Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Martwa natura z.. kielznem Torrentiusa

trochę historii sztuki i nazewnictwa hipologicznego, jako ze u mnie nastal właśnie okres psiej gwiazdy de novo.
Otóż przeglądając sobie Zbigniewa Herberta sławny zbiór szkiców o holenderskim złotym wieku i ich sztuce, zaciekawiłem się samym tytułowym obrazem Torrentiusa, jako ze na okładce jest on reprodukowany bardzo oszczędnie w rozmiarze i nie widać detali tego kiełzna z tytułowej okładki, bo wędzidło to być nie może.

Wiki Commons ma zdjęcie obrazu ale zbyt wiele detalu nie widać, choć na wiki jest hasło dotyczące samego obrazu  - i jest tam odnośnik do artykułu/pracy magisterskiej Agnieszki Kostrzewskiej na temat (link poniżej).
Web Gallery of Art ma obraz w lepszym detalu - tutaj - i wyraźnie widać o jaki przyrząd do powodowania koniem chodzi - mianowicie o XVII-wieczne kiełzno zwane munsztukiem.

Sam artykuł - Agnieszka Kostrzewska, ''Martwa natura z wędzidłem Johannesa Torrentiusa – pouczenie moralne czy ukryta ironia.'' - do pobrania tutaj.. via artifex.
Ergo, typowy munsztuk z epoki rozkwitu jeździectwa XVI-XVIII wieków.

Jeden z munsztuków z dzieła mości Krzysztofa Dorohostajskiego - Hippica

Mój szybki szkic z obrazu

Obrócony, żeby widać lepiej części munsztuka, jako ze czanki są 'obcięte' na obrazie

I tak to w polskiej opowieści o tym alegorycznym obrazie Torrentiusa istnieje nazwa z błędem faktycznie istotnym, ale chyba nikogo oprócz koniarzy to nie boli - :)

Nota bene po angielsku  tytuł brzmi - 'Emblematic still life with flagon, glass, jug and bridle' - gdzie owo 'bridle' to w tym przypadku  po prostu 'ogłowie'  ... w języku hiszpańskim tytuł jest 'Naturaleza muerta con brida', co to oznacza to samo.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Kircholm 1605-2015

this great horse lancers versus reiter cavalry and pike infantry battle took place 410 years ago near a town of Salaspis (then Kircholm) in Latvia (then Livonia).
Forces were not large - some 11-12,000 attacking Swedes (mostly infantry with 2,500 cavalrymen - numbers after Mariusz Balcerek) and 3,5 (most historians, eg Henryk Wisner ) to 9,000 defending Polish Crown army ( numbers by Radek Sikora - see link below), mostly cavalrymen with their camp servants (including 1,000 infantry Polish) plus some 400 reiter cavalrymen from the Duchy of Curland.
 Perhaps a little comment of the nature of this conflict - well, it was really a dynastic dispute between two royal members of the Swedish Vasa House over the throne of Sweden et al., Polish Commonwealth ruled by the rightful heir to the Swedish throne and Sweden ruled by his uncle and usurper who won over the country in a coup.
It was one of the most famous battles won by the Old Polish art of war, mostly based on the combined use of all available forces with the winged hussars acting as the armoured fist of the army, hammering the enemy until they were defeated. Hence, this battle is recognized as one of the greatest triumphs of the winged lancer of Old Poland.

Here a period print from the Poland's National Library - via the Jan III Sobieski museum at  Wilanow Palace site.
His Royal Highness Sigismund III Vasa army was led by one of those miltiary geniuses that happened in the Polish Commonwealth during the XVI and XVII centuries in abundant numbers - Jan Karol Chodkiewicz,   the Duchy of Lithuania grand hetman. perhaps one day I shall quote some from his writings.

