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Matthew D G




Location: Oklahoma, USA
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PostPosted: Sun 18 Nov, 2007 3:48 pm    Post subject: Goliath         Reply with quote

Hello again everyone Big Grin

Everyone (or almost everyone) has heard the story of David and Goliath. I was reading and was shocked at the size and weight of Goliath's armor and weapons. He was over nine feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing 125 pounds; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, and its iron point weighed 15 pounds.!!! Eek!


I have a favor to ask of everyone, can you post some photos of what the armor or weapons might have looked like? or just photos of the weapons and armor used in those times?
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Dawit Koho





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PostPosted: Sun 18 Nov, 2007 3:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

From which age do you read this story?
I saw a lot of Goliath in iconografie where he wear a many different armour depending on the year, when the picture was made.
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Matthew D G




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PostPosted: Sun 18 Nov, 2007 4:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From what age did I read this story? I dont know what you mean....

I'm just after pis of the armor and weapons that might have been used back in those days...
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 18 Nov, 2007 4:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew D G wrote:
From what age did I read this story? I dont know what you mean....

I'm just after pis of the armor and weapons that might have been used back in those days...


That would be Philistine arms and armour around 1000 B.C. to 900 B.C.

links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliath General information.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philistines

The Philistines may have been related to very early Greek Mycenaean peoples similar to the Greeks who destroyed Troy.
If this theory is accurate Philistines arms and armour could be related to Greek styles ?

The statistics relating to weights and size of Goliath should be taken with a grain of salt as they certainly are not to be found in any museum today and even if there is some truth in the fact that he was a giant and that his weapons may have been in proportion to his size the figures quoted are more the stuff of legend than verifiable fact.

As to " what age did you read this story " I think the intent of the question was how recent was the source i.e. A medieval biblical text ? Certainly/probably not a 1000 B.C. original source.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 1:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The height of Goliath depends on which definition of "cubit" you want to use.
Elbow to base of hand
Elbow to middle finger
There is also a "long cubit " which is longer again.
The biblical "legal cubit" is different from the above also.

Goliath was described as being 6 cubits and a span in height. Using the most common definition of cubit, his height was around 6'9".

The weight of a shekel changed also. Originally it weighed 8.33 g. Later it varies between 9g and 17g. If the original shekel is used, Goliath's armour (5000 shekels) weighs a little over 90 lbs.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey, good timing! I just finished my own suit of Bronze Age scale armor last week:

http://www.larp.com/hoplite/scales7.jpg

Mine only weighs about 30 pounds, but the body is half rawhide so that saves some weight. His helmet could have been something like this:

http://www.larp.com/hoplite/hrnhlm7.jpg

His sword may have been a Naue type II, either bronze or iron (mine are both bronze):

http://www.larp.com/hoplite/2Naue2c.jpg

Here's a possible shield:

http://www.larp.com/hoplite/BAshld4.jpg

Not sure I really have a good example of a javelin or spear for a Philistine. The reference to a weaver's beam is not for the size, but for the presence of a throwing loop (amentum)--the heddle rod on a loom had a row of loops for pulling half the warp threads up through the others. More of my stuff is on my Bronze Age site,

http://www.larp.com/hoplite/bronze.html

It's probably safe to assume a little bit of heroic exaggeration in regard to the weights and such. Suffice it to say that he was a big guy, and really impressed the heck out of his opponents! Oh, and be careful about translations: older versions of the Bible often say "coat of mail" for any type of armor. In this case, Goliath lives a good 500 years before the invention of what we call mail, and the original word used for his armor might simply mean "body armor". So it could have been a plate cuirass, something like what Dan is wearing in his avatar! Aren't we beautiful?

Khairete,

Matthew
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 4:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Most animals (us humans included) can bear somewhere between 20% to 35% of their natural body weight depending on how long the duration of exercise is that we are talking about. If you talk about "historical giants", there are a lot of references suggesting 7 foot to 10 foot tall beings existed, and even inspired religious mythology as a result of their size. Keep in mind that body mass of people over 7 foot tall ( I have known two, including an uncle, who appeared very slender in proportions) may exceed 300 lbs very easily. Most physician's health charts do not even address heights over 6' 6" (about 200 cm.)

Steve Quayle has a good collection of links to articles (written by others over the centuries) that give us clues that there have always been beings regarded as giants. Although this guy is basically selling gold based on hyping end of the world type paranoyia, his source material is a collection of links to legitimate "historical folk tales." Taken in terms of quantity, plus surviving skeletal remains (often called archaeological curiosities), it starts to look pretty convincing that here and there over the course of centuries, there really have been some giants. These could likely have born much higher weight equipment than many of us can relate to.

http://www.stevequayle.com/Giants/index2.html

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2007 8:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are Giants in size but also naturally extremely strong people way off the scale of what is considered " normal ".

