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    • CommentAuthormoheinous
    • CommentTimeMar 12th 2008
    A number of times in the book the narrarator described using dirt or shit applied to their arrows and swords to cause wounds to become infected. Yet the Germ theory of disease wasn't understood until the 1800's. At the very earliest it may have been inferred during the black plague of the 1400's. Medieval medicine actually involved applying mud to wounds to speed healing.
    So is there some historical basis for the tactic or just some enjoyable literary liberty being taken by Bill?
  1.  (1377.2)
    I think anyone half-awake will assume that smearing shit in an open wound isn't going to be good for the woundee. It is actually recorded that blades would be wiped in shit before big battles -- the first instance I remember being told of was the Siege of Berkeley Castle, 1645-ish. So the germ theory may not have been understood until whenever, but it's my understanding that soldiers believed there was a link between them wiping their blades in the latrines, and sticking their arrows in the ground, and people getting sick from those adulterated wounds.
  2.  (1377.3)
    Hold on, hold on -- why did the Tartars catapult plague-infected corpses into Kaffa, back in the 1300s, if they didn't have a grasp of the idea? I mean, I know that as late as the 1800s people were still saying "all smell is disease," but there was certainly an understood correlation between shit and sickness.

    I also seem to recall some bastard, maybe Lithuanian, using trebuchets to fire heaps of shit and corpses into a city, around 1430...
    • CommentAuthorkozmund
    • CommentTimeMar 12th 2008
    I think you can go even earlier than that. To quote "Chemical and Biological Warfare: A Comprehensive Survey for the Concerned Citizen":
    As long ago as 400 B.C., Scythian archers dipped their arrows in feces and putrefying corpses, predating by thousands of years the Viet Cong use of punji stakes coated with human excrement as booby traps. Similarly, Roman soldiers ran their swords into manure and the rotting offal of dead animals before battle.

    That seems more specific to what's depicted in Crecy.
  3.  (1377.5)
    The Muslims used plague dead on besieged cities as early as the conquest of Egypt, 642 AD or so. The mongol sack of baghdad, 1260, Hulagu Khan flung corpses into the city ahead of his army to bring pestilence and drive people out into the Horde's waiting armies. Word of that, and it's effectiveness, surely spread.

    Sanitation was pretty well understood, remember the Romans built entire architectures for the purposes of moving waste and water around. People might not have had standards of cleanliness, but they knew a bit. Packing wounds with linen and herbs was common practice since before Christianity rose in Europe.
    • CommentAuthormoheinous
    • CommentTimeMar 12th 2008
    Thanks, i assumed that there was some historical basis, i just had never heard of it before. Seems like one of those things people understood but could'nt explain properly until technology( i.e. microscopes) caught up.
  4.  (1377.7)
    I think it's almost an inborn instinct to throw crap at people you don't like.
    And the idea of catapulting a deceased, bloated bovine at someone you don't like? That's got visual impact. And physical impact, too. SPLORT!

    Crap-and urine marred weapons would also stink; c'mon. Would YOU want to face a crazy guy coming at you with a sword, who also smelled like poo? I wouldn't.

    Weapons coated in crap would also explain the high incidence of infection from such wounds...
  5.  (1377.8)
    I always got the impression that people loved poo in 'the olden days.'

    Like there was love letters mozart wrote asking his love to shit in the bed and roll around in it and I remember one war the english won (I cant remember which one it was, maybe napoleonic) over the french for the sole reason we had our latrines and food services at different ends while the french had thiers together and thus they all died of dysentry.
    I mean I havent looked into it but I remembered a few historical anecdotes on how the actual smell of shit being repulsive to humans is a relativly new thing. When we're born babies love poo, it's only by admonishment that we learn that poo isnt something we're allowed to eat and rub around in.
    It always facinated me that the repulsion of shit could be nurture rather than nature.
    p.s. I'm not a cocrophiliac honestly, sorry for getting so poo obsessed
    • CommentTimeMar 13th 2008
    scatology is nothing new, we as humans seem to like pretending that it is, or maybe it's just that there's soooo much time that we've recorded that's it difficult to think about for how long folk have been throwing shit at each other and using it to battle.

    it is always surprising to me how much "old" stuff is actually the same stuff that we do now, we have different words and technology to explain why this stuff works, but that doesn't change the fact that for a very long time, we have known that it does work. conversely - most of the "new" stuff has been done before - in some way shape or form.
      CommentAuthorWalker James
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2008 edited
    Rambo uses scat warfare in David Morrell's "First Blood". Thats the first time I had heard of that kind of thing. I need to read Crecy (Raulo Caceres is awesome), but it looks like I'll have to order it.
    • CommentAuthorPablo
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2008
    Rambo uses scat warfare in David Morrell's "First Blood". Thats the first time I had heard of that kind of thing. I need to read Crecy (Raulo Caceres is awesome), but it looks like I'll have to order it.

    It's a great book. It's a, um...a little unconventional for a comic, but it's damn entertaining. And informative!
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2008
    The miasmatic theory of disease goes back to the greeks, and got to the arabs that way. Not sure if it's in the corpus hippocraticum, or Aristoteles or whatever, but it was accepted fact for a long time - hospital architecture well into the 20's or 30's had traces of attempts to use the interior layout to regulate the flow of miasmas.

    I remember an anecdote about the siting of the hospital in medieval Baghdad. Wish I could source it. The doctors hung cages with meat in all over the city. Where the meat went bad last, the air was assumed to be best, and that's where the hospital was built.
  6.  (1377.13)
    @pablodiaz: whats so um...unconventional about it?