the French nobility simply couldn't surrender
> their belief that, eventually, they would defeat their "unchivalrous"
> cousins from across the channel.

and history shows how successful this tactic was .... don't foregt 
the Polish knights (to my mind the greatest of the european heavy 
cavalry) that were decimated by the mongols and their 
hellishly  successful tactics of "combined forces" (the same 
concept is used as basis of our modern military combatstrategy ...)

> I see what you meant.  You're talking about examples such as John Hawkwood's
> White Army and Robert Knolly's band.  Their troops used munitions grade,
> functional armor.  True.  They punched out a lot of suits in a short time.
> Also true.  They were effective en masse.  

there was an excellent museum exhibit (from Graaz i believe) that was 
on tour several years back that showed these differences ... the 
exhibit was setup with *units* of soldiers in similar rigs.  looking 
closely at the design and construction details showed the similarity 
of this class or armour ...  very functional, cheap to produce, 
adequate quality, and produced in large quantity quickly.  here the 
focus was not primarily on the knight/noble as before, but on the 
foot soldier ... though there were some nice sets of dragoon armour

> Despite their efficacy, they were generally considered brigands and thieves.
> Thus, the efficacy of munitions armor as an argument against adornment of
> A&S entries seems rather self-defeating.  

then how about the german and swiss mercenary companies that were 
formed and equiped along the same lines?  i'm sure that a noble who 
was defeated by the emerging professional class would brand them as 
"theives" and "bigands" as a affront to their class.  the perception 
would come from what side you were looking at the situation, from the 
eye's of the noble or the eye's of the soldier.  i would give more 
credence to the views of the class that ultimately won out ... the 
professional soldier   

> My thanks to Lord Gnith and Sir Kief for their considered responses on the
> question of adornment of seige engines.  How about the other question?  Once
> we get these critters to A&S, how we gonna test 'em?

research the historical ranges and assumed accuracies per type of 
engine.  setup a range.  let the engine's engineer demonstrate how 
close his engine can come to these targets (if engine is scaled, use 
scaled ranges, if full-size, use full).  a problem being the power 
and range of some of these.  would require a well designed, 
setup, and policed (envisions someone coming out to find their car 
skewered with a large spear .... a medieval "drive by" via a 
"technical"??? )


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