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  3. I am not sure whether having a subscription to the digital format would give one access to older articles. (Don't confuse the well-written BBC magazine "History Revealed" with the detestable BCC magazine "History.") http://www.immediate.co.uk/brands/bbc-history-revealed/ The author of the article, Philip Matyszak, belongs on this forum and maybe he can help. Good luck, guy also known as gaius
  4. Last week
  5. Roman legionaries fought in specific styles. If we consider legionaries of the Gallic Wars, then they are using a weapon in the right hand - either a pilum or a gladius, as required - and a tall rectangular shield in the other. The shield is not exactly light, and Roman soldiers were punished if they dropped it. Of course the shield might well be used to impact an opponent, or if the soldier is quick witted enough, possibly even the edge might have seen some creative use unless the ranks were still well ordered. In that era, soldiers were quite rigid in formation, always standing shoulder to shoulder with training to stab with the gladius at the face, legs, or lower torso of their opponent using the gap between shields (a more open style of fighting was a later development). I suppose in desperation or aggression soldiers might well try anything especially if seperated from their companions, but Arrian records a fight between legions in which pushing and stabbing went on for a while before both units withdrew a short distance to regain their breath (where's the balletic changeover depicted in Rome?), before rushing back into the fray, neither side relenting, repeating this until one or the other side broke due to exhaustion or casualties. Some fighting tricks were taught by gladiators, and some moves were added to the standard canon such as a kneeling upward thrust, but remember the context of the legionaries equipment and fighting styles.
  6. Sir, I tried to find a copy of that month's issue and cannot. Any ideas where to look?
  7. That is true, Rome rotted away. Take a week or so and read "Corruption and the Decline of Rome" by MacMullen. You will see some parallels.
  8. Here's a new thread to share the view outside your window. Growing up just outside the industrial northeastern city of Pittsburgh, I quickly became fascinated with the natural beauty of the American Southwest (and its spectacular sunrises) since my first visit in the early 80s. I am still in awe of the exotic beauty of the simple palm tree. guy also known as gaius
  9. Just because swords were the primary weapon doesn't mean that they didn't know about stuff like elbow thrusts, stepping on an enemy's foot, and punching. It may be a move and the setting takes place centuries after the fall of Rome but the specific choreographer in this movie not only has experience in ancient warfare stuff but the style he specifically used for the movie was primarily early dark ages from the Irish and Brittanic Isles. Which not only was an iron culture but plenty of tribes in the region still had plenty of Celtic roots in their lifestyle despite Roman colonialism. This is not counting the fact experts agree that the Irish from this time fought similar to the Gauls and other Celtic peoples albeit more organized but at least the swordplay was almost the same and the experts also specialized in Scottish and Welsh historical styles which have some lineages that surprisingly survive to day and both Scots and Welsh are of Celtic origins. So this should be an apt comparison to how Gaullic swordsmanship would have been (esp since Gauls were a Celtic culture) and as you see stomp kicks and such were used in the sword duels. Nevermind the fact elbow thrusting attacks, soccer kicks, knee strikes, etc are common sense anyway and you don't need training to do them. They esp become completely fluid when you are holding a weapon, not even a sword but an improvised one like a heavy tree branch and brook stick since they are often the only way you can attack when both your hand are occupied by an object in fighting.
  10. Except the Ancient Greeks esp the Spartans fought with kicks even in organized formation and even developed a brutal deadly techniques capable of hurting a man in armor under the right conditions with right timing, precise aim, and specific technique (not just leather and chainmail, but even plate armor) . If the ancient Greeks, in particular the Spartans, had a technique for breaking shields, what makes you think the Gauls and other groups didn't? Esp since the Romans used stomp kicks too. Its a video game but they hired experts in ancient Roman Swordsmanship and historians of ancient Rome to help with a lot of the motion cap movements and in-game fight choreography and gameplay mechanics. As you see the ancient Roman martial arts Reconstructionists themselves say that kicks were used in Roman swordsmanship and Ancient Warfare. You also are taking the kicking things by Gauls out of context. The Gauls still used their swords as primary weapons. But they used kicks as a strategy for disrupting enemies including those holding shields in a formation as well as part of a combo to prepare a killing blow or to knock an enemy down after failed sword attacks you throw fails to hurt him but leaves him vulnerable and often out of balance from proper stance. Not thrown as solo attacks as in a kung fu movie but used as a system in swordsmanship is how the Gauls probably used kicks as the Ryse video shows the Romans doing.