Like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Cyr

From what I have read his strength wasn't built up through what we would consider consistent training.

Regular performance of strength demonstrations would have had some training effect but Louis Cyr had unusual strength from a very early age without it being due to training.

Now, this kind of strength in an earlier age would have made for a very scary warrior and the use of boat anchor like swords for the average man something easy and light for such an extremely strong individual.

Now, skill with weapons would also have been critical for true effective use.

One can only guess what weight of armour Louis Cyr could have worn in the 15th century ?

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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Nov, 2007 12:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I remember watching a show on "giants" on National Geographic. The evidence they showed basically said that for their size they are weaker than they should be due to some bone issues causing the muscles to slacken.

M.

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Bob Burns




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PostPosted: Sun 25 Nov, 2007 12:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard is exactly correct, properly translated from what I have read on Goliath he was indeed 6' 9" in height, which would still have been a giant of a man for that time.

Bob
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Seth M. Borland




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Dec, 2007 12:08 am    Post subject: Re: Goliath         Reply with quote

Matthew D G wrote:
Hello again everyone Big Grin

Everyone (or almost everyone) has heard the story of David and Goliath. I was reading and was shocked at the size and weight of Goliath's armor and weapons. He was over nine feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing 125 pounds; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, and its iron point weighed 15 pounds.!!! Eek!


I have a favor to ask of everyone, can you post some photos of what the armor or weapons might have looked like? or just photos of the weapons and armor used in those times?


Hello. As for me, every time I've seen a representation of Philistine armor, and particularly Goliath's armor, the artists representations vary greatly so it is very confusing. I will admit that due to the ambiguity of the descriptions of the armor and the cubits, there is really no way to truly grasp an accurate image of the size of this man and the gear he used.

Having taken a biblical history course under a teacher who knows quite a bit, she has said that given all the estimates for his height, and with the cubits and spans being used as not the minimum measurements for those units, she has concluded that a good minimum estimate for his height is in the mid 7 foot range, with an absolute maximum of 11' 3". I can concieve a giant strong-man in the mid to upper 7 foot range because I have seen several people who are that size and yet emmensely fit and powerful with no real disadvantages to being so big (think Shaq). Now, my teacher is no weapons expert, so she has no clue as to what his gear may have looked like. I have heard the Mycenaean/Greek theory before and can grasp it to a degree regarding some of the weapons, but with the little evidence regarding armor, and with the one mycenaean suit of armor we do know of being thought to be suited for a charioteer, i have a hard time imagining that image. To me, I believe that by the time of David vs Goliath, they would have developed their own style of weapons and armor. Why is there little evidence of this unique style? Well, one guy told me the possibility of the metal being melted down and used for other purposes ( or recycled into israeli style weapons and armor) and the organic parts of their armor would have deteriorated by now, but i really dont know.

Now on to Goliaths weapons. One interesting thing i have noticed is that the descriptions of his armor and weapons change between the time from when he confronts the Israelis and the time he is confronted by David. In his first appearence, he has his torso protection, his greaves, his helmet, and either a spear or javelin (what is intriguing to me is that the thing is described as a bronze javelin, and then immediately afterwards described as an iron spear. First off, I find it hard to picture a warrior with two spears, let alone have them tied to his back where they would be awkward to carry and not very quick to draw when needed. I believe this thing on his back is something else altogether, with the iron pear in his hand. Maybe this thing was a backplate due to some translations using the word "target between his shoulders, and I've also heard that it could've been a khopesh/sickle/curved sword, but not the same kind of sword that David kills him with later. However, its likely that we'll never know), and to top it all off, one bearing his shield. When he later appears, he also has a sword on his person along with him carrying a personal sheild and a spear. My theory for this difference is that his "sheild" bearer is really an ARMOR/WEAPONS bearer. With Goliath being the champion of the Philistines, why not have a servant acting as your personal "caddy", offering you a selection of weapons and armor to choose from? That is the picture I get when I read this passage. As for his sword, I have two theories: 1. It must've been bigger than the regular swords. This is due to the fact that many times when "the sword of ____" is used, it usually means that the weapon was big enough to be a sword for that person. Think about it, for a mid 7 footer, and quite possibly taller than that, all the regular sized swords used by the smaller soldiers would've been only dagger sized to Goliath, and the small hilts would have been awkward to weild. I imagine his sword to be along the lines of the Atlantean sword from Conan; a slightly big, but not outrageously huge/long sword meant to be one-handed by a giant, and yet could be (somewhat) easily weilded with two hands by a smaller individual. I get this picture because David takes Goliath's sword from a temple in I Sam: 20, and given how small David and other Jews of this period are supposed to be, I imagine that this weapon would have been quite large compared to what he was used to using, but he chose to take it as his own and it remained his personal weapon from that point on. One other interesting thing about this sword, and my second theory about it, is that the priests who give it to David say that it is kept in storage wrapped in a cloth. My guess is that this was meant to protect it from corrosion, and then I imagine it as being an iron or possibly even steel weapon because of this, and also since the Philistines had a monopoly on iron in that region and were master iron-workers themselves, this might possibly have been the case. There is also a verse later on in II Sam where one of Goliath's brothers, also a giant, uses a "new sword". What this is, whether it be made out of a new material (steel?, something else???), or was a new sword form/design that wasnt previously encountered.

