Friday, November 6, 2009

Digging up weapons

A couple of years ago, coming back from Spring War, Vandel, Margi and I stopped in with Sir Aedward and Yolande (also known as pointyhat). Sir Aedward is a sword enthusiast and I asked him about good books. He recommended Oakeshott. So, when I saw it on sale at a past Festival, I ordered a copy.

The Archaeology of Weapons: Arms and Armour from Prehistory to the Age of Chivalry is a fun read. Oakeshott is a genuine enthusiast who wears his learning lightly and conveys his enthusiasm well.

He also has a good practical sense. Weapons are to be used after all. Armour has to work.

One point of caution: the book is over 40 years old and scholarship has moved on a bit. The Goths=proto knights and the it’s-all-about-stirrups are a touch dated. (But I’ve had my rant about stirrups.)

But those are quibbles. The book is an engaging mass of information—Oakeshott even discusses shield strapping—and anyone interested in the history of weapons, particularly medieval weapons, and armour should read or purchase this book.

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