  11. I'd like to chime in this is so wrong. Because not only did the Samurai and Chinese armies have leg attacks such as stomps on ankles and such in their sword systems while wearing full armor, but even armies that used plate mail such as the Ottomans and Indians used kicks in their sword system. Even sparring in full armor. In addition you also forget dueling where ground is even and you seem oblivious that Viking swordsmanship often involved kicking an opponent's shield to knock it away or make a person unbalanced and fall to the ground. At the bare minimal make them lose balance enough for your sword or other weapon to KO them or exploit a weakness caused by your kicks, sweeps, stomps, etc on their shield or on their exposed leg so you can stab through their now exposed neck and other places as a result. And of course you forget duels on fair even grounds where kicks become safer and common esp frontal stomp kicks done in the style of Leonidas at the start of 300 which was common as a follow up to sword strikes or to strike an exposed point at a precise moment when your enemy made a slip up in footwork. BTW for someone who claims to have experience in fighting armor I am so surprised you are ignorant of the fact that not all nights fought in visors and to start with not all helmets have visors to start with. I mean Mongol systems have techniques for poking through a guys' eyes while fighting in full armor against each other with fingers. This is not counting the fact even knights who wore visors as much as possible did not necessarily wear it at all times and some times took it off when sight got dim such as smoke surrounding a castle's breach because of gunpowder explosion destroying the walls. And again like kicks being used duels to the death which did not always have full sets of armor. You also ignore that knights can do cartwheels and other acrobatic feats. Even in battle there are instances. So why is kicks so ludricrous?
  12. I am a fan of Middle Byzantine army. However, I had found indications that origins of thematic system of military lands may well go far further back into past than 7th century (if indeed field armies were given lands then). For example, limitanei and possibly even legions may have worked, or sustained themselves, from the lands surrounding their camps - so-called prata legionis. What information is there about prata legionis, and how does it relate - in terms of function, specifics and origins - to stratioka ktemata?
  13. And now for something completely different. Rock guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen and his album playing classical-esque music with the Prague Symphony Orchestra. It actually does work. Not for everyone, of course, but I rather like it.
  14. Earlier
  15. I have just published my first Historical Fiction - Bandit King - Volume I: Promotus - AD 391. [ISBN 9 781979 789295] I first want to extend my warmest thanks for all the help I received here at UNRV in the research of my book and its time period. It is the first in a series following the life / career of Alaric the Goth (AD 391 - 410). The book is free (kindle edition only, I think) from 6 - 10 January, 2020. I would appreciate your comments and opinions. It is, of course fiction, but I tried to keep the setting as historically accurate as I could. The only failing I had was trying to create the Goth's culture since so much as disappeared in the last 16 centuries. Thank you for taking the time to read it. Lothia
  16. I finally looked at the lyrics. Interesting stuff. "Whisper A Prayer For The Dying" I hear the sound of distant thunder echo all around I see the tragedy of young ones lying on the ground I see the fathers' sons and daughters, I hear the mothers crying Nothing left for me to do, whisper a prayer for the dying Oh, oh, a prayer for the dying The suffocating heat of jungles, burning desert sands Where everything reminds you, you're a stranger in a strange land The soothing words of politicians, those bodyguards of lies While guardian angels waste their time and every mother cries Oh, oh, a prayer for the dying, dying, dying Oh, oh Machine gun, battle cry You pray to God when the bullets fly The bombs fall like black rain And all your dreams take you home again Nothing but bad dreams You can't read, you can't write You're so scared, you can't sleep at night You try to carry the heavy load Walking down Armageddon road, oh, Armageddon road I hear the sound of distant thunder echo all around I see the tragedy of young ones lying on the ground I see the fathers' sons and daughters, I hear the mothers crying Nothing left for me to do but whisper a prayer for the dying Oh, a prayer for the dying, dying Oh, a prayer for the dying, baby, baby Oh, a prayer for the dying, dying Whisper a prayer for the dying, oh You can't run, you can't hide You can't show what you feel inside You're going crazy, going insane You know you'll never be the same again, no, no Whisper a prayer for the dying, dying, dying, dying, dying, no, no Armageddon road, Armageddon road, I'm walking down Armageddon road
  17. caldrail

