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re: Plastic, and other (fwd)

Poster: David KUIJT <kuijt@umiacs.umd.edu>

On Wed, 18 Nov 1998, Craig Levin wrote:

> It wouldn't be that hard to develop shields that broke apart in
> that way. Supposedly, in the sixteenth century, there were such
> shields developed for tournaments in the Holy Roman Empire (see
> Clepham's The Medieval Tournament, from Dover Press). In so
> doing, you would only be recreating a part of period tournament
> practice.

I'm afraid I disagree.  The exploding shields used in German tournaments
in the 16th century were fancy spring-loaded jousting targets.  They had
nothing to do with foot combat, and very little to do with jousting in the
combat sense.

Jonathan was talking (semi-facetiously) about shields designed to degrade
when hit as a simulation of the behaviour of a medieval shield made of
wood/leather/gesso/etc being hit by a real sword, axe, or halberd. 

The 16th century "shattering" shields were essentially a bunch of metal
segments bound together in a mouse-trap type spring-loaded framework
simulating the face of a jousting shield.  If you hit the exact center
with your lance in a joust, the spring triggered and the shield face blew
apart in forty pieces as if you had shattered it.  This was the
Renaissance equivalent of bells and whistles, the outgrowth of a scoring
system for jousting that had long since lost all connection to combat.

There are a number of books with diagrams of the exploding shields; I
believe that the most easy-to-find illustrations are by Du"rer.


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