Writing Tips       Medieval History       Ancient Rome       Architecture       Old West       Travel       Vocabulary                                                 

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The History of Weaponry - Dark Ages - #TidbitThursday #WeaponHistory

Howdy!

Welcome to Historical Tidbit Thursdays. For the next few weeks, we'll follow the timeline presented in the book, "A History of Weaponry" by John O'Bryan. Last week we ogled the Roman Gladiators. This week we'll look at some of the weapons created during Europe's so-called Dark Ages (400 - 1300 CE).

Francisca - a throwing axe created around 400 CE with a 40 foot range; it was named after the Franks who used it a lot (but didn't invent it). In battle formation, the front line would throw the axes at the enemy before charging.

Greek Fire - invented 672 CE; the Greek soldier would squirt this highly-combustible liquid onto the enemy and set them on fire. Not even water could douse it. This would evolve into the clay grenade that was tossed at enemies.


Dane Axe (or Broad Axe) - Invented about 900 CE; a big, heavy axe requiring both arms to swing it; could chop through a helmet

Lance - similar to a pike; used by infantry; locked under the arm in a "couched" position; popular during the Middle Ages

Longsword - created around 1250 CE; grooves or fullers were forged into the blade making it lighter; by the 14th century a sharper tip was added in order to penetrate armor


Trebuchet - Originated in China in 5th century, but perfected when a counterweight was added. In 13th century, the French added a "counterpoise" (counter weight) as we know the device today. It was popular until the 15th century when firearms rendered them useless.

Source:
A History of Weaponry by John O'Bryan; ISBN#978-1-4521-1054-7


Photo Credit: Dane Axe - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dane_axe
Photo Credit: Trebuchet - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trebuchet

Western Word of the Week - Big Auger - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...or, as I affectionately call it, Western Wednesdays!

Big Auger - slang term for the owner of a ranch or outfit

Other terms include "presidente", "ramrod" or "rod", and "old man"

Source:
Cowboy Lingo by Ramon F. Adams; ISBN#0-618-08349-9

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The History of Weaponry - Roman Gladiators- #TidbitThursday #GladiatorWeapons

Howdy!

Welcome to Historical Tidbit Thursdays. For the next few weeks, we'll follow the timeline presented in the book, "A History of Weaponry" by John O'Bryan. Last week we took a look at the ancient Roman weapons. This week we'll delve more into the Gladiators, one of my favorite topics in Roman history.

The Gladiator events were the most popular forms of entertainment in ancient Rome. Successful gladiators were highly revered and became like celebrities. Each gladiator depicted a different persona in the arena and would usually fight a complementary persona. These are the most common personas:



Amazones - female gladiators whose helmets showed off their gender; mostly used for novelty or entertainment.

Andabata - wore a helmet that blocked his vision, mostly for ridicule

Cestus - one who boxed with an iron-studded hand wrap

Crupellarius - very heavily armored, completely covered, and not very mobile

Dimachaerus - fought with two swords

Eques - fought on horseback with lances then would dismount and fight with gladius

Essedarius - drove a Celtic war chariot around the arena to crush people

Hoplomachus - heavily armored, modeled after the Greek Hoplite; used a spear and gladius

Laquearius - lightly armored who used a short sword and a lasso

Retiarius - unarmored warrior with a weighted net and a trident

Sagittarius - mounted archer; had to be very accurate to avoid accidentally shooting a spectator

Scissores - used dual-tipped scissor-like blades

Thraex - swordsman who carried a curved blade sica and a rectangular shield

Source:
A History of Weaponry by John O'Bryan; ISBN#978-1-4521-1054-7


Photo Credit: Gladiators - https://www.curriculumvisions.com/search/C/colosseum/colosseum.html

Western Word of the Week - Square- #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...or, as I affectionately call it, Western Wednesdays!

Square - the highest compliment for a man (unlike today where it refers to a loser or a nerd); he was ready and willing to "stand by" another man; dependable

Source:
Cowboy Lingo by Ramon F. Adams; ISBN#0-618-08349-9

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The History of Weaponry - Weapons of the Romans - #TidbitThursday #AncientRomanWeapons #AncientRomanWarfare

Howdy!

Welcome to Historical Tidbit Thursdays. For the next few weeks, we'll follow the timeline presented in the book, "A History of Weaponry" by John O'Bryan. Last week and this week I'll focus on the Ancient Weapons section.


Gladius (Gladii) - Although infamously associated with Romans, this short sword actually originated in Spain (Gladius Hispaniensis) and had a dual-edged blade with a point (similar to the Greek xiphos). The Romans improved it by giving it a slight bulge ("waist") in the middle. This sword was about two feet long.

