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The evolution of shields in China (with references also to Korea and Japan) part III

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Shang Dynasty warriors with shields and bronze masks (reconstruction by the archaeologist A.I. Colovbeva)

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CONTINUED FROM PART II

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In this last part, I go on with modern reliable images of Chinese troops bearing shields from the Shang Dynasty Era up to the 19th century in order to demonstrate specifically the evolution of the Chinese shields. There are also a few examples of Korean and Japanese shields which are closely related to the Chinese ones, sometimes being almost identical with them.

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The evolution of shields in China (with references also to Korea and Japan) part II

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A clash between Tang Chinese (on the left) and Koreans (The Tang Army, Montvert publications). Note the shield of the Chinese infantryman on the left.

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CONTINUED FROM PART I

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I go on with modern reliable images of Chinese troops bearing shields from the Shang Dynasty Era up to the 19th century in order to demonstrate specifically the evolution of the Chinese shields. There are also a few examples of Korean and Japanese shields which are closely related to the Chinese ones, sometimes being almost identical with them.

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The evolution of shields in China (with references also to Korea and Japan) part I

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I chose to start with a Japanese example: Yayoi princess/queen Himiko with her guards, c.230 CE (Osprey publishing). Note the shield of the Yayoi warrior.

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            The question of the limited presence of shields or evidence of them in the archaeological finds of China, Korea and Japan, and in the artistic depictions of any kind of the respective cultures is well known to the researchers of ancient and pre-modern warfare of these nations [actually the European historical terms “ancient”, “medieval” etc cannot be applied adequately to the Chinese-Korean-Japanese History but the Western historians have to use them for convenience].

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Slaughter at the bridge: Discussion on a colossal Bronze Age battle

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Republication from  www.sciencemag.org

 

How warriors were equipped for battle.

About 3200 years ago, two armies clashed at a river crossing near the Baltic Sea. The confrontation can’t be found in any history books—the written word didn’t become common in these parts for another 2000 years—but this was no skirmish between local clans. Thousands of warriors came together in a brutal struggle, perhaps fought on a single day, using weapons crafted from wood, flint, and bronze, a metal that was then the height of military technology.

Struggling to find solid footing on the banks of the Tollense River, a narrow ribbon of water that flows through the marshes of northern Germany toward the Baltic Sea, the armies fought hand-to-hand, maiming and killing with war clubs, spears, swords, and knives. Bronze- and flint-tipped arrows were loosed at close range, piercing skulls and lodging deep into the bones of young men. Horses belonging to high-ranking warriors crumpled into the muck, fatally speared. Not everyone stood their ground in the melee: Some warriors broke and ran, and were struck down from behind.

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Erechtheion (Acropolis of Athens): Architecture, part II

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Two architectural representations of the Erechtheion temple in the Acropolis of Athens (c. 420 BC).
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XANTHIPPOS THE SPARTAN: REFORMING THE DISPIRITED CARTHAGINIAN ARMY

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phalanx

A  Macedonian  type phalanx, in  an  excellent  work  by  Johny  Shumate. The  Carthaginian  phalanx  of  the  same  type  had  much  of the  same  appearance,  because  the  Carthaginians  had  adopted  a  great  part  of   the  Greek  military  equipment (copyright: Johny Shumate)

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By  Periklis    Deligiannis

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Since  the  Archaic  Εra (7th-6th cent. BC),  Sparta  used  to  employ  mercenaries,  specifically  Cretan  archers  (Dorian  relatives  of  the  Spartans).  Since  the  time  of  the  Peloponnesian  war,  and  mostly  during  the  Hegemony  of  Sparta  over  Greece (after  404  BC),  this  city-state  became  a  significant  employer  of  Greek  mercenaries,  due  to  its  limited  number  of  hoplites.  However,  mostly  the  Spartans (Lacedaemonians)  themselves  were  sending  units  of  their  army,  under  the  leadership  of   experienced  Spartan  ‘warlords’,  to  serve  as  mercenaries  other  states,  because  of  the  financial  problems  of  their  city  which  became  more  and  more  pressing.  Despite  the  loss  of  its  power  after  368  BC,  Sparta  became  a  great  supplier  of  mercenaries,  not  only  of  its  own  Spartans  but  of  other  Greeks  also.  Gythium (the  main  Spartan/Laconian  seaport)  and  other  seaports  of  the  Tainaron  Peninsula  (Laconia)  became  during  the  4th-3rd  centuries  BC,  the  largest  mercenary  recruitment  centers  in  Greece.  The  Lacedaemonian/Spartan  mercenary  troops  consisted  mainly  of  “neodamodeis” (freed  helots),  other  Greeks (mostly  Peloponnesians),  and  secondly  by  ‘perioikoi’ (free  Laconian  and  Messenian  subjects  of  Sparta).  The  only  real  Spartans  in  these  expeditions  were  the  leader  of  the  expedition  and  a  number  of  unit  commanders  or  military  advisors.  The  expeditions  of  the  mercenaries  were  performed  under  license  of  the  official  Spartan  state.  The  mercenary  forces  used  to  depart  in  ships,  from  the  Tainaron  Peninsula.

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