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Old 9th December 2018, 06:53 AM   #61
ariel
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Not only this elephant carries a stone fort with 4 cannons on his back, but he also emits fire and brimstone from his trunk. That’s what I call irrefutable evidentiary value of iconography :-)
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Old 9th December 2018, 03:53 PM   #62
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In The Encyclopedia of the Sword by Nick Evangelista I found the text below on p. 203.
Some of the old texts mention trunk swords, while other mention tusk swords, and some of the measurers/weights mentioned must be wrong, although I think the tusk swords might have been heavier than the trunk swords.
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Old 9th December 2018, 04:44 PM   #63
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The whole description in Stone's work reads, in page 216:

"ELEPHANT SWORD.
Many of the early travelers in the East speak of elephant swords. Ludovici di Varthema (1501-1568) says that they were two fatoms* long and attached to the trunk. More reasonable accounts describe them as blades projecting from sockets slipped over the tusks. (Burton Sword 216). Moser illustrates a pair of the latter description."


* twelve foot. Obviously an exorbitance.
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Old 9th December 2018, 05:28 PM   #64
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Amazing you guys!!!
These entries carry perfectly what I was trying to say. These entries could not say it better. The 'license' employed in these artworks and embellishment in these accounts illustrate the metaphors and simile often present in metaphysical and elaborate accounts of figures and events.

I really appreciate all these great references, and it really adds a lot to getting to the bottom of all these tales and lore. A stone fort on an elephants back firing cannon!! and 12 foot swords on an elephants trunk!!!......weights!!…..100 pound swords on the tusks!!!??????? really????

Thank you guys!
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Old 9th December 2018, 07:02 PM   #65
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The great historian João de Barros (1496-1570) author of "ASIA", in decade III, Book IV, Chaper IV, narrating a war between the Kings of Narsinga and Hidalcan, mentions:

Of all his people of war, those on horses wore cotton laudeis (lamelar cushion vests) both in body as in head and arms, all so hard that would defend any spear blow, as if they were iron blades.
And the harnessed horses were also armed in the same manner, and equally the elephants, each one carrying his castle, from which four men fought, and in the teeth (tusks) were placed opposed bisarmas (bulky bills), hence so slicers that nothing could bear them.


Although i used the Web to easier locate this part, i have my own three tome 1945 edition .


.

Last edited by fernando : 9th December 2018 at 07:27 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 9th December 2018, 09:03 PM   #66
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I think it is fantastic what we have found out about the elephant armouring, a lot due to Frenando - thank you very much.
It is a part of the Indian wars, especially the earlier wars, of which we know very little, but it is fascinating all the same.
Now it would be just as fascinating to get a view of the early Indian weapons. I know they are few, but does someone have some to share?
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Old 9th December 2018, 09:11 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
I think it is fantastic what we have found out about the elephant armouring, a lot due to Fernando - thank you very much...

My pleasure, Jens; i have also learnt a lot myself .
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Old 9th December 2018, 09:35 PM   #68
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Although I do love the miniatures Fernando shows, you should be aware of, that they are not always correct - the miniatures. As there can always be the artistical elemnt, but the later miniatures are mostly correct - I think.
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Old 9th December 2018, 09:48 PM   #69
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It is like some times artists have a combined manner to do things wrong in a standard way. You take the Simpsons cartoons, for one; they are designed with four fingers in their hands but the artists know they should have five.
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Old 9th December 2018, 10:40 PM   #70
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Re: image of trunk sword in Moser 1912.
I have 1925 and 1955 editions: nothing there.

Anybody here has 1912 edition ?

I also went through a Russian book by K.S. Nosov “ Traditional weapons of India” EKSNO, Moscow 2011.

Apparently, the author visited several museums in India and the Leeds Armoury. He photographed mainly the entire glass-covered panels of various weapons and some individual examples. Virtually all photos are very small, and details are not discernible. A lot of pictures are republished from other sources ( quite a lot from Elgood) without attribution.
There is one drawing of a trunk sword of unknown provenance, dimensions and details. It looks just like one in Post # 14.
The text is intriguing:
( Translation is mine)

