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The Archaeology of Weapons: Arms and Armour from Prehistory to the Age of Chivalry (1960)

por R. Ewart Oakeshott

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In The Archaeology of Weapons, Ewart Oakeshott traces the development of European arms in logical sequence, showing how changes were wrought by the use of new materials and the ever-shifting demands of war and fashion. This history begins nearly two hundred years before the Christian era, covering among other subjects the charioteers of the Near East, the Roman attitude to arms and the Bronze Age weapons of Europe. The core of the book, however, is the middle ages: a general survey of the institution of chivalry, an understanding of which is vital to the appreciation of all the arms of the high middle ages, is followed by a classification covering all sword types from about 1050to 1500. Oakeshott draws on a variety of sources, from the archaeological evidence provided by existing weapons to the clues to be found in literature as diverse as the Old Testament, the works of Homer, Norse sagas and medieval romances. The symbolic importance of the sword is treated as an essential part of this lucid study and adds much to its archaeological interest.The late EWART OAKESHOTT was one of the world's leading authorities on the arms and armour of medieval Europe. His other works on the subject include Records of the Medieval Sword and The Sword in the Age of Chivalry.… (mais)
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This is an extended taxonomy of the surviving swords of the western European tradition during the Middle Ages. Not without its controversies, but a useful work, with many sketches and a wealth of detail. I get back to it now and again.
I own the Lutterworth Press, 1969 edition. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Oct 15, 2014 |
Very technical but in a fun sort of way. Ewart is one of the world's foremost experts on swords and brings across a lot of his knowledge entertainingly. It does have some dry bits. But the technical jargon is offset somewhat by the many annecdotes he includes. On the whole an informative and entertaining read. ( )
  Poleaxe | Aug 6, 2008 |
A work of unbridled, antiquarian enthusiasm. Oakeshott writes like a man obsessed; witness his extensive cataloging of pommels. As a curious amateur who played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons in my youth, this book contained far more information that I could ever, ever want to know on the subject of pommels, cross guards, and other minutia, but I found the sheer determination of the author to “set the record straight” rather charming. It’s as if our grave misconceptions about the use of pole axes in 14th century France may mean the death of us all. I would have happily traded the exhaustive lists of blade shapes for more information about how the weapons were actually used, who used them, and what role they may have played in history, but all in all the Archaeology of Weapons is a fine geeky pleasure. ( )
  aaronbaron | Jul 6, 2008 |
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In The Archaeology of Weapons, Ewart Oakeshott traces the development of European arms in logical sequence, showing how changes were wrought by the use of new materials and the ever-shifting demands of war and fashion. This history begins nearly two hundred years before the Christian era, covering among other subjects the charioteers of the Near East, the Roman attitude to arms and the Bronze Age weapons of Europe. The core of the book, however, is the middle ages: a general survey of the institution of chivalry, an understanding of which is vital to the appreciation of all the arms of the high middle ages, is followed by a classification covering all sword types from about 1050to 1500. Oakeshott draws on a variety of sources, from the archaeological evidence provided by existing weapons to the clues to be found in literature as diverse as the Old Testament, the works of Homer, Norse sagas and medieval romances. The symbolic importance of the sword is treated as an essential part of this lucid study and adds much to its archaeological interest.The late EWART OAKESHOTT was one of the world's leading authorities on the arms and armour of medieval Europe. His other works on the subject include Records of the Medieval Sword and The Sword in the Age of Chivalry.

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