History of Technology 4: Swords, Shields, and Helmets

Shields, swords, and helmets marked a big step-up in warfare technology. Before this golden trio, the only wartime strategy in place was, "running away screaming with your arms over your head."

LanguageEnglish Language
TechnologyHistory of Technology

Transcript

00:27

bronze in place of copper swords were able to reach further than ever before [Man throws a sword at another man]

00:31

up to 20 to 35 inches in length and sure they got to 2 to 4 feet in the iron age

00:37

but let's not rain on the parade here people.. actually let's not rain on

00:41

anyone's parade you know plenty of parades hard work for us.. well anyway swords

00:46

were important weapons that remained in use until the 19th century but contrary [Two knights sword fighting]

00:51

to what the movies would have you think they weren't exactly commonplace why

00:55

well for one swords were expensive to make they were also difficult to use [Man holding briefcase full of money to buy a sword]

01:00

properly anybody who doesn't believe us should go insult the fencing masters

01:05

mother and just see what happens, though swords are also strictly close range [Two people fencing]

01:10

weapons they're only useful if we're toe to foe with the foe so unless we have

01:15

one of those swords that shoots fire but those only exist in video games fantasy [Boy dreaming of a video game fantasy]

01:19

novels and our dreams moving on anyway add it all up and it

01:23

becomes pretty clear that swords were symbols of wealth and skill just as much

01:26

as they were actual weapons of war and sure swords are flashy but the real [Two swords crossed over a battle shield]

01:31

heroes of mass warfare in the Bronze Age were actually shields and helmets..well

01:38

prior to the Bronze Age shields and helmets had been made out of materials [Soldiers in armour and helmets on a battlefield]

01:42

that were natural like animal hides wood or tusks which we suppose was a step up from

01:48

their predecessors running away and screaming with your arms over your head [Sabretooth tiger roaring at a group of army men]

01:52

anyway all those old school shields may have earned points for being primitive

01:57

chic and sure they worked well enough against stolen arrows and copper daggers

02:02

but they were no match against bronze weapons which is why bronze shields were [Shield cut in half by a man with a bronze sword]

02:07

a big deal not only did they protect individuals from getting stabbed shot and

02:11

mangled which is definitely a plus they also helped whole groups of soldiers

02:16

form a protective barrier against the enemy good shields changed warfare from [Soldiers forming a barrier together as arrows rain down on them]

02:22

the herds of people screaming and running model to the block of orderly

02:28

marching soldiers yeah soldiers could line their shields up next

02:33

to each other and defend themselves as a group [Army men holding shields march at a group of men]

02:35

hordes of disorganized screaming barbarians didn't stand a chance against

02:39

this new tactic we've had quite a few of them we can revert it to the ancient

02:44

shield method known as running away screaming with your arms over your head [Barbarians running away from soldiers screaming]