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Archive for the 'Ancient' Category
If I had all the money in the world, I think that I would make some really ridiculous purchases. Obviously, I would get a really nice car that could go really fast and had a really sleek build. I would also pay off all of my debt and go on a bunch of different vacations to all kinds of neat places that I never thought I’d be able to go before.
I think that one thing I’d really like to do would be to purchase a castle somewhere. I’m talking about like a real medieval castle with full medieval decor, somewhere in Germany or something like that. I’d love to have a European castle; above everything else, even if it meant I couldn’t buy the car or the vacations, just having a castle would be really awesome.
I went to a medieval weapons demonstration over the weekend at the local community college. Some experts showed us how people would use their weapons and the different ways they would kill an adversary using just one weapon. Medieval weapons have always interested me because they were so rudimentary but they were able to get the job done. Most of the weapons were made for close combat not like today’s weapons. Weapon fighting today have become more about distance with the invention of guns. I prefer the old ways of weapon fighting where you can look your opponent in the eyes and smell the fear and killing intent coming from their pores.
My favorite weapon from that era would have to be the spiked mace . There is a certain flow you must have in order to wield the mace effectively. It is also a good weapon to have for close range combat because it is heavy enough to break through most shields and armor. Most of the time, one blow from a mace will knock your opponent to the ground and render him unconscious of worse.
Approximately three years ago I took a two week European vacation with three of my close girlfriends. We flew from London to Venice and from Venice to Rome and Vatican City. We concluded our trip with a sunny weekend on the beaches of Barcelona.
Though each destination had its charms, my favorite part of our European adventure was Rome. The food, the architecture, the people, and the history were all so amazing. I keep a snapshot on my desk of two Coliseum gladiator actors decked out in Roman armor posed with me and my friends.
My grandparents are avid collectors of Oriental art. There condominium is full of dark lacquered furniture with intricate scenes of Asian life painstakingly painted onto every surface. Porcelain pagodas and jade Buddha statuettes cover every tabletop.
A bit of their passion for art from East Asia has rubbed off on me. Though I’m not into dark lacquered furniture and low tables, I have developed a love for Oriental swords. Thus far I have ten steel Samurai swords on display and I’m hoping to expand my collection into daggers and throwing stars.
Rapiers traditionally had complex hilts intended to protect the hand of the wielder. Fine specimens of these sweeping hilts are on display in museums world-wide. The way a hilt rapier was constructed didn’t vary greatly, but the detail put into the hilt could be quite impressive.
Rings were extended forward form the crossplate and then covered with metal plaints. The metal plains were eventually turned into cup hilts. A knuckle bow made of wood wrapped cord, wire, or leather, was also common. Finally, a highly decorated pommel was secured to the hilt as a counter balance to the long blade.
Doublets worn in the highlands of Scotland are a bit different from the doublets that were traditionally worn in the rest of the UK. The highland doublet is similar to a mess jacket and may be adorned with buttons, a jabot and cuff set, and a high-buttoned waistcoat. There are four distinct types of highland doublets: the regulation kilt doublet, the Balmoral kilt doublet, the Kenmore kilt doublet, and the Sheriffmuir kilt doublet.
The Balmoral kilt doublet is to be worn for formal affairs. Usually it features a velvet double-breasted jacket and in the modern era is worn with a belt and black bow tie. The Kenmore kilt doublet is named after the town, just east of Loch Tay. It too is made from velvet, but is always worn with a belt, lace jabot, and cuffs. It is appropriate for all formal occasions.
The battle shields of medieval times were greatly symbolic to the family or cause they represented. Family crests were often times depicted on the front of these shields and represented the beliefs and fighting spirit of each family or institution. From various furs, colors, lines and symbols, each shield stood for specific meaning and family honor.
Each color shed specific meaning to medieval shields: purple stood for royal majesty and justice; green stood for hope, joy and loyalty in love; and red was a sign of the warrior and military strength. While wavy lines could represent the sea or water, indented lines represented fire. And as for symbols; an apple or apple tree stood for felicity and peace; the chess rock stood for strategic thinking; and the eye stood for providence in government.
I was first introduced to the Society for Creative Anachronism while away at school. Though my college didn’t have many participants, I learned more about SCA through two friends at another school. They would detail their weekly training practices and preparations for the next big battle. As fascinating as weapon training was, I became more interested in the elaborate costumes participants used to clothe themselves during battle.
Every detail from the hauberk down to daggers is thoughtfully researched by the hardcore participants. For instance, a wealthier persona (player) might use a stiletto dagger, while someone who was adept with their left hand might carry a main gauche (French for “left hand”). There are eating daggers made with black antler or white bone handles. There are even bodice daggers for the ladies that can be sewn into a bodice or corset! The level of detail put into developing and clothing a character is amazing!
Though Asian décor has had its own dedicated following in the West for more than a century, in recent years it has integrated with contemporary design. Asian culture, and more specifically Japanese culture, has influenced much of modern interior design. You’ll find traditional Japanese pieces like floral screens, lacquer statues, and prints of Japanese art in contemporary interior design, as well as traditional oriental swords. In addition, the art of Feng Shui is widely practiced in Japan and has become an integral part of interior and exterior design.
It’s amazing how many pieces of far east décor you’ll find in Western design. Homes for sale on the market today have often been rearranged and prepared by interior design experts, and in addition to standard things like updated appliances and hardwood floors, homebuyers recognize Asian décor as contemporary, and from it deduce that the home is modernized and just in need of their personal touch.
When many of us think of Roman gladiators, we immediately revert to the glorified role these figures play in Hollywood movies. The truth of the matter, however, is that the life of a gladiator was not as glamorous as the films depict, and most of the warriors met an early death. In a recent NPR podcast there was a story highlighting a new archeological discovery: a massive burial site for Roman gladiators in Northern England. (Gladiators used to go on tour).
Although they can’t be certain the burial site was exclusively for Rancient roman swordsoman gladiators, several signs seem point to that conclusion. One arm on each of the skeletons had much more muscle than the other, which is probably due to the constant swinging and training with ancient Roman swords. There is evidence of a lion or tiger bite on one of the soldiers, both of which are foreign to the area and were used in gladiator battles. Finally, a hammer had damaged many of the skulls, a tactic used to disorient the gladiators.