Tuesday, March 24, 2015
The simplest means of testing strike force is to hit a pendulum. If you can hang something heavy, like a barrel, from four anchor points, then you will have a reproducible means of showing strike force. The four-point anchors cause the pendulum to move back in a more or less linear fashion. If you film how far the pendulum moves you have a metric for force.
Since my wife would kill me if I drilled lots of holes in my roof, I have created an easy type of pendulum that does not require gravity to push against. It costs about $20 and takes a half hour to build with simple tools.
This pendulum makes use of springs to provide resistance to a 2x4 on a hinge. Note the rod on the side that goes through an eye-bolt and the round disk of plastic. This will give you a relative measure of strike force. Note that in my first attempt, I put the hinge too close to the springs. Better to move it back a bit and extend the springs with cable.
When your spear strike knocks it back, the disk gets pushed back and remains in place.
You could simply measure the distance the disk moved and use that as a relative measure for comparison between types of strikes. If you want a more scientific measure that can be compared between different people, get a scale, like a fishing scale, and hook it at about the height where your strikes hit and pull the board back until it reaches the point where the disk is. This gives you a quantitative measure in pounds or kg for the force needed to knock the board back that far.
If you can't hit a 2x4 with your dory...practice. But you could add a larger target.
Monday, October 6, 2014
Bd. 58, H. 4 (2009), pp. 395-415
Published by: Franz Steiner Verlag
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25598486
There are serious flaws with his analysis and even more with his presentation. He contacted me early on in his studies, and in the interest of full disclosure I must tell that myself and few others attempted to steer him away from the mistaken path he was on.
I have been largely away from Ancient Greek topics for over a year now due to other demands on my time, but now that I have come back I am finding far too many online discussions where his portrayal of hoplite combat has taken root. I am loathe to enter into what must be a deconstruction of his thesis because he is a dedicated reenactor of ancient hoplites. For years I have been suggesting that he is exactly the type of researcher that those writing histories of Greek combat must heed. Reenactment can be, when done well, experimental archaeology. When it is it must conform to the ethics of a scientific experiment and honestly assess alternate views. In this Mathew's work fails. I assume these are honest mistakes, scientists make them all the time, but the bias he brings to his analysis is all too glaring in his presentation.
When his book came out, the general consensus I received from the many hoplite reenactors I correspond with was that the analysis in Storm of Spears was flawed based on their experience and his notions failed to convince the hoplites at the Marathon gathering. I had hoped that by now members of these other groups would have shot down the mistaken ideas, but I see now that perhaps they do not have the reach to disseminate their ideas as efficiently as Mathew does. I am not sure that I do either, but I will give it a try.
Before I step into the debate, here is an assessment of Mathew's use of percentages of vase depictions as evidence for the exclusive use of an Underhand grip for the hoplite spear. The author is my friend Fred Ray, who has written some really interesting books on hoplite battle. If you are reading this blog, then you should give them a look:
I will note that I have no financial tie to these books, but I did give some advice on certain topics.
Here is Fred's review that her was kind enough to share with us on Hollow Lakedaimon:
Friday, June 20, 2014
Here are links to other articles I have written for Ancient Warfare.
This was the original presentation of the crowd-othismos. As you can see in the last article this concept has matured.
I compiled all the evidence I could find for both Linen and Leather as the material used in the "linothorax."
This was a labor of love. An article on Xanthippus of Sparta whose leadership halted the advance of a nascent Rome and left a lesson for Hannibal on how to destroy a Roman army.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
I have not been completely away from hoplites. I am featured on a YouTube channel: