Monday, December 31, 2007

Challenge of Lady May, Greenwich 1506

The Challenge of the Lady May’s servants, to all Comers, to be performed at Greenwich, To Run 8 Courses. To shoot Standard Arrow or Flight. To strike 8 Strokes with Swords Rebated. To Wrestle all manner of ways. To Fight on foot with Spears Rebated and afterwards to strike 8 Strokes with Swords, with Gripe, or otherwise. Cast the Bar on Foot, and with the Arm, both heavy and light.

Most high and excellent Princess, under your patient supportation I, which am called the Lady May in all months of the year to lusty hearts most pleasant, certify your Highness how that under sign and seal fully authorized by the hand of my lady and sovereign Dame Summer I have free license during the time of my short Reign to pass my time and a Fortnight in the month of my sister June as shall be to my Comfort and most solace. Wherefore I being thus at my free liberty, taking my leave from her and her lusty Courageous Court all the months of March and April for to view the manner of all the whole dominion of my said lady, have sailed in the scouring seas in this ship apparelled and tackled after my judgment as to my nature is appropriate, and accompanied for the surety of my person with divers gentlemen and yeomen apt and active to any exercise that shall of them be demanded. And where I am so fortunable to make my first arrival in this most famous stream of honor, fountain of all Noblesse and part most renowned called the Realm of England. I have availed my sails as it appeareth, and in token my mind is determined here to abide, I have cast out mine anchors, under the supportation of your gracious license to rest me and my said servants, which have been long travailed in the stormy seasons of March and April, humbly beseeching your grace not to be miscontent that I so boldly have enterprised arrival without your gracious license afore obtained. But in manner I was enforced so to do; as I came sailing along the Coast I heard news to me not very pleasant, how that Winter, a great enemy of my lady’s, not long ago was honored in the month of February by the reason of exercise of feats of Arms, the fame whereof is not hid in all the parts of the world. That hath caused me in all haste to speed me hither, and since my coming my heart is somewhat rejoiced for I see in mind that noble courageous hearts are determined to have my Lady Summer in exercise of Chivalry. And for to stir them the sooner to the said feats I, the Lady May, humbly beseech your grace to license my poor servants to exercise against all corners in way of pleasure and pastime all such articles as hereafter ensueth, not doubting but your
gracious license obtained all gentle courageous hearts will do as great and greater honor unto me, the lusty Lady May, Comfort of all lusty hearts, as they did lately to the servant of the Lady winter Dame February.

The articles of the Lady May’s servants as ensueth.

IMPRIMIS at Greenwich the fourteenth day of May shall be ready in the field certain gentlemen pertaining to the Lady May armed for the Tilt in harness thereunto accustomed, and there to keep the field in such place as it shall please the King to appoint from 2 of the Clock till 5 at afternoon, to run to every comer eight Courses, and thus the answerers all answered and served that then, if there be any that desireth for their Lady’s sake other four Courses, it shall be granted so the hour be not past, if it be then at the Queen’s pleasure.

ITEM: the 15th day of May next following there shall be certain Archers of the said Lady’s in the field at the hours aforenamed to shoot standard arrow and flight with all corners and he that will come and furthest shoots without stand at any of these games or at all, that is to say the answerer that shoots the standard urthest, to have a prize delivered him by the judges, and he that shoots next another, and so in like Case at the arrow and flight. Provided always that he that winneth any of these prizes shall not after that shoot again for none of the prizes of that game he hath once won of during the time.

ITEM: the 16th day of May following there shall be certain gentlemen of the said Lady’s at the hour aforenamed in the field armed for the Tourney with swords rebated to strike with every Comer eight strokes in way of pleasure, as it hath been accustomed, and when all comers be answered and the hours not spent, then, if any of the said Comers require four strokes for his Lady’s sake, it shall be granted so the hours be not spent, if it be then at the pleasure of the Queen.

ITEM: the 18th day of May next shall certain gentlemen of the said Lady’s at the said hours be ready to wrestle with all comers all manner of ways at the pleasure of the Comer as proofs of strength ought to be used, and what answerer doeth best at this feat by sight of the judges shall have a prize and the next another after the discretion of the judges.

ITEM: the 19th day of May next ensuing shall certain gentlemen of the said Lady’s at the said hour enter into the field armed for to fight on foot with spears in their hands rebated, their swords by their sides for the battle with vnlimd and thus with spear and sword to defend their barriers, that is to say with spear eight strokes whereof two with foin and six with strokes at the advantage of either of the doers.

And that done to draw their swords and strike eight strokes every man to his best advantage with gripe or otherwise, and when all Comers be answered and the hours not spent, then, if any of the said Comers require four strokes more of his lady’s sake either with spear or sword, or both, it shall be granted, if the hours be not spent and if it be then at the Queen’s pleasure.

ITEM: the 20th day of May immediately after shall again certain servants of the said Lady’s be ready in the field for further proof of strength, as to cast the bar on foot and with the arm both heavy and light at the Choice of the Corners, and what answerer this feat best doeth at the sight of the judges shall have a prize and the next another.

ITEM: the 21st of May the gentlemen to begin again and the servants aforesaid to follow the next day after and so to Continue during day by day after the rate of this book afore rehearsed all the month of May and fortnight in the month of June, all the Sundays to be excluded from the before rehearsed Feats.

ITEM: that all that will answer the feats of exercise of Arms set their hands to this book.

Giles Capell
William Courtney
Rowland Kent
Griffith Don’e
Edward Howard
Edmund Haward
Edward Nevill
Edward Gilford
Charles Brandon
Thomas Cheney
George Harvye
Richard Blunt
Wm. Kingston
Henry Stafford

Harl. MS. 69. fo. 2b, in Cripps-Day, Appendix. p. xlv-xlvii

By this time, elaborate pageant cars like parade floats were often part of the ceremony and display associated with the tournament. Lady May seems to have made her appearance in a fully rigged ship on wheels, a device associated with tournaments from the 13th century on.

16th Century Deeds of Arms

Challenge of Lady May, Greenwich 1506

Greenwich May 1510 Casting spear and target followed by twelve strokes with a two handed sword

Greenwich, October 1510 Axe. Not explicitly described as a barrier fight, but barriers seem to have been typical for foot combat in this period.

Paris 1514 Challenge by the Dauphin in honor of the marriage of the French King “First six foins with hand spears, and after that eight strokes to the most advantage if the spears so long held, and after that twelve strokes with sword” also casting spear and target followed with two-handed sword

Noseroy 1519 “two against two, with strokes of the lance, turning the large end of the said lance; and afterwards they were to fight with sword in one hand, as long as my lords the judges ordered them to.” The next day of combat “each one threw a stroke of the partisan and afterwards they fought with the two handed sword as long as it pleased my lords the judges.” Combat with axes at the barriers was originally planned but apparently not actually fought.

Deeds at the Barriers at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, Guisnes, 1520

Newton and Hamilton, Scottish Gentlemen, Accuse Each Other, 1548

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Robert Bresson’s Lancelot of the Lake (Lancelot du Lac, 1974)

Bresson’s 1974 film is now available on DVD in the US from New Yorker Video. This is a difficult and powerful film. Visually, he tends to use tightly framed close ups: a joust is portrayed with shots of banners and the galloping horses’ feet. Similar scenes are repeated. Key events are often unshown, and revealed only through their aftermath or portents.

Like Kubrick’s 2001, it can be a baffling and frustrating experience if you don’t already know the story, and his style may not be to everyone’s taste. The Death of King Arthur (La Mort le Roi Artu) seems to have been Bresson’s starting point: if you’ve read that the narrative of the film is quite clear. However, I think the ellipses are deliberate. Real human beings don’t know where they fit into a neat narrative: the characters in the film are confused and doubtful, riding through dark woods, ignorant of their fate, looking for portents.

The film shows the characters’ belief in the reality of the supernatural world. Early in the film an old woman tells a child: “the person whose footsteps I hear but do not see will die within the year.” We hear horse’s hoofs, and the child looks up to see a knight; Lancelot. Later Lancelot is missing after a tournament. After a storm pieces of his banner lie on the ground before his tent: the other knights immediately conclude he is dead. They are thinking like medieval people, not like moderns in costume.

This ties back to Bresson’s presentation of the story in selective scenes and shots. From rational, non-mystical viewpoint the portents are there as well. Early on we are shown enough of the character of Lancelot, the queen and Mordred, and of the factions and disunity in the court, to infer where the story will end up, just as we can infer from three riderless horses fleeing through a wood that something very unpleasant is happening to some knights further in. But when we see only fragments of the world, it’s easy enough to mistake the signs and portents of our fate: the knights have misread the omen of Lancelot’s banner, and Lancelot misjudges his ability to break off from his relationship with the queen, reconcile with his enemies and surmount his challenges through personal prowess.

Like Malory, the film is rife with anachronism. The body armor generally follows the style of the 16th c., the helmets and crests are roughly those of the 15th c., or 14th c. visors on 15th c. skulls. I suspect that this, like the lack of mail gussets and collars, the mail-fingered gauntlets and the many backless greaves, was forced by budgetary limitations. The decision to dress the non-noble characters like Breton peasants from some time in the past century or so seems deliberate, perhaps to break the story loose from its medieval moorings a bit and emphasize the more universal elements of the tale.

There are some very gory sequences, beginning with the opening scenes in which the Grail Quest has turned into a bloody chevauchee. It’s hard to see them in a quite the same way today: they are far too close to similar sequences in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, released the following year.

