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Saxon Surgery

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:20 am
by Colin Middleton
I've just watched the Saxon/Normal episode of Instruments Of Death, in which they described how to remove an arrow with a barbed head from a victim (in this case, a pig's corpse). Noting that it struck the shoulder, their solution was to smash the shoulder blade, then push the arrow through (they needed to hammer it a bit to manage that) so that they could take it out of the other side. This sounds madness to me. I know that there were some developments in arrow removal during the Middle Ages, but this just seams excessively crude to me. Did they really do things like that back then?

I thought that you'd just widen the wound a bit so that you could withdraw the arrowhead back the way that it went in.

Many thanks

Colin

Re: Saxon Surgery

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:23 pm
by John Waller
I'm afraid that there is much about the series Instruments Of Death that is utter B***cks. Sadly much of it spouted during the demonstration segments by 'experts' from the re-enactment world. For example I 'learned' that musketeers kept musket balls in their mouths to the extent that their lips would turn green and that the expresion 'keep it under your hat' derived from the practice of keeping matchcord dry inside your hat. BS.

I also thought the Saxon surgery bit was particularly pants.

Re: Saxon Surgery

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:37 pm
by Ulfar
Ask Brother Kevfael about Saxon and Viking surgery and all the "re-enactorisms" connected with it. He's very knowledgable, plus you'll learn some new rude words! :wink:

Re: Saxon Surgery

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:28 pm
by Colin Middleton
That's reassuring. I didn't think much to their weapons 'expert' either.

Colin

Re: Saxon Surgery

Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:06 pm
by Brother Kevfael
Ulfar wrote:Ask Brother Kevfael about Saxon and Viking surgery and all the "re-enactorisms" connected with it. He's very knowledgable, plus you'll learn some new rude words! :wink:

Love you Ulfar XXXX

I approached the producers, informed them that I had written a book on arrow wound treatment and could accurately demonstrate a range of treatments from across the medieval period and was told they had their own expert. I told them they would get it wrong.....I'm not going to say "told you so". (ooops)

And as for saxon and viking surgery.......I have taken my pills, the best beloved has hidden the soap box and given me a nice soothing drink, So I am not thinking about it.

Re: Saxon Surgery

Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:02 am
by Normannis
John Waller wrote:I'm afraid that there is much about the series Instruments Of Death that is utter B***cks. Sadly much of it spouted during the demonstration segments by 'experts' from the re-enactment world. For example I 'learned' that musketeers kept musket balls in their mouths to the extent that their lips would turn green and that the expresion 'keep it under your hat' derived from the practice of keeping matchcord dry inside your hat. BS.

I also thought the Saxon surgery bit was particularly pants.


For the Roman segment a lad in Aber who is part of a Home Guard unit was given a set of cr*p Lorica (the kind that doesn't meet properly, articulate properly, and leaves the upper chest exposed), a load of off-the-peg-internet Roman gear, and labelled a ''Roman Military Expert''. To my knowledge he did a Military History BA. Yet again another show that does more BS'ing than research.

How to extract an arrow comes up in about half the surgical illustrations and manuscripts I studied for our own medical display- and if the arrow was through (or most of the way through) then pushing it through, cutting the head off and pulling it back out makes perfect sense to prevent barb damage. But there's also 12thC illustrations of arrows being cut out with knives (assumedly where the first option was a no-go- like when it's nestled against the shoulder blade)... but that wouldn't make such good historical TV would it?
Truth be told there's so much in Bald's Leechbook and other texts that you don't have to make up bat-sh!ttery... there's plenty there to work from anyway!

Re: Saxon Surgery

Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:19 am
by Colin Middleton
Normannis wrote:For the Roman segment a lad in Aber who is part of a Home Guard unit was given a set of cr*p Lorica (the kind that doesn't meet properly, articulate properly, and leaves the upper chest exposed),


I thought that lorica should have fitted together properly.

What a pitty that it's so poorly done.

Colin

Re: Saxon Surgery

Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:14 pm
by Brother Kevfael
To remove a barbed arrow.....full procedures contained here:

"Ouch! A history of arrow wound treatment from prehistory to the nineteenth century"

http://www.amazon.co.uk/History-Treatme ... 249&sr=1-1

Unashamed plug. :D

Re: Saxon Surgery

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:12 am
by timbobarnacle
i have passed on the details of this great book, which I have a copy of to the fellow concerned. up to him now

Re: Saxon Surgery

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:44 am
by Brother Kevfael
Love you too Tim!

Re: Saxon Surgery

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:46 am
by Chris, yclept John Barber
Just another plug for this excellent book: though since reading it I have had to redescribe my 'arrow spoons of Albucasis' as 'a medieval interpretation of Dioclean cyathisci from the description written in the book of the Roman writer Celsus'. Still doesn't trip off the tongue...

Re: Saxon Surgery

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:06 pm
by timbobarnacle
no problems- it is a group I used to be leader of , and anything I can do to bring the standards back up...... :)

Re: Saxon Surgery

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:26 pm
by Jack teacher
While I have been very unimpressed by "Instruments of Death", I was very impressed by "Ouch!". An excellent read.

Re: Saxon Surgery

Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:49 pm
by Brother Kevfael
I'm sending out the love folks! :*

Re: Saxon Surgery

Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:51 am
by Normannis
Colin Middleton wrote:
Normannis wrote:For the Roman segment a lad in Aber who is part of a Home Guard unit was given a set of cr*p Lorica (the kind that doesn't meet properly, articulate properly, and leaves the upper chest exposed),


I thought that lorica should have fitted together properly.

What a pitty that it's so poorly done.

Colin


The worst bit is how much of the Roman gear looked wrong to my own (uninformed) glance- the Lorica was cr*p- the helmet off-the-peg and clearly ill-fitting, he lacked the chest harness to go with the lenticular crest of a centurion, and it would have been far more typical of ''The Romans'' to have put him in maille (or for a senior centurion, scale) with a medallion harness. But instead it's yet another made-for-TV with a props department who think E-bay is the end of all resources. Ironically in the local area to Aber there's a couple of dedicated Roman reenactors who really know their stuff (one in Lampeter, certainly), but they probably wouldn't have parrotted the lines they were meant to without wincing.

Re: Saxon Surgery

Posted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:19 pm
by FionaDowson
Not Saxon but wars of the roses, wasn't there a Ch 4 programme on meet the ancestors about evidence from Towton (or however it's spelt) about some pretty sophisticated battlefield surgery? SKeleton of a mercenary found with leather binding a ten year old wound of a broken jaw.

People were amazed this could be done without antibiotics but presumably he had immunity to all known germs

I didn't see the programme but did read the book