Category Archives: Class Stuff


Logon to Canvas  for more information about due dates.

Reports are due tomorrow.  Final due date for all six blogs and the  one blog for people doing projects is next Thursday, April 24.

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The Persian Archer

My blog is going to primarily focus on the Persian archer himself. For example, the qualities he needs to have, the characteristics and attributes that would benefit him, and the type of armor he would wear when going into battle. This information was found in an article that was based off of a Persian archery manuscript called Resāleye Kamāndāri, which was discovered in 1968. It goes through many different aspects of archery, including the qualities that it was thought that the archer should have. It summarizes those qualities in ten points which are further grouped into moral, temperamental and physical characteristics. The moral requirements are to be pure of heart and grateful to one’s master, to not be greedy and to lead a pure life, and to keep promises and to do good deeds. Temperamentally, the archer needs to be in a good mood and stand tall, and be able to cope with suffering and be chivalrous. The physical features are having an open chest, wide shoulders, and long arms. The archer also needed to have the knowledge and skills of how to properly use the bow. It was not a weapon you could just take and use immediately, it required thought and preparation along with calmness and self-control (Dwyer et al 2).

This is a red vase and based on my research this is an accurate depiction of how the archers in this time period looked, artist Epiktetos (signed), time frame between circa 520 and circa 500 BC

This is a red vase and based on my research this is an accurate depiction of how the archers in this time period looked, artist Epiktetos (signed), time frame between circa 520 and circa 500 BC

The archer’s attire was made up of a tunic and trousers, which were loose fitting and usually had an elaborate woven decoration to them. There was also a cap that they wore along with a combined quiver and bow-case (Iranian Archer- Soldier Profile). Many times, the foot soldier carried a short sword (acinaces), a spear with wooden shaft and metal head and butt, a quiver full of arrows of reed with bronze or iron heads, and a bow about one meter long with ends formed in animals’ heads, and a case which combined the bow-case and quiver-holder (Shahbazi).

An Achaemenid Archer with a composite bow. This is another idea of what the Persian archer would have looked like.

An Achaemenid Archer with a composite bow. This is another idea of what the Persian archer would have looked like.


An Achaemenid Archer with a Long Bow. The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies. Web.

DWYER, Bede, and Manouchehr MOSHTAGH KHORASANI. “An Analysis of A Persian Archery Manuscript Written By Kapur Čand.” Revista De Artes Marciales Asiaticas 8.1 (2013): 1-12. Academic Search Premier. Web. 28 Jan. 2014.

Iranian Archer- Soldier Profile. 10 November 2010. Web. 9 Feburary 2014.

Shahbazi, Sh., A. Achaemenid Army. n.d. Web. 9 Feburary 2014.

Wikipedia contributors. “Trousers.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 Jan. 2014. Web. 28 Jan. 2014.


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Changed due date

Yes, I’m still grading.  You will have until Monday, April 23 AT NOON to turn in revisions.  If you’re really have problems getting your final project done, email me and we’ll negotiate.

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Final Project- Ballista

Before the appearance of the ballista and other similar machines, the power of a weapon was limited to the frame of itself. Around 350 BC, the technology of a torsion powered machine was born (Nossov 136) Torsion machines uses ropes or animal cords tightly wound with a wooden arm in the middle to fire projectiles. By twisting the rope, these people were able to achieve greater power from their weapons and it was less likely to break their machines, just the ropes.

Although the original appearance of ballistae was around 350 BC, it wasn’t until roughly 334 BC that they started being widely used. Alexander was the first to start using these machines, which fired large arrows usually to take out soldiers, not structures (Nossov 136). As time progressed, they were adapted to throw stones. This meant the ballista was equipped with a larger frame and also metal parts began to be integrated into the construction to support the strain (Wikipedia 2012). With the capability of throwing stones, they were now able to take out structures rather than mainly soldiers. There is a wide variety of the calibers of stones used, each having its own purpose. The stones which were thrown ranged from 10 pounds up to 85 pounds; with the lighter stones being used primarily for defense and the heavier stones being used for offense (Nossov 138).

