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Author Topic: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!  (Read 5529 times)

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Offline TolvoTopic starter

History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« on: December 02, 2018, 06:59:18 PM »
Hello there! I love to study and research history! I figured it might be nice to have a thread for people to discuss things, shares sources, discussions, and interpretations and understandings.

I'd like to focus on periods before Contemporary History, or basically before the Cold War. I wish to avoid getting too much into that period and current times since that would likely involved a lot of different strictly political interpretations of events and talking points. If people want to talk about that in another thread though that's totally fine.

History and politics are deeply linked, it's hard to talk history without understanding the politics of the time. But I'd like to focus more on the historical politics, if we get more into contemporary politics that'd be better in its own thread in the PROC section or taken to PM's. Some things may come up regarding specific instances in history or when talking about elements of history relating to politics, just try to be considerate and understanding and if gets heated to not argue in anger in the thread or to take it to PM's or an appropriate thread if it does veer into politics of today.

This is a lot of time to cover! If people want more specific threads for their interests, I'd support it! I like to study broadly but I myself focus on Medieval Europe, and 1500's Japan. I know about a lot of things broadly but those are the ones I know the most about and have the most focus on, people are going to have a lot of different focus areas and different levels of knowledge on subjects, and that's ok! I'd like people to talk with each other, ask questions, discuss, learn, and share resources. Try to keep in mind how accurate some sources are, youtube videos can be great for simple explanations but without cited sources or when coming from someone without credibility or an academic background take them with a grain of salt. Some you can find more easily on sites, like Talhoffer I believe you can just google.

It might even help people who do want more accuracy in their writing. I do like levels of accuracy(Usually people have varying levels of what's the right amount for them).

I actually used to have sites saved with a lot of good sources on Medieval artwork and what they depict and how they can show when people may have started wearing/using things commonly in that time, as well as dissecting those that actually do misrepresent history. But that was on my old laptop, if I can find them though I'll share them again.

For me a special interest is armor, I love to study Plate Armor.

I used to create GIFs based on videos of people testing armor and weaponry. I might get back into that since this album is old and some things in it are unrelated(Like the reenactors doing battles). But it can be really handy for getting an idea for movement and durability.

Some of the Source Videos. Dressing in armor in particular I find to be the most important. Others can be hard to find again.

I found some of my old sources to help with searching things. I posted them in World Building but I'll share them here too. The world building resources format actually works really well as summaries for them too so I'll just cross-post them.

I study history pretty extensively. I focus a lot on combat, armor, weaponry, and warfare. A big focus of mine is the Medieval periods so here are some useful resources for world building(Or if you just want to learn about Medieval history). I want to mention the focus is on historical sources, but be wary to always check the dates on things and what they are, as well as the accuracy of them. It's possible to find something drawn in the 13th century about 13th century armor made by someone who was doing a fantastical imagining or who had never seen the armor or battles first hand. Just double check often and compare sources, make sure things are contemporary, and beware of things that are possibly flat out lies(Talhoffer is a great resources but some of the machinery has no details on how to build it, material used, and aren't referenced in other materials).

Type of Resource: A database of manuscript miniatures from before 1450.
Brief Description: This is very useful for finding artwork from Medieval times. It contains multitudes, it is not all strictly realistic historical portrayals and features fictional work as well. If you can try to look up the authors mentioned in them and the validity of pieces you wish to base things on.

Type of Resource: A database of effigies and tombs focusing on Medieval periods between the 12th and 15th centuries.
Brief Description: This is a collection of what are graves/tombs/effigies of people. Mostly they'll be important figures and nobility. Often the effigies are based upon the armor they wore at their death, or what was common at their death or when it was made, not necessarily based upon what the owner wore in life.

Type of Resource: A digital library with historical sources and examples from the 1300's through to the 1800's of British history.
Brief Description: A large library with tons of pieces that can be searched for and examined with a focus on the history of the British Isles.

Type of Resource: A museum site with collections of artwork and pieces from history.
Brief Description: A large collection of various pieces of art and objects from history. Search functions are very handy, and there are tags to search. Each piece has descriptions of what it is with images close up that you might have difficulty finding elsewhere. This example is a Frog-Mouth helm for jousting. Pay attention to dates, locations their from, and who the authors are and the descriptions.

Type of Resource: Website on Medieval and Renaissance combat with historical sources.
Brief Description: A sort of community and resources site for Medieval and Renaissance combat. There are lots of fight books, manuscripts, pages on terminology, it's useful to look around. You can often find PDF's of historical manuals with explanations and translations. The work of Talhoffer for instance are on there in PDF form.

Type of Resource: GIF's of people in Medieval armor moving and fighting.
Brief Description: This is something I've made with links to the videos I create them from. It is an album of people in plate armor showing off mobility and effectiveness of it. This can help with giving ideas of the use of armor and mobility and speed when world building or writing stories. Might be more useful for writing scenes rather than world building though. If this one isn't as useful I can remove it. An example below of a GIF from it. Here is a historian in reproduction late Medieval harness running in a forest.
Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
« Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 12:20:32 PM by Tolvo »

Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2018, 10:41:50 AM »
I realized I could also share some youtubers that are good with talking about historical matters. I posted some in another thread. Some of my favorites are Scholagladiatoria(Matt Easton). He focuses a lot on European History, especially Medieval, and especially in England. He teaches historical fencing(Very different from modern fencing) and has studied bladed weapons extensively as well as history.

Above is a video of his on the Wallace Collection with Tobias Capwell and a look at the history of the Battle of Agincourt(One of my favorite historical battles, only beaten by a few like Okehazama).

Another of my favorites is Knyght Errant, he focuses heavily on armor.

Here is talking Late Medieval Gothic Gauntlets. He is very extensive on armor and has individual videos on each individual piece of a full suit/kit of plate armor, what they are, what they do, and their history, as well as showing modern reproductions and images of examples in museums and collections.

This channel doesn't upload anymore, but has some videos showcasing an instructor teaching people how to fight in plate armor.

Now when posting things like this as always I like to mention do keep in mind these are people explaining historical sources, giving their opinions, and talking about things based on their own education and research. They're still youtube videos, often they do say their sources and if they can link to them, but don't simply accept something as a fact because someone in a youtube video said it. You can often do research yourself further based on what they talk about in the videos.

Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2018, 12:58:23 PM »
Updated the OP with a bunch of resources and things as well.

So something brought on by the talk of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and historical accuracy. I started talking with others off site about a thing to keep in mind that a lot of people don't understand and it causes them to make mistakes about aspects of history and especially concepts like crossovers or taking inspirations for media/fictional works.

So Medieval as a period is actually very broad. The Medieval Period, or Middle Ages, is considered to be from the 5th century(400's) to the 15th century(1400's). That is one thousand years in length. That includes the fall of the Western Roman Empire(There were many, what people think of as Rome was the Western Roman Empire), the Norse Invasions, and the Hundred Year War. One hundred years means a great deal in regards to culture, government, warfare, technology, demographics, religion, beliefs, so many things.

So for example, here is a Medieval Soldier. a Late Western Roman Empire Soldier(400's/5th Century).

Here is a Norse Viker, based on 9th century/800's armor and attire.

Then here is Milanese Plate Amor for a Knight/Man-at-Arms, from the 15th century(400's).

These are people of wildly different cultures and times, who never actually met(the Norse, Vikings, were mostly gone by the time of fully developed plate armor). The Western Romans were gone hundreds of years before the Norse, the Norse were basically gone by the 1100's(12th century).

