Thursday, December 10, 2009

Woodcut for Smut, Hat Tip to Actor212


Swiss pike square, battle of Dreux (1562)

In my first blog post, I linked to Albrecht Dürer's Melencolia I, which inspired the woodcut-obsessed Smut Clyde of Riddled to comment, "Only one woodcut?"

Well, not wanting to horn in on his schtick, I will limit it to one woodcut a week.

Two days ago, I saw a rig that could haul that tanker, Brad of Sadly No wrote a post encapsulating Anne somebody set us up the Applebaum's opinion piece concerning the Swiss ban on minarets. Anne's piece opens up with a picture of an idyllic Alpine scene:

A few weeks ago, I found myself walking through a Swiss village -- okay, it was really a Geneva suburb -- called Nyon. Still, it looked like a village: There was a castle on the hill, and I could see some Roman ruins.

In response, noted "Sadly No" commenter actor212 wrote:

I had that same diorama when I was in middle school.

Now, having a great-grandfather from the Berner Oberland and a great-grandmother from Graubünden, I could not let this gross misrepresentation of Medieval Swiss military tactics go unanswered- the diorama in question lacked polearms.

Uncle Gary would be spinning in his grave!

The backbone of the Swiss armies of the medieval and early Renaissance period was the pike square, which was effective against cavalry and infantry, but, alas, not artillery. Crossbowmen (later, arquebusiers) were placed inside the pike square, and infantrymen armed with halberds and Lucerne hammers (essentially can-openers, designed to punch through armor to get at the soft, knightly goodness inside) were interspersed among the pikemen.

Needless to say, the increasing prevalence of firearms on the field of battle put paid to pike square, and the Nineteenth Century saw the end of the Swiss mercenary tradition (on the field of battle) and the rise of a new mercenary tradition among the Swiss.

2 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Use long. thin slices, not squares.
~

Smut Clyde said...

not wanting to horn in on his schtick

I hope you will not schtick in on my horn, either.