Hello! I was wondering, what are the differences between modern HEMA and how it was used in actual combat? Mainly in how it is/was taught, the way that techniques are/were used, small battles/skirmishes and fully fledged battles. I'm currently drawing from my own experiences with HEMA (longsword) and I know it's different but I'm not sure what all of those differences are, much less how to write them. Thank you!
Honestly, the best advice I have for that is slogging through the treatises from the masters on Wikitenaur or other sites/books that let you get it direct from the horse’s mouth (as it were). If you’re not a trained scholar or used to going through language from a century ago, much less several, I can see how parsing that might be a little difficult.
The second thing to do is study the historical period in which you want to write your fiction or, if writing fantasy, whatever is adjacent. When you want to write any kind of combat scenario, studying the culture is necessary. Whether that’s one you created yourself or history itself.
You’ve got better access to the HEMA community than Starke or I do and that springboard will make it easier to find what you’re looking for. It’s important to remember that what you’re practicing right now is what we conventionally term a “dead martial art”. Like aikido and several other martial arts now enjoying a popular resurgence, the current version did not really exist in the last century. Combat in Europe moved very quickly, rapid advancement lead to many old weapons being discarded that were no longer usable. German fencing was the only form of longsword fencing to survive, and it too is weighed down by rules unnecessary to the time when the longsword was a battlefield choice. Luckily for you, because HEMA itself is so new in its reconstruction, you’re actually far closer to the source material used to revive it than you might suspect.
If you haven’t broached this subject with your instructor, you should. They might know, or know somebody who knows something that can point you in a better direction. They work with the people who work with the people who are theorizing on the past and how to bring this piece of history back to life.
The other thing you need to do is study history. One of the things we do have a lot of surviving records of are historical battles. Lots, and lots, and lots of records.
Pick your medieval historical figure. Pick a period in history. And get to work.
Also, read Sun Tzu. If there is one great historical text for understanding warfare, it’s Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.
Battles are really broken down by three groups:
I’d throw in strategy and tactics but those are under the culture header. To write battles, you need both an understanding of historical warfare and the ability to contextualize those decisions so you can have your characters make new ones. This means figuring out not just the thought processes of the people of history (theorized by gaining a better grasp of their circumstances), but also how your own characters think in relation to the world’s they live in.
Unless you’re writing historical fiction, you can’t just copy the battles from history wholesale. You have to learn how the decisions were made. This is why I recommend looking at the above groups.
Who they are as a people, their history, who they are descended from, how they see themselves, their commander’s experience with warfare, what kind of armies do they possess (if any at all), how does that work, how do they form supply lines, how do they pay for it, all that annoying bureaucratic minutia which will kill your brain but must be figured out. War is about troop movements. You’ve got to get them from Point A to Point B somehow, you’ve got ensure their fed, and if they’ve got mounts or armor all that has to come from somewhere. War is an expensive endeavor. Someone is paying for it. Where does the money come from, where does it go, and who is getting paid?
This is why strategy and tactics land under the cultural header, the more you dig into history the more you’ll find different cultures through different eras approached these problems differently. They also had different tools at their disposal which brings us to…
Technology encompasses your weapons, your armor, and, well, everything else that came to mind. Much as you need to know where your soldiers come from, you also need to know what tools they have at their disposal. If they haven’t mastered metalwork and smithing then they can’t have armor and the type of metal they work with defines what kind of armor they create. If they haven’t developed saddles then they don’t have mounted cavalry, if they haven’t figured out how to use horses to pull things then chances are they don’t have cavalry in the form of chariots either.
The same is true of the bow and every other kind of weapon available. Your tools define crucial parts of your tactics and strategy. They define what is available to use and what is available instructs us on how we fight. As the options narrow and you find your historical period, the tools will be easier to come by. Then, you’ll be able to envisage the battles better.
Warfare is complicated, but at its base is the element of rock, paper, scissors. You develop B, so I come up with X, to counter B, and then you develop Y to counter X. It is all about trying to develop new ways to counter the available options.
You brought foot soldiers to the battle, I guess this is what you’ll choose so I array my soldiers at your front and position cavalry behind to break your lines from the side or rear. You use pikes, position your soldiers in columns in order to break my cavalry’s charge or bring a cavalry of your own (or both). I position archers to bombard your lines with a barrage, and so on.
If you really have trouble with the concept then I recommend trying some good war games like Mount and Blade or the Total War series that help you see the battlefield visually and get some practice in arranging your troops.
