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Old 18th June 2014, 11:42 AM   #1
Marcus den toom
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Default Incendiary "bestiary" or reality

I found these images on felines (cats) and birds carrying incendiary masses, intended to set cities on fire.

The explaination given in one manuscript is that when planning to set fire to a city, you would abduct a cat from this city and put a container with a burning mass in it on this animal. When released the cat would run back in panic and hide in a barn which in turn would be set on fire. Apart from the obvious cruelty, the idea seems far fetch and impractical.

Below the above mentioned manuscript which i posted in an earlier thread as well: (Ms. Codex 109 - Helm, Franz, approximately 1500-1567 - Feuer Buech) http://dla.library.upenn.edu/dla/me...currentpage=277


The cat illustrated below is carrying what looks like somesort of Loshult cannon on its back, and the bird (pigeon) has a smaller version of this, also strapped on its back.
The Loshult cannon would break the feline's spine with its 9Kg, but the text explains it to be somesort of sack like those on fire arrows.
The design has quite a lot of faults though... the cat would be badly burned the instant this contraption was lit, making it doubtfull it would ever enter the city (screaming and smoke all alround, just plain cruel ). The bird wouldn't do any better, if it ever would get of the ground, the payload would be so small and also dangerous to the bird that either way it would burn the mass before it reaches the destination, or the bird would turn into a short living phoenix.

These are my views on this subject, maybe someone else has more information on this strange siege method

Best wishes,
Marcus





Last edited by Marcus den toom : 18th June 2014 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 18th June 2014, 12:23 PM   #2
fernando
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You might as well have chosen less macabre topics to post , Marcus

.

Last edited by fernando : 18th June 2014 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 18th June 2014, 05:32 PM   #3
Ken Maddock
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The information in this post is not only off topic but goes far beyond the scope of what
would be acceptable subject matter for discussion here on the forum.

Last edited by Robert : 21st June 2014 at 04:02 PM. Reason: OT
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Old 19th June 2014, 02:43 PM   #4
Matchlock
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I, too, was shocked by those illustrations.

And mankind still inflicts horrible cruelties on its innocent fellow creatures ...
I have always felt that animals have the same rights as man!

m
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Old 19th June 2014, 03:04 PM   #5
Marcus den toom
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My thoughts as well and let me make clear that my intend is not to condone such cruelties, but rather to discuss and hopefully prove that these hellish drawings where never actually put to the test

I read somewhere that the writer of this manuscript is known to make up things to advertise his books on siege strategies. Nowadays he would, deservedly, be put away in a jail.
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Old 22nd June 2014, 11:08 AM   #6
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This may not be a very "civilized" topic, but nevertheless it can be found in more than one Firework-Book from the late medieval period on...

Just yesterday I stumbled across a recipe for an incendiary mass to use on cats or doves:

It's from a book called "Liber illuministarum" written around 1500 by monks in Tegernsee monastery, Germany. This book is a collection of mainly artisans recipes for paints, gilding etc. but it also contains amongst others some medical recipes and a few concerning fireworks.

I will not quote the recipe fully as not to encourage cruelty, but here is the main part:

"Recipe ... vnd bestreich ain tauben oder ain katzen damit / vnd wo die sunn an sye kumbt so wirt sy prinnen / oder von dem Regen/"

transl.: "Recipe ... and smear it on a dove or on a cat / and when the sun shines on it it will burn / or because of rain/"


If this was really used I don't know - most of the recipes in this book were written down for the use of the monastery's scriptorium and are valuable sources of art history. Some recipes though just don't work and some are really strange, kind of magical:

"Item ayn geyers zungen trag pey dir in dem streyt So wirst nit der slagen"

transl.: "Carry the tongue of a vulture with you to war and you will not be slain"

Historians believe the "Liber illuministarum" was a collection of simply EVERY recipe the monks heard of - wether it was really used, appoved of or just strange, they wrote it down...
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Old 22nd June 2014, 11:15 AM   #7
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Attached an early image from Johannes de Fontana: Bellicorum instrumentorum liber cum figuris. Venice 1420-1430. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, BSB Cod.icon. 242, fol. 37r. He purposes something like rocket propelled animal models? This is one of the earliest examples which may inspired later autors to use life animals as weapons.

In my opinion this topic is worth and relevant to be discussed as animals as an instrument of warfare (historic weapon) has been purposed by several historic authors. And still today animals are used for military purposes: donkeys for carrying in the alps, delphins by US Navy for seachring sea mines, dogs for searching land mines (of corse in a more defensive manner)

What we have to consider: many authors purposed either (phantastic) fantasy or visionary inventions, some of them are obviously unrealistic, the possiblity of some are rather obscure and some may have a realistic background. How could be the offender sure that the animal with a incediary device will not turn in its panic and run into the own troup arrangements. How will you direct a bird to fly into the opponents castle and not anywhere else? It's much more reliable to throw incendiary devices with a catapult or a crossbow onto the enemy.

