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Ted Parolari




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2009 8:07 pm    Post subject: Use of Two Sword Fighting Style by the Roman Army?         Reply with quote

I was watching Battles BC tonight on the History Channel and found what I think was a GLARING ERROR! I know, imagine that! An error on TV. Any way, the show was about Ceaser's seige of Alisea in 52BC. They portrayed Roman Soldiers using two swords instead of sword and shield, not once, but several times. I think the producers were in love with this particular style of fighting, since they also showed the Gauls fighting in such a fashion. I found the show to informative as a summarization of what went on, but I'm at a loss as to why they felt they should made such a terrible change to the fighting style of the Romans. It detracted from the show was annoying. Mad
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2009 8:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This quote tells you everything you need to know about the History Channel

"I run an entertainment channel first and foremost, which happens to be based on history."
-- Richard Melman.
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Dietrich Dellinger




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2009 8:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was watching that too, it looked like they started production the day after "300" was released.
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2009 8:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Use of Two Sword Fighting Style by the Roman Army?         Reply with quote

Ted Parolari wrote:
They portrayed Roman Soldiers using two swords instead of sword and shield...


Again, and again and again.

Was interested in the topic but just could not watch it. Flipped to a couple of other channels, got bored, went upstairs, turned on the old 'puter and wasted some time sinking imaginary French ships. Just as much fantasy time sink but so much more satisfying. Big Grin

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2009 8:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I started to watch it because I find Alesia fascinating. I turned it off after a few minutes, because I didn't want to get annoyed for the entire hour - just another reason why I call that place the Bad History Channel.
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Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2009 9:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Something worth researching... I heard that Brian Boru's son fought with two gladius. I don't have much more then that. I am not putting this out as fact. I am putting this out as something worth looking into. I have not been able to find more details.

I think it would be pretty hard to say that Romans never, ever used two-sword in battle. Shields are notorious for breaking in the initial crash. If someone looses his shield, I can easily see them picking up another sword to block with even if they don't normally train two-sword. Even if your left hand is totally lame, most people can perform basic blocking actions with a sword in their left hand if they have been trained with a shield.

No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2009 9:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Given...but this was pretty over the top.

Very noticeably choreographed bit of work. Typically with three opponents in frame. Often at least one of them also using two swords. Weapons typically look more bad viking than bad roman. Requisite openings left in the defense from spins and flourishes that are supposed to look real cool during overly elaborate attack sequences!! Confused

Very heavy graphic novel influence.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
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Joel Chesser




Location: Oklahoma
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PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2009 12:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, I was watching this with a friend and commented that is looked like they ripped off Lancelot from The King Arthur with Clive Owen. It was pretty obnoxious. I wish they would pay more attention to detail, if they going to take the time and trouble of computer animating something, they should do it right. it's not like it's going to be that much if any extra work for the animator. Of coarse as i type this I realize that the same is true and has been said forever with this stuff.

History Channel did a show on the Spartans and the battle of Thermopylae that used that used the same style and graphics that were clearly modeled in a 300 style. It seems to have all been recycled for Battles BC.

All that said this probably won't prevent me from watching it. I might be able to glean something from I didn't know before, and use it a spring-board for more historical study.

..." The person who dosen't have a sword should sell his coat and buy one."

- Luke 22:36
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2009 6:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vassilis Tsafatinos wrote:
Something worth researching... I heard that Brian Boru's son fought with two gladius.


If he fought with 2 swords, they were not gladii. He lived in Ireland in the 11th century.

Quote:
I think it would be pretty hard to say that Romans never, ever used two-sword in battle. Shields are notorious for breaking in the initial crash. If someone looses his shield, I can easily see them picking up another sword to block with even if they don't normally train two-sword.


Roman shields were very tough, being made of plywood, and I don't recall any references to them breaking in battle. The only instance I know of in which Romans were caught without shields (ambushed during a parley), they wrapped their cloaks around their left arms to ward off blows. In a regular battle, if a Roman soldier's shield was damaged beyond use, he could simply drop back and let one of his buddies take his place. And then pick up another *shield* before going back into action.