This is a film of contradictions: gritty and mystical, in which aspiration struggles with human failing. It’s not so much a revisionist script as a return to the roots of the story: the flawed characters, bickering nobles and bloody combats are not so far from the spirit of the 13th c. romance that inspired it.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Terry Pratchett's Hogfather will be running on ION television on December 23, 2007, 7 PM, 6 Central.

I just saw it on DVD. It does a pretty good job selecting a cast that matched my image of the characters from the book, particularly Susan Sto Helit, Best Governess Ever.

Pratchett’s Ankh-Morpork is a Shire-like temporal stew, where waistcoats and tobacco meet mailshirts and magic swords. The film version skews more 19th century than the Discworld I imagine, but I can understand why.

A 19th century ambience makes it a lot easier to provide settings and props. And many of Pratchett’s audience have as part of their mental furniture a prototypical urban Christmas fantasy featuring anthropomorphic personifications, including a tall ominous one shrouded in black. Dickens A Christmas Carol was published in 1843.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rules for the Combat at the Barriers at 12th Night

The Proclamation of the Deed of Arms

Ending the Combat

Each combat between two champions will continue until the judges stop the fight, or a champion is unable to continue.

A champion is unable to continue if he is struck five good blows in the course of the combat, or falls or becomes disarmed, or is disabled as described below. A champion whose weapon breaks is not considered disarmed, and the fight will halt while he replaces it.

Judging Blows

Plate is proof against all thrusts except a thrust to a faceplate or plate visor, which counts as a good blow. Breastplates, coats of plate, brigandine and cuirasses are also proof against all cuts to the areas they cover. Good two handed blows to any other plate protection, and good single handed blows to a helmet count as a good blow.

Solid cuts and thrusts to areas protected only by mail count as a good blow.

Other or no protection counts any cut as a good blow.

For areas with this level of protection a thrust to the torso or limbs is disabling. Thrusts to a barred visor are disabling.

Champions should not act out wounds other than disabling. They should call out good blows struck against them loudly enough for the marshals and their opponents to hear.

Heavy hardened leather and other suitably covered rigid protection will generally count as plate, with debatable cases to be decided by the discretion of the judges. The judges will, as far as seems practical, attempt to match opponents with similar levels of protection like against like, and harness from the same period like against like.

I suggest these rules for halfswording with two-handed swords, if both parties consent.

Special Rules for the Barriers

Single handed swords are used without shields.

Blows must be struck over the barrier rather than through it, but the normal target areas apply.

He that stayeth his hand in fight on the barriers will have no prize.

The reasoning behind the rules is discussed here and here.

Attending the deed of arms

The company has not set an appearance or armor requirement for comers at their deeds of arms. Of course, we encourage you to equip yourself as befits a good man at arms, so that your appearance increases your honor and pleases the ladies.

We expect to provide two matched matched pairs of pollaxes and matched pairs of spears and of two handed swords. I don’t know if we will have a matched pair of single handed swords, and comers who wish to fight with a single handed sword should bring one. You may wish to bring other weapons in case one of the provided pair breaks, or if there are so many fighters that we wish to have two pairs fight at a time.

Once we have a sense of the number of fighters who are present and wish to fight in the deed of arms, we will select a sufficient number to join the tenans to insure that the tenans can satisfy the venans without becoming too tired to fight well or answer each challenge without delay. The venans will be everybody else. The format of the deed of arms does not require a captain for the venans.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Terry Pratchett's Hogfather will be running on ION television on December 23, 2007, 7 PM, 6 Central.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Deeds at the Barriers at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, Guisnes, 1520

Friday the 22nd day of June in the camp was set a barrier for to fight on foot, also an hale of the kings of England was set in the same place, embroidered with clouds of blue, and out of the clouds the sun rising, the valence of the same was written in letters of blue embroidered, dieu et mon droit, in which hale the lords and other of the entertain of the challenge armed their selves.

Now was the noble kings ready to do battle on foot at the barriers, the queens on their stages: then entered band after band on foot and pressed to the barriers, every one in his hand a punchion spear, wherewith without any abode foined and lashed always one at another, two for two as the lot fell. When the spears were spent, then swords to them were given. Then pressed to the barriers the two valiant kings, and other, then was no tarrying but fought with such force that the fire sprang out of their armor. Thus band after band they were all delivered by the two noble kings and their aids of retain.

Then in came a band with two hand swords and casting darts to answer to that challenge, twelve men well armed which pressed to the barriers and mightely threw their spears the one to the other, ready or not ready, none favored other more than two enemies or at utterance, and ever still two for two, till all were delivered concerning the challenge, so this same two kings safe in body and limbs ended the battle for that day at the barriers with great honor.

June 23

The two noble kings put themselves in arms with their band and entered the field on foot, before the barriers, then entered the bands of men of arms in armor right richly, then all was ready and the two kings at the barriers ready to fight right nobly. This day was delivered at barriers by battle 106 persons, the two last battles did the kings. The king of England with few strokes disarmed his counter party, the French king likewise bare himself right valiantly. Thus the said Saturday was fully ended, and all men delivered of articles of jousts and all tourneys and battles on foot by the said two noble kings.

Hale: a long tent
Punchion spear: spear with a sharp, bodkin shaped point

Hall, Edward. The union of the two noble and illustre famelies of Lancastre & Yorke, beyng long in continuall discension for the croune of this noble realme : with al the actes done in both the tymes of the princes, both of the one linage & of the other....(Hall’s Chronicle) London 1550

Friday, November 30, 2007

Greenwich, October 1510

…the king not minded to see young gentlemen unexpert in martial feats, caused a place to be prepared within the park for the queen and ladies to stand and see the fight with battle-axes that should be done there where the king himself armed fought with one Gyot, a gentleman of Almayne, a tall man and a good man of arms. And then after they had done they marched away, always two and two together, and so did these feats and enterprises every man very well. Albeit it happened the said Gyot to fight with Sir Edward Howard, which Gyot was by him stricken to the ground.

Hall, Edward. The union of the two noble and illustre famelies of Lancastre & Yorke, beyng long in continuall discension for the croune of this noble realme : with al the actes done in both the tymes of the princes, both of the one linage & of the other....(Hall’s Chronicle) London 1550

Greenwich, May 1510

...his grace (Henry VIII) with two others with him challenged all comers to fight with them at barriers with target and casting the spear of 8 feet long, and that done his grace with the said two aids to fight every of them 12 strokes with two-handed swords with and against all comers, none excepted being a gentleman; where the king behaved himself so well and delivered himself so valiantly, by his hardy prowess and great strength, that the praise and laud was given to his Grace and his aids notwithstanding that divers valiant and strong persons had assailed him and his aids.

Holinshed’s Chronicle, p.806

Ayre, Picardy 1494

Pierre de Bayard, a young gentleman and apprentice of arms, a native of Dauphiny, ruled by the king of France, under the charge and conduct of the high and powerful lord of Ligny, would have a tourney cried and issued outside the town of Ayre, to meet outside the walls with all comers on the twentieth day of July, for three strokes with the lance without lists, with sharp lances in harness of war; and a dozen strokes with the sword, all mounted. And he who does best will be given a gold bracelet enameled with his livery worth thirty escus.

The next day will be fought on foot at the push of the lance, at a barrier at the height of the navel, and after the lance is broken strokes with the axe, according to the discretion of the judges and those that guard the field. And whoever does best will be given a diamond worth forty escus.

Clephan, R. Coltman. The Medieval Tournament (New York, 1995)
Translation copyright 2007 Will McLean

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Deed of Arms at the Barriers in AEthelmearc

Proclamation of the Deed of Arms

Certain companions of the Company of St. Michael make known to all noble men the following matters:

Know that the said gentlemen have taken up an enterprise, for the glory of God and the blessed Virgin, his mother, and my lord Saint George, that good knight.

That is, the day of the celebration of Twelfth Night, the said gentlemen will be found in the lists, armed at all points in harness of war, guarding a barrier with lance in hand to fight against all comers with lance strokes. And afterwards, taking up the single handed sword, they will fight as long as my lords the judges wish them to.

Furthermore, the said gentlemen make known that afterwards they will be found in the lists, guarding the said barrier against all comers who wish to take up the two handed sword and fight as long as the judges wish them to.

Next the said gentlemen will be found in the lists, armed at all points, with axe in hand to fight against all comers as long as my lords the judges require.

And finally the said gentlemen will be found in the lists to take up the single handed sword and fight as long as the judges wish them to.

More concerning the deed of arms may be found here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"...the high heels symbolize the very act of symbolism..."

Grendel's Mom grows high heels out of her feet.

She is portrayed by a CGI version of an actress who previously portrayed a live action version of a well known tomb raiding CGI character. Arrrrrgh. The recursiveness. It burns.

Hwaet! She comes, the babesome beastie!
Grendel’s mother goes to greet him
Strutting silky on the spike-heels
She forced forth from flickering footsies
Clever trick! How does she do that?
Clicking in the clammy cavern
Pouty lips like puffy pillows
What could be more medieval?
Many things that I might mention.
Mark that distant muted moaning?
Like a wain-wheel spinning swiftly?
That’s the tune of Teacher Tolkien
Turning top-like in his barrow

Friday, November 09, 2007

Weapons Used at the Barriers

Ayre, Picardy 1494: “at the push of the lance, at a barrier at the height of the navel, and after the lance is broken strokes with the axe, according to the discretion of the judges and those that guard the field”

Greenwich May 1510 Casting spear and target followed by twelve strokes with a two handed sword

Greenwich, October 1510 Axe. Not explicitly described as a barrier fight, but barriers seem to have been typical for foot combat in this period.