well, that's all I can think of at the moment. Sorry for the long-winded post lol

Seth
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Dec, 2007 5:24 am    Post subject: Re: Goliath         Reply with quote

Seth M. Borland wrote:
Matthew D G wrote:
Hello again everyone Big Grin

Everyone (or almost everyone) has heard the story of David and Goliath. I was reading and was shocked at the size and weight of Goliath's armor and weapons. He was over nine feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing 125 pounds; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, and its iron point weighed 15 pounds.!!! Eek!


I have a favor to ask of everyone, can you post some photos of what the armor or weapons might have looked like? or just photos of the weapons and armor used in those times?


Hello. As for me, every time I've seen a representation of Philistine armor, and particularly Goliath's armor, the artists representations vary greatly so it is very confusing. I will admit that due to the ambiguity of the descriptions of the armor and the cubits, there is really no way to truly grasp an accurate image of the size of this man and the gear he used.

First off, I find it hard to picture a warrior with two spears, let alone have them tied to his back where they would be awkward to carry and not very quick to draw when needed. I believe this thing on his back is something else altogether, with the iron pear in his hand.Seth


First, very interesting post and I'm only quoting the small part I wish to comment on. ( Note: It's good to not copy entire posts in a quote as it slows down reading and bad for clarity if everyone copies long posts and long replies. Just a suggestions not specific to your post ).

I can see carrying one long thrusting spear and a couple of smaller javelins in one hand or holding the two javelins by the shield hand. In combat one would throw the two javelins and then use the thrusting spear.

If the switching of hand of spear and javelins became problematic if surprised one could simply drop the javelins or the spear depending on priorities: The exact way this would be done I am not sure but I think there are historical precedents to carrying multiple spears or a mix of spear and smaller javelins.

I think the Romans might at times carry two pilum into battle: Throw one and use the second as a spear or throw both and use their gladius ( Could be wrong here as I'm not an expert on Roman fighting techniques and I haven't opened my books to check before writing this. Blush Laughing Out Loud ).

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Dec, 2007 1:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The carrying of two spears into battle was extremely common during the time in question. It is safe to assume that at least one of these was intended for throwing. I can't think of any instances where they were carried on the back though.
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Ken Speed





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PostPosted: Sun 09 Dec, 2007 1:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I suspect that we, non-scholars, and some scholars are sometimes being way too literal minded. An example that comes to mind is that somewhere there is a reference to the Vikings, "...trimming their sales with seal-skin ropes.". Later someone made a woodcut of a viking ship with prettily scalloped edging on the sail because the artist wasn't familiar with the nautical use of the word "trimming."

I hope I don't ruffle the feathers of any Biblical literalists, but I seem to have read somewhere that Goliath may have been one of the Greek warriors of the Trojan war or an equivalent. Thus the "giant" is a way of communicating a fearsome and experienced warrior to simple people. Similar to the way that important people were drawn larger than life to show their importance.

Besk regards,



Ken Speed
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Dec, 2007 1:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Goliath         Reply with quote

Seth M. Borland wrote:
Having taken a biblical history course under a teacher who knows quite a bit, she has said that given all the estimates for his height, and with the cubits and spans being used as not the minimum measurements for those units, she has concluded that a good minimum estimate for his height is in the mid 7 foot range, with an absolute maximum of 11' 3".

Even a brief discussion with any doctor will tell you that 11'3" is ridiculous. The tallest man in existence was 8'11" and at these heights a man would not be an effective warrior due to medical complications. Plenty of scholars estimate his height to be 6'9". How does this one conclude that he couldn't be shorter than seven-odd feet?
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Seth M. Borland




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Dec, 2007 3:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Goliath         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Seth M. Borland wrote:
Having taken a biblical history course under a teacher who knows quite a bit, she has said that given all the estimates for his height, and with the cubits and spans being used as not the minimum measurements for those units, she has concluded that a good minimum estimate for his height is in the mid 7 foot range, with an absolute maximum of 11' 3".