Ad rem, the pitched battle was most violent and as usual in the period before the machine guns and modern artillery and tanks, most causalities occurred during the retreat and confusion caused by the retreating Swedish cavalry - the Charles IX army was drawn into the battle by Chodkiewicz's stratagem  into a trap, bludgeoned with the mighty armoured blows delivered by the Polish-Lithuanian charging cavalry columns (Woyna, Lacki, Sapieha, Dąbrowa) and finally disintegrated under the thrusts of  the Polish-Lithuanian winged hussars' lance points, estoques, sabres and pallasches.
 God had mercy on their souls for the winged hussars had none.

Radek Sikora, Polish winged hussars historian and reenactor, wrote an interesting article on the battle (in Polish) -  on Wp.
Another article (Polish) by Kuba Pokojski from Signum Polonicum re-enactment group - author of a new book on the battle of Tczew AD 1627.
Kadrinazi blog - articles on Kircholm are more than a few. eg on the fallen soldiers.

 This engagement is pretty much similar to the famous Classical  Antiquity battle of Cannae, and was called Small Cannae - (Małe Kanny).

 Popular artists of the early XVII century, Flemish Peter Snayers painted this battle, and the famous painting, shown at the beginning of my post, can be viewed in detail - from hussar.com.pl gallery

Gloria et pacem aeternam

an artist  copying a detail from Wojciech Kossak's painting of this battle - speeded video of work done in soft pastels. 
 I still wonder why Osprey has not published a book on this amazing engagement.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New Book on Konik Polski

a book has been published on the famous Konik Polski by a Duch researcher Cis van Vuutre (paper here), also an author of a study on the auroch.
From the publisher's page (Semper):

Cis van Vuure
From kaikan to konik
Facts and perceptions surrounding the European wild horse and the Polish „konik”
ISBN 978-83-7507-18506
format B5, s. 446, ilustracje

Cis van Vuure studied forestry at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. In his study he also focused on zoology and nature conservation. A part of his study he spent at the Mammal Research Institute at Białowieża, Poland. There, not only he got interested in historical zoology and the Holocene historical landscape of West and Central Europe, but also in Polish language and history. After his study he was active in e.g. nature conservation, grazing experiments and historical zoology. Developments and perceptions in these fields stimulated him to make a study of several aspects of the extinct aurochs (Bos primigenius), which was published in 2005. During and after this study, the mentioned developments also got him to study another large extinct European mammal, the wild horse, as well as an alleged descendant thereof, the Polish konik. The research into these horses resulted in a PhD thesis.
Konik Polski
''In the late 18th century, scientific interest in the European wild horse began to emerge. During the 19th century, various scientists published about the physical appearance of this animal, its range and habitat. After the discovery of Przewalski’s horses in Central Asia in 1878, this research was stimulated and broadened. Realizing that both the aurochs and the wild horse had become extinct in Europe, the German Heck brothers started to try and breed back these species during the 1920s, to show the people how they looked like. During the 1930s, the Pole Tadeusz Vetulani started to breed back the European wild horse, too. For this, he used certain farm horses. The Polish konik, being the breeding result of Vetulani’s experiment, became well‐known by the paraphrase ‘the most recent descendant of the European wild horse and the one that most resembles it.’ Personal doubts about these allegations, on the part of the author of this book, were the actual reason to start a research into the backgrounds to both the European wild horse and Vetulani’s breeding experiment, and the perceptions surrounding them. To learn about the wild horse, as much original source material as possible was gathered; in this way, several interesting, still unknown and unused sources were found. To learn about Vetulani’s breeding experiment, as much data on this as possible were gathered, to be able to analyse it minutely. The picture of the European wild horse, that now comes up from this research, is more complete than ever before. It turned out to be possible to give a broad outline of the physical appearance of this animal and its habitat. The research into Vetulani’s experiment yielded an analysis that is not only more elaborate than previous ones, but also deviant from the common version told until now. The doubts mentioned above showed up to be well‐founded.''


