Ask Bob Roberds: Medieval Warfare

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Postby broberds on Fri Sep 28, 2001 8:08 am

By 1543, the ballista had largely been supplanted by three-stage thermonuclear warheads launched from orbiting satellites.
Nonetheless, ballistas continued to have a cult following among enthusiasts. For a while there the owner of a mint-condition ballista, still in its original packaging, could reasonably expect to sell it for upwards of 750 bucks on eBay. Sweet!
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Postby Shepherd on Fri Sep 28, 2001 9:52 am

Hi Bob,<P>Jest a few days ago, me an' gramps was down by the ole fishin' hole doin' some fishin'. He up an' started reminiscin' about the old days..."When I was a lad back in 1543, we used to use a ballista to catch the fish!"<P>I think he's a lying bastard and I want to confront him with evidence of his crimes and break his kneecaps. <P>My question, therefore, is whether the ballista was still in use in 1543, or if it had been replaced by more effective warmaking machinery.<P>The bonus question would be was it ever an effective fishing device, but this point is made moot by the fact that gramps is a stupid old fruit that generally fishes using a piece of bacon and a brick.<P>Thanks!<P>------------------
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Postby JimRob on Fri Sep 28, 2001 10:31 am

If I might interject...<P>Certain passages in Boccacio's <I>Teseida</I> (lines 3903-4005) suggest that ballistas were the most favoured fishing implement of the late middle ages, as evinced by the tournament between Arcite and Palaemon; the potential suitors attempted to propel a fish out of the water by use of a heavy object (a runcible, say). He who first nailed the fish to the opposing side's stake (within the rules of angleric <I>chivalrie</I>, of course) gained his mistress' hand in marriage.<P>'Arcite rideth to the stayke anon,
Whilom his catche he nayleth up thereon;
Although Arcite endureth soore smerte
His fisshe, trewely, wonne his ladyes herte.'<P>Further tournaments, it is conjectured, secured the rest of her.<P>Sorry, what was the question again?<P>------------------
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Postby Halgar on Tue Oct 02, 2001 10:17 am

Perhaps you misunderstood Gramps. He may have said "Barrista," a lady who makes lattes.
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