Thread: Elephant swords
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Old 24th November 2019, 08:42 PM   #129
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
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Originally Posted by ariel
... Fighting elephants were used for centuries and in humongous numbers. And still, we have physical examples of “ tusk” swords but not “ trunk “ ones...

Could it be that tusk swords had a more uniform shape, more subject of adornment and all, and lived longer due to their later use in parades and escorts ... and trunk swords were more of a raw and random implement, more doomed to disappear into scrap ?
Indeed without a living example we can only speculate.

On the other hand, some of these period chroniclars were sharp narrators; difficult to digest that they confused trunks with tusks.
Still we face situations like:

Linschoten, a Dutch adventurer that visited those areas aboard Portuguese ships (1570-80), from whom he 'borrowed' significant navigation notions:

...Those from Ceylon (Sri lanka) and Pegu (Burmania) use elephants in war; they bind swords to their teeth, and above them go five or six men with beasts, arches and pots of fire; but if an elephant goes back, the others follow and run over their own troops...

João Ribeiro, a Captain who has been in command of the Portugueses forces in the island (1685-93), having written "HISTORIC FATALITY OF CEYLON ISLAND"

... The King of Candia, when wiling to attack us, brought in the front of his army some elephants with whom he could break us, and they placed in their trunks shapeless swords the width of a hand and each brought on top two mahouts, so that we killed one, the other remained...

So here have two guys writing about the same island, both mentioning elephants warmed with swords, however with a distinct system.

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