1. Introduction
1.1. Subject of the research
1.2. Background to the research
1.2.1. Germany and the Polish‐Lithuanian Union
1.2.2. The Netherlands
1.3. Perceptions of the horse
1.4. Reason for the research
1.5. Research objective
1.6. Research questions
1.7. Research method and sources
1.8. The structure of this book
2. The history of the European wild horse, from the last Ice Age onwards
2.1. Introduction
2.2. The transition from the last Ice Age to the Holocene
2.3. The wild horse in Europe, during the period 8000‐3000 BCE
2.4. The domestication of the wild horse and the spread of the domestic horse
2.5. Horses living in the wild in Europe, during the period 500 BCE‐18th century
2.5.1. Europe, outside East Prussia and the adjacent areas
• Classical antiquity
• The Middle Ages (for the non‐German territories)
• The German territories
2.5.2. East Prussia and the adjacent areas
• EastPrussia
• Lithuania
• Poland, up to the 16th century inclusive
• Poland, during the 17th and the 18th centuries
2.5.3. The origin of the Great Wilderness: political context
2.5.4. The nature of the Great Wilderness
2.5.5. Wild and feral horses: the most important distinguishing features
• Coat Colour
• Mane
• Size
• Ability to be tamed
2.5.6. The assessment of the records of horses living in the wild in Europe
2.5.7. The arguments in favour of the existence of the wild horse in East Prussia and the adjacent areas
• Physical appearance
• Ability to be tamed
• Protective measures
• Collector’sitem
• Abruptend
• An original name: kaikan
• Eating horse meat
2.5.8. Reasons why the wild horse was able to survive in East Prussia and the adjacent areas
2.6. The Eurasian steppes, from the 17th to the 19th century
2.6.1. Records of horses living in the wild on the Eurasian steppes
2.6.2. The assessment of the records of horses living in the wild on the Eurasian steppes
2.7. Jan Zamoyski and the European wild horse
2.7.1. The political situation in the Polish‐Lithuanian Union during the 16th century
2.7.2. The origin and nature of Jan Zamoyski’s zoo
2.7.3. The origin of the wild horses at Jan Zamoyski’s zoo
2.8. Perceptions
2.8.1. From wild to tame
2.8.2. Wildernesses and wild horses
2.8.3. Eating horse meat
2.8.4. The horse in art
2.8.5. The horse as a status symbol
3. The emergence of a myth
3.1. Introduction
3.2. The political developments in the Polish‐Lithuanian Union as a background to Brincken’s work
3.3. Brincken’s description of the Forest of Białowieża and the European wild horse
3.4. Criticism of the claims by Brincken
3.4.1. Contemporary criticism of Brincken
• Miscellaneous items
• Wisent counts
• Plants149 • Animals
3.4.2. Brincken’s reply to the contemporary criticism
3.4.3. Recently formulated criticism of Brincken’s mentions of the wild horse
• Political arguments for criticism
• Textual arguments for criticism
• Social and economic arguments for criticism
• Breeding‐related arguments for criticism
3.4.4. Conclusions regarding Brincken’s mentions of the wild horse
3.4.5. On the appearance of the Forest of Białowieża
3.5. Description of the physical appearance and the habitat of the European wild horse
3.5.1. Coat colour
• On the occurrence of a white coat in the wild horse
3.5.2. Other features
• Mane,tail,beard192
• Shoulder height
• Hooves
3.5.3. Comparison of the physical appearances of the European wild horse and the Polish konik
3.5.4. Habitat
3.6. Perceptions
4. The breeding‐back experiments and the origin of the Polish konik
4.1. Introduction
4.2. The political context of the breeding‐back experiments by Vetulani and the Heck brothers
4.3. The scientific context of the breeding‐back experiments by Vetulani and the Heck brothers
4.4. The breeding‐back experiment by the Heck brothers
4.5. The breeding‐back experiment by Vetulani, up to 1952 inclusive
4.5.1. Introduction
4.5.2. The execution of the breeding‐back experiment
• The period from 1923 to 1927 inclusive
• The period from 1928 to September 1939
• The period from September 1939 to July 1944
• The period from July 1944 to 1952 inclusive
4.5.3. Criticism of Vetulani’s theory and experiments
• Criticism of the theory
• Criticism of the skull measurements
4.6. The konik breeding‐back experiment, after 1952
4.6.1. The transitional period 1952‐1955 268
4.6.2. Konik breeding at Popielno
4.7. DNA research and the placing of the konik
4.8. Perceptions
5. The Polish konik and nature management
5.1. Introduction
5.2. Developments in Dutch nature management, far into the 1970s
5.3. The introduction of the konik into Dutch nature management
5.3.1. The decision process
5.3.2. Evaluation of the choice for the konik
5.4. Developments in Dutch nature management since the introduction of the konik, and the background to them
5.5. On the appearance of the Holocene natural landscape of Western and Central Europe
5.6. Perceptions
5.6.1. The konik and nature management
5.6.2. Rewilding
5.6.3. Icons and nature management
5.6.4. The horse as an icon
5.6.5. Horses and animal protection
5.6.6. Nature management and animal welfare
6. Recap and perspective
6.1. Recap
6.2. Inferences for the future
6.2.1. The konik in nature management
6.2.2. Other possible substitutes for the European wild horse
6.2.3. Developments in DNA research
Captions for pictures
Archives consulted
Overview of manuscripts, printed sources and secondary literature
Words of thanks


