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Semih Koyuncu




Location: Turkiye
Joined: 23 Oct 2013

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed 23 Oct, 2013 12:19 pm    Post subject: Question about the movie : The Messenger:Joan of Arc         Reply with quote

Hi all, new to this extraordinarily informative forum.

I know it is was of time to evaluate historical accuracy of a movie but in this particular matter, I am more curious about historical base for some defensive measures such as, mechanized flails, rolling stone balls through castle walls and particularly a large multi-shot catapults that projects arrows through specially designed arrows slits on castle gate. Are all those are fictional engines or is there any historical background?

I have fair knowledge about medieval siege warfare but never met information about such devices. Over net, only one site mentions it without historical reference.

Here the related part of move to judge.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UP84OI9jGS4

Thanks in advance.
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Wed 23 Oct, 2013 1:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
mechanized flails, rolling stone balls through castle walls and particularly a large multi-shot catapults


In many manuscripts dealing with 'engines' and other mechanical fun ways of dealing with buildings and people there are similar devices but I've never seen any references to any of the above. I think 'made up nonsense' is the kindest phrase i can think of at the moment.

The Messenger has many good points, they spent a lot of time getting the soft armour, clothes and other stuff very good and then went a bit nuts on other areas. That's Hollywood! Or whatever the French version of Hollywood is....
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James Arlen Gillaspie
Industry Professional



Location: upstate NY
Joined: 10 Nov 2005

Posts: 520

PostPosted: Wed 23 Oct, 2013 6:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The period of the life of Jeanne d'Arc was a special study of mine years ago, and I covered it with great thoroughness, especially the armour, but also everything related to warfare. If there was anything true to life in the film, it was only by oversight. Luc Besson couldn't get far enough from actual history to make him happy. We used to call the the film, 'Les Mess'. As one history buff I know said after seeing the film, "It stank like a house full of burning dog poop!" Or something close to that. Wink
jamesarlen.com
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Thu 24 Oct, 2013 12:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is a Military Illustrated article on the film which concentrates on some of the soft armour and the general look. I got the impression that the costume and other depts were actually trying a bit but as anyone who has worked on any media project knows the director can come along and say 'no, make it bigger than real life, put some spikes on it and paint it red!'.

Just wait for 47 Ronin.....

I was offered work in the armor dept for 'Le Mess' but standing in a wet field at 5am mending pop rivets in several hundreds harnesses for a very few $ didn't seem like my idea of fun.

And a handy hint for anyone attacking a castle...those siege ladders are on hydraulic rams so can go up and down really easily on cue and be re-set in minutes.
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Thu 24 Oct, 2013 9:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i remember the film - and felt that it was over down during the siege. during a siege you may not have even seen the crenels - they may have been covered by whats called hoardings (wooden structures that covered the top of the wall) i remember the 'murder holes' being more like a toilet drain that someone roll at 100 lb stone through. when they were much smaller holes usually that overhung the wall that you'd drop maybe a 5 lb stone through.

a very good book if your interested which covers much of the castle age is "the medieval fortress" by J.E. Kaufmann and H.W. kaufmann.
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Semih Koyuncu




Location: Turkiye
Joined: 23 Oct 2013

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Thu 24 Oct, 2013 12:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for replies. To make things more clear, I am not expecting any degree of historical accuracy from a movie. I was just curious about those machines origin. It seems those machines and measures are all fictional. The designer of those needs to be congratulated I think since those things are just fascinating, especially the castle gate catapult.

@Daniel Wallace, I will certainly take a look for it. I am more interested in weapons and engines than architecture but I am sure it will be fun to read.
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Christopher Zammit





Joined: 11 Apr 2015

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 6:09 pm    Post subject: Flails are historically inaccurate         Reply with quote

I don't know about the other weapons, but I do know that there is no historical evidence whatsoever that flails were ever actually used in medieval times. The concept of the flail is fairly modern. It's believed the idea of the flail was derived from the morning star (basically a mace with spikes and sometimes a long handle), though no one is sure exactly when or where it came about. So no, there were no mechanical flails. However, arrow slits in gates is very much a possibility, since I know for a fact castles have arrow slits around the portcullis to allow archers to fire on attackers while being protected from retribution. They're mostly called arrow slits, but they're sometimes also called arrow holes, loop holes, or balistraria.
Learn to laugh at life! If you do that, you will never be miserable.
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,260

PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 7:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Flails are historically inaccurate         Reply with quote

Christopher Zammit wrote:
I don't know about the other weapons, but I do know that there is no historical evidence whatsoever that flails were ever actually used in medieval times.
Eek!

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...mp;start=0

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4102/7266/


http://manuscriptminiatures.com/3975/11000/

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Christopher Zammit





Joined: 11 Apr 2015

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 7:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Flails are historically inaccurate         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
Christopher Zammit wrote:
I don't know about the other weapons, but I do know that there is no historical evidence whatsoever that flails were ever actually used in medieval times.
Eek!

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...mp;start=0

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4102/7266/


http://manuscriptminiatures.com/3975/11000/



Okay, so maybe my source was wrong. But, then again, just because it's in a picture doesn't mean it was actually used. Dragons, for example. I don't know, but I do know I was right about arrow slits. Almost every medieval-era castle has them.

Learn to laugh at life! If you do that, you will never be miserable.
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 8:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't know about the other weapons, but I do know that there is no historical evidence whatsoever that flails were ever actually used in medieval times. The concept of the flail is fairly modern. It's believed the idea of the flail was derived from the morning star (basically a mace with spikes and sometimes a long handle), though no one is sure exactly when or where it came about.


Actually, the flail is first and foremost an agricultural implement used for threshing grain - it has been used for thousands of years for such. As far as I'm aware it was first popularly adapted as a weapon by peasant armies such as the Hussites in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, and its effectiveness (when such things as spikes and reinforcements were added to the typically wooden heads) as an armor-piercing and entangling weapon made it become quite a regular sight in later times. Whatever authority you have read which says flails are a mysterious and modern invention is seriously in error.

Here's an entire, rather well-written Wikipedia article on the flail's historical use as a weapon:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flail_%28weapon%29

I'll note that the text says there is debate about the one-handed flail's existence during the medieval period, which may be what you are referring to. Agricultural flails and those which were used among peasant armies were two-handed implements, typically with multiple heads.

-Gregory


Last edited by Gregory J. Liebau on Sat 11 Apr, 2015 8:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Christopher Zammit





Joined: 11 Apr 2015

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 8:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Flails are historically inaccurate         Reply with quote

Christopher Zammit wrote:
Mart Shearer wrote:
Christopher Zammit wrote:
I don't know about the other weapons, but I do know that there is no historical evidence whatsoever that flails were ever actually used in medieval times.
Eek!

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...mp;start=0

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/4102/7266/


http://manuscriptminiatures.com/3975/11000/



Okay, so maybe my source was wrong. But, then again, just because it's in a picture doesn't mean it was actually used. Dragons, for example. I don't know, but I do know I was right about arrow slits. Almost every medieval-era castle has them.


Idk if it's true or not yet, but yahooanswers says the one in the first pict is a type of mace. I've found yahooanswers to be a reliable source of info.

Learn to laugh at life! If you do that, you will never be miserable.
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Sat 11 Apr, 2015 8:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Saying Yahoo Answers is a reliable source of information is like saying the film this thread is about is a reliable source of history. Anyone can say whatever they'd like in response to a question posed on Yahoo Answers and any number of people can vote up that answer for whatever reason. Absolutely unreliable! Eek!
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