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Eric Meulemans
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Location: Southern Wisconsin
Joined: 30 Nov 2003
Reading list: 18 books

Posts: 163

PostPosted: Tue 20 Sep, 2005 7:07 am    Post subject: Thesis Topics         Reply with quote

Greetings,

It is time for me to begin selection of a topic for my Masters thesis in History, and so I turn now to any and all here who might have undying questions they want answered through (I hope) competent and insightful research which hasn't yet been done and which you, in your right mind, probably don't want to do yourself.

To narrow things down a bit, I am of course interested in working on something arms and/or armour related, during the Medieval European period, although the Classical era is fair game also. I am also considering the notion of "Slaughter as Sport" and the tradition of simulated combat, which we, as WMA enthusiasts, continue today. I am particularly keen on involving some sort of experimental component (i.e. test cutting/projectile penetration/etc.), but this would need to be tied into a event/cultural/social aspect somehow. For example, Army X lost Battle Y because Army Z's rayguns outranged their opponents weapons... then I get to prove/disprove it.

In any case, I am not looking to "cheat" here and get someone else to come up with my topic, but hopefully to generate some ideas which might guide me in the right direction or foster some sort of revelation. Besides, what good is dissemination of research if no-one wants to read it? Happy

-Eric
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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
Joined: 19 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

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Posts: 1,576

PostPosted: Tue 20 Sep, 2005 7:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How about "Judicial Duels in 15th century Europe"
You get to use all the neat Talhoffer stuff Wink

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Gordon Clark




Location: Purcellville, VA
Joined: 28 Aug 2003
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 501

PostPosted: Tue 20 Sep, 2005 7:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have always been interested in the idea that armor and weapon development sort of "dovetailed" throughout history, with "advances" in armor being driven by changes in weapons used and vice versa. Examples include the way swords changed over the period of (say) 1200 - 1500 compared with the way armor changed. Throw in polearms, bows and crossbows and mace/hammer type weapons, and you get an interesting set of interrelated developments.

I'm not sure what has been done as far as "scholarly research" on this topic. I think that most of us believe that there are specific instances of effects, perhaps an example might be more plate armor "forcing" a move to stiffer swords during the 14th century, but I wonder if such things are really true, or if other factors were really more important.

Gordon
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Eric Meulemans
Industry Professional



Location: Southern Wisconsin
Joined: 30 Nov 2003
Reading list: 18 books

Posts: 163

PostPosted: Tue 20 Sep, 2005 2:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interestingly, the ARMA just posted a new article to their website titled Talhoffer and Causes for Fighting which discusses judicial combat: http://www.thearma.org/essays/Causes.htm

The "arms race" throughout history is something that has fascinated me as well, and there are considerable resources available for those wishing to study them (or use for research on a thesis). The key is trying to narrow something like that down into a specific statement which can be examined in the space of 30-50 pages.

-Eric
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