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JacobDebroedere View Drop Down
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    Posted: 02-Aug-2007 at 12:18
How effective were atlatl darts? Did the Spanish exagerated when they said it could pierce a steel breastplate? Their effective range(according to Wikipedia) was about 100 m, but how accurate were they at that range?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Aug-2007 at 13:57
What was the quality of the breastplate? Their was no standardized production in those days. Did the Spaniard maintain it well, or was it rusted?
 
That a stone tipped Atl Atl could go through a poor breastplate is no surprise. Though it would be a rare thing.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JacobDebroedere Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Aug-2007 at 14:44
Well,I  don't know. Not much is known about Cortez' men armor quality. The humid climate of Mexico, the sea trip and probably the lack of a good blacksmith may have caused it to rust. Is anything known abouth the resistance of Aztec armour to atlatl darts?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jdalton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Aug-2007 at 15:37
Didn't the Aztecs only have armour made of thick fabric? Not much protection against an atlatl, I would think.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Yaomitl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Aug-2007 at 06:46
from Mexico - from Olmecs to Aztecs by Michael D. Coe (Thames & Hudson, 1995 p22-3):
"Experiments carried out by Dr. Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian Institution have shown the high efficiency of this weaponry over the hand-held spear: the atlatl-hurled spear has 15 times the speed and 200 times the impact. It comes as no surprise that the atlatl stayed in favour until the Spanish conquest. The bow and arrow was a late arrival in Mexico and was not adopted at all in many areas."
Probably not so accurate as a bow and arrow, but it seems pretty likely that those spears which got their target would be something of a worry.
 
Oh and the quilted cotton jackets of the Mexicans were pretty good as I understand, at least in terms of minimising the damage done by a bow and arrow. Not so great against an atlatl dart though, I'll bet, though I wonder if the same might even be true of the Spanish armour - 200 times the impact is pretty impressive.


Edited by Yaomitl - 03-Aug-2007 at 06:50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tar Szerénd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Aug-2007 at 14:17
Search for it on Paleoplanet. There are some dozents of topics aboit atl-atls.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tar Szerénd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Aug-2007 at 14:20
Originally posted by jdalton jdalton wrote:

Didn't the Aztecs only have armour made of thick fabric? Not much protection against an atlatl, I would think.
 
Yes, but it was put in saltwater, and after  drying it was as hard as stone.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Aug-2007 at 14:32
Although I cannot answer your question off hand, you might consult the following source:
 

Hassig, Ross. Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Yaomitl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Aug-2007 at 04:53
Originally posted by Tar Szerénd Tar Szerénd wrote:

Originally posted by jdalton jdalton wrote:

Didn't the Aztecs only have armour made of thick fabric? Not much protection against an atlatl, I would think.
 
Yes, but it was put in saltwater, and after  drying it was as hard as stone.
Interesting. Didn't know that. Will have to get the Hassig book as I've been meaning to track it down for a while now. His Time, History and Belief in Aztec and Colonial Mexico is a classic.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Yaomitl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Aug-2007 at 04:56

Sorry - double post.



Edited by Yaomitl - 04-Aug-2007 at 04:58
"For as long as the world shall endure, the honour and the glory of Mexico-Tenochtitlan must never be forgotten."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Aug-2007 at 07:31
Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control is good but
 
War and Society in MesoAmerica is better. He changes several of his ideas from the earlier book.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JacobDebroedere Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Aug-2007 at 14:22
Ok, thank you guys.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Yaomitl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Aug-2007 at 04:40
In Doris Heyden's footnotes to her translation of Fr. Duran's Historia de las cosas de Nueva Espana she mentions that the atlatl is still used for duck hunting around Lake Patzcuaro in Michoacan. If you can hunt ducks with an atlatl my guess is that a practiced hunter can achieve a fair degree of accuracy with such a weapon - which kind of surprised me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheARRGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Aug-2007 at 19:25
blasted  hard-to-find quote buttons...anyways, someone said that the fabric armor was dipped in saltwater. it was supposedly dipped in SOMETHING, but apparently saltwater was just what they told the spaniards. no one has ever managed to really duplicate the armor, so it's likely that they didn't exactly tell the truth, the whole truth, or nothing but the truth. Other than that, pretty much true. Their armor was just quilted cotton fabric dipped in something, and was apparently almost as effective as the spaniards' metal armor, and much lighter. It was supposed to be pretty resistant to attacks, but an atlatl dart was several feet of death, basically. Something that was originally invented back in the mists of time for the purpose of killing wooly mammoths isn't going to take too much notice of armor, unless it's kevlar or something. Presumably, the best that a stricken fighter could hope for would be that his armor might minimize the damage and thus preserve his life long enough for him to reach some kind of doctor.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Aug-2007 at 22:01
Originally posted by TheARRGH TheARRGH wrote:

Their armor was just quilted cotton fabric dipped in something, and was apparently almost as effective as the spaniards' metal armor, and much lighter. It was supposed to be pretty resistant to attacks, but an atlatl dart was several feet of death, basically. Something that was originally invented back in the mists of time for the purpose of killing wooly mammoths isn't going to take too much notice of armor, unless it's kevlar or something. Presumably, the best that a stricken fighter could hope for would be that his armor might minimize the damage and thus preserve his life long enough for him to reach some kind of doctor.
 
This is fascinating.  So the substance that the armor was dipped in, be it saltwater or other, made it almost as resistant to non-gunpowder missiles as the Spanish plate?  It must have made the fabric very springy or something, not hardened, to where the missile could not penetrate and bounced off.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheARRGH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Aug-2007 at 23:02
Presumably-I envision it as vaguely like kevlar, in terms of being woven together from tough materials in such a way that it absorbs impact well and doesn't get cut easily. However, as i said above, it still probably wouldn't actually stop an atlatl dart, unless it was a glancing blow or the dart had already been slowed down. 
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