Pilum (Pila) - A Roman javelin. What made it unique was the untreated iron tip that would collapse and fuse upon piercing into an enemy's shield or armor rendering it useless (so they wouldn't be able to throw it back at the Roman thrower). Interestingly, it had a twenty yard range.


Plumbata - A sort of dart or jart with a long trajectory and a sharp point. Roman legionaries could carry four of these inside their shields and throw them at enemies.


Caltrop - A painful-looking device that rested on three of its four spikes and were thrown all over the battlefield for the horse or camel or hapless man to step onto and hurt their foot. Of course, the Romans weren't immune to accidentally stepping on them either.

Onager or Mangonel - The precursor to the Trebuchet - a device that launched rocks or other large projectiles; a fancier catapult powered by torsion; a single arm was sprung forward into a throwing motion.


Trident - Literally "three teeth" and resembled a pitchfork with three prongs; originally used by fishermen but became popular in gladiatorial games by the "retiarius" who yielded a trident and net to catch hapless victims. Unlike a pitchfork, the middle prong was longer than the other two.

Source:
A History of Weaponry by John O'Bryan; ISBN#978-1-4521-1054-7


Photo Credit: Gladius - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladius
Photo Credit: Plumbata - http://openarchaeology.info/issue-2012-2/ea/use-metal-moulds-cast-lead-weights-wooden-shaft-plumbata
Photo Credit: Caltrop - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caltrop
Photo Credit: Trident - http://www.gladiatorschool.tv/retiarius.htm

Western Word of the Week - Grapevine Telegraph - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...or, as I affectionately call it, Western Wednesdays!

Grapevine Telegraph - how news or gossip travelled on the frontier (from ear to ear)

Source:
Cowboy Lingo by Ramon F. Adams; ISBN#0-618-08349-9

Western Travel - Heritage Farmstead Museum (Part Twenty) - Plano, Texas - #TravelTuesday

Welcome to my weekly column #TravelTuesday featuring places I've discovered during my research trips or just wandering around in historical areas. I hope you enjoy my discoveries.

Last week we went inside the one-room school house on the property of the Farrell-Wilson House. Today we'll visit some of the animals on the farm.

&nsbsp;
Aimee Wilson was a champion sheep raiser and won several awards for her sheep. The sheep currently living on the farm are similar to those that would have lived here during that time. (Just FYI - they do not offer a petting barn/zoo or the ability to feed these animals during your visit).

 
Big pigs (who really do oink and wallow in mud).

 
One rooster and many chickens.


A guinea fowl perched on a railing. Messy, aggressive birds.


And finally a burrow.

Learn more by checking out the official site - www.heritagefarmstead.org/

boy's Heritage Farmstead Museum Physical Address: 1900 West 15th Street, Plano, Texas 75075 Phone Number: 972-881-0140 Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 10am-4:30pm. Closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission: $3.00 per person (ages 3 and up) + $4 for tour of house

Photo Credit of Staged School Room - https://www.heritagefarmstead.org

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The History of Weaponry - Weapons of the Greeks - #TidbitThursday #AncientGreekWeapons #AncientGreekWarfare

Howdy!

Welcome to Historical Tidbit Thursdays. For the next few weeks, we'll follow the timeline presented in the book, "A History of Weaponry" by John O'Bryan. Last week and this week we took a look at Ancient Weapons. This week we're zooming in on the Greek military improvements.


Phalanx - Typical warfare in this period consisted of soldiers standing in simple lines, but the Greeks improved upon this with the concept of the Phalanx whereby several rows of infantrymen formed a symmetrical square. Their shields (aspises) touched each other to form a sort of wall against enemy javelins. They held their spears erect and moved toward the enemy as one intimidating unit.


Dory - A six to ten foot long spear with a butt spike (also known as a lizard killer) which was used if the front tip broke or could be driven into the ground for extra bracing strength as the enemy charged.

Sarissa - Around 359 BC, the Greeks phased out the dory for a longer spear of twelve to eighteen feet in length (talk about cumbersome) and had to be gripped with two hands.


Ballistae - Dionysius the Elder guided the design of an early catapult around 400 BC which more resembled a giant crossbow. Greeks would improve upon the design by adding a new technology - the torsion spring. The tension energy would be stored in the large twisted coils and could launch bigger or heavier projectiles.