It often comes up when people want to do crossovers and things. For Honor is a great example or Deadliest Warrior. "Who would win, a Norse Warrior or a Milanese Man-at-Arms?" The answer is honestly easy, the person with way better equipment in most scenarios who can almost not be killed. It is like asking "Who would win, a guy with a musket, or a guy with a machine gun and a bullet proof vest and helmet?" Yes, the person with the musket can be very trained, they can get lucky, but it is such an unfair fight with such vastly different levels of technology that it is ridiculous. During the 1400's guns and cannons existed and were regular in warfare.

Outside of a gun or a lance on horseback, nothing is piercing that Milanese plate armor. There is mail at the joints making slashing impossible, so only enough blunt force or stabbing at joints(Which are covered by plate and only accessible if the wearer does something like lift their arms overhead) can lead to death, or removing their armor. People in full plate armor can be run over by horses and get up fine, even with a mace or warhammer it can take a long time to wear down and actually deal a killing blow. But for the Norse Warrior, it takes a blow to an exposed part of the face(They did have cheek armor at that time though not all helmets had it, but even then not full protection), or a thrust anywhere, or blunt strikes anywhere(He does have an aketon/gambeson which helps but doesn't stop against blunt attacks), to kill him. He would be wearing mail actually so slashing wouldn't really work ,but it takes much less effort and skill to kill him due to the gear he has because of the technology available to him at the time and how easy it is to acquire.

It's an unfair match frankly, it's not that Late-Medieval soldiers are better than everyone else(Though they did have access to some of the best training and experience in the world at the time), they literally have technology and gear so much more advanced it stacks things so much in their favor when people think of crossover fights. They can be fun entertainment, I quite like For Honor and have written works using such concepts. But it can also be good to keep in mind the actual history.

Another thing to remember too, is context and why things develop and how they do. People like to ask who would win, Samurai or Knight, in a duel. The answer is the Knight(Depending on the period). If a 1400's Knight went up against a 1400's Samurai, it would be very unfair because Samurai weren't dealing with full plate armor like that, so they had little to do against it other than certain weapons like the Kanabo which wasn't specialized for this. Japanese armor was made with inferior metals due to the ore available, and was designed mostly against arrows and slashing(The main things they dealt with). Knights of the 1400's however had armor that covered almost all bases(Except against guns). Because that was what they dealt with in warfare. They developed different technology for different reasons because different things were required. Not because one society was inferior or less developed, but because they had different demands. This was also before concepts like guerrilla warfare were common(Musashi's tactics for dueling in Japan were over a hundred years later).

100 years can make a massive difference, living in different regions with different needs and different resources can make a massive difference. 

If people want though I can go further into some things like Plate Armor and a lot of misconceptions about it. Like the concepts that it was heavy, that it limited mobility, or had massive flaws(It had some like balance, ventilation, visibility, hearing). But to keep in mind, here is some in full late Medieval Plate Armor showing off some mobility.

« Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 01:01:59 PM by Tolvo »

Offline Hob

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2018, 09:13:13 PM »
Thought you might be interested in this. It's been touted as a great example of how historic Western martial arts can be just as exciting as the stage combat one normally sees in movies and on TV.

Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2019, 06:41:09 AM »
That is a pretty good duel. The choreography is done well, and the flairs aren't things that are impossible, perhaps not the wisest of moves(Throwing your opponent's weapon back to them for a greater challenge) but are still things that people could do based on their personalities. The stances and movements I've seen in historical treatises. It is very Renaissance style. The one thing they did get wrong though is the very start of the fight, it's a sound error. I'm not sure if it is due to the construction of the scabbard they used or if they added the sound in after, but the metal scraping is from a much later scabbard design. Scabbards in the Medieval eras were mostly cloths, leather, and wood. Renaissance ones had those, but were often purely leather. So they wouldn't make that loud metal unsheathing noise. This is a common error throughout media that people believe came about because for filming a lot of sound effects for movies early on they recorded people unsheathing 19th century and modern replica swords and based the sound on what they heard from contemporary swords. Though I'm not sure if there is anything concrete on the development of those sound effects and if they're actually based on anything or purely just imagination. 19th century and beyond scabbards were purely metal, so they are louder and make a metal sound like that. Matt Easton has a video on it and unsheaths various swords he has.

Offline Flower

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2019, 09:35:53 AM »
I hope it's okay if I tag this thread for updates. I struggle with writing historical pieces and this would be helpful. :) If it's not cool, just let me know and I can delete it. No probs.  ;D

Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2019, 10:11:42 AM »
It's perfectly fine! I welcome everyone, whether they have things to share, corrections to my sources or notes, questions, I love questions and even requests for finding out more information on things. As well as things from various other periods(I focus Medieval Europe and Sengoku Jidai but anyone can talk about anything they want, and I still know a lot of broad history so I can join in to a degree).

Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2019, 10:26:28 PM »

So helmets. A thing that is a minor detail but important in certain stories and media depictions is how people take off helmets. In text it's not really a problem. "Took of their helmet" isn't very descriptive but isn't wrong unless it says "In on swift motion" or something of that nature. A lot of helmets in history and modern ones you can take off like a hat. But certain ones you absolutely cannot. Many of them are multiple pieces actually fastened/fixed to each other. The above image is to show the Samurai Kabuto from For Honor, this game has this problem where characters hold the Samurai helmet in their hands, the problem is the face maks is an entirely different part called a Mengu/Menpo/Men-yoroi.

This is actually affixed to your head through rope/string. It is a mask, independent from the helmet. If you lift a Kabuto off your head, the mask will stay in place. You can also take off the mask without removing the helmet.

Late Medieval helmets are an entirely different beast. They are made of many different small pieces of metal that are held together with rivets, nails, screws, and straps. A simple Barbute you can lift off your head. A Barbute with neck armor(Falling Buffe, Gorget, etc) complicates things more.

This example features a Wrapper, a piece of face armor that tightly fits at the cheeks and adds an extra layer to the armor. It is affixed with straps to the screw at the back of the helmet. Something you may notice is a problem as well, is that the helmet is a tight fit, armor needs to be. Which means at the throat, it gets thin and since it is metal and not elastic, you can't just lift it up off your head.

Further complications come when the throat armor can be affixed to the torso. This is a hounskull bascinet with throat armor that is designed to cover the torso as well. When wearing this you can't just lift it off easily. A bascinet normally can be lifted, but this extra piece makes doing so much harder.

In general things need to be undone, it is why getting in and out of armor takes time and can even call for assistance. While armor was certainly a boon, it was why ambushes were especially harsh on heavily armor groups. Because they can't just throw on their full harness in ten seconds, usually they have to settle for a breastplate and a simple helmet, if they can even manage to get to and put on the armor in time.

Some helmets are very capable of being taken off like a hat though. Great Helms, the typical image of a Crusader, is a single piece. You actually can wear it over other helmets(Often it was worn during the charge then taken off for greater breathing and visibility).

Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2019, 02:55:37 AM »
Defeating Late Medieval Steel Plate Armor

The Problem

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

Oh no, you've found yourself locked in a duel with an opponent wearing late Medieval plate armor. At first it seemed easy, but it seems you can't hurt them with your sword. No matter what you try each cut just does nothing.

No matter how hard the plate armor is hit the blade just bounces off like it is nothing. It's rather frustrating. There's got to be a better way.

And now the asshole is rolling around because apparently people can actually do that in armor. This is humiliating.


Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

Striking weapons, blunt weapons, spiked weapons, are the way to go with fighting against plate armor. Pole-Weapons are the general preference especially those ending in hammers and spikes. Now a problem still exists, hitting the right area. Striking plate armor still does mostly nothing unless someone have superhuman strength. This is because of how late Medieval plate armor is designed. It redirects the force of attacks and has lining and padding beneath it. Outside of a horseback charge or a gunpowder weapon there won't be enough force to damage the armor. It is important to note this is negated if the wearer is up against something such as a wall or the ground. If they are against something strikes will go directly into them as the force can't be dissipated from the blows. As well technically swords can hit with strikes, and I don't mean the flat of the blade. There are two means. One is with the percussive center of the blade, this is where it has the most kinetic energy. It is different for every sword, for thinner blades it is usually under the tip and for top heavy blades that function like axes it is at the tip. Each sword is different.

The better option than hitting with the blade however is half-swording, this is where one grabs a sword by the blade and uses the pommel and guard as a hammer. Straight swords are best for this. And yes it is possible to do this bare handed, many people in history and today have done it. It requires learning how to grip the blade so essentially the person is tightly holding the flat and the actual blade doesn't shift into the palm or fingers. When doing this the pommel and guard are effectively a hammer. But you still need to hit the right spot, that is the helm. While late Medieval plate armor redirects energy generally it cannot do so for overhead blows to the head. Though it should be mentioned these are not lethal blows, but will batter and disorient the wearer making them more vulnerable to further attacks.

Example here of a devastating overhead blow from Battle of Nations.


Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

Thrusting generally does not work on plate armor, or rather, the plates. A thrust will still bounce off like a cutting blow on late Medieval armor. Even the longbow cannot make a lethal blow through the plates(They can technically penetrate but won't draw blood). There are some weaknesses. A difficult one is the face, it is possible with very thin blades(Stiletto for example) to thrust through visors. The vents are far too small and circular for this to be possible unless it is more of a needle. Visors are still really hard to sneak a blade into, especially mid combat. Half-swording is recommended for precision with a blade. But even then it is incredibly hard, and most blades won't fit through(Most arrows won't either the slits of the visor are simply too thin).

The armpits are a great area for thrusting attacks when available. This is a region where mail armor is the most common protection, either from a mail shirt beneath or an arming doublet sewn in at the armpits. Plate armor needs this area to be less protected to allow arm mobility which is vital in combat, but that makes this area weaker. There are forms of circular plates that can go here(Besagew) which can provide extra protection though they limit the arms a bit and can still be circumvented. However it should be noted normally this region is easy to defend and will not be exposed if the wearer has their arms down. It is why raising arms for overhead blows is such a risk is it exposes this region which has vital arteries.

Example of pressuring the armpit with the blade tip(I apologize no historians have uploaded footage of them stabbing each other to death for some reason so I have no examples of that)


Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

So a thing about plate armor is it is heavy overall but weighs on each individual body part, thus making it lighter feeling than a backpack full of books. Modern soldiers carry gear that is heavier feeling than late Medieval plate armor. Late Medieval plate armor rests mainly on each body part and is strapped and riveted and screwed together to overlap. This creates a layered defense. The cuirass commonly rests not on the shoulders, but the hips. Mail armor is heavier on the shoulders while late Medieval cuirass is heavy on the hips, wider hips actually can be helpful for this type of armor. It's important to have this be the center of gravity because of how one pivots, leans, and moves. Because of this you aren't supposed to lean too far forwards or back in plate armor because you can be knocked off balance. Slightly tilted forwards is the standard stance.

Because of this grappling is incredibly effective against armor, even if you aren't wearing any. A lot of people in armor have their center of balance in their chest, so they can be grappled and thrown. You want to get leveraged and shift them, those who know Judo would understand you want to throw their torso in one direction and their legs and lower half in the other. It can send someone flat on the ground, though one in plate armor can get up very easily from a laying position.

Example of grapple and throw.

Ground Fighting

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

While someone in plate armor can get up, if you sit on them they will become pinned. This was the perfect way to kill someone, and ground fighting was extremely common. Usually this is done with daggers. Ground fighting was messy but if one sat on top of the torso of their opponent it was mostly over. In this position they can defend themself with a knife so one would need to be wary still. While sitting atop someone all of the weak points were reachable, including a lesser known and unfortunate one. The groin, underneath it, was not well armored and usually had only mail because other plates normally protected it. As such one can stab someone in the genitals to death and many met their end this way.

Example of sitting upon and positioning dagger.

Honorable Mentions

Peeling back the armor

Something that did exist, but many misunderstand what it means. One can peel back specific pieces of armor of certain types but not all, similar to lifting up parts of the armor. A problem however is this, if someone is using their pole-arm(The most common weapon type that can do this) how are they holding another weapon? The pole will require both hands to peel back the armor, so unless someone has a third arm with a dagger they can't capitalize. This is because it required teamwork and multiple people doing so. If armor is peeled back after it is let go it will return to full functionality.

Cut the straps

In theory a good idea, the problem is this is incredibly hard to do. Medieval straps were made of well crafted leather and in late Medieval armor was often tucked beneath the plates, as well it would require someone to be behind their opponent and get a very lucky cut, as they were small and easy to miss. And many straps would need to be cut to loosen things enough to make the armor vulnerable. As well a lot of late Medieval armor features rivets, screws, and more, so there is nothing to cut.

Just cut through it

A weird one, but there is art from the period of people cutting through helms. It is not fully understood, and can be due to the artist just not understanding what they were seeing, embellishing(Very common), depicting things they didn't first hand see(Very common), or someone getting an incredible strike on an iron helmet(It was more possible to do to old iron helmets, and many inherited armor which could be old, damaged, and made of materials with designs from earlier periods).

Just hit them when they open their visor

It sounds like a stupid thing, who would open their visor in combat? Well turns out, a lot of people. After the charge it was not uncommon to lift the visor. Unless you were worried about thrusts to the face or arrows/quarrels the visor wasn't as necessary of protection. And plate armor could get hot and limit breathing. Vents exist on the face to help with breathing but raising the visor or lowering the face guard were common ways to avail this. As such if the wearer isn't careful they could get a thrust to the face and die horrible. Famously Henry V when he was 16 years old while watching a battle at close range lifted his visor to get a better view(You can't hear or see well when fully covered in steel), and was hit in the face just below the eye with an arrow. His surgeon John Bradmore invented a new tool involving tongues and a screw for extracting arrows from the face and saved his life.

Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2019, 02:45:53 AM »
Slight PSA

It might not come up much, but it's something on my mind as I've been collecting images for aiding with an RP. Be wary when using historical images, if you can check the date the event depicted happened and the birth date of those people in it.

Often military leaders were over 18 when they led battles(Underage leaders typically weren't seen as having enough experience to lead), however many people who fought in history were underage. E has a rule about no underage images period even in a non-sexual context, so it's something I thought I'd mention for people to be wary of. Joan of Arc is a commonly used figure for artwork but be wary of the battle or event depicted. By her trial and death she was 19. But she started leading and fighting at age 17. Ashikaga Yoshiteru was a skilled warrior and Shogun considered to be a master swordsman who had a fascinating last stand, but art of him in early training stages after becoming Shogun would be when he's 11-12. Michael Asen II of Bulgaria has been one I've seen in art as a warrior fighting, even though when he was in battle he was about 8 years old. Wladyslaw III was put on the throne at 10, and led in battle at 17. Alexander the Great started his military career at 17, and if the art shows him and Aristotle together he is 13-16 years old or so.

 Sometimes artistic styles can also make it confusing, especially when Medieval and Renaissance artists give people rosy cheeks and youthful features when sometimes the person being depicted is a 60 year old but they want people to think highly of them.

Those who fought in battles could be young, even around the age of 10 depending on the period. Their views of who needed to be protected was very different in certain places and times as well as who was of age to fight in battle for a ruler or land.

