Originally Posted by kronckew
Tusks are elongated, continuously growing front teeth
, usually but not always in pairs, that protrude well beyond the mouth of certain mammal species. They are most commonly canine teeth, as with warthogs, pigs, and walruses, or, in the case of elephants, elongated incisors.
Thus 'armed to the teeth' is correct
especially with a chain of translations from indian languages to western ones and then to english here. Elephant swords were mounted on teeth, the TUSK ones, or front incisors if you want to be more precise.
What a serious shot Wayne; i envy you for antecipating my entry.
In fact, there was no such thing as TUSKS at the time ... nor in context.The period term commonly used by those guys for those things portruding from the elephants (and others) mouth, was TEETH, as is still currently used today over here
.The term used in Malay, the then local lingua franca, was [PALO
], and in Calecut FALEY
, terms familiar with Alvaro Velho, for one, who wrote them down in his work.
... Whether the versions written by the various travellers, chroniclars and soldiers of the time, some who have being close/st to such scenarios, each one at his time, were of fruit of their romantic imagination. Captain Joćo Ribeiro was a soldier, who has actually faced war elephants; i don't think he needed to romanticize his description. Look at the thorough manner he describes, in the first person, the way to frighten the attacking elefants, by means of using 'fire lances' (the predecessor of rockets ) handled by tough soldiers who pointed at their eyes, so they would turn back and strike their own army in the same way they were attacking the enemy. We know from other historians that (quoting) for as much as they 'blanketed' the elephants to protect them from enemy's throwing lances etc, their eyes would have to be uncovered, as we also read about (quoting) losing ( don't recall which animals) in fire would result in their tumultuous retreat.
After reading all such exaustive enhances, not all of us are ready to assume that all these period folks were combined to transform into plausibilty the same recurrent hearsay/s, as they would have all been harvesting in the same grapevine.
As a fait divers, don't underestimate the elephant's TRUNK (another borrowed term) ability; considering that it is composed of up to 40 000 (forty thousand) mussles while us, vulgar humans, only have 600 in the whole body. So they sure would know how to handle and strike things (swords) in a 'professional manner'. I think of my sissi coleagues in the army whom, during hand greanade throwing trains, would damage their arms.