The ballista was a fairly simple weapon for the average soldier to operate; it worked similarly to a crossbow. Soldiers pulled levers at the rear of the machine to retract the pusher through a series of ratchets. All the energy was stored in the ropes, which carried a much higher potential energy than could have possibly been stored in

the wooden throwing arms. Due to this ratcheting system, it could be ready to fire in a moments notice. This weapon was highly accurate and there have been multiple accounts of skilled ballista shooters being able to take out enemy soldiers from a few hundred yards (Wikipedia 2012). Although they were highly accurate, they

Scene 40, Carroballistae. Used with permission, Copyright Peter Rockwell.

weren’t able to shoot very large projectiles and this eventually became the job of newly developed catapults (Nossov 150).

In this early version of a ballista, it can still be seen how they were used to fire arrows. These machines were relatively small, but that made it much easier to carry from place to place. As these weapons grew with new engineering techniques, they became more complex and had to be built more durably. As a result, metal was added to these machines, but this also made transportation more difficult. This required that they needed to be disassembled and reassembled at the site of war.

Works Cited

E. Schramm: Die antiken Geschütze der Saalburg. (Berlin 1918), S. 41 Abb. 14, 42 Abb. 15

Gurstelle, W. (2001). Backyard ballistics. (pp. 91-101). Chicago: Chicago Review Press.

Gurstelle, W. (2004). The art of the catapult. (pp. 60-69). Chicago: Chicago Review Press.

Nossov, K. (2005). Ancient and medieval siege weapons. (p. 136, 138, 150). Guilford: The Lyons Press.

Rockwell, P. (Photographer). (1999). Carroballistae. [Print Photo]. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (2012, April 08). Ballista. Retrieved from


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Extra Credit info

Want to do extra credit, but don’t remember what you’re supposed to be doing?

April is  Holocaust/Genocide Commemoration/Awareness Month.   All extra credit relates to that.

Option 1:  Attend the film, Witnessing Darfur: Genocide Emergency,  which was shown on Friday April 6  in the Center for Diversity and Unity, attend the discussion and blog about it.

Option 2:  Watch one of the movies listed below and blog about it (requirements follow).

All movies are on reserve in the library.   All are documentaries except Blood Diamond.

  •  The Reckoning: the Battle for the International Criminal Court 
  • The Devil Came on Horseback 
  • God Grew Tired of Us
  • Facing Sudan
  • Blood Diamond

(Most are about Africa because I got them for an African History course.  I’ll be adding others for next year.)

The blog post:  15 pts
Due date:  Thursday, April 19, midnight MDT

  • 200-250 words
  • Includes:
    • Name of movie you saw
    • What it had to say about genocide
    • I didn’t have this originally, but you should also consider the perspective of the film – whose point of view – an outsider, perpetrator, survivor, victim, etc. and how that affects content
  • Causes
  • Effects
  • Solutions

No sources or image required

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Final Project: Scutum and Pilum

To make the legionary shield, it took a lot of planning and designing in my head what I wanted it to be like before I even looked for the materials. I first looked up legionary shields on Google, and I also looked at the design that was on Trajan’s column. The legionary shield, or the scutum, was used to as a defense mechanism against the Persians and enemies of the Roman Empire. It started at the beginning of 100 BC till about 300 AD. The scutum was made from pieces of wood that were glued together piece by piece. There was a frame that was usually made out of bronze and protected by a metal band. Then the surface was covered in leather with different color schemes according to each cohort’s own color. If not in battle, the shields were strapped on the back of the legionary.

I first found a piece of wood that was warped a little that was just plywood. I cut it a little bit just to straighten out the edges but it looked to be about the right size for a man. I sanded down the board around the edges and sharp corners, but could not fit it to curve to a body because it took a very long time. It would not have been hard to curve a shield to a legionary because they went around the frame and they glued the pieces of wood together, giving it a curved shape. I drew the design that legionaries had on a piece of parchment paper and painted the shield red. Then painted the design over the shield in yellow. The final part was that I had to outline everything in black and make the frame on the outside.

The pilum is the roman javelin that the used to attack enemies while marching or the first attacks. The pilum was used to disarm and wound the enemy before they actually got to attack them. The top three feet of the pilum has a spear metal top to attack enemies and detaches from the other four feet of wood. I used a dowel that I had with a fence post that fight and put them together. However, since I could not attach metal to wood, I could not have the pilum completely attached. Legionaries were able to melt down metal and make a spear and fit a piece of wood to the metal.

This project was so much fun, and I loved it.

Works Citied:

Rockwell, P.  Bridge. Retrieved April 5, 2012 from

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Final Project tags

I’ve set up categories for each cohort to discuss their final projects.

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