Friday, September 18, 2015

day of shame 17.09.1939

yet another anniversary - always a shameful one - of the Soviet invasion of Poland, consequence of the secret pact Ribentrop-Molotov.
Wiki gallery here, a film on youtube. Russian film - 'liberation' of 'western Ukraine' and 'western Belarus.'
I wonder why there is no connection between this invasion and the following Holocaust and genocide of the Polish citizenry.

Polish government was taken completely aback by this invasion, and confused completely and utterly, never giving a clear and convincing order to oppose militarily the invasion, but only when acting in self-defence -  it reflects the failure of the post-Piłsudski leadership and statesmanship.
 General S. Timoshenko, ex-cavalryman who was part of the Budyony 1st Army, and the commander of the Ukrainian Front (army) issued the infamous proclamation to the Polish soldiers, amongst others calling for the Polish  soldiers to kill their officers etc. His invading army fought at battle of Szack, not being able to defeat the KOP ( Polish 'Border Patrol' Corps ) units.
Ancient city of Grodno was heroically defended by a combined force of ramshackle and badly armed collected units, boy scouts and civilians, and after 3 days of fighting, the Soviets executed many of the boys scouts and civilian defenders.
Royal city of Lwów was defended - 12-22,09.1939 - by the Poles, army and civilians, against the German troops, and when the Germans retreated to the west the city was surrendered to the advancing east Timoshenko's force.
Captured officers were marched east to be murdered in the Soviet camps - like Katyn Forest. Thousands of citizens were arrested and later on, during the Soviet retreat in 1941, these prisoners were massacred by the escaping NKVD troops.
Last large battle of Polish Campaign of 1939 took place at Kock, and was as much a fight against the Germans as against the Red Army moving from the east.
Soviet-German parade at Brest-Litovsk 1939.

Recollections of Antoni Fugiel, who was a young Polish officer during the September 1939 - amongst others recalls the fate of his fellow officer Mieczysław Klasa, murdered in Katyń Forest.

Nothing to enjoy I am afraid, but just to think a little perhaps.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Vienna 12.09.1683-2015


yet another anniversary, yes, I know, September is one of those months ...

well, damas y caballeros, today while reading about the anniversary of the famous battle of Vienna AD 1683 I realised that I had never done a post about it.
Hence,  in order to correct this injustice and to mend this sorrowful state of affairs I am adding a post - :)

I want to say one thing though, I believe that the victorious allied forces under our good king Jan III had the Fortuna's blessing that fine afternoon on the Danube plain. Ottoman Turks fought like lions and falcons, but on this day the Polish husaria and pancerni cavalry were like winged tigers and they bested the Turkish lions. 

Before the charge that decided the battle's outcome Jan Sobieski told his friends, warriors and soldiers about to charge the enemy:

'Ten sam nieprzyjaciel, któregoś my pobili pod Chocimiem, stoi przed nami. Jesteśmy wprawdzie w obcym kraju lecz nie walczymy dla obcej sprawy. Walczymy za nasz kraj i za chrześcijaństwo, nie dla cesarza, lecz dla Boga.'' (The very enemy  whom we vanquished at Khotyn stands before you. Admittedly we are in a foreign country however we are not fighting for a foreign cause. We are fighting for our country and for Christianity, not for the emperor, but for God.' )

After the battle Jan III stated in his letter to the Pope innocent IX - Venimus, vidimus, Deus vicit.