Roman infantry combat is entirely based on the shield. It is used to body-slam the opponent, while the sword darts out in quick thrusts. Fighting with two swords requires an entirely different method, for which the ancients never trained. Not to mention the fact that going into close combat without a shield would be to invite javelins and rocks from every opponent in sight!

Really, use a shield! Valete,

Matthew
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Ian Hutchison




Location: Louisiana / Nordrhein-Westholland
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PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2009 7:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is some god-awful program on the History channel that seems to be perpetually re-run here about migration period Britain.

Almost every soldier, on each side, had a mail coif but no other armor.
One celtic leader was wearing a quasi-roman (i.e. 50's B-movie) muscle cuirass.
Same guy also fought with a two handed sword.
The "battles" consisted of spaced out duels with about 10 participants. With lots of LARP/holywood "swordplay", no attempt at all to accurately portray the combat or the battle itself. The archers were using modern sport bows.

The sad thing is, if they had entirely left-out the terribad and unnecessary "live-action" sequences and instead just focused on the interviews with academics and "experts", the show might have been interesting.

Another series, "Barbarians", was shot in the same style and was equally painful.

I think Dan's quote sums it up perfectly. I guess the trend for TV today is towards drama/reality which is why we get things like "Ice-road Truckers" and "Axmen". You'd think a single documentary about that profession would be adequate to entertain and inform but no, they have to make it a whole reality-tv drama series.

'We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose.' - Adrian Carton de Wiart
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2009 10:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vassilis Tsafatinos wrote:
Something worth researching... I heard that Brian Boru's son fought with two gladius. I don't have much more then that. I am not putting this out as fact. I am putting this out as something worth looking into. I have not been able to find more details.
.


The reference to Brian Boru's son can be found in David McCullough's book on chronicles of the Irish Kings (or something very much like that title). One chronicle describes the prince as being the last man who had mastered this style of fighting. I don't know much about native Irish swords of the time, but the few pictures I have seen show a blade with a superficial resemblance to a Pompeii gladius, although the hilt is somewhat different (if I remember correctly). However, by the 11th century, it is possible that the predominant swords were of a Viking type, since the Vikings had been in Dublin for some time by the time of Clontarf. (1014?)
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Ted Parolari




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2009 6:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've actually quit calling it the History Channel and most of the time call it the UFO or Monster Channel. It's really gotten bad of late. I have to admit that I watched the whole show, but the combat sequences just made my teeth hurt from grinding.

Has anyone watched the new Warriors series that comes on Thursday nights? I have been enjoying that. Terry Schappert, the host, seems very respectful of his "experts". The weapons handling seems to be much more factual as well.
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Josh MacNeil




Location: Massachusetts, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Apr, 2009 8:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was totally disappointed with Battles BC (not that I was expecting much). The whole 300 rip off thing is just ridiculous. With the money they pissed away with the animations and bad choreography, they could have put into more research and had more accurate depictions of warfare.

The History Channel has just plain stunk as of late. From January 1st to February 1st, it was ALL apocalypse shows... day and night, nothing else. Now it's the redundant monster/UFO BS and they're retarded Ax Men show. That's super entertaining; combining things falling down with lame high school drama that's not even real. It's a shame that they've sunk so low to pander to this low brow entertainment for uneducated and simpletons. That Warriors show isn't bad. Unfortunately that probably means it will be canceled soon.

(sigh) Sorry about that rant... Worried I'm just tired of watching crappy television.
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Apr, 2009 11:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ctrl+A agreed!!! I used to love the history channel, for like 3 years now it has gotten more and mroe about UFO's and Nostradamus (he's noteworthy, but not worth 5 shows) and Apocalypse. I saw 1 seen from battles BC where some king of israel was actually wearing bandoliers (no shirt or armor, just a leather cross on his chest) wielding two weapons and single handedly taking on the enemy.

I have just begun to watch the military channel instead, at least they have battleplan which is way better researched and is actually intelligible.

