Vikram and the Vampire: Or, Tales of Hindu Devilry


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Dec 31, 1893
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As the so-termed founding of Rome took place during the early Iron Age of Southern Europe, it is probable that the citizens, like their predecessors the Etruscans, originally made their blades of copper and bronze, the leaf-shape being borrowed from the Greeks, as we see it retained by the gladiators. The material would last into the Age of Steel, but even in her early years Rome must have preferred the harder metal. Pliny expressly tells us that Porsena, after his short-lived conquest, prohibited the future masters of the world from using iron except in agriculture... -from Chapter XII: "The Sword in Ancient Rome; The Legion and the Gladiator" Notorious for his global exploits-not to mention his unexpurgated translations of The Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra-British adventurer and author CAPTAIN SIR RICHARD FRANCIS BURTON (1821-1890) was also a soldier and an aficionado of fencing, which is surely how he came about his interest in the sword. "The history of the sword is the history of humanity," Burton declares in his introduction to this classic 1884 survey of the weapon, and then goes on to explore that noble history through: [ the origin of weapons [ the ages of wood, bone, and horn [ copper weapons [ bronze and brass axes and swords [ the sword in ancient Egypt [ the sword in Babylonia, Persia, and ancient India [ the sword in ancient Greece [ the sword in ancient Rome [ and much more Profusely illustrated with beautifully detailed line drawings, this is an essential reference for anyone interested in the history of weaponry.
"The history of the sword is the history of humanity." With these words, British author, Victorian scholar, and world traveler Richard Burton begins his eloquent and exceptionally erudite history of the "Queen of Weapons."
Spanning the centuries and a wide range of cultures, Burton's rich and elegant prose illuminates the sword as both armament and potent symbol. For nearly all peoples of the world, the sword embodied the spirit of chivalry, symbolized justice and martyrdom and represented courage and freedom. In battle, it served universally as a deadly offensive weapon.
Drawing on a wealth of literary, archaeological, anthropological, linguistic, and other sources, the author traces the sword's origins, from its birth as a charred and sharpened stick, through its diverse stages of development, to its full growth in the early Roman Empire. Recounting man's long association with this weapon, the author describes in brilliant detail:
The ages of wood, bone and born
The appearance of stone swords and exotic weapons such as the boomerang
The ages of copper and alloys such as bronze and brass — used in producing the long, narrow blades of rapiers
The Iron Age during which the Viking sword of carbonized iron took shape — a weapon whose form would set the standard for the next thousand years.
Enhanced by nearly 300 excellent line drawings, the text provides an incredible wealth of detailed data about the sword and its variations: sabre, broadsword, cutlass, scimitar, rapier, foil, and a host of other arms, including dirks, daggers, throwing knives, flails, and much more.
Military and social historians, scholars and students of weaponry, as well as armchair adventurers will find this volume a fascinating, abundantly illustrated and highly readable account of this potent symbol of power.

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