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Inactive Forums => The Riddle of Steel => Topic started by: Spikor on August 13, 2002, 08:29:59 AM



Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Spikor on August 13, 2002, 08:29:59 AM
Any ideas out there on what the stats would be for oriental weapons specifically, the katana and the wakizashi?


Title: Re: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Bob Richter on August 13, 2002, 08:37:50 AM
Quote from: Spikor
Any ideas out there on what the stats would be for oriental weapons specifically, the katana and the wakizashi?


Just off the top of me head (and keep in mind I really have no idea what I'm talking about.)

Katana:
Take theLongsword as a base. It's a fairly similar weapon.
Increase the thrust ATN by 1 (Katanas aren't built for offensive thrusts.)
Increase the cut damage by 2 and work it like a Sabre. (-1 against soft armors, -2 against hard)

Wakizashi:
Maybe just use the Sabre stats? Or modify an Arming Sword like we modified the Longsword for a Katana?

As I said, I have no idea what I'm talking about. Someone more familiar with the weapons might have a better idea.


Title: Re: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Mike Holmes on August 13, 2002, 08:38:52 AM
Quote from: Spikor
Any ideas out there on what the stats would be for oriental weapons specifically, the katana and the wakizashi?


I'm guessing scimitar and arming sword respectively? For the well fashioned ones with the super sharp edges allow a +1 damage until the sword is parried or hits armor. Then reduce it to normal until parried or it hits armor again. Then reduce it to -1. Great weapons against the peasantry, but fragile against armored foes, or those similarly armed.

Mike


Title: Got to dissagre
Post by: Riddlemaster on August 14, 2002, 06:03:54 PM
OK well were starting to drift more into my realm here so I got to disagree with on the lessing of damage every hit.  A finely made Katana is a work of art, a test theyuse to use is to see how thick a piece of wood they can cut it through.  While the Europeans were just figuring oout how to put edges on swords,, Japenese sword masters were folding there weapons.  I would rather take a Katana against a guy in chain or leather then a long sword, against plate just give me a big ass mace or warhammer.  AS for the rules on thursting your dead on in my Iado class the primary thrust attack in called a Skiet (probally spelled wrong) were you have to actually dip the blade to thrust up..  always felt very wierd to me.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Jake Norwood on August 14, 2002, 06:08:47 PM
I don't want to get too hot-topic on this, but

there are lots of really overblown myths concerning the katana.

That's that. I've trained with Andy Mayer, who taugh ShinKendo for many years, a school that is very controversial because it takes kendo to a more martial, non-sport level. Their founder is Obata, who holds the record for hard test cutting in Japan since the 1300's; Andy trained under this guy. I know the guy that forged Obata's masterful katana, Paul Champagne, master swordsmith (I've handled one of his $8000 katanas as well).

The katana is a fine weapon, but its just a sword.

Jake


Title: Of course
Post by: Riddlemaster on August 14, 2002, 06:15:18 PM
I agree 100%.  My main reason of prefering the Katana over the Longsword is weight.  I hate heavy weappons.  Now granted the longsword has its advantages.  Wanna see a 9K Katana shatter parry with spine of teh blade or the flat.  But ive never seen platemail take a full cut from either all i know is i rather get hit by either one then a damn warhammer or pick  Thats just got to hurt.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Jake Norwood on August 14, 2002, 07:23:12 PM
what wieght are you thinking of for a katana and a longsword? A period longsword (4' total) weighs in at 2.5 lbs, and is masterfully balanced. I am not very familiar with katana weights, but I know that they are more dense and use more metal, but are also almost a foot shorter.

Jake


Title: 2.5 POUNDS???
Post by: Riddlemaster on August 14, 2002, 07:39:29 PM
HUH???  UMMM  ::WALKS INTO OTHER room::  ok I got a so called long sword down (replica of Excalubir out of the Ecalibur movie) and a katan ain teh other hand.  No granted the Exclaibur is a show sword but it feels heavier.  Hmm  now also rember i have fought with longsowrds maybe 4/5 times and have practiced with Katana for close on 15 years.  So maybe its more a use to thing then actual weight.. but i bow to your knowledge my friend.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Jake Norwood on August 14, 2002, 08:04:59 PM
The replica you have--or any replica that was made after a movie or that cost under $300 is going to be horribly--and I mean really horribly--made. Katanas, due to their more simple design (I can hear the indignation in the masses, but it's true) are easier to make in lower qualities.

The thing is that in Japan they have historical standards for the kinds of swords that are made, thus a reasonable high mark of crafstmanship. What we find in the west, though, is 99% crapsmanship and "sword like objects." The cheapest you'll find a sword with period wieght will be Del Tin or similar--the wieght will be pretty close, but the balance will still be wrong. We in the west have victimized our own martial heritage in a fashion that only the west could, and it's image has suffered, as have people's understanding of it.