Aspis (or Hoplon) - Large bronze-plated oval shield that weighed about sixteen to eighteen pounds used by the Greek phalanx

Source:
A History of Weaponry by John O'Bryan; ISBN#978-1-4521-1054-7


Photo Credit: Phalanx - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalanx
Photo Credit: Dory - https://greekweaponsandarmour.weebly.com/spear.html
Photo Credit: Catapult - http://www.legionxxiv.org/ballista.htm
Photo Credit: Aspis - https://www.moddb.com/mods/rome-at-war2/images/etruscan-aspis

Western Word of the Week - Little Feller - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...or, as I affectionately call it, Western Wednesdays!

Little Feller - a cattleman or ranch owner with small holdings (also "Little Fellow")

Small ranches are also called "one-hoss outfit" (or "one-horse outfit")

Source:
Cowboy Lingo by Ramon F. Adams; ISBN#0-618-08349-9

Western Travel - Heritage Farmstead Museum (Part Nineteen) - Plano, Texas - #TravelTuesday

Welcome to my weekly column #TravelTuesday featuring places I've discovered during my research trips or just wandering around in historical areas. I hope you enjoy my discoveries.

Last week we saw the barn outside the Farrell-Wilson House. Today we'll take a look at the small schoolhouse on the property.



Outside view of the one-room schoolhouse. At the time I visited, it was being partially used as holiday decoration storage.


Overall view of the inside of the school. As with most schools during this time period, it appears to have been shared with Sunday church meetings (notice the organ in the front corner). And it also features the standard central coal-burning heating stove.


A closer look at the stove set on a small riser. It's rather small - large enough to boil a single pot of coffee. The coal bucket and shovel rest in front of it.


A rack to hold the children's hats.


A close-up of the organ at the front of the room.

Learn more by checking out the official site - www.heritagefarmstead.org/

boy's Heritage Farmstead Museum Physical Address: 1900 West 15th Street, Plano, Texas 75075 Phone Number: 972-881-0140 Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 10am-4:30pm. Closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission: $3.00 per person (ages 3 and up) + $4 for tour of house

Photo Credit of Staged School Room - https://www.heritagefarmstead.org

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The History of Weaponry - Ancient Weapons (part two) - #TidbitThursday #AncientWeapons #AncientWarfare

Howdy!

Welcome to Historical Tidbit Thursdays. For the next few weeks, we'll follow the timeline presented in the book, "A History of Weaponry" by John O'Bryan. Last week and this week I'll focus on the Ancient Weapons section.


Composite Bow - introduced around 2000 BC; bows for shooting arrows were in use before this time but what made this bow different was the composition of many layers of animal sinew and horn to make it very strong and flexible and projected arrows further.

Chariot - Originated with the Mesopotamians around 2500 BC. The book doesn't go into detail, but the Egyptians borrowed the design and improved it (making their chariots faster and more maneuverable). Persians had blades (scythes) built onto their wheels for some extra damage points. Also not mentioned in this book was the fact that chariots could only be used on certain types of terrain and they eventually were replaced with armored horses/cavalry soldiers.

Sword - Dating to 2000 BC, originally made of bronze, a normally softer metal but was tempered specially to allow the blade to be lengthened to about 3 feet; later, a pommel was added on the hilt. Hittites were the first people to smelt iron leading to some stronger weaponry. Assyrians took this technology and eventually became a dominant culture.


Battering Ram - Basic rams existed but the Assyrians added metal wheels and turned it into a siege weapon. To protect the men from arrows or projectiles, wicker canopies were added on top of it. The tip was covered with iron and the entire log was suspended from ropes to allow it to swing back and forth.


Siege Tower - Assyrians introduced these around 900 BC with the goal to provide cover for their infantry; however, they constantly had to put out fires started by flaming enemy projectiles and they were slow-moving and cumbersome.

Source:
A History of Weaponry by John O'Bryan; ISBN#978-1-4521-1054-7


Photo Credit: Composite Bow - https://hblg-apwh.weebly.com/iron-weapons-and-compound-bows.html
Photo Credit: Battering Ram - https://earlychurchhistory.org/military/the-battering-ram/
Photo Credit: Siege Tower - http://www.medievalchronicles.com/medieval-weapons/castle-siege-weapons/siege-towers/roman-siege-tower/

Western Word of the Week - Shape Up - #WesternWordoftheWeek #WesternWednesdays

Howdy!

Welcome to our Weekly Western Word of the Day...or, as I affectionately call it, Western Wednesdays!

Shape Up - putting things into an orderly condition (cleaning up)

Source:
Cowboy Lingo by Ramon F. Adams; ISBN#0-618-08349-9