A good thing to look for is facial hair or if you see any recognizable names to look up. It's impossible to tell for fully armored people. Modern artist renditions tend to depict everyone involved as adults so it can be preferable, as the artists are basing it on how they imagine war and they usually imagine it as a thing for adult men only(Both adult only and men only is historically false). Facial hair even was something they'd look for on turned in heads for rewards in certain cultures(In Japan they wanted to make sure the head was a seasoned warrior and was recognizable as a specific person and not a head they're just told is an important enemy, and for cases where they bring only noses they'd require a mustache and upper lip to prove they hadn't killed a child or woman to turn in).

Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2019, 06:49:31 AM »
Women Warriors in History

So this is something there is a lot of misunderstanding about, many people assume a lot of things and a problem is that a lot of sources simply don't delve into the subject or are interpreted by others to be untrue because of assumptions based on gender as well as assumptions about remains of humans.

Many people say that in history women warriors were uncommon, this is a false statement. But that doesn't mean women warriors were always common in every period of history in every region in every culture. It fluctuates a lot, 1300's-1600's Japan had a good deal of women warriors and even a female Warlord(Tachibana Ginchiyo). Now how prevalent they were and how true all of their stories are can be debated, but many did exist in history during that time period. Ancient Persia for instance had many more powerful women and female warriors than a lot of other regions at the time, such as Pantea Arteshbod. Though as always be careful, I'm seeing a lot of lists of Persian warrior queens on sites but I have yet to see any with sources, as usual be wary of things that can't be verified by you. But this doesn't always equate to every time period, during the Medieval period there were women soldiers and mercenaries, but noble women warriors were not quite as common and it was discouraged. During peasant uprisings(Which usually went really poorly) women would be more likely to fight because if they don't they're probably dead and everyone they love is dead. And certain stories are not totally solid in regards to whether they are true. Onorata Rodiani is considered a famous Condottierri but we don't have definitive evidence that she existed, or that her history is completely in line with the stories of her.

Now there have been incidents like the above, where previously assumed male warriors turned out through DNA testing to likely be female. Now skeletal DNA testing is not a perfect science and it has changed a lot in the late 1900's when scientists and historians retested a lot of skeletons to find they were rather inconclusive and that many before them simply just assumed most were male. And trans and intersex people throw in additional wrenches since they've existed throughout history and while about 1-2% of the population can still mess up these tests. (This is by a person who researches human bones and analyzes them and studies the history of studying bones)

As well someone being buried with weapons and armor in the first place does not always mean they are were a warrior in life. Shield-Maidens did exist but at times its unclear if certain sources are referencing actual women warriors or Valkyrie in stories. And many are not first hand accounts, frankly a lot of what we know about Vikings is based on questionable sources, many of which were written by people who hated the Norsemen and wanted to paint them as evil. We have Muslim examples that might be more correct, but even they can be suspect and outside of what we can find remains and artifacts of its hard to tell at times what was really true about the Norse, much of their culture and history was lost as they didn't record all of it themselves and the rise of Christianity and its destruction of their culture destroyed a lot of what we could know. When sources from very different people agree on something happening or agree on certain stories they're considered more credible because it is less likely that people with completely different world views would agree on a lie, though it's not impossible.

We do have Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks for example which features Shield-Maidens. But it was written hundreds of years after the events it depicts and contains mythical elements and information considered false. But a lot of sources like these are really all we have for the Norse. We know what armor they wore because the armor survived their owners. But the history of their people really didn't.

Fu Hao of the Shang Dynasty, various Egyptian Queens, Yuenü of Wu, Ng Mui(Possibly existed possibly didn't, alleged origin of Wing Chun, the Martial Arts style of Ip Man and Bruce Lee), Chilonis of Sparta(And the other women who joined the Spartans in battle), Arachidamia of Sparta(Unclear if she directly killed others in battle but her and others were in battle on the front lines doing labor and transporting weapons), Boudica, Gwenllian Ferch Gruffydd, Tomoe Gozen(Famous female Japanese warrior, an Onna-bugeisha which is a female Samurai), are some examples.

There have been many women warriors and powerful women in history, though they aren't as well recorded as the men are(Which many things may factor into this, the validity of the stories, men erasing the history of important women, cultures consuming others, stories being forgotten, them being unremarkable in that they were women, translation errors, etc). Certain ones though we have more founding for, such as the Scythian Women Warriors who may have been what inspired the concept of the Amazons.

Though I wish for a lot of these there were easy to link public sources, there are articles discussing these matters and certain figures but shareable information is not always easy to come by on this subject. And a lot of articles are well, they're news articles discussing these things not actually the sources themselves. But I hope that people who are savvy can understand how to find them based on me giving explicit names and context, I don't want to just say things without any backing or way to verify what I say, I try to practice what I preach about others. Like I can mention the book Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women: Antiquity Through Sui, 1600 B.C.E - 618 C.E. But a lot are analysis and books writing about the sources which people often don't have access to itself. A few books on the histories of Wales covers Gwenllian Ferch Gruffydd for example but it'd require access to the books.

Are three easy to find public ones on this but again, it's hard to legally share sources on these things.

But in short, did women fight in history? Yes, up to current day included(And since the cut off here is World War 2, the French Resistance had women in it). Were they extremely common? No. Were they always uncommon? No. It depends on when and where we are talking, as each group and period had different views. Can women be warriors? Yes. Is a woman warrior existing in a historical piece of fiction unrealistic? No, but how common they'd be and whether they'd be accepted depends on where and when. In Mikawa in Japan in 1570 a female warrior noble would not be out of place. In the army of Queen Victoria's a female soldier would be uncommon(Though despite the outrage it caused depicting a black Victorian soldier in Dr Who, which took place during a time travelling space battle against aliens, Jimmy Durham was a black Victorian soldier in the Victorian army. So exceptions do exist in certain circumstances. Yasuke was a black African samurai who served Oda Nobunaga. Joan of Arc is the gender example of this).

As well many women have simply disguised as men and fought in battles throughout history.

And many actually were simply allowed to fight such as during World War 2, especially among the Soviets(US women rarely had combat roles).

Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2019, 11:00:29 PM »
Armor Materials and Hidden Layers/Defenses

So a bit of a short one. This is about armor materials and some misunderstandings about materials, why they're important, and what things are actually made of.

Now here is an example, this is some fantasy concept art of a character wearing armor. What type of armor is he wearing? The answer is that it is unclear. There are things these could be, we can see cloth and leather armor. So he'd be very lightly armor, padded cloth and hardened leather can help in ways. But would a sword thrust be prevented by what we can see? What we can see would not stop a sword thrust, but it doesn't mean a sword thrust would not be stopped by his armor.

The thing about armor is you may not be able to see the important parts, and that can be intentional. For instance brigandines are a form of shirt or coat with metal armor either sewn into it or riveted to it(And there are some other means of attachment). Even the type of metal within may be different types, like steel or iron which will have different levels of production and ease of creation and different costs. The first picture may be just cloth and leather, it may also contain mail armor, there may be plate armor in it. This is also where studded armor in fantasy art likely comes from, studs would not provide protection unless something hit specifically that stud in that single moment, which is not very efficient or practical. What people are seeing is the rivets holding the metal armor inside of the cloth and/or leather pieces.