(we came, we saw, God won) - I do like the above painting by Jan Matejko.

King Jan also said that [after this battle] the Turkish horses would be easily available in Poland. True enough, many beautiful and most valuable Turkish and Arabian horses were captured at the Turkish camp after this battle . 

soon I am hoping to write a little about Jan III Sobieski's uncle  Stanisław Daniłłowicz whose life was untimely lost in the struggle against the Tatars.

Friday, September 11, 2015

9-11 2001-2015

another anniversary, and nothing has improved since that fateful date, or even it is getting worse as we speak, albeit mostly in the bloody Near East and the most confused European Union, wide open to the new Völkerwanderung.

 Pacem aeternam to all who perished in the Twin Towers in the morning of September, 11, 2001.

I first heard about the attack while sitting at my desk in Astoria Queens, NY and listening to the morning program at the WBAI radio station (my favourite station as for the news, health talks and computer/telephone shows etc). I ren over to the window and from this window on 5th floor I saw the second plane hit the South Tower. From then on it was between listening to the radio stations and watching the towers burning and finally collapsing.
About noon I reached Greenpoint and Williamsburg shore in Brooklyn, the streets were deserted as if the city came to a stand still, and while I was driving and then walking I watched the millions of burned paper debris in a snow-like fashion cover the streets and the shore.  There were some poeple there, the Williamsburg was not yest as popular as today, and we all watched in silence the heavy smoke, already miles long clod of it,  coming from beyond the East River.
My relatives and friends who worked in Manhattan were safe enough but had to walk from the Lower Manhattan to the Queensborough Bridge in order to cross into Queens and Brooklyn.
It was a mayhem.. it was a tragedy ... and travesty of ineptitude (he, he, Rudy Guliani, the 'best' mayor city could have), soon followed by looting of the stores and vaults by the looters that came on their boats and jet-skies from Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey...
Daniel Pipes - on the volatile Near East and his predictions as to the future - here

For my Polish-speakers - a good and interesting program with prof. Franciszek Bocheński - on Radio Wnet - about the wider context of Al-Qaeda  and Daesh.

Also, in Polish , a raging issue of migrants and refugees from the wars and poverty of Western Asia and Africa  - from the Polish Parliament,    Łukasz Warzecha on media and misinformation, Witold Repetowicz on migrations,  Rafał Ziemkiewicz on the Polish (and Central European) problem with the EU leadership, especially old good Germany's drive to do away with the member states's sovereign powers.

What I find most curious is that this present EU elite sentiment embodied in the German government calls for the stricter censorship of the political speech, by tightening speech controls and punishment on the social platform Facebook - and any vocal opponents of the resettlement of these migrants and few refugees within EU are called Neo-Nazis, right-wingers, hate-mongers and in general the enemies of the human race... most curious.
But then the present political system of the European Union is more akin to the corporate-bureaucratic oligarchy with socialist undertones and gender socialism flags in the background... 
images from the Wikipedia Commons

An interesting article on the Paleo-Indians archery  in Northern North America via Owen Mason's academia page

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September 1, 1939-2015

as long as  I can remember in my family the today's date was associated with the tragedy of War World II and the annual beginning of school.