Jake,
who is stepping off of his soapbox


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Valamir on August 14, 2002, 08:25:39 PM
Its a good soap box to be on.  The number of smiths today who can forge even reasonably good swords in the west can probably be measured on the fingers of one hand.

The vast majority of swords out there are good for one thing and one thing only...they look cool hanging on the wall.  

Set aside evidence for the time being and just focus on pure logic.  Medieval battles could last ALONG time.  Many of them ended because darkness prevented further fighting.  Take a typical 8#, 12#, or even heavier replica sword.  Can you even concieve of a man swinging one of these things all day with one arm...I don't care what kind of shape they're in...it isn't likely.

Before the rise of nationalism and largely conscript armies the people who fought in Europe were professional soldiers with many centuries of tradition and expertise.  Its become fashionable (since the so called Renaissance actually) to think of them as big dumb barbarians.  Wrong.  Very wrong.  The idea of the Renaissance rising up out of the dark ages to restore culture is a HUGE myth.  Charlemagne's court could rival any renaissance princes and that was in the 800s.

The katana is a fine sword, but it is in no way shape or form inherently superior to a western sword.  That too is a myth, a myth that stems from the idea the west was barbaric while the east was cultured.  Also not true.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 15, 2002, 06:45:15 AM
Hi there,

Spikor, here's my call, speaking as someone who knows a bit about fighting and has no particular axe to grind regarding the East/West comparison.

Katana = arming sword or longsword, depending on the length.

Wakizashi = shortsword or hefty dagger, depending on the length.

I don't see any reason to modify any of the rules or maneuvers for using them in-game.

Riddlemaster, some of this discussion is getting muddied by the fact that you don't have a "longsword" in hand - you have a modern-commercial object that serves as advertisement for a movie. All historical swords are way, way lighter than most people think.

Best,
Ron


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: GreatWolf on August 15, 2002, 08:08:09 AM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hi there,
Katana = arming sword or longsword, depending on the length.

Wakizashi = shortsword or hefty dagger, depending on the length.

I don't see any reason to modify any of the rules or maneuvers for using them in-game.


As an interested amateur, I'd agree with Ron.  However, I'd say that the wakizashi is more of a short sword and the tanto is a dagger.  I'd also be inclined to lean towards the long sword vs. the arming sword for the katana.  At least that's what I'd do if I were running samurai with TROS.

I'm also not going to get into a holy war over katana vs. long sword, since I don't know enough to fight that war intelligently.  :-)  I personally study kenjutsu, but I have never done any significant research into the western martial arts, so I can't make a reasonable comparison.  My old sensei has, but he's back in Erie.  :-(

Seth Ben-Ezra


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 15, 2002, 08:13:31 AM
To clarify,

By "or," in my above post, I mean to say that both of the TROS designations may be used. That is, katana varied in length, as did wakizashi, or any weapon out there. For instance, if I were playing TROS set in one of the eastern-style settings of Weyrth, or in a historical or fantastical Japanese setting, I would permit a player to define katana as either longsword or arming sword depending on what the player wanted.

It's not a matter of having to define (say) "katana" as one, single, specified, this-is-it TROS designation.

Tanto = dagger, certainly.

Best,
Ron


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Mike Holmes on August 15, 2002, 09:09:46 AM
The reason I specified using the sabre or scimitar instead of the longsword, is that they have the reduced thrusting TNs, which it seems most agree is a factor with the japanese blades. They are also more similar in length ranges, on average, I'd think. Statswise, I think these make the most sense. As well, I think that the sword and shield, or two weapon combination (case of rapiers) would be the most likely proficiency. For example, I'm going to guess, that half-swording was never used with the very sharp japanese blades. I'd like to see a proficiency that focused on the two blades (katana/wakazashi), but had less thrusting, and more other maneuvers, than case of rapiers.

If you must use the longsword stats, consider reducing it's thrusting strength, and creating a new proficiency at the very least.

Mike


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Lyrax on August 15, 2002, 10:24:05 AM
It wouldn't be case of rapiers.  Rapiers are thrusting only weapons, and katanas are not.  The proficiency would, if anything, be more similar to cut & thrust or even longsword/greatsword, depending on how one uses the katana.  That is to say, a short katana with a wakazashi would definitely be cut & thrust, but a longer single weapon would be longsword/greatsword proficiency.