“Afanasij Nikitin reported that Indians attached big and heavy swords to trunks and tusks of elephants. Such practice is confirmed by other sources. For example, even at the beginning of the VI century one Sun Yun, a Chinese traveler, reported the existence of swords attached to the trunks of war elephants (Kistler, “War elephants”, Westport- London, 2006). In addition, other implements tied to the trunks were maces, scythes and even chains. Chains were as terrible as swords. Imagine an elephant swinging a trunk to which two or three segments of chain weighing about 100 kg each! The tusk swords were not less dangerous. There are known instances when an elephant was throwing its victim high in the air and then cut it in half with sword blades. Additionally, tusk swords were often covered with poison to frighten enemy combatants who did not dare to approach the elephant.
....Chains were also tied to elephant’s legs and those allowed “pegging” the animal to the ground if it started panicking” ( the latter refers to the image shown in Post #41)


Well, we have discussed fantastic stories coming from ancient authors. Regretfully, the modern ones are not better....
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Old 10th December 2018, 12:40 AM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
This perhaps a more refutable version !


.



i feel sad for that animal
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Old 10th December 2018, 11:13 AM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Re: image of trunk sword in Moser 1912.
I have 1925 and 1955 editions: nothing there.
Anybody here has 1912 edition ?...

I guess Jens has a copy !
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Old 10th December 2018, 11:16 AM   #73
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Fernando,
Re. elephant-mounted machine gunner.
AFAIK, every elephant required a mahout, i.e. driver. This person straddled elephant's neck and controlled the animal with an ankus.

Somehow I wouldn't like to work as a mahout in the situation shown in the above photo, with the barrel of a large caliber machine gun right behind the back of my head:-)

Something is fishy here: either this is a:
1. staged picture,
2. stationary and uncontrolled elephant ( which beats the purpose of machine gun's mobility), or
3. the army is in the process of hiring a new and still breathing mahout.
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Old 10th December 2018, 11:48 AM   #74
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Here are two interesting photos.
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Old 10th December 2018, 02:14 PM   #75
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Did they drug the elephants, like they did with the soldiers?


Moser 1912, plate XXIX, nos512-513. Weapon, to mount of the tooths of elephants.
Sorry for the bad quality.
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Old 10th December 2018, 02:27 PM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Did they drug the elephants, like they did with the soldiers?...

Maybe not Jens. Not that they wouldn't consider doing so but, drugs often result in an unpredictable mode, like inverting their effects, which with such huge guys it would be rather inconvenient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
... Moser 1912, plate XXIX, nos512-513. Weapon, to mount of the tooths of elephants.
Sorry for the bad quality.

Still a good picture ... and certainly an enlightening one ... Ariel ?
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Old 10th December 2018, 06:22 PM   #77
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Like Ariel, I too have the Moser 1955 catalogue, but although the dscriptions are in details sizes, and weights, the authors does not mention from where the weapons are, nor do they write anything about their age - a bit strange for a museum catalogue.

Another strange thing is, when you read the rules under which the collection was given - it should be on exhibit all the time, but so far, to my knowledge, it has been taken down twice for years - and still is.
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Old 10th December 2018, 06:25 PM   #78
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I'd like to see people nailing chains with some kind of stakes to the ground while dealing with panicky animal running in each and every direction at maximal speed:-)
IMHO, the stakes would be pulled out withing a second, and the " nailers" would be squished.
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Old 10th December 2018, 06:30 PM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Like Ariel, I too have the Moser 1955 catalogue, but although the dscriptions are in details sizes, and weights, the authors does not mention from where the weapons are, nor do they write anything about their age - a bit strange for a museum catalogue.

Another strange thing is, when you read the rules under which the collection was given - it should be on exhibit all the time, but so far, to my knowledge, it has been taken down twice for years - and still is.


The minute any object is given to the museum every wish of the donor goes out of the window. Putting objects in storage is the least of the unpleasantries: we see all the time "decommissioned" items sold left and right.
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Old 10th December 2018, 07:03 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
I'd like to see people nailing chains with some kind of stakes to the ground while dealing with panicky animal running in each and every direction at maximal speed:-)
IMHO, the stakes would be pulled out withing a second, and the " nailers" would be squished.

You are underestimating the intimacy between these animals and their tamers; soon as feel they are about to panic, they transmit them a body sign: hold (peg me) me or i'll run the heck out of here .