So on that fateful September 1, 1939 begun  the end of reborn Old Poland,  the rape, murder (Polish Jews  Holocaust, Polish Christians and other genocide) and pillage ( eg Polish art lost ) of that Old Poland (eg our landed gentry was obliterated completely and for ever). The war did not stop in 1945, for it lasted for good several decades until the Soviet Poland emerged as a homogeneous country in the late  1960s, when most of the Jews and Jewish communists ( the top apparatchiks of the Soviet Poland were mostly of the Jewish origin)  were forced to emigrate or voluntarily emigrated from the Peoples Republic of Poland (PRofP), and other non-Polish minorities were and still are smallish in numbers (eg Poland recognizes the right of the German minority in Poland, while the huge Polish minority in Germany is not afforded the status and their property taken in 1940 still has not been returned). I should add that the Polish Jews participated in the defence of Poland against the German invasion, and a hundred thousand were soldiers in the Polish army.
In the eastern Poland it was much different, the Jews ( communists and  poor rabble) and the Ukrainians and Belorussian peasants went against the Polish army and supported the Soviet Red Army. Multi-ethnic Polish state suffered a catastrophic failure during the 1939-45 period. In this photo even the religious Jews worked to defend Warsaw in 1939, going back to the days of Old Poland, where there were even units of Jewish soldiers defending the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

From the very beginning of war the Germans and Soviets set on obliterating the traditional elites of Old Poland - the gentry, and while the Germans were following Hitler's plans to eliminate the Polish nation, the Soviets created new elites out of 'their useful idiot'  men and women they either brought with them from within the USSR or found ready in the Soviet Poland etc.  Two  things were not destroyed - the Catholic Church and the land holding farmers-peasants. So while my ancestors being  good and prosperous farmers had gotten stuck in the category of semi-enemies of the PRofP, in the end they survived the Moscow lackeys and somewhat prevailed, until this European Union and liberal progress of today. But for now the old good farmer persists in Poland, and I am happy to report that one of my second cousins farms my ancestral farmland, and he is quite prosperous - God bless him and his family.

Ad rem, the war was the most cruel from the beginning, the power of the air force was used against the civilian population at will, Germans experimenting with their new machines - unfortunately no Picasso painted the horrors inflicted on the Polish town of Wielun and thousands of others. It was mayhem, chaos and destruction, it was horrifying and unlike any other war before - mind you the Central and Eastern Poland was the theatre of war during the World War I, with some 1 million Polish civilians dying during 1914-18.

During that September 1939 Poland had been betrayed by our allies, the British and the French, and later during the 1940-45 period they betrayed us some more ( eg the loss of the entire eastern part of the country, with the most Polish city in the world Lwów aka Lviv going to the soviet Union, its population forcibly removed into post-1045 Polish Republic). The most shameful was, in my opinion, the last act that took place after the end of the war, when His Majesty Labour  government refused  to allow Polish army-in-exile soldiers to march in the victory parade in 1946. And nowadays, since 2004 some 1 million Poles settled in the UK, with Her Majesty government's blessing - the irony of history. Or perhaps the 1946 British government was right on that we, Poles  lost the war, being occupied by one of our 1939 aggressors, and thus the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Britain et al., were actually losers. 

Julien Bryan, who took many photos of besieged capital of Poland, wrote about the story behind the above photo taken during that September 1939 in 1959:

During one air raid in those tragic two weeks of the siege, I took shelter in a maternity hospital. Huddled on the cold stone floors of the basement were 50 mothers with their infants. Some of the mothers bore shrapnel wounds received when the hospital was shelled by the Nazi guns ringing Warsaw. It was there that I photographed a young mother with her twin boys. That mother, Mrs. Balbina Szymanska, came to the Express offices to meet me. She said that the boys and their father had been killed during the 1944 revolt, when the Poles, at the bidding of Radio Moscow, rose against their German conquerors. The Red Army failed to come to the aid of the Poles, and the Nazis crushed them ruthlessly. During Mrs. Szymanska's absence from home, on September 5, 1944, a shell blasted their house, killing the twins and their father. It was the boys' fifth birthday. She has remarried and now has three children by her second husband. 
By the way, famous Leni Riefenstahl with the German troops in the invaded Poland of 1939, she was supposed to make a film about this campaign, but upon seeing the massacre of Polish Jews in Konskie allegedly changed her mind. She did film the German victory parade in Warsaw on October 5, 1939.