As for two weapons, that's cut & thrust, all the way.  Cut & thrust users always have an off-hand something or other.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Mike Holmes on August 15, 2002, 11:19:54 AM
Quote from: Lyrax
It wouldn't be case of rapiers.  Rapiers are thrusting only weapons, and katanas are not.  The proficiency would, if anything, be more similar to cut & thrust or even longsword/greatsword, depending on how one uses the katana.  That is to say, a short katana with a wakazashi would definitely be cut & thrust, but a longer single weapon would be longsword/greatsword proficiency.

As for two weapons, that's cut & thrust, all the way.  Cut & thrust users always have an off-hand something or other.


That's more or less what I was getting at. A Cut and Thrust proficiency but with more cut and less thrust. I only mentioned case of rapiers because the off-hand wepaon in this case (wakizashi) is fully a sword, and with cut and thrust I get the feeling that it's smaller stuff usually.

So, again, I think it needs it's own proficiency to do right.

While we're at it, what would you use for a no-dachi? Longsword? Or dopplehander? Interestingly, it's usually only as long as a big longsword, but I think that given the relatively diminutive size of the weilders, it would be used in a more two-handed fashion, no? Can one use either proficiency with either weapon?

Mike


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Lyrax on August 15, 2002, 12:38:44 PM
All of these weapons, when used in an oriental fashion (that was a key phrase) should have their own proficiencies, I think.  No-dachi should default to longsword/greatsword at the smallest penalty, and Katana/Wakazashi for cut & thrust.

Of course, if there are no european styles (i.e., no longswords, greatswords, etc.), then replace cut & thrust with katana, greatsword with no-dachi, etc.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Bob Richter on August 15, 2002, 02:56:55 PM
Quote from: Valamir
Its a good soap box to be on.  The number of smiths today who can forge even reasonably good swords in the west can probably be measured on the fingers of one hand.

The vast majority of swords out there are good for one thing and one thing only...they look cool hanging on the wall.  

Set aside evidence for the time being and just focus on pure logic.  Medieval battles could last ALONG time.  Many of them ended because darkness prevented further fighting.  Take a typical 8#, 12#, or even heavier replica sword.  Can you even concieve of a man swinging one of these things all day with one arm...I don't care what kind of shape they're in...it isn't likely.

Before the rise of nationalism and largely conscript armies the people who fought in Europe were professional soldiers with many centuries of tradition and expertise.  Its become fashionable (since the so called Renaissance actually) to think of them as big dumb barbarians.  Wrong.  Very wrong.  The idea of the Renaissance rising up out of the dark ages to restore culture is a HUGE myth.  Charlemagne's court could rival any renaissance princes and that was in the 800s.

The katana is a fine sword, but it is in no way shape or form inherently superior to a western sword.  That too is a myth, a myth that stems from the idea the west was barbaric while the east was cultured.  Also not true.


While there is some error in saying the Renaissance rose up out of the dark ages to restore culture, it's not FAR wrong. Charlemagne's court was more or less a one-off thing, and the knowledge lost over that peroid (between the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Renaissance) was horrendous. The ancient Greeks KNEW, not thought, KNEW that the Earth was round. The average Roman citizen could even READ. That Europe took giant steps backward between the fall of the Empire and the beginning of the Renaissance is an indisputable fact that only a (very foolish) historical revisionist would stick his foot in.

Now, weapons technology DID advance, that's true. But it didn't stop advancing either. A Rapier would not have been practical with the metal-working techniques of the 800s, while it was decidedly practical by the 1800s. Nor is shoddy workmanship a distinguishing characteristic of the modern era. Incompetence and fraud were every bit as prevalent then as now. It is as foolish to fall into the worship of our ancestors' craftsmanship as it is to deride it.

At some point, the civilizations focused on China *were* more advanced than their western counterparts. They watched the stars and recorded what they saw. They knew how to read. They forged weapons of the finest steel and wrote some of the most enduring and accurate works on the practice of warfare while westerners were still so addled they didn't realise they would HAVE to throw off Catholic orthodoxy before they could regain all that they had lost.

Only AFTER the Renaissance, with the correct and deliberate practice of science, did Europe get ahead.

But Europe DID get ahead, and it didn't take long. By Weyrth's period, the West and East should be more or less on par, but this is a state that will not last long (in historical, not game, terms.)

It is unrealistic to think of someone swinging a sword for hours. This would be impossible, were a sword a feather. You can't even perform the motions with your arms alone for that long. BATTLES lasted days, but individual ENGAGEMENTS are a matter of minutes or seconds. Then, today, forever. They simply CANNOT last any longer. Thus the value of the reserve.

The Katana is NOT superior to a Western sword, but neither is it identical to one. It has its own strengths and weaknesses and its own methods for use.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Jake Norwood on August 15, 2002, 05:20:31 PM
[quote"Bob Richter"]The Katana is NOT superior to a Western sword, but neither is it identical to one. It has its own strengths and weaknesses and its own methods for use.[/quote]

My point exactly.