Even a brief discussion with any doctor will tell you that 11'3" is ridiculous. The tallest man in existence was 8'11" and at these heights a man would not be an effective warrior due to medical complications. Plenty of scholars estimate his height to be 6'9". How does this one conclude that he couldn't be shorter than seven-odd feet?


Yes, I know for a fact that 11' 3" is a ridiculous estimate, but that was using the longest possible cubit. There have been human remains of giants, particularly outsized and yet normally proportioned skulls, jaws, femurs, and other bones, that would suggest a height in excess of 10 feet, and one particular speciman possibly reaching 12 feet. My teacher did say that although the cubits are ambiguous due to there being so many, she did state that they hardly ever used the absolute minimum measurement, from which the 6' 9" estimate is derived, in measuring people. And also, why would the scriptures be so specific about height? I mean just "6 cubits" sounds vague, but they also added the extra 9" span for accuracy. And also, they had his corpse to examine after David killed him, so it's not like his height is some random guess.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Dec, 2007 3:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Goliath         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:

Even a brief discussion with any doctor will tell you that 11'3" is ridiculous. The tallest man in existence was 8'11" and at these heights a man would not be an effective warrior due to medical complications.


I am mostly in agreement. It should be considered that 8' 11" is the tallest man on record in a relatively short period of record keeping. I am guessing, but this is roughly 100 years of records (a sampling of only 3% of man's ability to record his own history, less than 5% of the time elapsed since numerous Roman authors characterized Gauls as towering over opponents.) Robert Wadlow (8' 11" as a young adult) did have some medical problems, but was known to have carried his father up the household stairs at age 9. If one allows for 3000 years of history, and some of the proportions of skeletal remains (linked previously), very large proportions might be credible.

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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Dec, 2007 9:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

6'9" is a clear giant to me. I stand only 5'3" in all honesty.

What is the average height of a person in that region at the time?

M.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2007 1:09 am    Post subject: Re: Goliath         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
I am guessing, but this is roughly 100 years of records (a sampling of only 3% of man's ability to record his own history, less than 5% of the time elapsed since numerous Roman authors characterized Gauls as towering over opponents.)
Not particularly difficult when the average Roman was less than 5 1/2 feet tall.
Quote:
Robert Wadlow (8' 11" as a young adult) did have some medical problems, but was known to have carried his father up the household stairs at age 9.
This is only useful if you are claiming that he was already as tall as Goliath at this age. At the heights that Goliath is supposed to have been he would not have been a warrior. He might make a handy mascot. If he stood at the head of an army and went "boo" the enemy might have fled. Wink
Quote:
If one allows for 3000 years of history, and some of the proportions of skeletal remains (linked previously), very large proportions might be credible.
You cannot have it both ways. Either Goliath was well over 8 feet tall OR he was a great champion in battle. It is physically impossible to be both.
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Jonathan Blair




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2007 9:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First off, in ancient Israel (first Temple period), the Jewish cubit was 26/27 of a Roman cubit or 45.5 cm (approximately 1 foot 5 7/8 inches). A span is 9 inches. Goliath's recorded height is 6 cubits and 1 span or 288.24 cm (approximately 9 feet 5 7/16 inches). His coat of armor weighed 5000 shekels or 41.65 kg (91 pounds 11.8 ounces), where 1 shekel = 8.33 g (0.29-oz), which does not account for the brass greaves and helmet and gorget ("target"). His iron spearhead weighed 600 shekels or just shy of 5 kg (11 pounds). So, Goliath obviously wasn't a weakling if he could easily move about in over 100 pounds of armor and weaponry, regardless of the strength or weakness of modern genetic anomalies.

Secondly, Goliath was not human. He was one of the nephilim of the lineage of Anak. According to Genesis 6:2-4, the nephilim were the progeny of the fallen b'nei ha'Elohim (an ancient name for the angels, cf. Job 1:6, Jude 6) and the daughters of men and were "men of renown." The Flood destroyed the first batch of nephilim, but were are told in Genesis 6:4 that they also existed after the flood and were the inhabitants of Canaan during the settlement of the Hebrew peoples under the command of Joshua in the land of Canaan. What's interesting is that Goliath had four brothers who were similar in stature and prowess.

Thirdly, this all is a matter of faith anyways. You can tell me that you think what I've written above is so much balderdash, but it doesn't matter to me. I believe it because of the source of the information, which I believe to be supernaturally accurate. Whether you choose to believe or not in the supernatural accuracy of the Bible is your decision, of which I will not presume to convince you.

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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