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H Durmonte





Joined: 19 Sep 2010

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun 19 Sep, 2010 1:14 pm    Post subject: Poisoned weapons?         Reply with quote

I am doing some research and I wondering if anyone could help me out. Does anyone
have any accounts on the use of poison with knives, swords or any other such weapons
during the Middle ages? Any info would be much appreciated.

Thanks
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Jason Butch Collins




Location: jacksonville nc
Joined: 29 Mar 2009

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun 19 Sep, 2010 6:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World by Adrienne Mayor is a good start.
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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
Joined: 14 Jan 2010

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PostPosted: Mon 20 Sep, 2010 4:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

using trebuchet to hurl dead animals into your oponent's fortification to cause disease. There is a depiction of this in an illumination which will now bug me until I find it again.

In Hamlet, poisoned blades are used in the duel... written ~1600
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János Sibinger




Location: Hungary/France
Joined: 31 May 2009

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PostPosted: Mon 20 Sep, 2010 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greetings! Once I saw the performance of a re-enactment group, who mentioned that in the times of the Turkish wars in Hungary (ca. 1526 to 1686) in duels the judges had to lick the blades of the competitor to assure that they were not poisoned. I hope I was able to help, altough I can't tell any period source describing the process of dueling.

John
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JG Elmslie
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Location: Scotland
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Sep, 2010 2:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

János Sibinger wrote:
Greetings! Once I saw the performance of a re-enactment group, who mentioned that in the times of the Turkish wars in Hungary (ca. 1526 to 1686) in duels the judges had to lick the blades of the competitor to assure that they were not poisoned. I hope I was able to help, altough I can't tell any period source describing the process of dueling.

John


that rather sounds.... stupid.
would'nt it be more sensible to have ruled that each competitor had to lick thier own blade?

or were judges really unpopular?
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Jonathan Hill





Joined: 16 Sep 2010

Posts: 11

PostPosted: Mon 20 Sep, 2010 3:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Depending on where you are considering for your research.

China had a ‘repeating crossbow’ and reportedly the bolts were dipped in poison as the crossbow lacked penetrating power. I am no scholar so the further research is on you.

http://www.atarn.org/chinese/rept_xbow.htm
http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/index.php?/t...ge__st__15

Poison acts relatively slowly, so are you interested in assassinations or just battlefield applications?
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János Sibinger




Location: Hungary/France
Joined: 31 May 2009

Posts: 50

PostPosted: Mon 20 Sep, 2010 9:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
that rather sounds.... stupid.
would'nt it be more sensible to have ruled that each competitor had to lick thier own blade?

Indeed! Big Grin
Thats why I wrote that I can't mention any historical evidence about this process.
But a good point there! Happy

John
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Stephane Rabier




Location: Brittany
Joined: 13 Nov 2006

Posts: 104

PostPosted: Tue 21 Sep, 2010 12:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi,
maybe the goal of licking the blade was not to get poisoned (some poisons like curare are not toxic if eaten) but to taste if there was something else than oil on the metal surface Wink
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Norbert Keller




Location: Hungary
Joined: 23 Apr 2009

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Tue 21 Sep, 2010 12:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi,

another good point, Stephan! That seems logical for me...
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Malcolm A




Location: Scotland, UK
Joined: 22 Mar 2005

Posts: 89

PostPosted: Tue 21 Sep, 2010 4:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all,
I recall reading somewhere that the archers in the English armies that fought the French in the 100 Years War etc, used to stick their arrows in the ground ready for use in the coming battle.
It was suggested that, whilst not necessarily being done on purpose, that the arrowheads would / could be contaminated by whatever was in the soil, leading to infected wounds.
I would surmise that if the ground had been used for animal grazing then faecal matter could have been introduced to any arrow wound. With medical care being limited in those days [especially scarce to those of the lower orders?] then injured soldiers could succub to "poisoning".
Food for thought...

Cheers,
M

It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself
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H Durmonte





Joined: 19 Sep 2010

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue 21 Sep, 2010 11:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all very much for for the info. Happy
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Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
Joined: 16 Nov 2008

Posts: 678

PostPosted: Tue 21 Sep, 2010 10:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With regards to judges licking the blades, I think it may have been more of a way to discourage xheating then to actualy catch a cheater. After all, if you're already in a judical duel and then your weapon goes and posions the judge, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't look kindly on it.
Oh, and poision wise on weapons, I know in the Amazon they use the venom from a frog. And if you're patient just use lead and mercury! Laughing Out Loud
But yeah, I'd be more concerned about dying of an infection from a stubbed toe then being intentionaly poisoned.

Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Sep, 2010 11:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is a reference from some crossbow book and I am pretty sure it is Payne Gallweys one, that says the Spanish used to poison their bolts for hunting with a boiled concoction of either deadly nightshade or henbane ( I forget) but that whatever the plant is, it is called 'the crossbowmans herb' in spanish.

The claim was that when struck, a beast would drop in 20-30 paces, so pretty potent stuff.


Tod

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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Sep, 2010 2:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I remember watching a show once called mind, body and kickass moves, which was about various martial arts from around the world, and when the host went to the Phillopeans (sp?) he saw a bladesmith who use poisonous spiders to poison his blades. He did this by placing the spiders on the blade and heating it over a fire. I have always wondered about this as it seems to me that any poisonous coating given to a blade would just wear or wash off. Does anybody know if this treatment of a blade could bestow any long-term poison, or do you think that it would have to be re-applied on a regular basis?
Éirinn go Brách
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