Suggested Katana Stats:
Cut
ATN 5
ST + 2 damage, -2 vs. metal armors
Thrust
ATN 7
ST dam, or mayble ST +1
DTN 7 (katanas were never meant for real intense parrying, as I understand it)

This is all based on my limited but otherwise solid understanding of a katana. Katana would have its own proficiency that would consist of:
Cut (0)
Thrust (1?)
Counter (2 or 3?)
Iai (a quick-draw maneuver that I wrote for TFOB)
and maybe a few others.

Fighting with the wakizashi simultaneously was a rare thing, practiced by the (let's face it) partially mythological Myamoto Musashi and not many others. I would suppose, however, that someone with the katana could use the wak. at no default penalty, lumping them in together. A daisho proficiency--separate from katana--would cover Musashi's style.

Jake,
who saw Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress for the first time last night


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: contracycle on August 16, 2002, 01:14:21 AM
I'm afraid I disagree.  Metalworking has a substantially longer, and more importantly coherent, history in the far east than it does in the west.  Hugely so.  Chinese archeology has revealed bronze swords constructed around a steel core in the region of 2000 years old, IIRC, and still shaveable sharp.  I am not aware of ANY comparable metalworking anywhere else.  Far eastern matallurgy is not just different, its very different, and the properties attributed to it do not IMO come from romanticism.  I also don't think that the european combatant was much of a match for his far eastern opposite number; the social histories are very distinct and produce distinct specialisations.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Jaif on August 16, 2002, 03:53:27 AM
Quote
I'm afraid I disagree. Metalworking has a substantially longer, and more importantly coherent, history in the far east than it does in the west.


From "Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times" by Thomas Martin, pg 14:

Quote
Radiocarbon dates further suggest that European metalsmiths developed copper metallurgy independently from Near Eastern metalsmiths because it shows this technology developing in various European locations around the same time as in the Near East.  By the fourth millennium B.C., for instance, smiths in the Balkans were casting copper ax heads with the hole for the ax handle in the correct position...The European Bronze Age...therefore commenced at approximately the same date as the Near Eastern Bronze Age


[Assume all typos to be my own.] I'm not aware of the numbers for the Chinese Bronze Age, but it's hard to be "substantially longer" than the 4th millennium B.C.  

Quote
While there is some error in saying the Renaissance rose up out of the dark ages to restore culture, it's not FAR wrong. Charlemagne's court was more or less a one-off thing, and the knowledge lost over that peroid (between the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Renaissance) was horrendous. The ancient Greeks KNEW, not thought, KNEW that the Earth was round. The average Roman citizen could even READ. That Europe took giant steps backward between the fall of the Empire and the beginning of the Renaissance is an indisputable fact that only a (very foolish) historical revisionist would stick his foot in.


This is a misconception, and I challenge you to document it.  The europeans advanced on many fronts throughout the feudal period.  No one disagreed with Columbus that the earth was round - they argued how big it was.  The silly part was that Columbus was wrong, but luckily there was an extra couple of continents there for him to land on. :-)

I suggest everyone read "Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel" by Frances & Joseph Gies.  

Btw, I'm not arguing that the all is European, nothing came from china, etc.  But the concept that Europe was an empty wasteland of the mind until someone screwed in a new lightbulb in 1500 A.D. is plain silly.

-Jeff


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Valamir on August 16, 2002, 04:37:36 AM
Thanks Jeff.  The "Barbarian West" is one of those myths that has become so ingrained that its extremely difficult to combat.  Sure there were set backs, there are set backs whenever looting and pillaging occurs on a large scale, no one would claim that culture and science advanced in a smooth line from Rome to Renaissance...but the idea that it took a 1000 year hiatus is equally wrong.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: contracycle on August 16, 2002, 08:33:37 AM
[quote="Jaif]
From "Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times" by Thomas Martin, pg 14:
[/quote]

Note that I said "coherent".  Sure, greece develops metalworking - but greece as a polity is not around continuously.  Other states produce metalworking, some borrowed, some invented.  But what is completely different is the social context in which an eastern society, more stable and much more coherent, is able to maintain and disseminate this knowlegde.  There is no equivalent in the west.  Furthermore, there is another separate and autocthonous metalworking tradition among the northern "nomads".