My dear grandmother recalled long columns of Polish refugees during the hot days of September 1939 and the German Luftwaffe or air force bombing and machine-gunning the civilians in their horse-draw cars and automobiles.  My paternal grandfather, his cousins, and my other grand-uncles  already mobilised with the Polish army (within armies 'Łódź' and 'Poznań') would fight their first war and lost it, while  for my grandpa the war last for more than 6 years of fighting  (including almost two years in a prisoners' camp).

That war makes me think about horses, obviously, especially  since all three attackers on Poland'39 - namely Germany, Soviet Union (since September 17 onwards) and Slovakia[sic!], used hundred of thousands of horses, and the Polish military also used hundred of thousands as draft animals and cavalry horses. My great grandparents bred horses for the army prior to 1939, and their blood stock was confiscated by the Germans in the wake of the German invasion of Soviet Union, when the Germans need all the horses they could take.

My wife's great granduncle was an officer in the Polish cavalry. But we have to remember that the Polish cavalryman of 1939 fought  on foot but travelled on horseback, as the Polish cavalry  was essentially a dragoon cavalry. That is not to say that they did not use a mounted shock attack, and there were several successful mounted charges executed by the Polish cavalry regiments and or squadrons.

But nothing symbolizes the war more than this photo, colourized lately (I do not know by whom and when, got it off the net), showing a Polish cavalry horse killed in 1939.

... just thinking about these tragic moments and perhaps tonight I will light a candle and remember the fallen (including my great uncle).

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A bit - 1759 definition etc

have posted anything about the horses lately, then it is time to change this pattern - :) , so from the XVIII century horse literature classic comes this definition of a bit:
The title -  'The Farriers's and Horseman's Complete Dictionary: Containing the Art of Farriery in All Its Branches; with Whatever Relates to the Manage, and to the Knowledge, Breeding, Feeding, and Dieting of Horse' by  James Williams et al ,  1759.

*''BIT, or Bitt, or Horse-bitt, in general, signifies the whole machine of all the iron appurtenances of a bridle, as the bit-mouth, the branches, the curb, the sevil-holes, the tranchefil, and the cross chains: but oftentimes it signifies only the bitmouth in particular.
The bit-mouth is then a piece of iron forged several ways, in order to be put into a horse's mouth, to keep it in subjection.
Of these bit-mouths, some are single cannon mouths, some are cannon mouths with an upset or mounting liberty, some scatch mouths, some mouths after the form of a barge. Some with two long turning olives, and several other sorts, all with different liberties for the tongue, or without liberty. But all bit-mouths ought still to be proportioned to the mouth of the horse, according as it is more or less cloven or wide; or more or less sensible and tender, according as the tongue and the lips are higher or flatter, and as the palate is more or lest fleshy ; observing withal, that if the horse be old, the palate will always have but little flesh upon it. Guillet.
It is the opinion of the Duke of Newcastle, that as little iron as possible should be put into the horse's mouth; and we seldom use any other than snaffles, cannon mouths jointed in the middle, cannon with a fast-mouth, and cannon with a port mouth, either round or jointed.''
"As for the bits now in use, besides the snaffle or watering bit, there is the cannon mouth jointed in the middle, which M. Solleysell affirms to be the very best of all, because it always preserves a horse's mouth whole and sound; and though the tongue sustains the whole effort of it, yet it is not so sensible as the bars, which are so delicate that they feel its pressure through the tongue, and thereby obey the least motion of the rider's hand. The longer it is towards the ends fixed to the branches the gentler it will be. We should make use of this mouth to a horse so long as we can; that is, if with a simple cannon mouth we can draw from a horse all the obedience he is capable of giving, it will be in vain to give him another; this being the very best of all.''
The cannon with a fast mouth is all of one piece, and only kneed in the middle to form a liberty for the tongue. This bit is proper to secure those mouths that chack or beat upon the hand ; it will fix their mouths because it rests always in one place, so that deadening the same in a manner, thereby, the horse loses his apprehensions, and will soon relish his bit-mouth better than the last, which being jointed in the middle, rests unequally upon the bars. This however because not jointed in the middle is more rude. The middle of this bit should be a little more forward to give the more play to the horse's tongue, and the bit should rather rest upon the gums or outside of the bars than upon their very ridges.