Paris 1515 Challenge by the Dauphin in honor of the marriage of the French King “First six foins with hand spears, and after that eight strokes to the most advantage if the spears so long held, and after that twelve strokes with sword” also casting spear and target followed with two-handed sword

Noseroy 1519 “two against two, with strokes of the lance, turning the large end of the said lance; and afterwards they were to fight with sword in one hand, as long as my lords the judges ordered them to.” The next day of combat “each one threw a stroke of the partisan and afterwards they fought with the two handed sword as long as it pleased my lords the judges.” Combat with axes at the barriers was originally planned but apparently not actually fought.

Field of Cloth of Gold 1520 Two pairs at a time fought with rebated spears until they were broken, then with two handed swords. Then the next day casting spears and two handed swords

Greenwich 1524 Twelve strokes with single handed sword, point and edge rebated

Greenwich 1554 Pike, sword

Westminster 1570 Three pushes with short pike and ten blows with the sword “with open gauntlet, no barriers to be laid hand upon nor any weapon to be taken ahold of”

Clephan, R. Coltman. The Medieval Tournament (New York, 1995)
Cripps-Day, F.H. The History of the Tournament (London, 1918; reprint New York, 1982)
Viscount Dillon, ‘Barriers and Foot Combat’ Archaeolgical Journal, 61 (1904) 299-308
Young, Alan. Tudor and Jacobean Tournaments (London 1987)

Daggers in Tournaments

Daggers were not used in tournaments in the narrow sense of the usual medieval definition of tournament, that is, a group combat on horseback. In the broader sense that many modern writers use the term to describe a limited armored deed of arms by consent, they could be used.

Deeds of arms on foot can be divided into two categories. In one the fight ended when one side or the other had struck an agreed number of blows, either with a single weapon or with different weapons in turn. If multiple weapons were used there was a pause between weapons, so the additional weapons might be either held by an attendant or kept in the champion’s tent. Dagger was one of the weapons used, or intended to be used, at the following combats for an agreed number of blows.

Vannes, 1381

Challenge by Michel D'Orris 1400

Richard Beauchamp vs. Pandolfo Malatesta 1408

Continge vs. de Bars 1415

In other combats there was no limit on the number of blows. In the most extreme form, the combat could continue until one sided was dead or surrendered, or the judge stopped the fight. In more limited combats the fight would stop as soon as one side was carried to the ground or disarmed. In these the champions would typically be armed with multiple weapons in case they lost their primary one: pollaxe, sword and dagger or pollaxe and dagger, and sometimes a spear as well.

The Seneschal of Hainault Performs a Deed of Arms in Valencia, 1403

Duke of Bourbon's Enterprise 1415

D’Ollumen vs. de la Haye 1415

Alvaro Continge vs. Clugnet de Brabant 1415

Three Portuguese Do Arms against Three French at Paris, 1415

A Combat between Sir John de Mello and the Lord de Chargny, 1435

Asteley vs. Boyle, January 30, 1442

How Sir Jacques de Lalaing did arms in Scotland; and of many other particulars in the house of Burgundy. (1449)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Extremely Relaxed Yoga

Do you shuffle through your daily existence, suffering from stiffness and poor mobility? Are you dissatisfied with your posture, dexterity skills and breathing? Do you want to improve your self acceptance? Are you drawn to the serenity of a much, much calmer and less frenetic lifestyle? Do you hunger for something more? If so, you might wish to pursue your interests with a group that shares the same goals, like this Yoga program at East River State Park.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Nose in the Sallet

The combination of sallet and bevor was a very popular head defense for most of the 15th century in spite of an obvious vulnerability. A rising thrust could pass below the lower edge of the sallet, particularly from the side or rear. The wearers were probably mostly worried about frontal attacks: once an opponent has blindsided you or gotten behind you, you are probably in trouble in any case. Still, the sallet and bevor did have a vulnerability that other contemporary alternatives did not. Nonetheless, it was very popular. Why?

It is helpful to understand what I believe is the default position for a sallet in battle. It is very frequently shown in contemporary illustrations with a significant gap between the bevor and the lower edge of the sallet where the wearer’s nose can be seen. Even with the most protective version of the sallet, with eyeslots in the visor or skull, it is possible to wear the sallet pushed back so that the wearer looks out, not through the eyeslots but beneath the lower edge of the sallet. This can provide much better visibility than trying to see though the eyeslots, but the shape of the sallet protects the face from most cuts. In this position the wearer also has some ability to rotate his head from side to side: perhaps 15 degrees in each direction even if the bevor is attached to his breastplate. If the wearer wants more protection he can raise one hand and easily adjust the angle of the sallet so that the sallet overlaps the bevor, while using the eyeslots for vision.

Now compare the sallet and bevor with contemporary alternatives. The grand bascinet offered superior protection, but freedom to rotate was almost nil. Similar visibility to the default sallet position required raising the visor, but this is not as simple as it sounds. If visor pivot is stiff enough for the visor to stay open without being held open, opening it requires considerable force, and probably two hands, and the same to close it. Over time the pivot will tend to loosen, and unless it is carefully maintained the visor will either refuse to stay up without assistance, or slam closed without warning.

Armets had similar visor issues, and the 15th century designs had a weak point between the armet and gorget that was protected only by mail. A plate wrapper could reinforce this point, but only by reducing visibility and freedom to rotate.

Barbutas also had a weak point at the neck, and typically forced the owner to choose a single tradeoff of visibility and vulnerability rather than the multiple aspects offered by sallets, grand bascinets and armets.

Kettle hats could also be worn with bevors. Some had eyeslots in the brim, and these were not very different from contemporary sallets in their strengths and vulnerabilities. Others did not: they offered simplicity at the price of reduced protection.

Jousting helms were the remaining option. They offered superb protection, but the ability of the wearer to see and breath was severely restricted: they were useless on the battlefield.

The 15th century sallet offered an attractive compromise between visibility, mobility and protection, compared to contemporary alternatives.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Were Bucklers used by Fully Armored Combatants?

Bucklers were often used by unarmored or partially armored medieval combatants. Were they ever used by fully armored fighters? It seems that in battle the answer was sometimes yes.

Some of the iconographic evidence is suspect. Bucklers born by St. Michael or Goliath or ancient Romans may owe more to the illustrated text than to normal medieval practice. However, even eliminating these suspect cases still leaves a number of medieval illuminations of medieval battles. Here is a depiction of the battle of Otterburn.

Here and here and are other incidents from the Hundred Years War. Here is the capture of Charles of Blois in 1347. Here is the elite guard of mounted Scots archers employed by Charles VII cast in an adoration of the Magi by Jean Fouquet. They are armored from head to foot, and at least one wears a buckler. It looks like fully armored men did sometimes equip themselves with bucklers, although the practice seems to have been rare.

Were they ever used by fully armored combatants in tournaments or other consensual deeds of arms? Probably not; I’ve read scores of accounts of such deeds of arms from the 14th to the 16th century, and none of them mention bucklers.

There is one very suspect piece of evidence in favor: One illustration from Maximilian’s Freydal shows him triumphing over an opponent, with both fully armored and armed with sword and buckler. However, the work is not a factual narrative but an allegorical exaltation of Maximilian’s omnicompetence with every conceivable weapons form.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Un Livre Banal

That’s how Google’s robotic translator renders this blog into French, which seems a little harsh. But wait, there’s more:

Les hordes de mutants plier à la volonté de leurs Very Tall Shaved Androgyne Overlord, richement bejeweled et libéralement percé.

Alors, quel est le rêve de tous les pirates, moi mateys? Kiera nuit. Aarr arrr arrr.

Toutefois, l'équipe de Gibson encore obtenir le blâmer pour la anachronique de la peinture bleu qui fait ressembler à des Écossais homicides smurfs.

Geoffrey Chaucer écrit au sujet de la nouvelle sur un drame Serpentes Shippe. Où d'autre peut-on entendre dialogue comme "Aaargh! Il est dans mon additionneur costrel! " Et "Cette nuit comme amphisbena est à l'avant-scène château, maugre ma tête"?

"Au Longstaple!" Il a répondu, avec un air de surprise .-- "Non, je me voyaient Mum dernière au large de la Dry Tortugas, mais notre congé prélèvements ont été précipités sur le compte de la CGI Giant Moray."

Robotic mouton: "L'auteur présumé de moutons contenait une avoine tropique du circuit; À la vue de ces céréales cela jusqu'à brouiller et synchroniseur plus convaincante."

And finally:

Nous ne donnent pas sacré pour votre loi salique
Nous allons vous frapper avec le choc et l'admiration

Yeo yeo yeo yeo yeo yeo yeoman
Yeo yeo yeo yeo yeo yeo yeoman

Nous allons rouler ruff, va faire chevauchee
Va monter par le biais de votre droit sacré countree

Yeo yeo yeo yeo yeo yeo yeoman
Yeo yeo yeo yeo yeo yeo yeoman

Nous vous battre à Poitiers, nous vous battre à Crécy
Vous pouvez nous battre, si vous voulez, mais sa va être bordélique

Yeo yeo yeo yeo yeo yeo yeoman
Yeo yeo yeo yeo yeo yeo yeoman

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Happy Saint Crispin’s Day

But what did Henry really say to the troops?

M.H. Hansen argues convincingly:

What King Henry probably did is what many generals have done from classical antiquity right up to, at least, the Napoleonic Wars:[34] from horseback he shouted some encouraging remarks to the men as he rode along the front, and he may even have addressed some of the men individually. It is reasonable to assume that some memorable parts of his exhortation were remembered and worked into the formal battle exhortation, which later was attributed to the King in accordance with the classical historiographic tradition. The speeches reported by Elmham and Jean le Fèvre can easily be broken down into short apophthegms, whereas the complicated argumentation of the speech printed in Pseudo-Elmham cannot in any possible form have been delivered by a general traversing the line. Consequently, some of the remarks attributed to Henry the Fifth in the speeches reported by Elmham and le Fèvre may well be historical. What has to be fiction is the rhetorical form…

The voice of a person who stands some 50 m before the front line can carry no more than ca. 75 m in either direction. And when the speaker turns to one side, those standing on the opposite side can only catch some scattered words of what is shouted. Furthermore these conditions apply in calm weather when the speech is delivered to unarmed men….

