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Conquistadore meets Aztec (Read 11520 times)
Johnny
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Conquistadore meets Aztec
Jun 19th, 2004 at 10:21pm
 
The only weapon the Conquistadores feared was the sling. The Aztecs, Incas, Mayas and Peruvians used them. "at 30 meters a sling shot was observed by one conquistadore to break in two the sword held in a man's hand, and at half that range it could dent an iron helmet and stun the man wearing it." Hope you folks like this illustration.
Johnny
...
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I also love sushi..!
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Re: Conquistadore meets Aztec
Reply #1 - Jun 19th, 2004 at 11:31pm
 
Johnny,  just how long did it take you to bang this one out?!   Do you have a website?  You should moonlight/freelance on the net!!
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JeffH
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Re: Conquistadore meets Aztec
Reply #2 - Jun 20th, 2004 at 12:14am
 
Johnny,  could you check your quote?  I don't believe the meter was established until long after the conquest of the Americas.

I could be wrong here, but...

Your art, on the other hand is without peer.  You are truly tallented!


jeff <><
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So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone. (1 Samuel 17:50)
 
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Hondero
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Re: Conquistadore meets Aztec
Reply #3 - Jun 20th, 2004 at 1:35am
 
Splendid illustration, Johnny!! You are gathering a unique set of sling drawings for your future book. It´ll be worth to get it  Cheesy
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He brought a conquering sword..., a shield..., a spear... , a sling from which no erring shot was discharged.&&
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Re: Conquistadore meets Aztec
Reply #4 - Jun 20th, 2004 at 2:12am
 
Johnny,  have you ever been asked to collaborate as  illustrator on a children's book?  Perhaps you have already illustrated books?
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justin Ball
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Re: Conquistadore meets Aztec
Reply #5 - Jun 20th, 2004 at 4:47am
 
Meters, yards, cubits...it doesn't matter. I think 30 meters was used here because most of the world uses the metric system now. However, the text the quote came from may have originally said 33 yards, or 67 cubits...it doesn't matter, it is the same phsyical distance.

I have an interest in this, having had a go round with a work mate some time ago..he would not condone purchasing of books for the workshop with imperial units. Since most woodworking mags and videos are of US origin (80%?), it wiped out all that treaching material, and all information printed in the UK prior to 1970 something. I argued it didn't matter what system the object was originally built to, it was what it was, and could be measured, or say, described in any language, and it remained the same thing- and it was the "thing", its construction method and size that mattered.

Justin
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Re: Conquistadore meets Aztec
Reply #6 - Jun 20th, 2004 at 5:35am
 
Justin,  you lost me......this ignorant american don't speak metric!   lol.
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longwinger
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Re: Conquistadore meets Aztec
Reply #7 - Jun 20th, 2004 at 7:11am
 
Very good point Justin, the distance from point A to point B is the same, reguardless of which ruler it is measured with.
Very nice illustration Johnny! Did the people of this region ever develope and use metallic glandes?
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Yurek
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Re: Conquistadore meets Aztec
Reply #8 - Jun 20th, 2004 at 7:31am
 
Johnny,

VERY VERY NICE!
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In the shape, structure and position of each stone, there is recorded a small piece of history. So, slinging them, we add a bit of our history to them.
 
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Johnny
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Re: Conquistadore meets Aztec
Reply #9 - Jun 20th, 2004 at 7:51am
 
Thanks for all the nice comments!
I've done a few illustrations for various books in the past. Look for the book, "The Thracians" by Osprey publishing. I did some of the black & white illustrations.
http://www.ospreypublishing.com/title_detail.php?title=S3292&ser=MAA
The quote comes from the book,"The Conquistadores" by Terence Wise. A book produced by Osprey publishing.
I'm also interested in the Spanish swords of this period. Toledo blades were awesome. Incredible strength, but flexible. You could take a sword, bend the blade into a S or semi-circle, and it would spring back to its original shape. Maybe Hondero has some good information on this!
Johnny
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JeffH
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Re: Conquistadore meets Aztec
Reply #10 - Jun 20th, 2004 at 11:50am
 
Justin (and others)

My comment was not about the validity of either Johnny's art or the text he quoted. 