The fourth sort is called the cannon-mouth with the liberty after the form of a pigeon's neck. When a horse's month is too large, so that the thickness thereof supports the mouth of the bit, this it cannot work its usual effects upon the bars; this liberty will a little disengage it, and suffer the mouth of the bit to come at and rest upon his gums, which will make him so much the lighter upon the hand.

The port-mouth is a cannon with an upset or mounting liberty proper for a horse with a good mouth, but a large tongue; having its effects upon the lips and gums; and because the tongue is disengaged, it will subject the horse that hath high bars, and in some degree sensible.
The scatch mouth with an upset or mounting liberty is ruder than a cannon mouth, because not fully so round, but more edged and preferable to them in one respect, which is that those parts of a cannon mouth to which the branches are fastened, if not well riveted, are subject to slip: but the ends of a scatch mouth can never fail, because of their being over lapped, and therefore much more secure for vicious and ill natured horses.
Some are of opinion, that the best  way to sit a horse exactly with a bit, is to have a great many bits by them, and change till they hit upon the right: but at first, be sure to let him have a gentle one, rightly lodged in his mouth, so as not to frumple bis lips; or to rest upon his tushes. Then  let him be mounted, and pulled two or three steps back, whereby you will know if his head be firm, if he performs frankly, or only obeys with reluctancy, that so you may give him another bit, which may gain his consent. If he inclines to carry low, you are not to give him a liberty for the tongue, which will rise too high ; for that by tickling his palate, would bring his head between his legs.'' Sportsman's Dicit. in voc.

* oroginal spelling

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mohacs AD 1526 anniversary and some books from Hungary

I decided to do a separate entry on this subejct, as I did one entyr already earlier today.

Namely, on this summer day of August 29, but in AD 1526, the most dangerously  outnumbered army of the Jagiellon Kingdom of Hungary and Bohemia under the young king Lajos II , Pal Tomori and George Zápolya, who was a Piast after his mother,  resolutely and bravely faced the invading, huge and highly spirited, army of the Ottoman Turks under the famous emperor Suleyman. I am not going to give you a link to the Wikipedia page of this engagement, as it is not adequate and full of .. well, anyway.
It started well for the defenders, progressed quite adequately and had to end badly when the Hungarian final charge failed to rout  Suleyman's personal guard - in order to kill him or cause the emperor to flee the battle- and  eventually the Ottoman numerical superiority simply overwhelmed the tired defenders.
So it ended in one massive tragedy with their young king and commanding generals killed, and it was the beginning of calamities that befell the Hungarian realm, and the proud and long existing state soon was to be partitioned and pillaged for more than a century to come.
The victorious Ottmans rejoyced - it was their day of glory -
Audaces Fortuna iuvat.

There is a monument to this battle in Hungary - I hope to visit it next year.

Hungarian military history researcher János B. Szabó has provided us with access to some of his articles on the battle and the Hungarian army of the era, including one on the early hussars.
There is a completely free book available on line - by a historian Geza Perjes - titled  ''The Fall of The Medieval Kingdom of Hungary: Mohacs 1526 - Buda 1541,'' that brings the story of this epic struggle to us in quite exhaustive detail.

The American Plains Indians had this saying - Today is a good day to day - and for all these heroes of the battle that 29th of August 1526 was such a day - so Pacem Aeternam, warriors!

In conjunction with this anniversary I would like to show off a little - I finally received three books on the Hungarian military by Győző Somogyi, artist and historian.
These books are 30cm/15 inches tall by 21cm/8inczes wide soft cover publications, more albums of reconstructed figures of leaders, warriors, soldiers, equipment and even fortresses of the Kingdom of Hungary during the period of 1458 through 1690s.
I strongly encourage all of you who  are interested and enjoy our East-Central European history to get these  albums, preferably from Hungary as the price is right :)  - my thanks Krisztina for bringing them to me.
I photographed the front and back cover, along with one of the maps. The translations are adequate, in most part, while the images are just simply a feast to one's eyes.