However, in order to sell your tactics, you need…
What kind of environment are you fighting in? What is your target? What natural impediments are in the way? You can study Hannibal’s battle tactics against the Romans all you like, but if you ignore the fact that most of his elephants died on the march through the mountains then you’ll miss a crucial element to why he lost.
The conditions you fight in can make or break. Terrain defines how the troops are arranged. If you’re fighting on foreign soil then it can be the difference as to whether your tools will be of any use to you.
Some of it is flat out just luck.
The best way to learn to write battles is learning to think like a commander, and then follow that up with every other member of the army.
When it comes to historical fiction, I always recommend Sharon Kay Penman’s novels. They’re well regarded and well researched, providing some human context to what will inevitably be the dry reading of historical texts.
Fellow witches, I’m telling you this out of love. I really don’t trust Llewellyn (the publisher). Especially not their Sabbat books. They disingenuously pass off myth as fact and take a LOT of creative liberties. Personally, I tend to go with peer reviewed research based on historical and/or archaeological findings. Check out the work of Ronald Hutton. He has done some breakthrough research in his time and has written about it prolifically. For classical accounts, Pliny the Elder’s Natural History contains clue upon clue about pre-Christian Europe.
It’s so hard to find historical Destiel fics which I enjoy reading. Like where Dean or Cas is a warrior, or of a royal family, with lots of action and battles and no wonder I am reading my own story Under The Falling Skies.
If you like historical destiel and have not read it, go on, give it a try and tell me what you think of it!
Wanna know more about it? Here’s the summary.
“So, Dean.” The king clears his throat, looking at the barbarian who’s eating a chicken’s leg and scratching his belly with a contented face. “To end this conflict, I am offering you one of my daughters in marriage, so we can become allies and good friends. Choose whichever you want.” The king gestures to his three daughters, all maidens of rare beauty.
Dean belches loudly and pats his belly, causing loud laughter among his warriors. He takes a good look at the princesses, shifting his gaze from one to the other.
“I appreciate your offer, King Uldred, and I will accept it. Though I don’t want any of your daughters,” he says with a broad grin.
The king frowns. “I don’t understand.”
“I want him.” Dean points at the young prince with his gnawed chicken’s leg. “I’ll have Castiel.”
Hey Naf! I've been thinking a lot about bi vs pan. There's a lot of discussions how bi is bad because it "is" transphobic (I'm even trans, and I don't agree with this), but I can't put the difference between bi and pan into words without making it sound like I imply that bi is transphobic. I'm asking you how you define the difference between the two, as you're a very aware and educated person, maybe you can shine some light on how to go about this.
Pure semantics-wise, Bisexual is usually defined as “attracted to two or more genders” while Pansexual is defined as “attracted to all genders.” I’m also trans-spec and don’t think either is inherently exclusive or transphobic.
So I’m just gonna start with a disclaimer that I could always be wrong BUT I usually explain it with historical context: Bisexual is simply an older term.
We have to understand that gender and sexuality are theories and human inventions. The same way money is a Theory and Human Invention, but when people invented the coin thousands of years ago, did they think we’d have things like the Dow Jones and Stock Market and Interest Growth? No, probably not. But these things obviously effect our lives NOW and continue to grow and change.
Our perception of gender has changed. From the ignorance and mistreatment of intersex conditions as well as the oppression of dyadic gender-non-conforming people, when the early LGBT culture was forming in the US, most people still saw everyone was “male” and “female”. Even LGBT founding figures like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera only recently re-identified as trans women rather than just drag queens. The world changed, so identities changed. This obviously effects Bisexuality, which was coined during a time gender theories weren’t as developed or accessible.
But Bisexuality has evolved too! Generally any bi person you ask will say “two OR MORE genders,” but because bi- (the prefix meaning 2) is IN the name, a lot of people without historical context find problem with it, thinking it still adheres strictly to the gender binary.
Pansexual theory came out of Bisexual theory. They ultimately point towards a similar experience, but you’ll notice a lot more pansexuals are younger. Again, this is because they don’t know the historical context, they don’t know bisexuality has evolved in meaning. Pansexuality is very well-intentioned and I’m not saying it’s not a legitimate identity, but I often see pans giving bis a really hard time, and I think the lack of understanding is getting out of hand.
Honestly when it comes down to it, I really think people should identify with what makes them the most comfortable. Both identities have their own merits and historical significance.
Summer, i see open prompts :3 i really love all of your stories, they are products of thorough thinking and consideration, i really admire you. Can i request a short fic in which yoongi meets jungkook's parents to ask their son's hand in marriage. It's tense at first for jk is only 19 but one way or another yg finally convinces jungkook's parents :)) thank you!!!