    Augustan History

    Is that situation so unusual? When the Romans came to write the histories of their earliest times, they filled in the details themselves. Since their earliest history was unknown to them except the remembrance of major events, they constructed the past in the image of the world they knew. And if you care to notice, Roman writings are full of speeches credited to one historical individual or another but written by the book's author. Roman writers were keen to record the rise of their civilisation and lives of the famous, much as we would today, but they also wanted to write entertaining works that people wanted to read and praise the writer for. How much of Roman history can we be sure of? Truth is, we don't have much to corroborate it. We really are forced to take their word for things by and large.
  18. guy

    Augustan History

    The controversial Augustan History is a strange combination of both the fantastical and the real. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustan_History The true nature and even the author (or authors) of this book have long been debated. This dissertation by Kathryn A. Langenfeld on this book is both well-written and informative: https://dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/10161/14536/Langenfeld_duke_0066D_14060.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y Opening paragraph: Summary paragraph: guy also known as gaius
  19. dee

    Seasonal Tidings

    Once in the woods, a lush moss filled green New England I wood, I opened my eyes from a lovely meditation. There was a fox standing off about ten feet away. You know an encounter like this won't last and one tries to stretch it out, I held my breath and looked into his face. It felt like a communication, an exchange or acknowledgement. He runs off when a walker disturbed the quiet so end of timeless moment but a good memory, good happy place. Merry Christmas🎅
  20. caldrail

    Seasonal Tidings

    Almost Christmas. I say that with a distinct sense of freedom and joy, not because it’s the festive season – Bah! Humbug! I say this because this year fate has spared me the usual barrage of Christmas songs. You know the ones I mean. All those songs that radio stations, supermarkets, and those not blessed with a sense of music play at this time every year ad nauseum. Hardly heard any of them this time around. Makes you feel good to be alive. A Noble Deed It’s going to be ten years since I became Lord Rail. All in all, it hasn’t impacted much on events, other than making a few people rather critical of me, including a couple of claims advisors, one of whom actually swore at me in public when I politely made him aware of my new found status. Another claims advisor attempted to crush my title out of significance with rather less rude language. They both failed. What next for the Caldrail autobiography? What can I do to offend conformity, advance the cause of individualistic idiocy, and generally make life a bit more interesting than visiting supermarkets at Christmas? Hmmm… Let me think…. Adopting Nature May I introduce you to Ronald? He’s a robin, the red breasted variety (although they do seem a bit orange rather than actually red), and has taken up residence at my workplace. Haven’t a clue what he finds to eat, probably subsisting on leftover sweeties when things are quiet. No food on the shop floor please… Okay, the boss is gone. But this is a bumper time for Ronald, because rules go out the door at Christmas as the boss brings in boxes of chocolates to reward us for a year of dedicated hard work and constant gripes. Seeing as this was the festive season, I suggested the company adopt Ronald as a mascot. I have no idea what Ronald thinks of this honour. He flew away. How Not To Get Home My last shift before xmas is done! Yahoo! Can’t be bothered to walk home in the rain so I opt for a bus. As much as I detest buses, even I have to confess they do come in handy occaisionally, like going home after the last shift before xmas. You could tell it was the festive season. Whilst I normaly have to wait ages for a bus to arrive, I had no sooner gotten to the bus stop when my ride arrived. I’ve long since learned to take my backpack off before getting on, but this not being a patient driver, I stepped aboard, pad the fare, got the ticket, and found myself entangled in the straps as I struggled manfully to fit into the seats. Slipping on the wet floor, cursing at the lack of movement, the bus accelerating and braking like an entry at Le Mans, boy oh boy, that was a test of manhood. I;m pleased to say no-one made any sarky comment at all. They must have seen me struggle before. What? Last Christmas? Oh heck, please let this not become an annual ritual…. Mammalian Connection of the Week A little while ago I finished a late shift and as I often do, I stopped at a lonely bus stop to rest for ten minutes before walking four miles home. The bus schedule finished hours ago you see. So I was there, guzzling my energy drink which I keep handy for such occaisions, when movement down on the pavement caught my eye. A fox! Not really that unusual, certainly not in that area with plenty of supermarket refuse bins to forage for food. This one hadn’t seen me, trotting happily along the pavement, looking in good health and really picture postcard perfect condition. Then it noticed my surprise. When you surprise a fox like that, some scarper immediately. Others freeze until they decide to scarper. This one froze. But it was odd. I was looking straight into that foxes eyes and expected the usual look of startled horror at encountering a shabby tired out human being. I saw something else. Although alert and poised to move as instinct demanded, for just a brief moment it looked as the fox was wondering if it could approach in a friendly manner. Scrounger behaviour rather than genuine friendliness, I’ve seen squirrels adopt the same begging action, but the sensation of empathy however misinterpreted is genuinely a deeply rewarding experience. Instinct got the better of it and the fox scarpered. Happy Christmas, Mr Fox.
  21. http://archaeologyinbulgaria.com/2019/11/19/unknown-chainmail-armors-discovered-in-roman-colony-deultum-near-bulgarias-black-sea-coast/ Two or three chainmail armors from the Late Antiquity previously unseen in Bulgaria have been discovered in the ancient and medieval city of Deultum close to the Black Sea coast. Photo: Desant guy also known as gaius
  22. Hello, I have much interest in Roman and Phoenician history.
  23. dee