The information reported here stems from an experiment I conducted in the meadow behind Copenhagen University. I would like to thank colleagues and students from the Institute of Classics for their cooperation. Let me add that I have a strong voice and that I was really shouting my declamation of a translation into Danish of Thrasymachos' speech in Xen. Hell. 2.1.13-7. At present, I am negotiating with the Queen's Guard and hope in near future to repeat the experiment, this time with one or more batallions as my audience.

But follow the link for the whole article.

Several contemporary accounts do have Henry V responding to one of his officer’s wish for more men with something very similar to Shakespeare’s: “God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more”, but that exchange is generally distinguished from Henry’s pre-battle speeches to his men. For those we should not imagine Henry climbing aboard a convenient wagon and making a single eloquent speech to the small fraction of the army within earshot, but riding a grey horse across the front of an army stretching for hundreds of yards, stopping from time to time to encourage the men with brief phrases:

Make yourselves ready, companions. I would rather die in the field for my rights than be taken, and put the realm of England to ransom for my person.

Let every man keep himself close and in good order and be of good cheer.

Sirs, think this day to acquit yourselves as men and fight for the right of England

I’ve come to France to recover my rightful inheritance. Fight boldly in that good quarrel, sure in the justice of our cause.

You are all born Englishmen. Think of your families at home. Fight hard, so you can return to them with great honor and glory.

Remember the many times that King Edward and Prince Edward fought for the right of England against the French with small armies and won great victories and the better of their enemies by God’s will.

He then dismounted by his banner, and waited for the French to attack. When the French remained passive for some time, he asked what time of day it was, and was told “prime”. He then shouted:

Then now is a good time, for all England is praying for us. Therefore be of good cheer, let us go into battle.

In the name of almighty God and St. George, advance banners! St. George, give us this day your help!

The preceding is a composite, drawn from the accounts of Thomas Elmham, Jean de la Fevre and different versions of the Brut. They can be found in Anne Curry’s The Battle of Agincourt: Sources and Interpretations (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, Suffolk 2000), an excellent collection of the surviving records of the battle. Hansen is also worth consulting for the original Latin and French of Elmham and le Fevre.

More on Agincourt.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Channeling Froissart

Froissart, one of my favorite 14th century authors, had an attitude more like a docudrama writer than a modern historian. He strove to create a vivid account of events, and if he didn't know all the facts he added “corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative”.

Sometimes even the supposedly factual grain of sand about which Froissart secreted his narrative pearl was in error, leading to a particularly fictional result.

Recently on an online forum I read an anecdote about Sir John Chandos at the sack of Limoges. The poster had evidently misremembered the city or the protagonist, since Sir John had actually been killed ten months earlier. I couldn’t help imagining what Froissart might have done with that same material as a starting point:

And they put Zombie John Chandos in the vanguard, for they said that he would break the array of the French, and take scarcely any hurt from their bolts and arrows and so it came about. And he kept his visor up, which sorely affrighted the French, and cried his cry in a high voice, which was that day: “Cerveaux! Rrrrr! Cerveaux!” And after the intaking of the town, he wandered off to protect the ladies and demoiselles, for he still dimly remembered his courtesy from when he was on live. They say that he was a great aid and assistance to the English in the assault that day, save that he tried to eat the brains of the Bishop of Limoges, but they restrained him.

Celebrate Islamofascism Awareness Week

Few people are aware that Islamofascism was not simply a sloppy epithet, but an actual political movement. An obscure offshoot of the Lebanese Phalangists in the 1930s, the movement advocated totalitarianism, nationalism, anticommunism, corporatism, cool uniforms, parades, Roman salutes and grandiosely chilly monumental architecture. They proposed to revive Islamic economies by an ambitious public works program that would ornament the Mideast with enormously oversized replicas of the Kaaba faced with white marble and situated in the middle of vast dehumanizing colonnaded plazas. They also promised to both complete the Hijaz Railway and run it on time.

Their paramilitary arm, the Green Shirts, wore green shirts, matching green ties and green tasseled fezzes* and roamed the streets looking for Communists and labor union members to beat up and dose with castor oil.

They didn’t catch on.

*(You might not think tasseled color coded fezzes would be the sort of headgear that real fascists would find appealing, but they were, for obscure reasons that date back to the Crimean War.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

How Bad is it in Iraq? (III)

The enormous cemetery at Najaf is a favored burial site for Shiites from all over Iraq, and provides macabre evidence for the state of affairs in that country.

Dhurgham Majed al Malik, 48, whose family has arranged burial services for generations, said that this spring, private cars and taxis with caskets lashed to their roofs arrived at a rate of 6,500 a month. Now it's 4,000 or less, he said.

Malik said that the daily tide of cars bearing coffins has been a barometer of Iraq's violence for years. The number of burials rose and fell several times during Saddam Hussein's persecution of Shiites, and it soared again during the eight years of the Iran - Iraq war in the 1980s.

Then in the 1990s, the daily average fell to 150 or less, Malik said. With the current war, the burials again reached 300 daily.

In the early days of the war, some bodies brought for burial had been victims of Saddam, found by their families in unmarked mass graves. Later, there were surges; September 2005 marked a high point after a stampede during a Shiite Muslim festival killed hundreds on a Baghdad bridge. More than 1,300 were buried in a single day, Malik said.

If the preinvasion burial rate was up to 150 a day, and estimates of the preinvasion annual death rate of about 6 per thousand are reasonably correct, then roughly 1/3 of Iraqi dead (and 2/3 of Shiite dead) were being buried there. The increase over the preinvasion rate would be a strong indicator of the level of violent deaths since then.

Malik reported an increase over preinvasion rates of 150 burials a day at their peak, presumably some months in 2006. That would have included unidentified dead from Baghdad. Unidentified dead from Baghdad could exceed three dozen a month pre-invasion, climbed to 140 a month in July of 2005, and peaked at 2000 a month during the worst periods after the Askariya mosque bombing in February 2006. Many of those unidentified dead would have been Sunni: perhaps half or more. It seems likely that Baghdad was not the only place that sent unidentified dead to Najaf. An official reported that 40,000 unidentified bodies have been buried there since the invasion, and the unidentified dead reported from Baghdad would only account for about 2/3 of that total. Some number of the remainder would have been Sunni as well.

When violence was at its peak, then, the cemetery would have received about 2,700-3,300 extra Shiite corpses in the worst months, over and above the normal preinvasion burials, and all or most dead from violence or other consequences of the conflict there. If the prewar burial pattern held, about half that number of additional Shiites killed by violence would have been buried elsewhere.

Surveys have given various estimates of the violent death rate for Sunni Arabs, ranging from about the same per household or family rate as Shiites to twice as high. The same surveys find Kurdish violent deaths per family or household ranging from 1/3 to 1/6 of the Shiite rate. Given their share of the population and assuming similar household and family demographics, deaths from Sunni Arabs and Kurds might have totaled from 1.2 to 2.5 times the number of Shiite burials in Najaf, and total violent Iraqi deaths would have equaled 2.7 to 4 times that number, or 7,000-13,000 a month.

In the spring of 2007 Malik reported 6,500 private burials a month. In addition, about 300 unidentified bodies a month were delivered by truck from Baghdad to Najaf, with a like number going to a new cemetery at Karbala, and perhaps additional unidentified dead from elsewhwere. Applying the same multiples would give a national violent death rate of 6,000-10,000 a month.

These estimates are 2.4-4.6 times the Iraq Body Count tally for civilian deaths in media reports for the same periods. This disparity is unsurprising, since media reports would miss some deaths and total deaths would include a significant number of combatants who were not civilians. There was a similar ratio of 2.7/1 between the ILCS demographic survey, which asked about total war-related deaths in Aril 2004, and the IBC civilian tally for the same period.

Applying these multiples to the IBC tally to date would suggest a total violent death toll of 200,000-300,000.

If the above seems too complicated, let me give you a simplified version that sets a crude upper limit on violent deaths in Iraq.

Pre-invasion, based on reports from cemetery workers at Najaf, it looks like about 2/3 of Iraqi Shiite dead were buried at Najaf. Conditions are more chaotic now, but the relative political and economic position of Shiites has improved, so it seems plausible that a similar or higher proportion holds.

In 2006, up to 2000 unidentified dead from Baghdad were buried at Najaf each month. Many of these would have been Sunni Arabs, so counting all post-invasion burials at Najaf as Shiite would significantly overcount the Shiite death rate. However, let us simplify and ignore this factor.

At their highest, burials at Najaf were 300 a day, 150 higher than the pre-invasion rate. The likeliest explanation for the disparity is an increase in violent deaths post-invasion.

The highest survey-based estimate of Sunni Arab deaths per household is twice the Shiite rate, and most surveys give a lower ratio. It appears that Sunni Arabs are about 75% as numerous as Shiites in Iraq. The highest survey based estimate for Kurdish deaths per household is 1/3 the Shiite rate. Iraqi Kurds seem to be about 1/3 as numerous as Shiite Arabs.

We then have the following upper bound for monthly violent deaths at their peak:

4,500 Shiites buried at Najaf.
2,250 Shiites buried elsewhere.
10,125 Sunni Arabs
750 Sunni Kurds
17,625 total.