!!! oh my that’s young to get married min yoongi what are you thinking
this wasnt exactly the prompt fill but i hope its ok!!
I am currently on a quest to find lesbian historical fiction, and I'm hoping you can help? I don't have access to ebooks right now, so it would need to be something that has been printed in hardcopy. I'm particularly interested in any medieval or medieval fantasy books that you might know of. Other time eras, too, of course! I'm familiar with Sarah Waters already and have plans to read Fingersmith this summer. But if you have additional recs, I'd love to hear them!
JK Rowling really needs to stop appropriating from Native American culture when she’s not giving them meaningful roles within the backstory of American wizarding history.
All of the Houses of Ilvermorny are associated with Native American mythology or folklore. And yet Ilvermorny was founded by two (presumably white) European settlers? Okay. Seems legit 😒
This is really troubling, especially when you consider how Natives are used as mascots for schools and sports teams to this very day in America. It’s dehumanizing. Their culture can be appropriated and misrepresented and used as symbols by white people like JK Rowling but they themselves can’t be represented positively in media at all??
Why aren’t there any Native American wizards involved in JK Rowling’s backstory on American wizarding history? Yes, she includes a section on Native American wizards (that misrepresents and reinforces negative stereotypes of Native Americans I might add), but why aren’t there any named Native American wizards? She can create Isolt Sayre and James Steward and Chadwick and Webster Boot, but there are no Native American figures who play a prominent role in American wizarding history?
Editor’s Note: Six months ago I set out to make this blog both a news blog and a fandom resource by putting all the old press, pictures, and videos into an easily searchable and navigable form. The last marketing image posted signifies the end of the bulk of that project. I’m sure I’ve missed some old article or picture and if I have please feel free to send me a source link so I can add it but for now the posting of old material is largely done.
So how do I use this?
Well first of all you can navigate by the search box on the blog and the blogs tags. I’ve tried to tag everything as consistently and intuitively as possible. I wouldn’t recommend trying to navigate by the character name tags for the main cast… “emma swan” for example would give you almost 200 pages of results. But say “the blue fairy” or “princess abigail” are much more manageable.
For this reason there are sub tags. You can find the interviews of a particular actor by searching their name + interview (for example “robert carlyle interview”) and it will give you both video and text interviews. Similarly name + convention panel (i.e. “lana parrilla convention panel”) will give you just videos of the actor at conventions. The writers are not split up so you can find A&E plus Jane all under “writer interview”.
Social media posts are just broken down by cast, writer, and crew, so “cast instagram” will give you actor instagram posts while “writer twitter” will give you a member of the writing staff (mostly Adam Horowitz or Jane Espenson, and Brigitte Hales). You can also find all the social media for a given actor, crew, or writer by searching by their name + social media (i.e. “rebecca mader social media”) which would include all their twitter, instagram, facebook, snapchat and tumblr posts.
Pictures, both in and out of character are tagged by name + picture (i.e. “ginnifer goodwin picture”). Please note that red carpet events only go as far back as the beginning of Once Upon a Time so you wont find pre-once material. For reasons of consistency set spotter pictures are NOT included in the actor picture tags in case someone wishes not to see those spoilers.
And of course you can search by episode name (i.e. “3.11 going home”). Once Upon a Time in Wonderland episodes are tagged with a w in front of the title (i.e. “w1.03 forget me not”) and all material from that series is tagged “ouatiw”.
Is there another way to search this material?
Yes, I’m glad you asked. There are also a list of what those in the historical archive world call “finding aids” that is posts that list everything for a given episode or convention or season. Because tumblr will only let you put so many links in a given post they’ve had to be broken up in parts. You can find them all below. Season 6 is listed with most recent material first. The most recent season finding aids are linked in the side bar while all of them are linked at the bottom of each finding aid.
But what if I just want to know what spoilers are happening?
Why you can look at our spoiler summary page! It is also listed with most recent material first. Because it’s a summary of many many different and often conflicting sources it is the only page on this site you’ll find with no source links.
Can PTSD also cause (kinda) memory problems? I have this thing that I can remember all the stuff I need to learn for school (like historical dates), but I find it hard to remember everyday stuff. I often forget ppl's names, stuff I was spsd to do toady (even the important stuff like going to the doctor) or I find myself talking with someone and then forgetting 30 seconds later about what was the whole conversation. I'm not sure if those are memory problems but idk how to name it.
Yes PTSD can cause memory problems, both for the event and/or for day-to-day memory afterwards. -Winter xx
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