    When The Truth Doesn't Matter

    From the perspective of saturation politics American style, Johnson is likable and believable. Theresa May wasn't as well received in the US until she stood with Trump during his visit to UK. Common sense may prevail by default. Everyone I know loves the British people and hope to see the situation improve politically with Brexit complete.
  24. I doubt we can make Roman history the saviour of America. As much as the Founding Fathers used classical principles to create their new constitution, America is a different society in a different geo-political situation. I would agree there are useful lessons from history, but only in generic terms. After all - Didn't Rome fall by the wayside?
  25. caldrail

    When The Truth Doesn't Matter

    Johnson displays genuine passion but his bumbling style and continued reliance on 'get it done' isn't winning support amongst the population who want something more relevant to their daily lives. He is deliberately underplaying that report about the Russians. We've yet to find out why. the trouble right now is this ridiculous election campaign on all sides. it's like watching a high stakes poker game getting completely out of control. The messianic quality of the leading contenders is notable. We Brits aren't used to this sort of dogfight and whoever wins is going to leave a British population unsatisfied with the result years down the line because the players are piling on the chips to out-promise their opponents.
  26. Yes, I think that providing examples of failures in the supply chain could help to understand the inherent problems of that and to avoid anachornistic comparisons with modern times. Thanks for your suggestion!
  27. My advice is to wary of those preaching organisation and modernesque paradigms. The Romans managed to supply their troops quite well, but note their are plenty of examples of where their organsiation failed. I'm thinking of Caesar in Africa. He had arranged for a re-supply by ship, but despite waiting at the destination for a while, the ships never came. He was forced to move on to allow his troops something to forage. The idea that Romans used supply lines in modern fashion is quite wrong. Nonetheless, the subject is fascinating.
  28. dee

    When The Truth Doesn't Matter

    Is the Hildebeast actually commenting on UK releasing reports of Russian Collusion? 🙀 Such theater, the jackasses on Capitol Hill are severely orchestrating a verbal rancid skin disease. One worm crawls into one hole...starting tomorrow. They will talk about whether they should um keep talking about it. Johnson just might pull it off, he has a convincing manner. Try mind control on the mini thugs. Dīs
  29. I enjoyed reading this post from more than a decade ago. Sulla's skin disease has been discussed frequently in past. From Plutarch's "Parallel Lives, Sulla:" http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Sulla*.html Although suggested by many (and certainly consistent with some features of Sulla's presentation), secondary and tertiary syphilis are unlikely since the virulent form of syphilis causing this eruption was unknown in Europe at the time. http://www.casa-kvsa.org.za/1961/AC04-06-Carney.pdf Perhaps Sulla suffered from a not-too-rare condition in the elderly known as bullous pemphigoid. Without treatment, patients with bullous pemphigoid suffer from intact blisters and erosions that frequently become secondarily infected with bacteria. Whatever the primary cause of the skin eruption, maggots can lay eggs on these or any other open wounds (myiasis). (Image of dog suffering from myiasis.) guy also known as gaius
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