This is 5.8 times the highest IBC monthly total. Applying the same multiple to the average of maximum and minimum IBC totals to date gives about 460,000. Since this ignores the problem of double counting unidentified dead at Najaf, and uses the highest surveyed value for Sunni Arab deaths it is likely to be a considerable overestimate.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sense and Studdingsails, by Jane Austen

Chapter 49

Scarcely had she so determined it, when the figure of a man on horseback drew her eyes to the window. He stopt at their gate. It was a gentleman, it was Colonel Brandon himself. Now she could hear more; and she trembled in expectation of it. But--it was NOT Colonel Brandon--neither his air--nor his height. Were it possible, she must say it must be Jack. She looked again. He had just dismounted;--she could not be mistaken,--it WAS Jack. She moved away and sat down. "He comes from Mr. Pratt's purposely to see us. I WILL be calm; I WILL be mistress of myself."

In a moment she perceived that the others were likewise aware of the mistake. She saw her mother and Marianne change colour; saw them look at herself, and whisper a few sentences to each other. She would have given the world to be able to speak--and to make them understand that she hoped no coolness, no slight, would appear in their behaviour to him;--but she had no utterance, and was obliged to leave all to their own discretion.

Not a syllable passed aloud. They all waited in silence for the appearance of their visitor. His seaboots were heard along the gravel path; in a moment he was in the passage, and in another he was before them.

His countenance, as he entered the room, was not too happy, even for Elinor. His complexion, beneath the tropical tan and kohl eyeshadow, was pale with agitation, and he looked as if fearful of his reception, and conscious that he merited no kind one. Mrs. Dashwood, however, conforming, as she trusted, to the wishes of that daughter, by whom she then meant in the warmth of her heart to be guided in every thing, met with a look of forced complacency, gave him her hand, and wished him joy.

He coloured, and stammered out an unintelligible reply. Elinor's lips had moved with her mother's, and, when the moment of action was over, she wished that she had shaken hands with him too. But it was then too late, and with a countenance meaning to be open, she sat down again and talked of the weather.

Marianne had retreated as much as possible out of sight, to conceal her distress; and Margaret, understanding some part, but not the whole of the case, thought it incumbent on her to be dignified, and therefore took a seat as far from him as she could, and maintained a strict silence.

When Captain Sparrow had ceased in speculating that the wind might shift a few points to the southwest a very awful pause took place. It was put an end to by Mrs. Dashwood, who felt obliged to hope that he had left Mrs. Sparrow very well. In a hurried manner, he replied in that he hoped so, considering, a response the Elinor thought troublingly vague.

Another pause.

Elinor resolving to exert herself, though fearing the sound of her own voice, now said,

"Is Mrs. Sparrow at Longstaple?"

"At Longstaple!" he replied, with an air of surprise.-- "No, I last saw me Mum off the Dry Tortugas, but our leave takings were rushed, on account of the CGI Giant Moray."

"I meant," said Elinor, taking up some work from the table, "to inquire for Mrs. JACK Sparrow."

She dared not look up;--but her mother and Marianne both turned their eyes on him. He coloured, seemed perplexed, looked doubtingly, and, after some hesitation, said,--

"Perhaps you mean--my father--you mean Mrs.--Mrs. Teague Sparrow."

"Mrs. Teague Sparrow!"--was repeated by Marianne and her mother in an accent of the utmost amazement;--and though Elinor could not speak, even HER eyes were fixed on him with the same impatient wonder. He rose from his seat, and walked to the window, apparently from not knowing what to do; took up a dirk that lay there, and while spoiling both it and its sheath by cutting the latter to pieces as he spoke, said, in a hurried voice,

"Perhaps you do not know--you may not have heard that my father is lately married to--to the youngest—to Miss Lucy Steele."

His words were echoed with unspeakable astonishment by all but Elinor, who sat with her head leaning over her work, in a state of such agitation as made her hardly know where she was.

"Yes," said he, "they were married last week, and are now heading southwesterly aboard a demon-infested topsail schooner."

Elinor could sit it no longer. She almost ran out of the room, and as soon as the door was closed, burst into tears of joy, which at first she thought would never cease.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday the 13th Comes on Saturday this Month

On October 13, 1307 the Knights Templar experienced a hostile takeover.

Cite this Blog

Here are citation guidelines for Blogs.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Asteley vs. Boyle, January 30, 1442

And that yere, the last day of…………… save on, there was a batayle in Smythfeld, withinne lystes, aforn the kyng, between the lord Beaufe a Arragonere and John Ashele squyer of the kynges house, a chalange for spere to cast pollex and dagger at the lord aforeseyd in brekynge of his gauntelette and reysyng of his umbrary*, and hadde hym at mischief redy to a popped hym in the face with his dagger, tyl the kyng cried hoo: and there the seid Asshle was mad knight in the feld.


A Chronicle of London, from 1089 to 1483, London 1827

The challenge leading to the deed of arms is recorded here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Armour Piercing Arrowheads

What quality metal was used on medieval arrowheads? Which types were used to pierce armor? This article from the Royal Armouries looks at the question.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

ORB’s September Survey and Baghdad Deaths

ORB has quietly revised the religion data in their survey of Iraq released earlier in September, but there are still strange things about the Baghdad results.

The gender demographics for Baghdad still seem to conflict with the reported violent death rate. 421 households, the weighted number for Baghdad, would have had about 2750 members in 2003, if their size was typical of Iraq, with about 700 adult males and a like number of adult females. According to both media reports collected by Iraq Body Count and those polls that asked the question, adult males represent about 90% of the violent deaths in Iraq since the invasion. It is plausible to estimate that of the 295 violent deaths reported in the weighted ORB poll, about 250 were adult males (18 or older), 15 were adult females, and the rest were children. The adult survivors would then be about 450 males and 685 females: 40% male and 60% female. Children coming of age since 2003 might reduce the imbalance slightly: to 42%/58%, assuming no sexual disparity in deaths among those who were 14-17 at the time of the invasion. This last is not necessarily a plausible assumption: 14-17 year old males are probably at higher risk than females of the same age.

ORB reported that their adult Baghdad respondents were 49% male. Plausible extrapolation of the reported violent death rate above, and the age and gender of reported victims of violent death in Iraq, suggest that given that death rate Baghdad adults should only be 40-42% male. That’s a significant conflict

There’s another reason to distrust the Baghdad death rate in the September ORB poll. In a poll they released in March, they asked a similar but broader question: had the respondent had a relative murdered in the past three years? 26% said yes: 31% said so in Baghdad, and 24 % in the rest of the country. In the September poll, 12% outside Baghdad has lost at least one household member. If we assume that the Iraq Body Count was a fairly consistent undercount during the preceding six months and use it to estimate the change in cumulative violent deaths, that would have been 10% at the time of the March survey. Outside Baghdad, the two polls seem in reasonable agreement: it seems entirely plausible that an extended family in Iraq is about 2.5 times the size of the immediate household.

But extrapolating the March Baghdad responses forward on the same basis predicts a household death rate of 15%: higher than the rest of Iraq, but less than a third of that reported for Baghdad in the September poll. Alternatively, projecting the September Baghdad results backwards implies that Baghdad extended families are only 25% larger than the immediate household living under one roof. That seems highly implausible.

So many Philip K. Dick movies. So few good ones

Philip K. Dick probably has had more of his works made into movies than any other SF author, but very few of the movies are much good, and most of the few that are aren’t very faithful to what Dick wrote. Dick had a lot of neat ideas that are apparently easy to pitch to preoccupied studio executives, but execution is the rub.

The first hitch is that most Dick movies started out as short stories, and need to be bloated with additional business to turn them into a feature length movie. The novels, on the other hand, are crowded with so many loopy ideas that a lot of them end up on the cutting room floor. It doesn’t help that a lot of Dick’s ideas are easier to get across in written narrative than to show economically on the screen. Blade Runner was a fine movie, but by the time it was done there wasn’t a lot of the original novel left.

The typical Dick protagonist isn’t very heroic: trudging wearily through life, teetering on the edge of insolvency, despair, impending heart attack, marital breakup or mental breakdown. A filmmaker that casts Arnold Schwarznegger as a Dickian protagonist is doomed before he begins.

Dick’s view of man’s relation to God is too central to make an atheist comfortable, and too unorthodox to make a fundamentalist comfortable. Hollywood tends to be allergic to scripts that deal with religious themes in a way that makes a wide swath of the potential viewers uncomfortable.

Dick’s stories seem to attract producers that like the pitch but don’t like the substance. Some of the most Dickian films made were written by other people: the 1980 version of Lathe of Heaven and Donnie Darko.

A Scanner Darkly was rare success as both as a movie and a faithful interpretation of Dick’s novel. The reason it worked was that the filmmaker didn’t need to spend a lot of time fleshing out an unfamiliar future. Scanner was essentially a mainstream novel about the recent past with some minor SF chrome riveted on. The audience didn’t need to be brought up to speed on radioactive dust, the extinction of toads, Mercerism, Penfield mood organs, and the social importance of pet ownership in the post-apocalyptic future, to name some of the Dickian details that didn’t make it into Blade Runner.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why Democracies Fail

A paper by Andrew Enterline and J. Michael Greig looks at the history of imposed democracies and the implications for Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t think it necessarily helps to look only at that narrow subset of new democracies; I think the risk factors are similar for indigenous ones like the first French Republic. In any case, as Steve Muhlberger points out, Enterline and Greig’s criteria seem a bit daft: Canada and New Zealand imposed democracies? I don’t think so.