In my eyes the proposal of using animals is rather (phantastic) fantasy with only a little chance for its historic realisation.


Supplementary amendments marked in red colour
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Old 22nd June 2014, 12:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andi
How could be the offender sure that the animal with a incediary device will not turn in its panic and run into the own troup arrangements.


This reminds me of a classic urban legend, The Dog and the Jeep.

A fellow from Michigan buys himself a brand-new $30,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee for Christmas. He goes down to his favorite bar and celebrates by tossing down a few too many brews with his buddies. In one of those male-bonding rituals, five of them decide to take his new vehicle for a test drive on a duck hunting expedition. They load up the Jeep with the dog, the guns, the decoys, and the beer, and head out to a nearby lake.

Now, it's the dead of winter, and of course the lake is frozen, so they need to make a hole in the ice to create a natural landing area for the ducks and decoys. It is common practice in Michigan to drive your vehicle out onto the frozen lake, and it is also common (if slightly illegal) to make a hole in the ice using dynamite. Our fellows have nothing to worry about on that score, because one member of the party works for a construction team, and happens to have brought some dynamite along. The stick has a short 20-second fuse.

The group is ready for some action. They're all set up. Their shotguns are loaded with duck pellets, and they have beer, warm clothes and a hunting dog. Still chugging down a seemingly bottomless supply of six-packs, the group considers how to safely dynamite a hole through the ice. One of these rocket scientists points out that the dynamite should explode at a location far from where they are standing. Another notes the risk of slipping on the ice when running away from a burning fuse. So they eventually settle on a plan to light the fuse and throw the dynamite out onto the ice.

There is a bit of contention over who has the best throwing arm, and eventually the owner of the Jeep wins that honor. Once that question is settled, he walks about 20 feet further out onto the ice and holds the stick of dynamite at the ready while one of his companions lights the fuse with a Zippo. As soon as he hears the fuse sizzle, he hurls it across the ice at a great velocity and runs in the other direction.

Unfortunately, a member of another species spots his master's arm motions and comes to an instinctive decision. Remember a couple of paragraphs back when I mentioned the vehicle, the beer, the guns and the dog? Yes, the dog: a trained Black Labrador, born and bred for retrieving, especially things thrown by his owner. As soon as the stick leaves his hand, the dog sprints across the ice, hell-bent on wrapping his jaws around the enticing stick-shaped object.

Five frantic fellows immediately begin hollering at the dog, trying to get him to stop chasing the dynamite. Their cries fall on deaf ears. Before you know it, the retriever is headed back to his owner, proudly carrying the stick of dynamite with the burning 20-second fuse. The group continues to yell and wave their arms while the happy dog trots towards them. In a desperate act, its master grabs his shotgun and fires at his own dog.

The gun is loaded with duck shot, and confuses the dog more than it hurts him. Bewildered, he continues towards his master, who shoots at man's best friend again. Finally comprehending that his owner has become insane, the dog runs for cover with his tail between his legs. And the nearest cover is right under the brand-new Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Boom! The dog and the Jeep are blown to bits, and sink to the bottom of the lake, leaving a large ice hole in their wake. The stranded men stand staring at the water with stupid looks on their faces, and the owner of the Jeep is left to explain the misadventure to his insurance company. Needless to say, they determined that sinking a vehicle in a lake by illegal use of explosives is not covered under their policy, and the owner is still making $400 monthly payments on his brand-new Jeep at the bottom of the lake.
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Old 22nd June 2014, 03:15 PM   #9
fernando
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Thumbs down A matter of personal opinion

Sorry guys,
Do i see his topic climbing in rank; from macabre to perverted ?
Is there more to come ? Time now for swapping positions ... like the animal devouring his owner's jewels ?
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Old 22nd June 2014, 04:41 PM   #10
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Thank you for your contribution and understanding Andi, but i think you meant fantasy instead of phantastic?

I hope i am not wrong to state that the wellfare of animals is also worth discussing, past as well as present? The soul purpose of this thread is to do acadamic research to hopefully dismiss the ideas of incendiary "bestiary", as portrait by medieval artists, and make them what they are... JUST DRAWINGS.

