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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 29 Mar, 2009 8:09 pm    Post subject: The Shield: a Critique         Reply with quote

I've just had a quick read through the Feature called The Shield: An Abridged History of its Use and Development http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_shield.html
One of my areas of interest is in early shields and this part of the article has a few inaccuracies. Apologies if this isn't the right place for this post.
* The Greek shield was never called a hoplon. At the time in question the most common name was aspis but sakos and rhinos were also used.
* Earlier Greek shields were never made entirely of bronze. They were made of multiple layers of oxhide with a facing of bronze. Often the bronze facing is the only thing that has survived by the time it was found in a grave site.
* The Argive shield has nothing in common with the earlier shield except that both were circular. It is unlikely that one evolved from the other.
* The article seems to confuse earlier Greek shields which often were larger than the classical aspis. The shield curtain was only attached to the shorter variants so tripping over would rarely have been a problem. Argive shields never covered chin to knee. Earlier shields were this large but they weren't used in the same manner as an Argive shield.
* The article fails to distinguish between the Republican scutum which is longer and heavier (with rounded edges) than the Imperial scutum (squared edges) and they were made differently: the Republican scutum incorporated felt while the Imperial one used linen. There was a weight difference of at least 5 lbs between the two typologies
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
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PostPosted: Sun 29 Mar, 2009 10:36 pm    Post subject: Re: The Shield: a Critique         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
* The Greek shield was never called a hoplon. At the time in question the most common name was aspis but sakos and rhinos were also used.

I actually used the term aspis. For some reason it was edited out of the article after submission. No idea why. Out of curiosity, μιλάτε ελληνικά?

Dan Howard wrote:
* Earlier Greek shields were never made entirely of bronze. They were made of multiple layers of oxhide with a facing of bronze. Often the bronze facing is the only thing that has survived by the time it was found in a grave site.

Same thing here. I believe I did talk about this manner of construction. It's been a while, but I seem to remember actually citing passages in Homer that dealt with spears penetrating x number of layers and being stopped at layer y.

As for the rest, the guidelines for submission on this article called for an overview of a few paragraphs, not a graduate thesis. Presumably, anyone who was interested in a specific culture's shield could continue with their own research, but a detailed exploration of every variation was beyond the scope of the article's intent. The high points I wanted to touch on were the construction (see above), the use of the thing in the phalanx and the strange tactical issues that developed as a result.

I'll have to dig out the original version and read it again, just to refresh my memory about what was mine and what entered in later in the process. Χαίρετε και ευχαριστώ. Happy

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,199

PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2009 5:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Out of curiosity, μιλάτε ελληνικά?


I don't speak Greek but I can read Attic Greek slowly and painfully. Regarding this subject I wrote a paper a while ago where I pulled out all the relevant passages from the Iliad and retranslated them to help make a reconstruction.
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2009 6:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No worries. Slow and painful sounds about right for Attic and Homeric. I only know them secondhand, having been once married to a classicist. Hopefully I'll have the time to delve more deeply at some point before I die. Poetry in dactylic hexameter is amazing, if read correctly.

Anyway, your critique is pretty much accurate, and I still plan to check on those two point tonight. And you're right that my treatment was pretty basic. Perhaps a good future idea for this site would be a series much like the ones done for Oakeshott's sword types. That would allow a more complete analysis of the items in question. The tactical questions, and their various socio-political implications, could fill a volume even without getting into construction, regional specialties, decoration, etc. Big Grin

I can't speak about the Roman point you brought up. I didn't do that setion.

I'd be interested in reading your excerpts from the Iliad, if you wouldn't mind posting. Happy

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,199

PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2009 2:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Barris wrote:
Anyway, your critique is pretty much accurate, and I still plan to check on those two point tonight. And you're right that my treatment was pretty basic.

I don't have a problem with a basic treatment. It is perfectly acceptable given the scope of the article. My problem was with inaccuracies within that basic treatment.

Quote:
I'd be interested in reading your excerpts from the Iliad, if you wouldn't mind posting. Happy

It is a 9000 word essay. PM an email address to me and I'll send you a copy of it.
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Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team


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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2009 8:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan,
Thanks for your post. After the last time you and I corresponded about the name of the Greek shield, we added this editor's note to the article:

Quote:
Editor's Note
The term hoplon more correctly refers to the entire equipment of the Greek warrior. In period, the shield was called an apsis. Calling the Greek shield a hoplon is quite common and we have used that term within this article.


Many still use the term hoplon, regardless of how correct it may or may not be. It is, unfortunately, still common usage.

As I mentioned in our conversations about this 2 years ago, we'd be happy to work with someone who will help us edit the article to make it more correct. We'd love to have the article reflect current thinking and terminology. This article was a monumental and difficult task to assemble and the myArmoury team unfortunately doesn't have the resources to devote to researching all of these issues. So I'd ask for someone to volunteer a little of their time to help us make whatever corrections need to be made.

Thanks!

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,199

PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2009 3:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I forgot that I'd commented on this earlier. If myArmoury publishes my first submission on mail armour I'll spend some time helping to rewrite this also.
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Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Cincinnati, OH
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PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2009 6:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
I forgot that I'd commented on this earlier. If myArmoury publishes my first submission on mail armour I'll spend some time helping to rewrite this also.


Dan,
We publish things as we are able to. If it helps to know, there are articles I wrote about 2 years ago that have yet to be published. That's an unusual circumstance for us and not typical, but it happens sometimes.

We are a small, unpaid staff with many other jobs. If we had more time and money to devote to this project and fewer requirements of real life, I'm sure we could publish things as quickly as every author would like.

Some patience is required. Happy Rest assured, we will publish your article as soon as we're able to.

In the meantime, if anyone wants to provide help with editing this article, please feel free. We would greatly appreciate it.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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