The paper looks at Polity IIId rankings as a tool to track the states. Eyeballing those ratings, some factors seem plausible to me.

How close to liberal democracy were previous regimes over the preceding hundred years, including not just elections, but an independent judiciary, rule of law, strong property rights, etc.? If the previous regime was colonial rule, how democratic was the ruling state, and how much local autonomy did the colony have? Much of the Philippines’ colonial history was under relatively illiberal Spanish control, while India got over a century of British rule. I think that mattered.

How much of the local economy is based on the extraction of resources like gold or oil? If it is, a predatory government can have a pleasant lifestyle while not paying a lot of attention to the general welfare of the citizens.

Finally, does the country have a meritocratic civil service, and is that institution well established? I don’t think this factor is generally given the importance it deserves. When civil service jobs are distributed by competitive written examination, on a model that goes back to Imperial China, they cease to be spoils to be fought over, and the incumbents have a vested interest in keeping it that way. (The ability of the exams to measure anything more than the candidates' fitness to write about, say, classical poetry seems to be largely secondary.) And a meritocratic civil service can exist regardless of whether or not the current regime is democratic.

A meritocratic civil service does seem to be a common factor in many of the new democracies that survived the transition from autocracy or colonial rule: countries as otherwise disparate as Germany, Japan, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Baghdad Now 60% Christian

ORB, a British polling group, has recently released a poll they took in Iraq in August that suggest that there have been more than a million Iraqi violent deaths because of the invasion, (and about 800,000 of those in Baghdad, based on 206 interviews in that city.)

This is newsworthy if true, and ORB has issued a press release to that effect. They’ve missed an even bigger story. Based on the same 206 interviews, in theory selected entirely at random from the Baghdad population of about six million, Baghdad is mostly Christian: 37% Orthodox, 13% Catholic, 9% Protestant and 1% Christian (page 46).

One possible explanation is that the ORB interviews were entirely random, and that the Baghdad population is actually about 60% Christian, plus or minus random sampling error.

Another, which I prefer, is that it is very difficult to do a true random sample when your next planned interview is on the other side of a checkpoint manned by heavily armed locals with a dim view of outsiders who want to ask possibly inconvenient questions.

This would explain another puzzle in the ORB results. They imply that almost one in two Baghdad households have lost a family member. Both media reports and previous polls have indicated that the Iraqis being killed are overwhelmingly adult males: they are both more likely to be targeted and more likely to be exposed to attack. Iraq Body Count estimates that 90% of the civilian deaths are adult males, and including soldiers and insurgents would make the ratio even more extreme. Iraq is also a young country, with about half the population under eighteen. One would expect that if the Baghdad households sampled are like typical Iraqi households, those deaths would significantly impact the ratio of male to female adults answering the poll. This does not occur in the Baghdad poll results.

It seems likely that something decidedly unrandom has happened to the Baghdad sample. Or some Baghdad respondents are using an expansive definition of household that includes, say, everybody in their apartment building. Or both. Or there was an error in coding the results.

Update: ORB issued revised data, dated 9/20/2007, that gives changed results for all religion categories in Baghdad while leaving other data unchanged. Christians are now reduced to 3% of the city’s population. Although no explanation has been offered on their website, it seems likely that many of the Baghdad responses on religion were originally entered incorrectly.

The gender demographics for Baghdad still seem to conflict with the reported violent death rate.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

How Bad Is It in Iraq? (II)

ORB, a British polling group, has just released the results of a poll it took in Iraq in August that suggests that over a million Iraqis have died violently since the US invasion. However, it’s important to understand the level of uncertainty involved in the estimate. It is very, very hard to quantify what’s happening in a place as chaotic as Iraq.

One measure of the level of uncertainty is that the weighted estimate of violent death is about 50% higher than the raw figures would suggest. ORB asked Iraqis a number of questions, including whether one or more people living under their roof had been killed violently since the invasion. If the sample is randomly chosen, the margin of error should be fairly predictable.

One of the key challenges is a random sample. You can pick phone numbers at random: this works well if almost everyone has a phone, and is equally likely to answer it. If not, you can adjust for the difference between those that answer phones and those that don’t, if you can.

Or you can send out polling teams in a way that insures that everyone has about the same chance of being polled. This requires that you have a good idea of who is living where. This can work well under quite bad conditions. If a large share of the population is living in squalid refugee camps, and you have a good idea how many are living in each camp because a relief agency is handing out rations, and the residents have been thoroughly randomized by panicked flight from murderous militias, you can get a good random sample this way, at least for the people in the camps.

Iraq fits neither condition. Having completed their initial survey, ORB concluded they needed to massage the numbers. Did they undersample Baghdad? If so, they should adjust those numbers, assuming they have a good estimate of the current total population, and whether their sample was proportionate to the current population of the neighborhoods they sampled.

There’s a dilemma here. If the government is functioning adequately, you don’t estimate violent deaths by survey: you ask it to tabulate the corpses in the morgues, or the ration card holders that have stopped eating. On the other hand, if it has lost count of the corpses, then they are probably even less capable of telling you the current population of a specific neighborhood or region net of massive refugee flows.

Massaging polling numbers is a tricky business. Your poll may capture a surprisingly low number of Sunni Arab adult males. This might be sampling error, best dealt with by re-weighting the sample. On the other hand, it may reflect the fact that a large number of the expected Sunni Arab adult males are, in fact, dead. If that’s the case, re-weighting the sample will only distort the truth.

Something along those lines seems to be reflected in the recent ORB poll. Looking at the raw, un-weighted responses, 7% of Iraqi Kurds have lost a household member to violence since the invasion, and 6% of those that identify themselves as Shiites. Many Iraqis refused to claim a particular sect for the pollsters, and simply called themselves Muslims. 9% of these lost a household member. This group included some Kurds, and backing those out at the Kurdish death rate suggests that Arabs that identified themselves as “Muslim” rather than a particular sect had a household violent death rate of about 10%. This group includes both Sunni and Shiite Iraqi Arabs.

The group that identified themselves as “Sunni” had a 32% household violent death rate in the un-weighted ORB poll. However, most Kurds are Sunni, but reported much less violence. Backing them out at the average rate of reported violence for Kurds suggests that Sunni Arabs reported household violent death since the invasion at about 38%.
If the poll results are remotely in the right ballpark, Arabs that identify themselves as Sunni are suffering much worse losses than other groups in Iraq: the sort of casualties that knocked Russia and the Central Powers out of World War I, and drove the French army to the edge of mutiny.

Since the poll makes no effort to isolate civilian casualties, one plausible explanation of at least part of the disparity is that Sunni insurgents are being killed in large numbers.

While this poll will be taken by some as confirmation of Burnham et al (2006) published in the Lancet, they do contradict each other in one important sense. According to Burnham et al, Baghdad’s level of violence was about average for Iraq. According to ORB, Baghdad is about twice as deadly as Iraq as a whole.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Most Excellent Horse

An amazing display of what a splendidly trained horse and skilled rider can do, regardless of what your opinion might be of the morality of bullfighting.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Building a Sword for Rattan Combat

Building a rattan sword that can be used safely in simulated combat, but that closely follows an actual medieval sword in weight, balance, handling and, ideally, appearance is a challenging process. It’s made more so if it must meet all SCA standards for blade and thrusting tip diameter. Still, care and careful construction will produce a weapon that much more closely approximates the feel of an actual sword.

Weight, Balance and Inertia

An unshaped stave of rattan is essentially a simple rod. A medieval sword is a much more complicated beast. It doesn’t balance at the midpoint, but typically at a point much nearer the hilt. In making earlier swords I naively assumed that I could simulate the proper handling with a pommel heavy enough to shift the balance point to the correct position, but this is not sufficient. The typical medieval sword has significant distal taper, that is, it is much wider and heavier near the hilt than near the tip. This is particularly pronounced in the acutely pointed blades that became increasingly popular with the widespread use of plate armor from the 14th c. on. Even without a hilt fitted, such a blade will have a balance point closer to the hilt end of the blade than a simple rod would.

This presents a problem. Suppose we set out to simulate a particular medieval sword, and have made an unshaped rattan stave for the blade and shaped the grip for a comfortable fit. We use leather, rattan or hose for the cross of the hilt, and by coincidence it duplicates the mass of the thinner but denser steel cross of the original sword we are trying to model. We add a pommel heavy enough to move the balance point to the correct place, and find the total weight close to that of the original. Do we have a good simulation of our original?


Because our rattan blade is a simple rod, without fittings it balances further from the hilt than an actual blade. The pommel must be heavier than on the original, and there isn’t enough mass at the strong or forte of the blade, between its midpoint and the cross. There’s too much inertia in the pommel, and not enough in the strong. The sword balances correctly but behaves differently as it is swung.

A metal cross can help the problem somewhat. The society requires a one inch minimum diameter for the tips of a cross, and even in aluminum a cross with these dimensions is more massive than a medieval one with a similar span from tip to tip. A cast aluminum cross like those offered by Windrose Armories can add mass near the place where we would want to add it. A wire wound grip can also add significant mass. It isn’t quite the ideal location, but it’s better than a pommel that’s too heavy.

Another way to add mass to the forte would be to strap lead sheet to the blade at the ricasso. I haven’t tried this, but it should have the desired effect.

16th c. blades for German longsword fencing did something similar. To keep the blades flexible they had minimal taper for most of their length, but suddenly widened to a very broad “schild” or shield resembling a very wide ricasso just forward of the hilt. Presumably at least part of the intent was to get mass distribution more like a fighting sword, and it certainly would have had that effect

Blade Shape.

