bodkin

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Robert Hooke’s Micrographia is arguably most famous for revealing to the public just how disgusting a flea is.

The beauty of microscopy is that it creates a new world for the viewer: a world where fleas are no longer tiny specks but hairy, complicated animals you can look in the eye. Hooke had this to say about it:

as for the beauty of it, the Microscope manifests it to be all over adorn’d with a curiously polish’d suit of sable Armour, neatly jointed, and beset with multitudes of sharp pinns, shap’d almost like Porcupine’s Quills, or bright conical Steel-bodkins; the head is on either side beautify’d with a quick and round black eye, behind each of which also appears a small cavity, in which he seems to move to and fro a certain thin film beset with many small transparent hairs, which probably may be his ears; in the forepart of his head, between the two fore-leggs, he has two small long jointed feelers, or rather smellers…

And yet, the point is a scientific one. Despite its tininess, the microscope has revealed this tiny monster to be legible. It still has the basic structure of an animal - it has a head, a body and legs. It is one of us.

Untitled #192 by gemmalmcgovern featuring silk flowers


Marc Jacobs long sleeve shirt, $280 / Bodkin shirts top / Topshop jacket / Olympia Le Tan pleated tartan skirt, $350 / Acne Studios black boots / Leather wallet / Monkey purse / Pamela Love ring / MARC BY MARC JACOBS watch, $220 / River Island hat, $36 / Black sunglasses / Hervé Gambs silk flower, $270

Bodkins were a popular type of arrowhead in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. The basic shape was a squared off head, terminating in a point. Edges were generally not sharpened. 



Actual geometries to the Bodkin vary widely.



There is some debate as to whether or not Bodkins were designed to penetrate armor. They probably weren’t designed at first as penetrators, but rather, it is simple design easily mass produced, using less metal than broadhead style arrowheads. The shape however, would help to penetrate mail, leather, and cloth armor. The question is whether or not it was effective against steel plate armor. 

Fueling the argument is a claim that Bodkins were not made of hardened steel, something that would make them much less effective against plate armor. However, the number of Bodkins tested is quite low, so we can’t really say for sure.

But, looking at historical sources, it seems that hardened tips were unusual, at least until the Mongol invasions. A manuscript by Friar John of Plano Caprini details how the Tartars (a term used for Mongols) dip their arrowheads “red-hot into salt water.” Some may recognize this as a hardening technique. From the way that Caprini phrases it, I surmise that hardened steel and it’s associated metalworking techniques were not applied to arrowhead manufacturing in Europe before the 12th Century.

It’s likely that after the Mongol Invasions, the practice spread. Hardened Bodkins combined with the incredible power of Yew Longbows most likely ensured the longbow’s use by the English well into the 15th Century.

A Case For...Silk Pants

If you can’t wear a legging—which, let’s be honest, you probably can’t most of the time—why not go with something that feels almost as much like pajamas? Silk pants are all over the place right now, and they always look polished, even when paired with a slouchy, burnt-out T-shirt that you may or may not have worn to bed. Here, five ideal pairs. —erica

1) Bodkin Trillium trousers: The five-button front is meant to be exposed.
2) Adam silk wrap pants: With its wrap closure, this style is way more modern than most cream pairs.
3) Layla Racy tie waist pants: How jealous would Princess Jasmine be, huh?
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5) Girl by Band of Outsiders Ami trousers: These look like a basic wool pant but feel a whole lot better.