By contrast, Rome has the most sophisticated technology in western history until the industrial revolution.  Its an open question as to whether mediaeval metalworkers even matched the achievements of greece or rome, let alone china.  There simply is no equivalent history of accumulated knowledge and technique, becuase there is no equivalently stable polity.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Lance D. Allen on August 16, 2002, 09:45:15 AM
Except for the focus on thrust. I think Mike is on the right track. The japanese blades were cutting weapons, and any sort of thrust was uncommon and took skill and technique to do properly. I think the weapons should be modified from the longsword/arming sword and short sword stats, and a new proficiency made to cover these differences.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Lyrax on August 16, 2002, 09:58:14 AM
I don't know how you can claim that medieval weapon/armorsmithing could be inferior to classical roman/greek stuff, but let's take a look at the peak armors and weapons.

ARMOR

Greece:  Bronze breastplates and helmets.

Rome:  Light armor made mostly of Bronze.

Medieval Germany:  Steel plate heavy armors.

Japan:  Bamboo, with iron reinforcing bars.


WEAPONS

Greece:  Spears.

Rome:  Javelins and short swords.  Also note huge tower shields.

Medieval Germany:  Doppelhanders, pikes, greatswords, bastard swords, flails, warhammers, etc.

Japan: Katana.

If you ask me, the armors are not even a comparison.  Medieval germany had good armor, and nobody else did.  The weapons are harder to compare, but I think that Japan and Medieval Germany had the best weapons.  Japanese weapons are extremely effective against non-metal armors and unarmored individuals, but the medieval weapons are effective whether the target is armored or not.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Jaif on August 16, 2002, 11:29:49 AM
Quote
Note that I said "coherent". Sure, greece develops metalworking - but greece as a polity is not around continuously.


Eh?  If you're saying that name "Greece" didn't remain at the top of the heap for long, I guess I agree.  But western civilization is a blend of numerous cultures, and Greek is certainly one of them.  For that matter, the Byzantine Empire, which survived to the end of the middle ages, was basically a Greek empire.

What's fascinating to me was that the Celts had iron long before the Chinese, and used it to settle a wide range of area from Ireland to Turkey (Galatia).  Of course, in the process they kinda ticked off the Romans by invading, which proved to be a bit of mistake when the Romans decided to make a return visit. :-)

Quote
By contrast, Rome has the most sophisticated technology in western history until the industrial revolution.


No.  Rome mustered more manpower, and had a larger scale than anything the west did, but more sophisticated? Absolutely not.

I don't want to go too far down this road - it's rather silly, IMO, arguing whose culture discovered X first, when the odds are we don't really know the truth because we only go by what we dig up.  It's also dumb because it's very hard to seperate the Europeans from the Middle East - there was a lot of back & forth there.

But I will say this: saying that the Europeans had no substantial scientific progress for hundreds of years and then suddenly decided to figure it all out when the clock struck 1500 is utterly silly.

-Jeff


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Mike Holmes on August 16, 2002, 03:01:23 PM
Hmm. Interesting. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Europe had no scientific progress, but, let's admit that they weren't up to par with their contemporaries in many fields. When Grenada was "liberated" from the Moors in 1492, there were hundreds of thousands of books in the city, more than people. As opposed to most Eurpopean cities which may have had one or two "libraries" with a book or two. A dozen books was about the limit in the vast majority of places.

What happened to all those books in Grenada? They were burnt. In fact, if it weren't for an exception to this practice, in Toledo a century or so earlier, there would have been no major libraries in Europe at the time. As it was, the library at Toledo was important enough to transform that city into center of learning.

No, the Europeans were not completely backwards, and a few monks here and there had managed to salvage a few books. But they had nothing in most sciences on the arabs to say nothing of the far east. It wouldn't be until the seventeenth century that even an semblance of parity in learning came about.

But this is all moot. We are talking armor and weapons, here, not algebra (from the arabic al-gebr) or astronomy (the Mayans were kicking everyone's ass in this until they dissappeared), or statesmanship that allowed for large countries (China proper was at no time less than ten times the population of Europe, and at times fifty times larger). No, the Europeans were good at one thing, really. Killin'. Not to say that they killed barbarically, they often killed each other in great splendor and gallantry. But they killed each other nonetheless. Mostly a matter of the interesting geography of Europe that makes languages and cultures fractured over short distances. Blame the Romans, too, for starting it all with the Imperial Attitude.

This is not to say that other cultures never fought, BTW, just that for them it was an occasional passtime instead of a full time occupation. :-)

In any case, along with killing comes weaponry technology. Neccessity is the mother of invention, and the Europeans felt it a necessity to wage war. And as such this particular technology did not suffer. Just when they would look to be falling behind, A king Richard would go off to the mideast and come back knowing how to make the better steel that his men had been run through with. These foreign ventures kept the Europeans at least at a par with others in terms of weaponry. But nobody needed armor like the nobility of the west, and given this need it should be obvious to anyone who's ever seen a suit of Maximillian plate that the Europeans new how to make a man invulnerable on the field of battle.