While simply adding some weight to the ricasso of an unshaped rattan blade would make the mass distribution and balance more like a medieval sword, the result would lack defined edges and sides, as well as the visible distal taper of a real blade. An oval cross section feels somewhat more like a real sword than a round stave does when binding or winding against another similar weapon, and also moves through the air more easily, again more like a real blade. I prefer to start with heavy rattan, plane the sides, and give it a distal taper as well.

Overall Construction

For my last three swords I used cast aluminum crosses, and aluminum or bronze facetted scent stopper pommels, secured by lag screws. I like scent stopper pommels because they are appropriate for the period I am recreating, are comfortable in the hand when the fighting two-handed, and it isn’t a big issue if they rotate. This can be a problem with wheel pommels and the like on rattan swords because they are secured with a circular screw rather than the square or rectangular tang of steel swords. Currently available bronze pommels can be quite massive. I chose to have the hole in the bronze pommel for the grip bored deeper on a lathe, which made the weight more appropriate for the length of sword I was building. I wrap the grip in either twine or twisted wire. This gives a good grip and helps prevent the lag screw from splitting the rattan. You can cover the twine with an additional layer of thin leather if you wish. Once you have chosen a pommel and decided whether or not you will have a thrusting tip, you can subtract the length these add from your intended overall dimensions to determine the length rattan you need.

Shaping the Blade

I start with a honking thick stave of rattan, perhaps 1 ¾” in diameter, and shave it down to 1 ¼” in thickness with a hand plane. I usually build the blade width up a bit near the cross with two strips of 1/8” vegetable tanned leather glued to the cutting edge, which I thin down to bare rattan with a grinding wheel or Surform tool towards the point. Vegetable tanned leather is much more easily shaped with the same tools I use to shape wood or rattan than other types of leather. Because of the curve of the rattan cross section, the edges of the strips will project a bit once glued down, and will require some work with grinding wheel or Surform tool to produce a smooth transition to the rattan. The strips range from 4-10” in length, and may not be symmetrical if I’m compensating for rattan that isn’t perfectly straight. Using the hand plane, I tapered the width of the blade from 1 ¾” at that point to 1 ¼ at the tip.

One could use longer strips and additional layers of leather or thicker leather to give a distal taper and more oval cross section to thinner rattan. For example, one might layer leather strips equal to 85%, 60% and 30% of the blade length and smooth them down to an even taper. I don’t think this would be as resistant to breaking as a shaped piece of thicker rattan, but you would presumably get some benefit if the construction allowed you to avoid removing the outer skin of the rattan stave, since the skin seems to be tougher than the core fibers.

Shape the grip with the same tools. Remember that a twine or wire wrapping will add bulk to the finished grip while you are shaping the rattan core of the grip. Make the rattan slim enough so that the finished grip will be a comfortable shape in your hands, but not so slim that you compromise its strength.

Fitting the Cross

Once I achieved a smooth transition from the blade to the intended grip I saw that it would not fit through the pre-drilled circular hole in the cross. I chose to enlarge it to an oval hole with files. While laborious, that insured that the cross could not rotate, and that the strength of the rattan would be weakened as little as possible at that point. Once the hole is distinctly oval, try it for fit. Remove additional material from the cross or rattan until the cross can be driven snugly into position.

From now on, I always will describe the hilt with pommel up and the sword tip down. The hole in the cross can widen a bit from halfway down to its bottom opening, as this will keep it from slipping down. It should also widen a bit from the halfway up, since wooden wedges can be driven down for a snug fit, and the shape of the hole will then help keep the cross from sliding the other way. While widening the hole in this way remove material from the long ends of the oval, not the sides. Removing rattan so the cross can be driven into position may leave the cross sitting on a rattan shelf, if so, this will also help keep the cross in position. Once you are satisfied with the shape of the grip you can drill a snug pilot hole for the lag screw. Don’t wedge the cross in place yet, but try the pommel and see if the overall balance is likely to be right once completed. If not, you can consider changes to improve the balance: wire wrap vs. twine, a different pommel, lead inside the pommel or on the ricasso, and so on.

Note to the Makers of Sword Fittings.

Adjusting sword balance would be a lot easier if pommels came with deeper holes for the grip, with enough space to pop in lead washers as needed to get the weight we wanted. It would also be good if the pommel had a countersunk hole on the end, wide enough to take the head of the appropriate socket wrench for the lag screw. I had mine retrofitted with that after my gauntleted finger got driven into the exposed head of the hex screw and required six stitches.

While we’re at it, can we have the option of oval holes in the cross? And perhaps some where the arms transition to an octagonal cross section rather than square? For the same 1’ minimum diameter you’d get something less bulky.

Wrapping the Blade: First Layer

Once satisfied, proceed. If you like, you can remove the cross while you work on the blade

I wrap the blade in filament tape, longitudinal and spiral. Alternatively, I have also used a length of sheet or shirt weight cloth a little wider than the circumference of the blade, glued down with white or yellow carpenters glue with the overlap running down one cutting edge.

Securing the Cross

When you are ready to put on the cross for good, drive it into position. Drive in glue coated wedges from above, and cut away any excess that protrudes above the cross with a sharp knife.

If you later find that the wedges did not fix the cross in place securely enough you can drill a hole through the cross from one side to the other for a press fitted steel pin. The pin should be thick enough to do the job, but no thicker, since the larger the hole drilled, the greater the chance of splitting or weakening the rattan at that point.

Covering the Grip.

If you are using twine or cord, first coat the grip with a thin layer of white or yellow carpenter’s glue. Start at the cross and keep the twine under constant tension as you wrap it around the grip from the cross to the end, with each new spiral snug against the one below it. You can use it as is or cover it with thin leather.

I used thin pigskin, soaked to make it pliable with a skived overlap joint. I coated the twine with white glue, and wound the leather with another spiral of twine while it dried so that the texture of the twine wrapping below could still be seen and felt when the grip was complete

The wire wrapping used a double strand of brass wire wound about itself in a spiral. After a test section was produced, cord of similar thickness was wound around the grip to determine how much would be needed. A double length of brass wire of the appropriate length was secured at one end, stretched across the work area and chucked into a drill. It was then wound into a spiral strand. Since it became work hardened in the process, it was annealed in a kiln before being used to wrap the hilt.

I used an awl to drive a channel down from the top of the cross between it and the rattan, into which I could press one end of the wire to hold it taut. It was then wound tightly around the hilt in the same way as the twine.


Check the pommel for balance, using a dowel loosely slid into the pilot hole to hold it in position if needed. If everything is satisfactory secure the pommel with a hex headed lag screw.

Completing the Blade

Finally, using contact cement I glue a length of 1” leather down one cutting edge, over the thrusting tip, and back down the other, butting as necessary. This adds a little extra shape to the blade and protects the rattan from damage. If the leather is too heavy the blade will be heavy and slow. I find dress belts from a thrift shop ideal if I split apart a belt made from two layers of leather and use one. This leather also has a suitable cross section: thicker at the center but thinner at the sides.

You may want to use more robust leather over the thrusting tip. Under that but over the foam of the thrusting tip use an additional strip of 1” leather, about 8” long, at right angles to the strip along the cutting edge. I taper the ends of the strip to 90 degree points for a smoother transition to the sword than if I cut them off square. Wrap this with filament tape over the rattan, but not over the foam portion of the thrusting tip. The two strips of leather will hold the foam in place, but the tip will compress more easily than if it was entirely wrapped in tape.

I then cover the blade with four strips of duct tape, parallel to the long axis of the sword, taping the sides of the sword first and then the cutting edges. If the leather strip is in good condition I sometimes omit the duct tape on the cutting edge and leave the leather exposed to mark the edge.

For a truly fine and medieval appearance, you can use thin leather painted silver instead of tape. The leather should be as thin as possible to avoid an excessively heavy blade, and if you can get it a light steel grey or silver will minimize the visibility of scuffs. Glue down the leather with contact cement and run a butt joint down one cutting edge. For a very precise butt joint, start with leather that overlaps slightly and cut through both layers at once with a sharp knife. You will want to leave a strip about an inch wide down this cutting edge uncoated with contact cement until this operation is complete. I find it easier to start with leather that is slightly overlong and trim it to fit at the cross once it is in place.

Electric Sheep Still Missing

I recently bought the director’s cut of Blade Runner. I’m happy with the removal of the original stupid happy ending. The original voice-over never bothered me much, so eliminating it wasn’t a big deal. I can see how some viewers who hadn’t seen it before or read the book could have a harder time understanding what was going on. New scenes play on the Dickian theme of mournful lonely androids who don’t know they are androids, although they violate Dick’s portrayal of Deckard’s character in the book.

Still missing are many of the loopier and more touching elements of Dick’s original book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep:

Robotic Sheep: “The alleged sheep contained an oat-tropic circuit; at the sight of such cereals it would scramble up convincingly and amble over”.

Mrs. Deckard. An android bounty hunter is an interesting idea. (Hunter of androids for bounty payment, as opposed to an android who hunts down criminals for bounty payment, which is also an interesting idea, now that you mention it.) It takes a man like Philip K. Dick to create an android bounty hunter with a strained marriage and a robotic sheep on the roof: a man who gets into arguments with his wife about which electronically induced mood they will dial next. Including but not limited to #888, the desire to watch TV, no matter what’s on it.

Malevolent android talk show hosts with android guests broadcasting 46 hours a day.

Mournful lonely androids with an appetite for golden age SF. “”Mars not as it is, but as it ought to be: with canals, instead of omnipresent dust.”

Android sibling rivalry. How do androids feel about multiple copies of themselves running around? “Happy day! I have a twin sister I never knew about!” Perhaps not.