E Pluribus Unum
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Steven Reich




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PostPosted: Fri 03 Apr, 2009 4:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personally, I find nearly all of these pseudo-historical "ancient & medieval battle" shows to be a complete waste of time. Either they have some half-wit trained martial artist who knows nothing about history to provide his diarrhea-of-the-mouth thoughts on the weapons, or they have a bunch of costumed idiots who would fit better as extras to a Conan movie. Frankly, I'd be more likely to watch if they did shows discussing the arms, armor, and tactics of the Sorceror Isle of Melnibone, the Mingols of Nehwon, or the Barbarians of Hyperborea--at least the ghost of my younger, adolescent, D&D-playing self could enjoy that for what it is.

Steve

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Jean-Carle Hudon




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PostPosted: Fri 03 Apr, 2009 2:34 pm    Post subject: mutant ninja templar samourai eternal knights         Reply with quote

Steven,
soon you will be denying that there ever was such a thing as a mutant ninja templar samourai knight fighting two handed with roman gladii....(whoops, did I forget ''eternal''...).
The best comedy routine about the History channel is done by a british comic named Gervais.... he says something to the effect that he has been watching that channel, and Discovery, for years, so we can ask him anything about sharks and nazies....the rest of his routine borders on the politically insensitive with terrible references to the Holocaust, and is very funny.
Cheers, JC

Bon coeur et bon bras
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Sam Gordon Campbell




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PostPosted: Fri 03 Apr, 2009 7:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personaly the Hitler channel... I mean History channel, has really gone down hill. I mean the only case of people actually fighting with two swords at once to my knowledge are Korean cavalry.
Btw, I concur with most if not all of what's being said here. Rome Total War and the rest of those games have more educational value. And that bald guy who's a historian, the one that seems to put himself in harms way all the time Laughing Out Loud , that should have more shows with him.

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sun 05 Apr, 2009 4:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Roman shields were very tough, being made of plywood, and I don't recall any references to them breaking in battle. The only instance I know of in which Romans were caught without shields (ambushed during a parley), they wrapped their cloaks around their left arms to ward off blows. In a regular battle, if a Roman soldier's shield was damaged beyond use, he could simply drop back and let one of his buddies take his place. And then pick up another *shield* before going back into action.

Roman infantry combat is entirely based on the shield. It is used to body-slam the opponent, while the sword darts out in quick thrusts. Fighting with two swords requires an entirely different method, for which the ancients never trained. Not to mention the fact that going into close combat without a shield would be to invite javelins and rocks from every opponent in sight!


I agree 100% with this, though I think it should also be mentioned that I don't see a point in Roman discipline if it couldn't teach the legionaries to cover the gap caused by the retreat of a single man who lost/broke his shield. In fact, from what little experience I have in sword-and-stick formation fighting during some civil-defense riot squad training I took a few years ago, covering up this whole man-sized gap was a lot easier than covering the similarly-sized but much more vulnerable gap caused by a shieldless man in the line. So if I had been a Roman drillmaster (a centurion?) I would actually have taken pains to discourage the recruits from doing heroics like picking up a second sword in the middle of a shield-based battleline.

After all, wasn't there a repeated theme in Classical works about the sword being the weapon of one man, but the shield being the weapon of many? I believe the Romans probably subscribed the same paradigm and--like the Greeks--thought that the loss of a sword or spear was of much less consequence than the loss of a shield.

Picking up a second sword to block with would have been more believable in the context of a medieval shieldwall formed of well-armored thegns or men-at-arms. But even then I think wielding a single sword in two hands would have been a more viable choice than trying to make do with one in each hand!


Sam Gordon Campbell wrote:
I mean the only case of people actually fighting with two swords at once to my knowledge are Korean cavalry.


Hmm...I believe you're talking about the massang ssangeom techniques. Do we have any statements or evidence to the effect that the technique was actually used on a massed battlefield, however? As I see it, it might be a good choice for one-on-one or few-on-few duels of champions between the lines, but in massed cavalry combat the two-swords cavalry would likely have been massacred by the polearms, lances, and bows of other Eastern Asian (including Korean) cavalry of the time....
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Apr, 2009 5:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The title of a show airing tonight says it all about the status of the Bad History Channel - UFOs in the Bible .
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James R.Fox




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Apr, 2009 7:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sirs--As far as I have read, two-sword fighting by classical times was used by thracian mercs only. Theucydides among others mentions it.He thought very little of them from the tone of his comments
Ja68ms
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