Tell me that folks who can make that stuff, can't make a good sword.

Just my ten cents.

Mike


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: contracycle on August 19, 2002, 04:19:04 AM
Quote from: Mike Holmes

Tell me that folks who can make that stuff, can't make a good sword.


I'm not sure the European historical record is particularly violent by historical standards, as it happens.  I would not challenge whether or not European smiths could make useful, effective weaponry; but whether they were equivalent to the pedigree of Eastern metallurgy is, at the very least, highly dubious IMO.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Valamir on August 19, 2002, 05:58:39 AM
Mike makes an excellent point.  Science and culture and practical know how are two completely different things.

We see a similiar seperation in ship building.  It wasn't until the 19th century where the "rule of measure" began to replace the "rule of thumb" when it came to making ships.  For the centuries prior craftsman with (by comparison) only the crudest of plans and no mathamatical rules to speak of crafted ships that were at the time the most ocean worthy vessels ever constructed.  They didn't need engineering science to do this, they needed only generation after generation of tradition to direct their craft.  Nor did this mean they were hidebound to the past as anyone who's ever traced the remarkable evolution of sailing vessles will see the innovation was nothing short of spectacular.

Having studied this in some detail it is quite easy for me to acknowledge a similiar tradition of remarkable craftsmanship and innovation existed among armorers who didn't need to understand the metalurigical science behind what they were doing in order to create remarkable tools


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Bob Richter on August 19, 2002, 11:56:39 AM
Quote from: Jaif
Quote
Quote
While there is some error in saying the Renaissance rose up out of the dark ages to restore culture, it's not FAR wrong. Charlemagne's court was more or less a one-off thing, and the knowledge lost over that peroid (between the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Renaissance) was horrendous. The ancient Greeks KNEW, not thought, KNEW that the Earth was round. The average Roman citizen could even READ. That Europe took giant steps backward between the fall of the Empire and the beginning of the Renaissance is an indisputable fact that only a (very foolish) historical revisionist would stick his foot in.


This is a misconception, and I challenge you to document it.  The europeans advanced on many fronts throughout the feudal period.  No one disagreed with Columbus that the earth was round - they argued how big it was.  The silly part was that Columbus was wrong, but luckily there was an extra couple of continents there for him to land on. :-)

I suggest everyone read "Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel" by Frances & Joseph Gies.  

Btw, I'm not arguing that the all is European, nothing came from china, etc.  But the concept that Europe was an empty wasteland of the mind until someone screwed in a new lightbulb in 1500 A.D. is plain silly.

-Jeff


Noone is saying that European culture stagnated from 500 AD to 1500 AD, when suddenly everything changed. That WOULD be silly. For one thing, the Renaissance began rather earlier than 1500, and for another it was hardly an overnight thing.

Some people DID disagree with Columbus: the common sailors who manned his ships. They, at the very least, were afraid of sailing off the edge of the world. Columbus was himself a renaissance explorer, and (of course!) the learned renaissance men of his time were unlikely to disagree about the shape of the world, but the "flat world" conception still largely held sway among the common people, as it had among even noblemen and scholars in times not too far previous.

That the Roman Catholic Church surpressed learning and knowledge is a truly indisputable fact. Nicholas Copernicus was put to death for his views (which turned out to be more correct) of the universe. Galileo Galilei died under house arrest because he said he saw spots on the sun. And this was at the beginning of the Renaissance!

Aside of a new wave of revisionist history, it has never been doubted (certainly not by the people of the period...!) that much was lost in the gap between the fall of the empire and the renaissance. Had it NOT been so impressive, do you honestly think the people of the time would have been so impressed with it?


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Valamir on August 19, 2002, 12:04:43 PM
Bob no one is argueing any of that, so your straw man is entirely unwarranted.

What was being discussed was the quality of swords and armor put out by late medieval to renaissance era smiths.

Further, Gallileo could be persecuted for his astronomical theories because the noble lords didn't care.  Weapons and armor is something the noble lords DID care about and on that issue the church's track record on supression (witness the laws forbidding fighting on Sunday, and the use of the crossbow) was almost entirely ineffective.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Bob Richter on August 19, 2002, 12:23:41 PM
Quote from: Valamir
Bob no one is argueing any of that, so your straw man is entirely unwarranted.

What was being discussed was the quality of swords and armor put out by late medieval to renaissance era smiths.

Further, Gallileo could be persecuted for his astronomical theories because the noble lords didn't care.  Weapons and armor is something the noble lords DID care about and on that issue the church's track record on supression (witness the laws forbidding fighting on Sunday, and the use of the crossbow) was almost entirely ineffective.