Here is some artwork made of Byzantine cavalry with Lamellar Armor, many associate this armor with just the Mongols but various groups used this type of armor. It is hard to spot in historical artwork since many artists depict things differently, at times they do not distinguish between mail, scale, or lamellar, because they can't tell the difference or draw a difference in a meaningful way. Lamellar is not just leather armor, it can be. What it is though is small plates all linked together typically on the outside, it is similar in level of protection to a brigandine but creates flat patches of small plates which will cause differences, and is more likely to have gaps. And depending on the material will still have different levels of protection. Leather plates, iron plates, steel plates, all have different levels of protection(And for earlier periods things like bronze). And just saying "It's lamellar" doesn't say what kind of lamellar and what it is actually made out of. If a source mentions someone with lamellar was uninjured by arrow fire, it does not mean leather lamellar will protect from that unless it specifies that it was only leather and nothing else, and even cases where something does not pierce something or break something does not mean it is impossible but that in this instance it didn't. There are a lot of historical sources and records of battles where people in full late Medieval plate armor made of steel were bombarded with arrow volleys from longbows such as at Agincourt(1415) without being injured at all, which since there is no exposed mail in those cases and the vents and slits of the visors are too thin and protected for arrows to even enter, makes sense. Though people were afraid of that happening because they weren't sure if it was possible, but most arrows in battle fall from above in volleys or are loosed(technically arrows aren't fired and that term was only used later and for guns) at closer ranges directly at an enemy. The worry was during charges head on arrows would kill them, but they didn't. It did slaughter basically all of their horses though. But can a longbow defeat this armor? Well if they lift their arms, and are show from the side or a really lucky front shot yes that can kill through the mail(Steel plate can be pierced by close range dead on longbow loosed arrows but likely won't even draw blood). But more importantly it can kill all of the less armored soldiers and can kill all of the horses(Which are less armored than the riders) and severely limit mobility and in the case of Agincourt make mounts of blood, mud, and corpses, and disorient everyone and separate them and remove their cavalry capabilities.

Here is some late 1400's English armor in modern art. Now from this period it will be steel, but plate armor was not a Medieval only thing. Plate armor has existed for a long time, steel plate armor is different from broadly saying plate armor. Bronze, iron, and leather, have commonly been used for plate armor. In various regions there have been many different forms of plate armor made with different materials, but they have different levels of protection. the reason in early Medieval history people switched to mail is not that mail is inherently better than Laminar or plate armor, it is that they were making iron and steel mail. Which provided better protection than the available forms of armor in most contexts and was easier to produce and maintain(Mail armor is really easy to keep clean and battle ready and to transport). As well blunt trauma was something Medieval medicine understood pretty well but they did not have good means of countering bleeding and cuts so that was the most important thing to deal with, though helmets stayed in use and exist in basically every period since blunt trauma to the head is common in every period. As time went on they figured out ways to make iron and steel plate that was better, how to layer the armor, how to anchor it to the body, how to make it weigh less, how to make it harder and harder to counter. When those methods are figured out we see a huge advancement and expansion in the use of plate armor. And beneath the steel plates were linings and padded cloth to give added protection against blunt force and anything that might circumvent the armor(much of these linings though have decayed unlike the metal) and mail was commonly worn underneath plate, especially at the joints(Armpits, elbows).

Online Sain

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2019, 02:35:31 AM »
Love to watch some videos related to this, but I might wanna take a deeper read. Hope it's fine to tag this thread to receive updates :-)

Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2019, 03:06:38 AM »
It's perfectly fine to tag this thread to receive updates. ^_^

There are videos, but I try to be wary with them and share ones by historians(Not always easy to find on youtube) or ones by well versed enthusiasts who cite their sources and don't have clear biases(Also very rare).

Knyght Errant has basically covered all Medieval European armor that is common knowledge and more specific pieces, and not just entire harnesses but getting down to the very smallest parts and how they are even put together, worn, function, etc, for instance in this one he discusses how the straps and hinges even work on a piece of armor and shows off how they function. You can just go through all of his videos it's quite extensive(Though he hasn't uploaded in a while). And Scholagladiatoria as well has a history in the field and is a teacher on Medieval fencing as well he has lots of connections and colleagues and includes them in many videos when they have a more specific focus he is talking about to defer to their knowledge.

Knyght Errant and Scholagladiatoria I mention a lot because they tend to focus on citing their sources, actual depictions, surviving artefacts, do a lot of research, and don't show clear biases that influence their discussions on things. A lot of history youtubers can be good at certain things but when they discuss any social issue in history use no sources at all and just rant or use very questionable sources without mentioning that. And some do have clear biases(It happens a lot with the longbow vs steel plate armor debates) that are not politics related but are based on what they think is most interesting and want to prove said thing is great. They also often are clear about when they are stating something is from a source and when something is just their opinion(Though often an educated opinion).

So it can be important to keep in mind, as well many of them basically are using wikipedia as a source alone or are just reading blogs or watching other youtubers and many honestly just say what they think would be right with no backing even from questionable resources. You might find someone who is really informed on surviving examples of Norse swords then make a video where they talk about "facts" about another matter they don't actually know about.

But many can still be watched and as long as they aren't considered a true authority that are always 100% right it isn't as big of a deal. But for instance I use videos sometimes to help explain what I'm talking about but I wouldn't say "Knyght Errant said it, thus it's a fact." Since while he's well researched he can still miss things or be wrong. And even career historians leading fields have been very wrong throughout history(Such as the difference in how historians view Alfred the Great and his son Edward now compared to just twenty years ago).

Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2019, 03:59:44 AM »
Evolution of Flora and Fauna due to Human Interference

Another short one, a concept many know about in regards to dogs but also applies to many animals and plants.

So flora and fauna in history are very different from how we know them now. Even back a thousand years many were incredibly different and certain breeds are wholly extinct now.

For example with horses, there are many kinds of horses in history we don't have around now. Many were bred even just for their gait, the specific way they walked and galloped. This way horses could be made that were more comfortable and useful in different situations that were desired for different reasons. For instance if you watch a modern movie about a Medieval battle, people will be riding modern horses that are often taller and are not War Horses. War Horses were often bred to be able to hold greater weights, to not flee from the signs and sounds of combat, and were able to more easily take part in charges. There were many breeds of War Horses, those of the Steppes usually preferred faster horses while those in Europe might prefer stockier horses with greater mass to give more power to a charge.

Plants are no different, especially those we rely on for food. Modern crops yield far greater numbers than those in history, have more nutrition and calories, and are much larger. Corn during the time of the Pilgrims landing in America was much smaller and less nutritious. 10 square acres of a crop in the 800's even if it is the same crop will yield much less than the 2000's variant, because they really aren't the same thing. Watermelons are a famous example due to people talking in the news about art of watermelons in history containing tons of holes and not being bred to contain as much flesh for the fruit.

As well lots of people didn't know what things were in regions they didn't live in, and others were not present until the spread of them. People in Europe often used lions in artwork but many had no clue what they even were or where they came from. It did depend on the time and how common travel to a region was as well(Ancient Greeks knew about lions since they had a lot of trade and dealings with and mingling with African lands). Tomatoes are from the Americas for example so if there is a historical piece set in 9th century Frankia they won't have tomatoes, those didn't come to Europe until after the Spanish got them from the Aztecs. It's a thing very noticeable in a lot of European inspired fantasy works where they'll get lots of details right and want it to be a world based in a specific regions and Europe only, but oh hey the dish on their table is full of vegetables and fruits from Asia, Africa, and the Americas, that weren't present in Medieval Europe for the time they're taking inspiration for(Less of a problem when it's not as specific such as Skyrim which doesn't pretend to be heavily historical).
« Last Edit: January 23, 2019, 04:03:48 AM by Tolvo »

Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2019, 05:22:57 PM »
Using Modern Reenactment As Evidence

So here is something I see people do frequently that I always try to warn others about doing. There is a misconception that reenactment reflects history. While we can recreate things from history, it is to the best of our knowledge and is not an exact copy. We can test certain things like what can damage what, but we have to also look at historical sources and records. And need to see whether they contradict one another.