Divine Intervention. Unless the Edward James Olmos character is a human manifestation of a merciful and omniscient god, which sort of works but probably isn’t what Ridley Scott had in mind.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Over 10,000 Served

When I returned from vacation, my sitemeter tracker told me that this blog has had over 10,000 visits since I installed it. That doesn't count those of you who read it by RSS feed. Woohoo!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

How Sir Jacques de Lalaing did arms in Scotland; and of many other particulars in the house of Burgundy. (1449)

And when Sir Jacques saw that he could find nothing more to do there he returned and found the good Duke of Burgundy in his city of Lilles where he received him full lightly and with a great heart. But it was not long before he took leave of the Duke, and took himself by sea to the realm of Scotland. And he was accompanied by Simon de Lalaing, his uncle, and Herves de Meriadet and many other good people. And as I understand Sir James Douglas, brother of the Earl Douglas, and the said Sir Jacques de Lalaing had formerly agreed to do the will of one against the other and each sought each other to meet together, and so Sir James Douglas arranged that a battle would be done before the King between him and Sir Jacques de Lalaing. But the matter increased and multiplied so that a battle to the outrance was concluded, for three noble Scotsmen to meet with Sir Simon de Lalaing, Sir Jacques de Lalaing and Herve de Meriadet, and that they would all do arms at one time for the King of Scotland. And when the day came for the battle, the King received them in the lists most honorably. And because I was not there at that feat of arms I must omit certain ceremonies which occurred, for example in times to come But there were three memorable things in the battle, which was very fiercely fought on one side and the other. The first was that when the three were being armed at the lodgings of the Duke of Burgundy, each one with his coat of arms on his back and about to leave to go to the battle, Sir Jacques de Lalaing spoke to Sir Simon de Lalaing, his uncle, and to Meriadet and told them “My lords and my brother, in this fine day of battle you know that it is for my enterprise that we have come into the realm and that the battle has been put together by agreement with Sir James Douglas, and although each one of us is able to aid his companion, I pray and require of you that whatever happens to me today neither of you come to me or rescue me , because it will seem that you have crossed the sea and entered into this battle only to help me, and that you do not hold or know me as a man to sustain the assault and the battle of a single knight, and holding a low account of me and my chivalry.”

And after that request the champions left their pavilions armed and equipped with axes, lances, swords and daggers, and they were able to either throw or push with the lances as they pleased. The two knights, James Douglas and Jacques de Lalaing were in the middle to encounter each other as they did; and on the right hand was sir Simon de Lalaing, who was to encounter the Scots squire, and Meriadet to encounter with a very powerful and renowned knight ; but they found themselves in the opposite position so that the knight was on the end with Sir Simon. And so Meriadet who desired to meet with the one that he intended , without having regard or thought of the his fame, crossed to put himself before the said Sir Simon to meet with his man. But the good knight with coolness and assurance turned himself towards Meriadet and said to him “Brother let each one hold with the one that he meets and I will do well, if it please God” And the said Meriadet returned before his man and that is the second thing which I wish to recount.And the champions took themselves to march the one against the other, and for this the three of the party of Burgundy doubted that the place was suitable for the lances, and they all at one time threw their lances behind them and that is the third matter of my tale, and taking their axes and running against the Scots, who came to the push of the lance; but it profited them nothing, and while they all fought at one time, I am only able to speak of their adventures one after the other.

The two knights, James Douglas and Jacques de Lalaing approached each other and pressed each other so closely that they had no weapons remaining to them neither the one not the other except for a dagger that the Scotsman held; and the said Sir Jacques held him by the arm near the hand in which he held the said dagger, and he held him with the other hand beneath the elbow, so that they turned themselves around the lists by the strength of their arms, and that went on for along time.

Sir Simon de Lalaing and the Scots knight were two powerful knights and there was no doubt of the subtlety of their axe play, and like two valiant knights and hardy, they so sought each other and found each other so often that in a little while they damaged the visors of their bassinets and their weapons and their harness with the strokes that they had given and received, and they gave up little ground to each other.

And on the other part came Herves de Meriadet and the Scotsman came to hit Meriadet with a push of the lance; but Meriadet turned aside the blow with the handle of his axe, so that the lance fell out of the hands of the Scotsman and Meriadet followed up so vigorously that before the Scotsman was able to unsling his axe he entered within, and with a throw carried him to earth. And Meriadet stepped back to let the Scotsman rise who was quick, light and of great courage, and he lifted himself quickly and ran under at the said Meriadet for the second time, and Meriadet who was a man who was one of the most redoubted squires of his time, strong, light, cool and dexterous in arms and in wrestling, received the Scotsman coolly and with great watchfulness and soon after made an entry on the Scotsman. And with that entry he gave such a great blow that he carried him to earth with a stroke of the axe, and quickly the Scotsman sought to lift himself, but Meriadet put his palm and knee against the back of the Scotsman, and again made him fall and kiss the sand. And despite the request that Sir Jacques de Lalaing had made of him, the said Meriadet, seeing the two knights wrestle together went to aid the said Sir Jacques, but the King of Scotland threw down his baton and had them parted with the said Meriadet free in his battle to rescue his companions at his pleasure . And because this was done against my order I have written of this battle without personally having seen it. I have written the truth according to the report of the Scots and those of our party, so that I was able to recount it without error, because I would charge to sir Jacques the enterprise of this fine adventure and others came about.

Oliver de la Marche, Memories Paris 1884 II. 105 Translation copyright Will McLean 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

15th Century Deeds of Arms

Challenge by Michel D'Orris 1400

Victory of Seven French against Seven English in a Private Combat 1402

How Jean de Werchin, seneschal of Hainault, sent his letters to diverse countries to do arms, 1402
An Account of those Combats

Richard Beauchamp Jousts at Coronation of Queen Jane, 1403

Orleans vs. Burgundy: an Aborted Outrance Combat of Seven vs. Seven, 1406

The Seneschal of Hainault Performs a Deed of Arms in Valencia, 1407
de Lannoy's account

Richard Beauchamp vs. Pandolfo Malatesta 1408

The Seneschal of Hainault Challenges the Knights of the Garter, 1408

John of Cornwall vs. the Seneschal of Hainault 1409

Richard Beauchamp Tourneys, c. 1410

The Seneschal of Hainault and His Companions Do Arms at Smithfield, 1410

Challenge of the Earl of Warwick 1412-1413
Richard Beauchamp vs. Gerard Herbaumes, 1413
Richard Beauchamp vs. Hugh Launey, 1413
Richard Beauchamp vs. Colard Fynes, 1413

Gerard Herbaumes Issues a Challenge, ca. 1413

How Arms Were Done in the Mines Before Arras,1414

Richard Beauchamp vs. A German Duke c. 1415

The Duke of Bourbon's Enterprise 1415

D’Ollumen vs. de la Haye 1415

Rumaindres vs. de Bars 1415

Alvaro Continge vs. Clugnet de Brabant 1415

Three Portuguese Do Arms against Three French at Paris, 1415

Two Challenges Fought at Arras, 1423

Falces Guzman 1428

Passo de Fuerte Ventura

Maillotin de Bours vs. Hector de Flavy, 1431

The Passo Honroso, 1434

A Combat between Sir Juan de Merlo and the Lord de Chargny, 1435

Merlo vs de Chargny 1435 

Quijada vs. Haubourdin 1435

De Saxe vs. Pimentel 1435

Merlo vs.Ramstein 1435 or 1436

Squire John Astley meets Pierre de Massy in Paris--1438

Passo de Valladolid, 1440 

Boyle vs.Asteley, January 30, 1442

The Pas d'Armes of Charlemagnes' Tree, 1443
Challenges and Articles for the Deed of Arms
De Vaudrey and de Compais Fight on Foot with Swords

Boniface vs. Lalaing 1445

Jousts at the marriage of Margaret of Anjou at Nancy, 1445

Pas de Chalons-sur-Marne, 1445

Emprise de la gueule du dragon, between Razilly and Chinon 1446

Emprise de la Joyeuse Garde, near Saumur,1446

Galiot de Baltasin and Phillipe de Ternant Fight on Foot with Lances, 1446

Galiot de Baltasin and Phillipe de Ternant Fight with Swords, 1446

Pas du Geant a la Blanche Dame du Pavilion, 1446

L'Emprise du Cœur volant vermeil aux larmes blanches 1446

Pas du Chevalier Aventureux 1447 or 1448

Lalaing vs. Guzman, 1448

How Sir Jacques de Lalaing did arms in Scotland; and of many other particulars in the house of Burgundy. (1448)

Lalaing vs Thomas Kay(?), 1448

Pas de la Belle Pelerin, 1449

Pas de la Bergere, 1449,

Haubourdin vs. de Bearn ca. 1449

Pas de la Fontaine aux Pleurs 1449-1450

Jacques de Lalaing and Jacques d'Avanchies Fight with Swords, 1450
De la Marche's Account
Chastelain's Account.

Jacques de Lalaing vs. Jean Pientois, 1450

Pas du Pin aux Pommes d'Or Pas du Chevalier au Cygne

1458 Sasse vs. Rebremettes, 1458

Pas du Compagnon a la Larme Blanche, 1458

Pas de Jaen, 1461

Pas de Lille 1461

Pas de la Perron Fee 1463

Pas de la Dame Inconnu 1463 or 1464

Chassa vs. Bretelles, 1466

The Tiptoft Rules, 1466

Bastard of Burgundy vs. Scales 1467

Pas de la'Arbre d'Or, 1468

Pas de la Dame Sauvage, 1470

Ayre, Picardy 1494

Hamilton vs. Caupance, ca. 1500

To Cry a Joust, 15th Century

King Rene's Tournament Book