Now seriously, did you know elephants can be taught up to 1,000 oral commands ? Alvaro Velho, when describing how females are 'instructed' to entice males to fall into the traps, mentions the catchers speaking up such commands to them.
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Old 10th December 2018, 07:12 PM   #81
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Another technique would be, not pegging (as per caption author's conclusion) but shorten the chain within a quick sliding system, so that the animal can not run due to not being able to stretch his legs enough to a faster moving. This would not be an unprecedented procedure .
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Old 10th December 2018, 07:24 PM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Further elaborating in Dmitriy's post #41, either the same description of this 40X48 cms. work has found echo all over the Web or there is some consistence in the chains subject as per various sources. Other than the trunk chains, the bells, the armoured protection, all is accordingly. Also the chains in the animal's legs, to peg him to the ground in case he panics and tries to escape, are not an unique approach.
.


fernando, I don't think the chains were used much to tie the elephant. Most likely, the chain simply restrict elephant in motion (as it is now being with the horses). That is, did not give the elephant to run fast. Thus, the mahaut (driver elephant) was easier to control the elephant.
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Old 10th December 2018, 07:25 PM   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Another technique would be, not pegging (as per caption author's conclusion) but shorten the chain within a quick sliding system, so that the animal can not run due to not being able to stretch his legs enough to a faster moving. This would not be an unprecedented procedure .


Absolutely right!
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Old 10th December 2018, 11:24 PM   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Like Ariel, I too have the Moser 1955 catalogue, but although the dscriptions are in details sizes, and weights, the authors does not mention from where the weapons are, nor do they write anything about their age - a bit strange for a museum catalogue.



To understand it, we need to pay attention to the circumstances of Moser’s acquisition of items.

In Central Asia he was accompanied by Russian troops, the real rulers of the defeated Khanates. Locals were coming to him in droves with items for sale hoping to curry his favors in dealing with the Russians and by definition with local Khans. He did not know local languages and fully relied upon translators, especially his secretary, one Abbas Mirza. I referred to this situation and to its potential shortcomings long ago, when I looked at the origins of the word “karud”.
The 1955 edition is the most detailed one, utilizing Moser’s personal notes. But for example in the section of Persian arms many swords labeled as “Persian” are likely local Central Asian based on their baldrics. No doubt, the blades were bought in Persia, but the rest was done on the spot.

Moser’s sources did not have ( and were not interested in) academic provenancing and accurate dating. But the allure to present your stuff in the best ( most profitable) light to sell it to a poorly informed but rich and influential customer is universal and Moser was in the same position as Prince Saltykoff and countless European tourists in India. In a way, we might be grateful to the writers of his catalogue for omitting some information and sparing us many “ Arabian nights”- type entries.

Perhaps, a reassessment of his collection might be in order by specialists of Elgood’s class.
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Old 11th December 2018, 05:39 AM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Another technique would be, not pegging (as per caption author's conclusion) but shorten the chain within a quick sliding system, so that the animal can not run due to not being able to stretch his legs enough to a faster moving. This would not be an unprecedented procedure .


Perhaps. No doubt elephants were used as war machines and the means to control then were necessary and thus reasonably well developed. However, we are talking about the veracity of the descriptions of these methods.

I could find no mention of restricting their stride by adjusting chain length. On the contrary, leg chains were clearly described as “pegged” or “nailed” to the ground which, IMHO, is highly doubtful taking into account massive bulk and strength of the animals. I have read that when the animal went berserk, the mahout just severed his spinal cord adjacent to the skull.

My question, therefore, is whether we can discard these “ humane” descriptions? Do we have a right to propose ( or invent) alternative techniques ( chain length manipulation) in the absense of any evidence to their existence?

Pics in Post #77 have important relation to our topic, i. e. India. They are from SE Asia, where real war elephants were used as battle machines as late as 1895 against French.

Recommended book: Michael W. Charney “Southeast Asian Warfare 1300-1900”
Has a big chapter on war elephants.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Another technique would be, not pegging (as per caption author's conclusion) but shorten the chain within a quick sliding system, so that the animal can not run due to not being able to stretch his legs enough to a faster moving. This would not be an unprecedented procedure .


Perhaps. No doubt elephants were used as war machines and the means to control then were necessary and thus reasonably well developed. However, we are talking about the veracity of the descriptions of these methods.

I could find no mention of restricting their stride by adjusting chain length. On the contrary, leg chains were clearly described as “pegged” or “nailed” to the ground which, IMHO, is highly doubtful taking into account massive bulk and strength of the animals.
My question, therefore, is whether we can discard these descriptions? Do we have a right to propose ( or invent) alternative techniques in the absense of any evidence to their existence?