Battle of Nations

For those who don't know Battle of Nations is a modern sport for people in armor to fight in. It is about being in teams or fighting solo, and about scoring points. They have rules and regulations.

It is simply not a real depiction of tournaments and melees of Medieval history. It is people in armor imitating that in the form of a sport. Now you can use examples from battles for certain things, like the power of a blow. But they aren't using the training from history typically, they aren't wearing 100% historically accurate armor, they aren't trying to injure or kill each other(They're not even allowed to thrust with weapons). Mostly it is just entertainment and competition.

A lot of things are us trying to get as best an understanding of history as possible. Cooking and smithing are great examples. We can recreate steel armor harnesses, but are they 100% accurate? We don't know how a lot of armor was forged. We understand the methodology, but key parts are missing such as temperature and time. Medieval smiths would determine how long to heat armor by the color the metal turns. We don't know exact temperatures or time limits, and we often don't have the exact same quality of ores that they had. Cooking in certain cookbooks would describe cook times by comparing them to other things like the length of time it takes to skin a rabbit. Much of history is not actually recorded, and before contemporary times a lot of the recorded parts are poorly recorded, in old variants of languages we can't directly translate or can't even understand, and often use different measurements and forms of recording than we do now. Much of recorded history was not even recorded by people who were actually there, and often are told things by another or are hearing about something and record it. This is a part of why historical Paganism for instance is simply dead, there are modern recreations but the actual beliefs from history are lost to history with people now trying to recreate them as other religions effectively erased them from history. A thing about history is much of it is truly lost to time and we're trying to just make sense of and understand it. We have a jigsaw puzzle and only a portion of the pieces and are speculating exact details of the full image that we cannot actually know.

And in the end what existed that we have records of and surviving pieces of existed for a reason. Certain armor from Milan have a leather strap in the center of the breast on the cuirass. This seems like a really bad idea, having such a thing as such an easy target that holds together the armor. But there must have been a reason this was common and that they didn't simply stop doing it. Likely it's because it would require hooking a weapon under it and trying to saw through it, as well as the fact that dead on hits were not common unless one is on horseback where they are mostly head on facing an enemy. And then it would be a thrust. But we can do all sorts of tests today, we can recreate things as sports and in movies. But it's not actually possible to be 100% historically accurate unless you have a time machine.

You also want to be careful with people doing modern tests of things, specifically when people test armor vs weapons. A lot of times they stack things in favor of one in a way people might not be able to spot. Such as getting a very low quality piece of armor with no layers and no padding and shoot it with something, then claim "See this will always go through that armor." And the inverse can be true, like trying to pierce mail that is high quality with inferior arrows fired by a low draw weight bow. Be highly wary of anything of this nature that is not done by professionals, and still be wary of those.


Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2019, 09:46:49 PM »

So something that will likely be a thing I talk about in the future. Netflix has announced a series that will eventually come out that will be a dramatized documentary about Sengoku Japan, and will follow the story of Date Masamune. For those who know me this is one of my main focuses. I expect it to get some things wrong and I'll likely analyze that, but also I'm very excited to see something like this coming out.

Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2019, 11:30:51 PM »
I just thought I'd mention, I still think about this thread regularly. I'm often just unsure of what exactly to talk about. For the Sekiro LP I've been doing a ton of research but it's hard to just focus on one part at a time since things often lead into one another. The Geinpei War leads into Tales of the Heike, leads into Atsumori, leads into the Bakufu, leads into the rise of Daimyo and the Onin war and the Sengoku, then to the Osaka Campaign and Edo. Along with all the Confucian and Daoist literature I've been studying, the Buddhist scripture, the history of terminology surrounding animals in East Asia. Right now I'm reading through articles and essays and school programs about Kintaro but there's just so much. Are there any things in particular people would be interested in? I basically never stop reading or doing research.

Offline Sabre

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2019, 10:16:49 PM »
I'm a big fan of research that opens up new story writing possibilities: anecdotes about unexpected people in unexpected places, new revisions of theories or new evidence that questions what we thought we knew about a time period, and unusual characters or roles not usually considered when writing historical fiction about a certain setting. They make for fun reading by themselves, but can also open up possibilities for exploring kinks, politics, and genre tropes that the more popular narrative themes of a period can be biased against.

Offline A Soprano

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2020, 12:25:15 PM »
This is a fantastic thread. Kudos on starting in Tolvo, and on filling it with so much great information thus far. I also follow scholagladiatoria's videos (I am subscribed to his channel).

YouTube is a good source. I use it to complement my reading. Have you ever seen any of Skallagrim's videos? He's made on half-swording and the Mordhau (murder-hew), which seems relevant to the posts you made above about full plate armor. Skallagrim references both secondary and primary sources in his videos, and I like him because he's very cautious in what he says. He'll remind you he's not an expert nor a historian and he's the first to tell you to take what he says with a grain of salt. The more cautious someone is with what they say the more trustworthy I find them.

Knyght Errant and Scholagladiatoria I mention a lot because they tend to focus on citing their sources, actual depictions, surviving artefacts, do a lot of research, and don't show clear biases that influence their discussions on things.

Skallagrim is cut with the same cloth, basically.

There is also this video on the Battle of Sekigahara I thought you might like! I also am subscribed to this channel, HistoryMarche. It's good for visualizing the tactical level of battle:

I really appreciate your understanding of just how much things change from generation to generation, as you explained with the example of the Middle Ages. Most people don't understand how different the Carolingian era was from even the High Middle Ages. It's the same case with Antiquity. My main topic for many years was the Hellenistic Era of the Eastern Mediterranean, and Hellenistic Greek civilization. This has recently waned to be replaced by my new obsession, Islamic history (with a bias towards the Early Modern Era, and also, geographically, towards the Persianate side of the Islamic world). But "Ancient Greece" is also an umbrella term encompassing different periods in which culture evolved, as did society, politics, even the nature of warfare. History of the Peloponnesian War is on my reading list. Yeah, it's the Classical era, but hey, it's the last shout of said era.

What I like most about the Hellenistic period is how Greek culture spread over the Eastern Mediterranean, as I love the interplay of cultures. I love the successor kingdoms to Alexander's empire; Greco-Macedonian dynasties ruling eastern peoples. Greco-Macedonians in Egypt (It kills me when Cleopatra is portrayed as a native Egyptian).

Regarding my fascination for Islamic history, in truth, what I like is the totality of its pre-modern civilization. It's not just the religion, or the art, or the culture, or the political and military history. It's all of that together, and more. It's the sum of all parts big and small.

I am currently reading the Baburnama, the autobiography of the first Mughal Emperor, Zahir-ud-Din Muhammad, better known as Babur (Persian for tiger). Nama means book in Persian, so Baburnama is the Book of Babur, or the Book of the Tiger. For illustrating this point, the name of the Shahnama, the great Persian epic: it means The Book of Kings (Shah being king in Persian).

This is said to be a painting of Babur, though I have been unable to track down the artist or even the origin of the portrait. What is unmistakable though is the Persianate nature of the style. Regardless of who's represented here, it's an accurate portrayal of the clothing of Persianate nobility, particularly Central Asian.

