Monthly Archives: December 2011

Were the ancient weapons influenced by the acceptable battle practices or was it all the way around?

26 December 2011 Comments (0)

The evolution of weaponry is a fascinating progress to follow. Our computer games are straining to invent all kinds of new weapons, to dispense with boredom and make the games more attractive to us. But the reality overpasses the imagination.

How the most popular ancient weapons had developed?

Were they dictating the way the battles were fought? Or were they just adjusting?

Take a sword for example.

We are all aware of the benefits of the Roman short Gladius. Not as heavy as Celtic long bladed sword, it allowed the legionaries to hold on in long battles without getting tired. They were not even required to raise it high, but would simply trust their Gladius toward the loins or the lower belly of the opponent. Well, maybe they did get tired a little as the battle progressed and the time ran by and the sun would near the horizon. A good Roman general, while planning a battle, would take into an account the angles of a rising or a setting sun, so it won’t blind his legionaries.

Gladuis was an efficient weapon, mostly fitting the organized battle formation

But would a Samurai like to be a part of the Roman square? The values in ancient Japan were different and so was the evolvement of their sword. Wonderful affair of razor-sharp, long steel, the samurai’s long sword, Katana, fitted perfectly their favored hand-to-hand combat. Even when fighting as organized forces, each samurai would always seek out a duel with a worthy opponent.

The knights of the Middle Age Europe were also fond of duels, so the blades of the  famous knights’ swords were long and wide, sometimes double-edged, designed for a honorable hand-to-hand.

While Yataghan, a Turkish sabre, was curved and single-edged, made of harder steel at its cutting edge, with a very particular two-winged handle

But how about a sword that was not made of steel?

Not every continent had an access to all kinds of metals. In Central America they did wonders with cooper, silver and gold, but none of those metals were hard enough and could rival the cutting qualities of the good old obsidian. So thus the average Aztec sword, Mahuahuitl, would be a long affair, more of a wooden club, adorned with plenty of obsidian spikes around the cutting edge.

The warriors of the region were very fond of a hand-to-hand, or in other words, they would never agree to fight in an organized formation. Besting your enemy and, if you are lucky, taking him a captive, was a matter of extreme importance and could not be interfered by one’s peers.

In North America the obsidian was less obtainable and cooper they were working with was even softer than gold. So the flint would have to do. Around the Great Lakes a club with a sharp flint edge was undeniably popular. Those warriors were also adhered individualist.

In a future post I’ll refer to other warriors’ equipment.

In a meanwhile, would you like to see the dramatic differences between a male and a female warrior outfit?