Monday, 11 July 2016

A Few More Words

"To him the elves drew a testudo, a shed on wheels..." (The Broken Sword, p. 203)

"...Valgard helped load a ballista with a boulder..." (ibid.)

"' eyot settled by none but Papas.
"'Christian kirkfolk? Good!'" (The Demon Of Scattery, p. 16)

"Grizzled yellow hair and close-cropped beard glistened with spindrift. The hauberk clashed on his burly frame..." (Scattery, p. 18)

"On the holm before him..." (op. cit., p. 12)

"They had only one or two small curraghs..." (ibid.)

"...thole-creak, wave-splash, rig-thrum..." (ibid.)

That is eleven words in seven quotations from two novels. I never know quite where to stop when tracking down Poul Anderson's vocabulary. Some terms are completely unfamiliar, e.g., "eyot." Others are recognized but their meaning has merely been inferred from context and needs to be checked, e.g., a hauberk is some kind of armor but what exactly?

Further reading of The Demon Of Scattery will have to continue tomorrow or rather today because we are past midnight but after some sleep.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I know of two kinds of testudos: the one described here and another where a body of soldiers hold their sheilds close above their heads as they advance to hostile walled fortifications.


Paul Shackley said...

The latter is the kind of testudo that PA describes more often.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And the kind of elaborate, wheeled testudo you mentioned would seem most appropriate for cases where a besieger had time to use more elaborate devices and machinery.