I've already conceded the point concerning weapons and armor. I did that with my first post, if you'll look.

In case you hadn't noticed, the argument diverged. These things happen. And if you have a problem with that, do please take note that this started as a discussion of what the TROS stats for oriental weapons should be, not as a discussion of west vs east weapons technology.

The Church was generally more powerful than noble lords. Kings begged on their knees to be allowed back on their thrones when they violated one papal edict too many.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Jaif on August 19, 2002, 03:54:24 PM
Quote
Aside of a new wave of revisionist history,..


I don't mind the strong arm approach, but this is rather poor.  All you're doing by this is slamming any argument that isn't yours.

Quote
it has never been doubted (certainly not by the people of the period...!) that much was lost in the gap between the fall of the empire and the renaissance.


This is a sweeping generalization, and it is false.  However, when you use vague phrases like "much was lost", it's hard to know to what you are referring.  If you're talking about social freedoms, I'll bow out because I'm not that well versed.  If you're talking about economic conditions, I'd agree; once the Jihad swept across N. Africa in the 600s (? memory bad), the established economy was wiped out and it took centuries for things to recover.

However, if we're discussing technology, then you're dead wrong.  Medieval Europe continually improved its technological base in numerous areas.  I'm not saying they invented it all (a rather silly thing to worry about), but they most certainly used.  For example:

- Sailing ships were far in advance of Roman times.
- Windmills, etc were far more in advance.
- Techniques for working iron.
- Farming technologies
- Dyeing
- Glassmaking
- Architecture


All of these, and I'm sure others that I forgot, advanced in the middle ages.  This isn't hypothetical, it's simply based on finds and digs.

Quote
Some people DID disagree with Columbus: the common sailors who manned his ships. They, at the very least, were afraid of sailing off the edge of the world. Columbus was himself a renaissance explorer, and (of course!) the learned renaissance men of his time were unlikely to disagree about the shape of the world,..


I'll have to reread books - I'd like to know which sailors and what their stories are and how we know their beliefs.  However, it's rather immaterial: saying that the 'average' person in the middle ages was uneducated is vastly different than saying Europe was behind technologically.  The fact remains that Christopher Columbus set sail in ships of a design far in advance of Roman ships.

Quote
... but the "flat world" conception still largely held sway among the common people, as it had among even noblemen and scholars in times not too far previous.


I would like to see some support for the latter part of this statement, especially which noblemen and scholars.

...

I'm going to go a bit out on a limb here - what you were taught in history books in school was wrong.  The middle ages in Europe was a time of economic depression and vast social change, but technology marched ever onward.

-Jeff


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Bob Richter on August 19, 2002, 05:32:56 PM
Quote from: Jaif
Quote

I'll have to reread books - I'd like to know which sailors and what their stories are and how we know their beliefs.  However, it's rather immaterial: saying that the 'average' person in the middle ages was uneducated is vastly different than saying Europe was behind technologically.  The fact remains that Christopher Columbus set sail in ships of a design far in advance of Roman ships.

-Jeff


Why on Earth are we talking about Columbus? The man lived in the middle of the Renaissance, after some VERY important developments in shipbuilding and navigation. Of COURSE his ships were superior to Roman vessels. For a truly pre-renaissance period, we need to back up about 200 years.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Jaif on August 20, 2002, 05:26:16 AM
Bob,

To directly answer you, 200 years before you probably have cogs with keels, a development over square-rigged, flat-bottom boats.  Ok, that development may have taken place in 1000-1100 instead of 1300 (I don't remember off-hand), but close enough.  Compasses were probably also coming into vogue, and you are welcome to look up what changes in planting systems, clothing, architecture, and so on occured yourself.

I must say that at this juncture your point eludes.  I've stated specific areas of growth through the middle ages, cited a handy reference for these and others.  Your statements, on the other hand, have either been pejorative in nature - 'revisionist' - or overly general and unsupported.

...

Quote
Interesting. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Europe had no scientific progress, but, let's admit that they weren't up to par with their contemporaries in many fields.


I missed that earlier.  That's certainly a fair statement.  Europe grabbed lots of developments from others, and certainly used Arabic sources to recover lost greek texts.

One last point, and this one mostly my opinion based on admittadly a small amount of reading (I'm no historian).  My view of the middle ages is through an economic lens: specifically, the middle ages in europe was a time of economic depression, when the old latin economic systems were broken by the arab Jihad.  Unlike capitalist America, the Europeans of the time were unable to simply shrug this off after 10, 15, whatever years.  Instead, it took hundreds of years of fighting and technicological growth to overcome the situation.  