But, we do care somewhat about accuracy, do we not.  Not only technical accuracy, but historic and grammatical as well.

I don't care personally what units a person states
a fact in.  I have been a technical draftsman for over 20 years (since I was 13).  I have worked in a variety of measuring systems.  I love any system based on 10 divisions.  I love converting units and understanding the relationship between units of differing systems.   They are all just different ways of describing the same thing.  After all, measuring a distance in a particular unit does not affect the distance.

So, Justin, it does matter what measuring system we use when we quote a source, because we are desirous of being accurate to the source.  It does not matter what system we use when describing something ourselves, unless the reader cannot understand the system.

jeff <><
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So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone. (1 Samuel 17:50)
 
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Re: Conquistadore meets Aztec
Reply #11 - Jun 20th, 2004 at 1:11pm
 
I think you misunderstood Jeff.  Johnny was accurately quoting from another source and to suggest that he bear the onus of backdating his source to 'stay true to the period' seems a bit...shall we say, burdensome. Who burnt your milquetoast? If only I could split hairs with my sling as well!  To quote you:

"I love converting units and understanding the relationship between units of differing systems"

If you had merely done that which you 'love' before your post, you would have noted that the Spaniards themselves had a problem keeping true to their own units of measurement.


Let us spend a moment to impart understanding to the reader on Johnny's behalf......

"The earliest transmittal of Roman metrology to Spain probably occurred sometime between the 3rd Punic War (end of Carthage in 146 B.C.) and the rise to power of the Spanish soldier Trajan as Roman Emperor near the end of the first century A.D. Spain's local regional modifications to measurements evolved for the next fourteen centuries. Because of the extreme Spanish regionalism at the time of Mexican conquest in 1519, every Spanish province had measurement systems which only faintly resembled the "official" standard established by Castile. The regional confusions spilled over to Nueva España until the late 16th century when a royal decree established that the vara of Burgos province would henceforth be considered the "standard." In the late 19th century this vara was generally accepted as .8359 meter or 32.909 inches. With time, however, the "vara problem" became progressively worse. W. C. Wattles reports in LAND SURVEY DESCRIPTIONS that there were no less than 22 different values of the vara during Mexico's and California's Spanish and Mexican exploration periods!

Much confusion still prevailed as some early metrologists tried to tease out a universal system from one inherently grounded in imprecision (fundamental lengths from body parts!), and regional variations (political and unsettling!) contributed to the confusion, making any of a number of measurement systems possible and probable during Spain's colonization period.

The chart at the end of this paper is based on the Burgos vara and shows a degree of precision compared to modern metric and English (Society of Automotive Engineers-SAE) standards. Since no academic consensus prevails as to the Burgos standard, extreme care is necessary in using the table. In many cases one unit might have been used to denote a variety of measurements. Some units changed values depending on the commodity, product, or direction being measured and some length measures changed their value over time, such as in the vara, as mentioned, and the league which changed often. Many units had specific usage for vocations such as sewing, shoe or boot making, printing, shipbuilding, agrarian and cattle industries.

England's contribution to a universal measurement "solution," some two hundred years before Spain's entrada into California, added even more confusion. In 1595, under Queen Elizabeth 1, the House voted on the conventional English furlong as being 40 rods, known also as poles or perches, each unit equaling 5.5 yards. The SAE system now begins with a yard consisting of 3 feet with 12 inches to the foot. Differing Anglo-Saxon and Spanish notions about "precision" now came into conflict, adding to cultural and language differences. To this day, the two adopted systems are still out of sync. Spanish cultures now embrace the more exacting metric system, while English speakers are intransigent with base 12 dimensions.