Babur wrote his autobiography over a period of decades, starting when he was a young man. He was a descendant of the Amir Timur, Timur the Lame, better known as Tamerlane in the West (a corruption of Timur-i-Lang, literally Timur the Lame in Persian). Timur himself of was Turco-Mongolic origin, by extension Babur's racial heritage, though culturally, he was very much Persianized, as was Central Asia during that time. The Mongols converted to Islam, settled and took Islamic names and Persian high culture, and Babur was of this tradition.

Babur was sovreign of Fergana, inheriting it from his father Umar Shaikh Mirza (Mirza means Prince in Persian; normally, Persianate nobility bore their title after their name and not before it). Through treachery he lost his kingdom, spent years as a wandering, landless lord with his mother and grandmother and a band of followers, until he eventually crossed the Khyber Pass into India (Pakistan really, but from the most remote antiquity up to pre-British partition it was all India).

He defeated the last Sultan of Delhi, Ibrahim Lodi, of the Afghan Lodi dynasty, at the Battle of Panipat, famously using field artillery of Ottoman manufacture. The defeat and death of Ibrahim Lodi mark the widely-accepted beginning of the Mughal Empire. The word Mughal itself is merely a Persianized corruption of Mongol. In the translation of the Baburnama I'm reading, Babur to his followers as "Mughuls".

The true title of the Mughal Emperor was Padishah: Shah meaning king, the particle Padi can mean either Master or Great. So a Great King is equivalent to an Emperor and that's how Western scholars translate it.

This is not, as far as I know, a representation of Panipat, and in truth, the technique seems inferior. Persianate painting was generally of much better quality. But it is accurate as a representation of an early Mughal or late Timurid army. The helmets and armor are of Mongolic origin, as is the battle standard of white oxtails on the right of the painting. The parasol that is being held over one of the riders is a classical, Persian symbol of sovereignity. He's the ruler, whoever he is. The parasol has its origins, so far as I've been able to track them, to the 10th century. It spread to India (even to Hindu rulers) but was introduced by the first Islamic dynasties on the subcontinent, mainly the Ghaznavids and Gurids.

You can also see horse archery, another staple of the nomadic Asiatic peoples, Mongols and all the Turkic tribes. This is combined with artillery.

Anyway, this was just a brief introduction on my behalf to this thread. You really deserve a reply that corresponds to your level of breadth and depth on these topics, but for now this is all I can muster. But I hope to post much, much more here and hopefully give back something of what you've already given this thread.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2020, 07:01:14 PM by A Soprano »

Offline A Soprano

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2020, 07:24:39 PM »
I want to talk a bit more about that obsession I mentioned, with the Persianate part of the Islamic world.

Persianate (not Persian) refers to that part of the world influenced by Iranian or Persian culture. This includes Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia and the Muslims of India. These have historically been inside the Persian sphere, though of course, the Persian culture became entwined with Islam, and both dynamics carried each other: religious and cultural. Their world is flavored by it, as is their practice of Islam. While Arabic remains the sole liturgical language and the only language of the Quran, starting in the 10th century and all the way to the Early Modern Era, Persian matched or even replaced it as a language of high culture for Muslims. Literature, science and philosophy were all written in Persian for much of this region's history after Islam. You also see this in their naming conventions: The Mughals of India (Muslims) tended to have Persian names. Shah Jahan. Jahangir. Babur. Shuja. Dara Shukoh. The ladies too. Nur Jahan. Roshanara. Jahanara. These are all Persian names borne by Mughal nobles.

Taj Mahal means Crown of the Palace in Persian. It was built for Mumtaz Mahal (Ornament of the Palace) by her husband the Padishah (emperor) Shah Jahan (literally King of the World).

Richard M. Eaton writes in his book India in the Persianate Age:

"But what exactly is the Persianate world, and how did it evolve? Several centuries after the Arab conquest of the Iranian plateau in the seventh century, Persian-speakers gradually recovered a rich but largely submerged pre-Islamic Persian civilization. The linguistic dimension of this movement saw the emergence of New Persian – a hybrid of the indigenous Middle Persian of Iran’s Sasanian period (AD 224–651) and the Arabic brought to the Iranian plateau in the course of the Arab conquest. This new language appeared first in spoken form across the Iranian plateau and deep into Central Asia. A written form using a modified Arabic script emerged in the ninth and tenth centuries, when Persian writers in present-day north-eastern Iran, western Afghanistan and Central Asia began appropriating the cultural heritage of both Arab Islam and pre-Islamic Iran. Initially, at least, these developments were promoted and patronized by the court of the Samanid kings in Central Asia (819–999). Based in Bukhara (in today’s southern Uzbekistan), the Samanid domain straddled major trade routes connecting the Iranian plateau with the Mediterranean to the west, India to the south and, via the Silk Road, China to the east.

Bukhara thus lay in a commercially vibrant zone. It was also multilingual, as Arabic and Turkish were both commonly used there, as was, until the eleventh century, Sogdian. But New Persian (henceforth simply ‘Persian’) was now the lingua franca, having replaced the region’s indigenous Iranian languages and dialects. As with the Sanskrit texts, from the eleventh century onwards a large corpus of imaginative literature in Persian began to circulate widely through West, Central and South Asia. A case in point is the cycle of epics based on the historical Alexander penned by such luminaries as Firdausi (d. 1020) in Iran, Nizami (d. 1209) in Georgia, Amir Khusrau (d. 1325) in India and Jami (d. 1492) in Afghanistan. Although composed a great distance apart, and circulating over an even wider one that spanned many vernacular cultures, these works enabled diverse peoples to imagine and inhabit a single cosmopolitan space enlivened by Alexander’s real – or imagined – exploits. Such works of literature helped knit together a ‘Persianate world’ across West, Central and South Asia. However, like Sanskrit texts, Persian literature had no single geographical or political centre, especially after the thirteenth century when Mongol invaders overran Central Asia and northern Iran, destabilizing their courts. From that point on, peoples in far-flung regions such as the Caucasus or India might retain everyday use of their local languages while cultivating, and even producing, great works of Persian literature.

By the fourteenth century Persian had become a vibrant and prestigious literary language, a widely used medium in state bureaucracies, and the principal contact tongue for inter-regional diplomacy along the Silk Road between Anatolia and East Asia. In Mongol-dominated China, it served not only as a lingua franca but as the official foreign language. The Venetian merchant-traveller Marco Polo (d. 1324) mainly used Persian in China, as he did, in fact, throughout his travels on the Silk Road. So did his near-contemporary and even greater globetrotter Ibn Battuta (d. 1377), who travelled many of the same pan-Asian circuits in fourteenth-century Asia."

Here is a painting of a court scene with the Padishah Aurangzeb enthroned, holding a falcon. Note again the parasol of majesty between him and the canopy above. The parasol has gemstones, seemingly emeralds and rubies, and pearls. The Mughals were famously lavish. You can even see how the throne is inlaid with gemstones, and the Padishah himself is also decorated with them.

His garmenture is typical of Central Asian, Persianate Islamic courts (even though he never set foot in Central Asia, unless you count Kandahar). You see that same style worn by Babur in my previous post. The Mughals of course were of Timurid origin, Turco-Mongolic in ancestry, and hailed from Central Asia. He is wearing a long-sleeved, knee-length robe or tunic in green silk, and over it, an open silk caftan (robe) lined with fur along the neck and stamped with a pattern of red flowers. This "long-sleeve under caftan" combination is typical of his milieu, and so are the floral embellishments on the cloth. Babur's caftan is decorated with flowers and antelopes.

This is a portrait of Abu Sa'id Mirza, grandfather of Babur, from before the Timurids went to India. Abu Sa'id ruled over parts of present-day Uzbekistan. Once again we see the typical throne, shaped like a couch. He is wearing a fur-lined caftan and a long-sleeved tunic underneath. His caftan is adorned with flowers, as is the cushion behind him. The parasol is out of frame but you can see its pole rising out of the throne's backrest.