On a side note, most real bestiary have a satirical function. Meaning that they where meant to mock or make a fool of someone of something. The most famous one in my country is that of the Fox Reineard. A great story to read and get the feeling that animals can play a trick or two on humans as well


As Andi pointed out, even nowadays we make use of animals. Think of those dogs at the airport or indeed the trained dolphins etc.
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Old 22nd June 2014, 06:03 PM   #11
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Marcus, I do understand your attention to this extremely unfortunate topic and while your interest is well intended, I would respectfully suggest that it is better avoided in a broadly attended venue such as this and better held to the selectively limited group who might research such things.

There are many aspects of war and obviously the well known use of the weapons we discuss, however focus on the exploitation of animals who are in these senses innocent to designs on dealing death and mayhem is entirely repugnant to myself and others. It is quite different to train animals for warfare such as war horses, and others as bomb search or attack or guard dogs but naturally as with most things, there are categoric differences.

Please understand, I do not state this opinion in any official capacity or personal criticism as your posts are always intriguing and well informed, and certainly your intent here was well intended. I simply regret the subject matter and though I encourage discussion on the broadest possible scope of subjects, and note this is not one of them. I hope you and those reading will accept my comments constructively and in kind.
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Old 22nd June 2014, 07:49 PM   #12
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We should be able to discuss such historic topics freely in neutral and scientific way, without being blamed to celebrate cruelty to both animals and humans either in former or in present times. Everyone in our forum will be 100percently aware that the practice purposed by early fireworks authors will violates our present ethical standards and may also not comply to religious and ethical standards of the Middle Ages. So do I. I condemn the use of animals (and humans) for such (suicidal and assassin) practice and so far no written evidence from any historic chronicle are known to me that animals have really been used this way - but I want to be able to discuss it.
We can be proud that our ethical standards drastically developed since the 500 years when this images were published - and It's good this way!
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Old 22nd June 2014, 08:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andi
We should be able to discuss such historic topics freely in neutral and scientific way, without being blamed to celebrate cruelty to both animals and humans either in former or in present times. Everyone in our forum will be 100percently aware that the practice purposed by early fireworks authors will violates our present ethical standards and may also not comply to religious and ethical standards of the Middle Ages. So do I. I condemn the use of animals (and humans) for such (suicidal and assassin) practice and so far no written evidence from any historic chronicle are known to me that animals have really been used this way - but I want to be able to discuss it.
We can be proud that our ethical standards drastically developed since the 500 years when this images were published - and It's good this way!


Well understood and agreed Andi, we should indeed, however it is the nature of certain topics that the discussion often becomes distorted with emoted or distorted editorializing leading to unfortunate circumstances between participants. That being said, my comments were simply placed as my opinion concerning the subject matter as I had noted, and of course my option is to read it or not. This does seem in accord with what you have said. It is interesting, just in my perception distasteful.
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Old 23rd June 2014, 02:05 AM   #14
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I think that everything said here is as legitimate as it is sad and historically true.

It is absolutely important not to shut one's eyes to facts, and be aware of the horrible things that mankind has been inflicting on innocent animals who, by nature, have the very same rights on this earth that we have, who love to call ourselves 'humans'. Especially cats were superstitiously considered as the personalized fiend, and persecuted and most cruelly tortured all over the so-called 'cultivated' and 'enlightened' Western World, up until only 200 years ago!


Up to the late 18th century, at court huntings, 'noble' ladies! especially enjoyed torturing foxes for sheer amusement!, tossing them up before they finally got relieved by death:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_tossing

Regarded from this point of view, Marcus did his best to both enlighten and shame us about our real selves ...

Let us be honest and aware of the true nature of mankind.
The truth should always be told and shown, just as all perpetrators should be named and shamed!
Let's start and build a better world!


Best,
Michael

Attachments:
illustrations of the noble 'merrymaking' of fox tossing

- from Johann Friedrich Flemming: Der vollkommene teutsche Jäger (the perfect German huntsman), 1749


- at the Dresden Schloss, in 1678, from Gabriel Tzschimmer: Die durchlauchtigste Zusammenkunfft (the meeting of the Serene Highnesses), Nürnberg, 1680
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Old 23rd June 2014, 06:03 AM   #15
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Marcus, I have been watching this post with interest and while I thoroughly believe in the saying "Those who do not know history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them." It is my opinion (because of the disturbing nature of this subject) that it would best serve the forum if any further discussions not directly related to the original topic are done either by PM or email. I say this knowing it will not be popular with some forum members but personally believe that the only point that has been made so far is man's inhumanity to his fellow creatures in the past and in some cases the present. Therefore all future postings will be in direct reference to the original subject matter only, anything else will be viewed as being OT and promptly deleted.

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