Lead Moderator European Armoury
Join Date: Dec 2004
Chronology ... Biography.
As shown in my post #10, an elephant with tusks armed with (so called) swords is illustrated in "The Battle of Pashan begins", from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) by Shah Tahmasp 1530-1545.
Alvaro Velho, a chroniclar, has been in India in 1498 with Vasco da Gama, and came back in the same fleet.
Garcia de Orta was a Portuguese intelectual (Physician) Jew. He departed to the Orient in 1534, appointed Captain-Mor of the India Sea, having died in Old Goa in 1568. He was a brilliant Botanist, Pharmacologist,Tropical Medicine specialist and Antropologist. After his death, the Inquisiton started chasing his family, having soon condemned his sister to be burnt alive in a Auto-de-Fé in Goa in 1569. Garcia himself was condemned to the fire for Judaism, his remnants being exhumed for the purpose.
I don't think such personality would have copied Alvaro Velho's router notes.
Actually his wider description of the war elephant subject reads: (before my previous quotation) they (elephants) go to war armoured, especially in the forehead and chest, like harnessed horses; they put pending bells in their flanks ...; (after my previous quotation) ... bring hooks and bisarmas (large bills) abnd lately they bring meios berços (small cannons) and panelas de polvora (period fashion gun powder pans).
Admitedly hundreds, possibly thousands of elephant swords may have existed in the past, only four pairs and the single example in the Met are known to survive today.
One may easily realize that as, not all elephants were engaged in war, most certainly not all war elephants carried swords in their tusks. Maybe this was a fashion adopted only by certain sectors; and maybe they turned out to manifestly cumbersome.
But, as the Spaniard says:
Yo no creo en brujas, pero que las hay, las hay !
which in an easy tranlation means:
I don't believe in witches ... still they do exist !