As you can all see, the aesthetic is wholly unique and differentiate from Arabic and Berber styles.

Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2020, 01:48:17 PM »
I'm glad to have you here posting Soprano, thank you for the kind words and I love the level of detail you've gone into. Many of the periods you've mentioned I have also found fascinating though it's the classic problem of studying history it's so difficult to get incredibly in depth without getting specific and focusing. But I always love sharing information and seeing others who have their own specific periods/regions/cultures/etc that they focus on. And don't ever worry about feeling like you're "babbling" or anything it's what the thread is for. I keep meaning to do more updates myself for the thread with even more thorough breakdowns and sourced discussions but it's always so hard to decide on what exactly to post. The intricacies of Japanese armor of the Sengoku Jidai in Modern Media depictions, the history of Buddhisms influence on Japan and merging with Shinto, or how it's many organizations of Japan formed, about European trade with Japan in the 1500's or the history of sexuality in Japan, there's so much to babble on about but it's hard to sitt down and just decide on one to discuss for a post haha.

Offline A Soprano

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2020, 03:48:12 PM »
I'm happy to be here!

The history of Buddhism's influence on Japan would be pretty interesting to read about, as would the history of sexuality.

For my worldbuilding project (which is meant to be based on the Early Modern world, chiefly the 1500s) I envision a country based on Japan, so anything you share on the matter of Sengoku and early Tokugawa Japan would be immensely valuable to me! What do you know about the usage of firearms in this period? I know the arquebuses were called tanegashima. I'd love to read what you know of them and artillery of the period. The intersection of gunpowder with melee weapons is fascinating for me, one of the reasons I love the Mughal period. In truth, in a different roleplaying website I had a Japanese noble lady character of bakufu Japan (the exact period I left ambiguous), though she wasn't detailed or deep because of my lack of knowledge of the subject.

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Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2020, 08:08:18 AM »
The key firearm in the Sengoku Jedai was the matchlock smooth bore musket. It was adopted by the warring lords for their armies very quickly (there is very little historical precedent for samurai rejecting firearms in any period of Japanese history where they were available; the "Samurai Wars" were fought mainly to stop their own dissolution by the Meiji Reformation.

There was in fact a famous story about Oda Nobunaga's conquest of the area around Kyoto (if my memory holds out) where he had to claim a neutral Buddhist monastery in the middle of a marsh. Well, these weren't pacifists. These were gun-totting militant Buddhists. They cleverly sank a bunch of pottery into the surrounding marsh so when Nobunaga's troops began to approach they had their feet not only bogged down but captured by heavy, mud-filled jars. They were of course shot to pieces by the monks.

One tactic that was fairly unique to this era in Japan regarding firearms was that they would work in teams of two. The first man in the team would carry a large but still portable palisade of branches to act as a shield and he would run up and plonk that down. The musketeer would then level his gun and volley fire with everyone else in the line. They would reload behind the safety of the portable cover and then repeat the process. However, since samurai were trained as archers first, they did like the musket.

There is not much to say in the ways of heavy artillery in the Sengoku Jedai. The cannon and the mortar did not see wide use. However, siege weapons never saw wide use in Japan (in contrast with Europe). Japanese sieges were more focused on the manpower used to take the castle and this is reflected in the castle design. European castles generally have open and unobstructed design plans with a few bottlenecks and murder alleys where prudent. Japanese castles employ dead ends, tricks, traps, and obstructed sight lines and an even greater emphasis of having your defending troops over the invading ones height-wise. It was all about maximizing your troops ability to combat the enemy invaders. European doctrine was more about funneling your defenders where they were needed quickly.

Offline TolvoTopic starter

Re: History! Pre-Contemporary History and Beyond!
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2020, 01:02:53 PM »
Sorry for the slow reply, something to mention is there were Samurai who sort of rejected firearms but it went incredibly poorly for them. Though it was less of a full rejection and more of them seeing other things which they wanted to focus on. The Takeda for example focused a lot more on the cavalry charge, and thought cavalry with long spears would be the defining factor of Sengoku Jidai warfare. This proved to be rather incorrect, though cavarly gunners are highly efficient, the spear charge from horseback alone against set up lines of gunners proved quite fatal to the cavalry. This was seen especially during the battle of Nagashino when the Takeda were effectively wiped out by the Oda. Though this was also after the death of Takeda Shingen, the Daimyo and tactician behind their previous success, without him they were lost. This would have paved the way for Uesugi Kenshin to march on the capital, but he also coincidentally died of disease. With the Tiger of Kai, and God of War(Bishamonten) dead, it set up for Oda Nobunaga to take over most of Japan until he met the resistance of the Hojo(Which were crushed) and the Mori(Who outlived Nobunaga).

Oda Nobunaga during Nagashino also deployed the triple firing method. You have lines of riflemen set up behind wooden fortifications. Three people deep, so the one at the front is aiming and firing. They then move to the back. The person at the back is reloading, the person in the middle is readying to fire, the person at the front is firing. This allowed for lines to release volleys of shots at a much higher rate than they could otherwise due to the slow reload times.

Something important to mention about the Tanegashima is that the hardest part of it's construction were the screws. European smiths had to have their technique passed on to Japanese ones to craft them. Originally at Tanegashima(Where the Europeans first landed with their guns, which is why they were called that), the local lord bought a few guns and brought them to the smiths to duplicate them. And they could for every single part except for the screws. Teaching them how to make the screws was part of trade and diplomatic deals with the jesuits and the kingdoms they were working with/for(Mainly Portugal and Spain).

If you'd like some other firearm options as well there are Ozutsu Cannons, in a lot of Edo artwork they're actually depicted as much larger than they really were. In Edo art they're more like a siege cannon held under arm, when the reality is they were more like traditional hand cannons. They were not deployed nearly as often as Tanegashima, which there were variations of such as those with shorter barrels(Better often for cavalry to use). There is also the bo-hiya, a sort of fire arrow(In essence almost like an early RPG or basically a very explosive firework) fire from a gun.

The gun did bring a great shift to the warfare of Sengoku Jidai warfare and helped reinforced the shifting tide from highly trained elite nobility to well armed and experienced paid mercenaries. With the Samurai mattering less and less compared to the large armies of Ashigaru. Cannons were used, such as in the battle of Sekigahara. It was actually a part of a very defining moment of Sekigahara, when Tokugawa fired his cannons upon Kikkawa Hiroie. Kikkawa Hiroie had secret negotiations and had promised to support Tokugawa but during the battle appeared totally neutral. According to stories from those at the battle, Tokugawa grew frustrated and ordered cannons to fire on Kikkawa Hiroie, seemingly to force him to choose a side. He then used his forces to block others from engaging Tokugawa and aided him in winning the battle of Sekigahara, though the full details are not known or how exactly Kikkawa Hiroie came to the decision. Sometimes we only have stories without enough answers sadly. The cannons they used were mainly from China though as Western trade came they also used Western cannons, but most were pretty standard and weren't nearly as extravagant as anything you'd see the Ottoman Empire using for example. Their tactics with them were fairly standard as well.

Regarding Castle Sieges during Sengoku Jidai they generally preferred to sally out and engage in field battles. It was a rather common response to sieges, with there being exceptions such as the siege of Inabayama Caslte(After Sekigahara and Ishida Mitsunari's defeat). I hope this was detailed enough for now and I didn't make a bunch of spelling errors, it has been over 24 hours since i last slept and I'm dead tired. ^_^;