Book by M.W. Charney” Southeast Asian Warfare 1300-1900” has a very big chapter about war elephants.
Salient points:
-mad elephants either wrecked havoc on their own troops and ran away from the battlefield or were killed;
- no mention of any nailing to the ground or adjusting the length of leg chains as a means of control;
-at ~1650 the use of tusk swords ( Pikes) was recorded;
- Bowery ( 1905) mentions that Sumatran animals had a 4.5-6 m chain tied to their front leg and the elephant coiled it around his trunk. That was their only weapon. Flinging the armored trunk laid low both men and horses. No free-hanging chains are mentioned;
- riders might have been armed with muskets or small swivel-guns;
- their use was limited by their skittishness and predictability: one society after another ceased to employ them as war machines;
-introduction of large caliber firepower eliminated the use of war animals by 18 century;
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Old 11th December 2018, 06:31 AM   #86
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Sometimes just need to carefully look at the miniatures that were drawn at the time when war elephants were used. On the images everything is clearly visible. Although, of course, it would be better to have the opportunity to refer to the recollections of eyewitnesses, who themselves saw the peculiarities of the use of war elephants.
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Old 11th December 2018, 01:12 PM   #87
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Regretfully, all the materials discussed here suggest very strongly that that the miniatures showing fancy trunk swords and kilometers of leg chains are .. ehhh.. how to say it mildly? ..artistic license and that Nikitin’ et al accounts of 100-500 kg tusk swords are physically impossible. Travelers to new and exotic places always exaggerate and fantasize: men with dog heads, armed monkeys, half-men/half-boars, stone forts on animal’s backs, numbers of gorgeous women they had sex with, size of fish they caught, casino winnings etc

As they say, show me the money, i.e. physical examples. Up till now we saw short-bladed tusk daggers and nothing more.
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Old 11th December 2018, 02:02 PM   #88
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Old 12th December 2018, 01:23 PM   #89
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Default Back with Garcia de Orta ...

This is more in a way to distinguish what period chroniclers 'saw' and what they were only 'told' of, and their candid posture about such difference.

The actual Magnum Opus of this brilliant phisician was not the "ASIA" decades but Colóquio dos simples e drogas he cousas medicinais da Índia, published in Goa in 1563. Composed of 57 coloquiums where he answers questions asked by a ficticious visitor, Dr. Ruano, about his acquired knowledge of India.
In colloquy 21 - Do Ebur ou marfim e do elefante ...
Ruano: From what disease elephants die and what is their use in these lands ?
Orta:They are very melancholic and more afraid in the night than during the day and when they sleep at night it seems as they see fearful things and set themselves free, the way to prevent it is their naires (*) to sleep on top of them and keep speaking to them so that they don't fall asleep. They have several camaras (**): many times and other times strong jealousy and fall great fury in that they brake their chains and do a lot of damage through where they go by ..... As per their service besides the work of carrying and move the artillery from one place to another they serve the Kings in battle, and there are Kings who have 1 000 elephants and others less and other times they go to war armored .... here comes the part already mentioned of the tusks weapons resembling plow irons and all .... i saw them battling what i saw them doing wrong is not other thing than put people in disorder and make them flee, some times i am told they run away and cause more disruption on their own that in the opponents, this i haven't seen.
Ruano: Is there another way they fight ?
Orta: Yes, but this is one by one with their naires that teach them trained on top of them and is a very crude battle, where they wound each other with their teeth, one attacking and the other parrying they wound each other bravely and often they may be seen striking such great blows that they hurt their foreheads that one of them falls death on the ground, and there is a Portuguese worth of faith (***) who told me he saw a very powerful elephant die from a thrust that one other gave him. They also fight if they get them drunk (****) and flee, an they sometimes grab a man with their trunk an make him in pieces, as i saw a few times.

(*) As they call the elephant's master/tamer in the Malabar. In the Deccan they call them Peluane.
(**) In modern Portuguese this means chambers, but i don't figure out what it means in this context.
(***) Reliable.
(****) Jens, not drugged but ...
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Old 12th December 2018, 03:46 PM   #90
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Thank you Fernando.
The picture is an elephant fight before Muhammad Shah c. 1730-40.
Mughal Paintings. Art and Stories, The Cleveland Museum of Art, 2016, p. 252.
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