Month: October 2020
Dis Manibus James Randi
Battles and Sieges
Academic histories sometimes get very narrowly focused. There are some good reasons for this, but its not so good to read a book on archaic or classical Greek warfare which barely acknowledges that Italy or the Hellenistic period existed. Did I fall into that trap in my book on Achaemenid armies and warfare?
To find out, I made a list of all the battles and sieges which I mentioned in my forthcoming book.
Some Addenda to the History of the Historical Fencing Movement
The mysterious (and tracking-heavy and script-heavy) website
historicaleuropeanmartialarts.com has a history of the current historical fencing movement. Although they don’t provide an email address, I would like to add a few lines to their chronicle.
1969: Poul Anderson publishes a call for early fencing manuals and a description of the Society for Creative Anachronism in the Conan fanzine Amra (quoted on this blog).
1972: James Louis Jackson publishes Three Elizabethan Fencing Manuals (Scholars’ Facsimiles and Reprints), a facsimile of the English version of di Grassi, Vincento Saviolio, and George Silver’s Brief Instructions. This book is purchased by many university libraries and becomes the starting point for many English-speaking fencers.
1979: Archaeologist William Gaugler founds a program teaching masters of classical Italian fencing (the fencing taught to army officers and potential duelists in the late 19th century) at San José State University in California (Britannica). His books and students have a major influence in the historical fencing community in North America after the year 2000 and help keep this tradition alive in North America where it is threatened by versions of fencing optimized for winning bouts under the Olympic rules and electric scoring. Two articles are Tony Wolf, “The Future of Fencing is in its Past: An Interview with Maestro John Sullins.” Journal of Manly Arts, August 2003 https://www.ejmas.com/jmanly/articles/2003/jmanlyart_wolf_0803.htm and Puck Curtis, “In Search of the Rudis,” A Midsummer Night’s Blog 18 June 2014 http://www.puckandmary.com/blog_puck/2014/06/in-search-of-the-rudis/Read more
New Magazine Articles
Murder, Rape, and Treason
A Tale of Three Knives
As a human being, every day I use edgetools to prepare food. This week I want to talk about three of the ones I use most often, and how much and how little some things have changed over the past 600 years. These were all made by the same modern technique (cutting a shape out of a sheet of rolled homogeneous steel and then grinding away the excess)
Scale-Tanged, Bone-Handled Knife TCP8
Overall length: 21 cm
Grip: 9 cm
Blade: 12 cm
Blade thickness (maximum): 3 mm
Blade width (maximum): 21 mm
Cross section: hollow-ground wedge
Material: Carbon steel with a bone grip riveted with brass tube and brass bolsters where the blade meets the handle
Tod’s knife has a heavy spine, a delicate shape in the blade and the handle, and has a pleasing substance in the hand like a Laguiole without being heavy or bulky.