-Jeff


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Valamir on August 20, 2002, 05:54:56 AM
Quote
One last point, and this one mostly my opinion based on admittadly a small amount of reading (I'm no historian). My view of the middle ages is through an economic lens: specifically, the middle ages in europe was a time of economic depression, when the old latin economic systems were broken by the arab Jihad. Unlike capitalist America, the Europeans of the time were unable to simply shrug this off after 10, 15, whatever years. Instead, it took hundreds of years of fighting and technicological growth to overcome the situation.


Actually you're a little mixed up here.  It was the Germanic tribes that broke up the latin economic system in Europe.  In the Levant and North Africa you do, in various stages, have the spread of Islam, but Islamic society at the time was quite advanced economically.  Indeed when you have the Moorish conquest of Spain you have the Islamic Jyhad bringing an intellectual and economic revival to a region that had been disrupted by the Visigoths.

Then as now the Goths are the root of all evil ;-)

What is very interesting from an economic perspective is the transition from global economy to insular economies and back to global economies from the ancient times to the renaissance and the corresponding changes to prosperity due to trade.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Jaif on August 20, 2002, 09:33:15 AM
I'm not as mixed up as you think.  As the goths came in they may have broken up the empire and established their own little fiefdoms, but they kept the society pretty much intact.  However, from what I've read a large part of that society was based on trade across the mediterranean, and when that trade was cut off it demolished the economy of southern Europe, leaving the way open for a rise in power of the agrarian north.

-Jeff


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: svenlein on August 20, 2002, 01:23:58 PM
Here is a link with some fairly mainstream lectures on this subject:

http://orb.rhodes.edu/textbooks/Nelson/Nelindex.html


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Brian Leybourne on August 20, 2002, 01:38:33 PM
Can I go out on a limb here and suggest that you guys just agree to disagree and leave it at that?

Some language and not-quite-name-calling-yet is just starting to slip in, and I can see the initial simmering of a flame war, which is something this forum really doesn't need.

Besides, you're all wrong - humans only got technology when the aliens landed at the Nazca plains and gave it to us :-)


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Bankuei on August 23, 2002, 12:28:13 PM
Totally off the topic this thread has taken, and back onto the original premise, for anyone interested in some good references as far as asian weapons go, I have to recommend two books:

Chinese Martial Weapons, by Dr. Yang-Ming
The Fighting Arts and Weapons of Indonesia, by Donn Draeger

Both come heavily illustrated, so you get a real good idea of the weapons used, a bit of mythology and history, and some breakdowns on what the designs are supposed to do or weigh.

Chris


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Crusader on January 07, 2005, 09:58:34 AM
I thought I'd resurrect this thread just because I don't care for what Mr. Contracycle wrote.  His dislike for traditional Western culture is well-known, and he likes to believe anything that goes against what he perceives as being "The Man" (in this case, Western metallurgy) keeping the poor, underrepresented (in this case, the East) down.

I first take issue with his assertion that Eastern culture is more "coherent" or enduring than Western culture.  The Chinese were the greatest civilization the East had until very recently.  Just like in the West, they experienced ups and downs of fortune and technology.  Case in point:  the clock.  We know the Chinese invented it; by the time Western powers made large-scale contact with them, they had all but forgotten it, while it was a common itm in Europe.  China has its "dark ages" during which much learning (and technology) were lost, too, brought about by invasion, plague, and the whole host of reasons it happened in the West.  China has never been your precious "stable polity" either.  Why do you ignore the achievements of India, who produced wootz, arguably the steel best-suited to martial applications before the modern period?  If you're going to backpedal and say that you meant to include India, then I counter that India is not the *far* East, and has more in common with Western culture than it does with China.

I refer him to Dr. Alan Williams' work, "The Knight and the Blast Furnace" for research into whether or not Europe equalled the East in metallurgical achievement and particularly to answer his questions about "whether mediaeval metalworkers even matched the achievements of greece or rome, let alone china".  I especially think it's telling that China never was able to produce plate armour.  I deduce that, like Europe before the advent of armour of large sheets of steel, China simply lacked furnaces of sufficient size and sophistication.

I also call on him to produce reference for his claim that they produced "iron swords around a bronze core" 2000 years ago.  AFAIK, the only area in which China outdid the Europeans was in the making of cast iron, which doesn't really matter in weapons technology.  To say that " I also don't think that the european combatant was much of a match for his far eastern opposite number" is sheer wishful thinking.  Since most of your argument seems to be your uneducated and highly biased opinions, I offer my own:  IMO, most European fighters would have easily stomped their far eastern opposite numbers.


Title: Oriental Weapons
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 07, 2005, 10:40:34 AM
Hello,

None of these threads are currently active. You are invited to http://www.trosforums.com for any and all discussions about TROS and related matters.

Best,
Ron