France incorporated the simpler and more exacting metric system shortly after Charles Maurice de Tallyrand, Bishop of Autun, placed before the French National Assembly a plan based on a unit of length equaling that displacement which a pendulum makes in one full swing per second. Louis XVI, in 1790, authorized a scientific investigation aimed at reforming weights and measurements at the end of the French Revolution. Spain followed France, after Napoleon had temporarily suspended the metric system for twenty-eight years, and fully adopted the metric system around 1867, then well past the California Mission Period.

The following list contains twenty-three known length measurements (small to large) existing during the Spanish colonial period, together with the author's hypothesized genesis. The table presented, courtesy of Charles W. Polzer and the Arizona SMRC team, shows the relative relationship between all twenty-three lengths and their dimensions in more familiar SAE and metric equivalents. Please keep in mind that if any other definition of the vara is adopted other than the Burgos provinces, these definitions will be modified, and areas, to be discussed in Part II, will be greatly modified.


LENGTH MEASUREMENTS
punto: An extensively used word in the Spanish language in many idiomatic expressions, meaning a point or dot, the punto was the smallest of Spanish measurements. Used exclusively in sewing, shoe and boot making, and later printing, it was 1/12th of a línea (line) and a little over six-thousandths of an SAE inch.
línea: Spanish for line, línea denotes a "twine's thickness," used for stitch measuring in sewing and most commonly in the fishing industry. It was 12 puntos and 1/9 of a dedo, equaling about 0.076 SAE inch.

dedo: The Spanish word for finger or toe, dedo, begins the scale of measurements associated with the human form. The finger's breadth was handed down centuries earlier. The Egyptian digit (zebo) of 18.7mm and later the Roman digitus (finger) of 18.44mm was transferred to the New World as 17.4mm, using the Burgos definition of the vara (48 dedos to the vara). In SAE units, the dedo measures 0.686 of an inch.

pulgada: The Spanish word for inch, the pulgada was the third most widely used linear measurement, after the vara and legua. These three were used traditionally as small, medium and long lengths throughout antiquity. A man's thumb width (quite often larger during prosperous times) denoted the inch in many cultures. From the Latin uncia, literally a twelfth, we get the words INCH and OUNCE. Starting out as 24.58mm, it arrives in the New World as 23.2mm and is exactly 1/3 of a palmo menor, equaling 0.914 SAE inch.

palmo menor: This measurement came from minor palmus (small palm) or 4 Roman digits, or approximately 3 inches. It was used in Spanish colonial times as subdivisions: 1/2 of the sesma and 1/3 of the palmo mayor. It is about 2.74 SAE inches.

sesma (jeme): A variation of the Spanish word sexma (for 1/6), the sesma was 1/6th of a Burgos vara, or six pulgadas at 5.48 SAE inches.

palmo mayor: (curato, c.1620 DF): Derived again from the Roman concept of a " large palm," the Roman major palmus was 12 digits or three times larger than the small palm. Spain's adoption is similar, with the palmo mayor being exactly three times larger than the menor,or 8.227 SAE inches and is exactly 1/4 vara.

pie: (tercio, c.1620 DF): Spanish word for foot, the pie is 2/3 the size of a codo and 1/3 larger than the palmo mayor. From the Roman pes, a foot of 295.7mm survives to become the Spanish foot at 278.6mm or 10.969 SAE inches.

codo geométrico: (media, c.1620 DF): Spanish for elbow. Traditional naming for measures from anatomical appendages continues. The Roman cubitus, at around 18", now becomes Spain's codo geométrico, at 16.45 SAE inches. Theoretically, it is the distance between the elbow and the outstretched middle finger.

codo real (de ribera): Used primarily in shipbuilding (lit. "along the shoreline"), the codo real is 1/3 larger than the codo geométrico and was exactly 8 palmos menores In SAE terms, approximately 1.83 feet.

