Thursday, October 1, 2009

A trifecta of links

Cross-posted fromThe Cimmerian, here's some interesting links from around the web.

The second issue of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly is out. The guys over at HFQ put out a very enjoyable first issue, and they're back with three more short stories and two poems (love that!) for issue no. 2. It's free, so what are you waiting for? Go on over and do some reading.

A review of the Tantor Media audiobook, The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian . Hey, the author really seems to really know his REH :). Seriously though,, a cool Web site that you should be checking out, allowed me to post a review on their web site. I'll be very happy if it brings a few more REH readers into the fold.

How to Arm a 14th Century Knight. Great video and very instructive, if you like this sort of thing. I'm in the midst of reading Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell and had my interest in armor piqued. It's a good read so far, but I'm not sure whether I buy Cornwell's assertion that a longbow--even firing a bodkin-tipped arrow--could penetrate that type of protection with ease.


G. Benedicto said...

"...but I'm not sure whether I buy Cornwell's assertion that a longbow--even firing a bodkin-tipped arrow--could penetrate that type of protection with ease."

MythBusters should be all over this.

Matthew James Stanham said...

Your best bet is Mike Loades' "Weapons That Made Britain" for the penetrative power of the long bow. Short version is that Cornwall is perpetuating a myth, but that at short range very powerful long bows could certainly penetrate the armour of the period.

I am not 100% sure, but I think Cornwall also goes with the "Bishops used Maces" myth, and has the Arch Bishop of Canterbury fighting on the battlefield, though he was nowhere near. I might be thinking of another book, though.

Nice video, though!

Anonymous said...

Nice video indeed, but it points up one of my pet peeves about historical reenactors:

Why are so many of them fat? From the Civil War back to the 14th Century — a man who marched and fought would not look like he dined 3 a day at McDonald's.

trollsmyth said...


Here's the relevant video mentioned by Mr. Stanham:

You might also check out this, which is the same test, but with later armour:

- The Other Brian

Brian Murphy said...

Trollsmyth/MJS: Thanks for the references and videos. In watching the videos, of course, the one thing I was struck by was the tempting target of the unarmored horse. Even with barding, a horse still has a lot of exposed area and I imagine many archers brought down charging knights by killing their mount.

So far I'm enjoying Agincourt, but there's an early passage in which Cornwell writes:

The bodkin was heavier than most arrowheads because it had been made to pierce armor and, at close range, when shot from one of the great bows that only a man muscled like Hercules could draw, it would slice through the finest plate.

Color me skeptical. Perhaps in an ideal, flat-trajectory, close range shot this would occur, but I'm betting most arrows would bounce off or cause minimal damage. Of course, they would wreak havoc on the horses, and enough arrows would eventually find weak chinks (mail joints, etc) in the armor.

Anonymous: You're right. Knights were fit, hardened warriors, and they had to be.

Falze said...

"Knights were fit, hardened warriors"

Historical re-enactors, on the other hand... :)

I'm thinking Comic Book Guy at this point.

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, and the Roman army would not have accepted most of the reenactors, either. Or have them march their cervisia bellies off. :)

LOTR gets the arrow thing wrong, too, and in case of Faramir it's not even longbows but your average Orc thingies.

Though the quality of the steel may have played a role as well; maybe there was some cheap crap stuff around that an arrow could indeed penetrate. Not all knights had a lot of money to afford first class products.

Barad the Gnome said...

I think the bodkin was designed with mail in mind, what we commonly refer to as chain mail. I do not know the numbers, but it seems to me plate clad warriors on the field were in the minority. And yes, dropping a charging knights horse before he arrives would seem the most desirable outcome.