paso ordinario: Spanish for a man's length of step or pace and is 1/2 of a paso geométrico. The Roman gradus or half- passus most closely resembles the ordinario, measuring approximately 2.3 SAE feet.

vara: Established within Spain's northern central power province of Burgos in the early 16th century, vara was considered very early on as the Spanish YARD and was used for many other integer multiples. The legal value of the vara set in early 1900 Texas was 33-1/3 inches, but Spanish-speaking countries (including Mexico and California) and those outside of Mexico had many other definitions for this most-used of Spanish measurements. (Burgos Province vara = 32.909 SAE inches)

paso geométrico: Twice the length of the paso ordinario where again Roman influence predominates with the passus, or man's pace, about 5 feet, considered a "long" Roman yardstick. The Spanish paso geométrico measures slightly less than 4.6 SAE feet.

braza: A length used primarily in the shipbuilding industry (meaning "marine fathom"), was actually measured differently for length and height. From Greek times the fathom (orguia), was defined as the distance between fingertip to fingertip of a man's outstretched arms. About 1.83m in antiquity, the fathom transferred to Nueva España as a shorter 1.67m or 5.485 SAE feet.

toesa: A Spanish measurement that had absolutely no common multiples or divisions with any other Spanish measurement. Rather, the toesa was adopted quite independently from an Old French measurement (toise) of approximately 6.38 SAE feet.

marca: As with the toesa, the miarca has no common divisors or integer combinations between the toesa or other Spanish lengths. It appears that this length was used as a height measuring stick, approximately 7.88 SAE feet, for sea and land measurements. It was apparently another French legacy.

estadal: A Spanish linear measurement of about 3.3 meters or 11 SAE feet. The estadal is many even multiples of other Spanish measures. (Please see Editor's Note for the explanatory Table.)

cordel: In Spanish colonial times there were three cordels with distinct integer equivalents of 10, 50 and 69 varas, each measuring in at 27.4, 137. 1, and 189 SAE feet respectively. Used primarily in the agrarian and cattle industries.

milla: The Spanish equivalent MILE or 1/3 of a legua. From the Roman mille passus, or 8 stadia, which contains 1000 paces, came the mile (milliarium). Spain's bequeathal, the milla, similarly contained 1000 pasos geométrico or twice as many pasos ordinaries with many other integer multiples along the way. The milla is 1393m or 0.866 SAE mile. The Roman milliarium was used extensively in antiquity, e.g., along highways where stones were equally spaced and served to form military positions; also in highway maintenance.

legua: The largest of Spanish measurements was the legua, or LEAGUE, which has many divisors and multiplying subdivisions. Exactly 3 millas, 5000 varas or 10,000 codos; it was 2.597 SAE miles or 4180 meters in length."


There, that should clear up Johnny's 'oversight' in quoting a source that uses modern units of measurement........He should have used the 'Vara' so that we could all have benefitted in being compelled to go a 'googling' for understanding on the matter.  I know I learned something....
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Re: Conquistadore meets Aztec
Reply #12 - Jun 20th, 2004 at 1:33pm
 
Tech Stuff you get my vote for the "Slinging.org award" for the longest post.
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Johnny
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Re: Conquistadore meets Aztec
Reply #13 - Jun 20th, 2004 at 2:19pm
 
Maybe the author of the book(Terence Wise) translated the Spanish text(in yards) to a 20th century speaking English culture. I know the Europeans use the metric system. Wow-I never dreamed my illustration would cause a firestorm!!
Johnny
PS-The goal of an artist(at least for me) is to inspire people. I see I have "inspired" a debate on Meters/Yards!!!!
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Re: Conquistadore meets Aztec
Reply #14 - Jun 20th, 2004 at 5:30pm
 
GREAT ILLUSTRATION!  Cheesy

Are there any sources, archaeologic or literary, that tell us anything about the style used by the Aztecs or the slings they used?
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Like one who binds a stone in a sling, So is he who gives honor to a fool. Proverbs 26:8
 
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