Thread: thoughts
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Old 04-06-2008, 07:05 PM
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puffer puffer is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Kent wa
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Default Re: thoughts

I will now narrow it down farther, to the Highland culture.

1. My "thoughts" on this are basic & somewhat general.
2. Our modern "concepts" of the Highland culture, is a ROMANTICIZED version, Dating from the Victorian times. (similar to our American idea of the "cowboy & mountain man"

Why the Highlanders ???
In spite of all the warfare,internal turmoil, out side influences, economics, politics, etc. that made major changes in their neighbors during the 150-200 years, I have selected, they changed very little.

Introduction to the Highland culture
I. Language
A. Primary - Scottish Gaelic - although "related to the language spoken by the Irish, it was quite different.
B. Some spoke "Highland English" but it was greatly different than the form of "English" spoken by the Lowland Scots.

A. the Tartan Great" KILT- this maybe one of the most identifiable item, we associate with the Highlander. (note, the "small kilt ( the skirt style was a VERY late development. Many feel it was a Lowland "invention &definitely "popularized by the Victorian English
B Pants - pants were worn ( called "thews" ) often "plaid" )

III. Economics - The Highlands were very poor. They had very little industry, if any. What "wealth" that did exist, was in the "hands of the "Lairds" (see below.

IV. Political Power
A. THE CLAN ( family) This was an ever changing, confusing flow of alliances ( just try to find you Highland Clan Name, Sept ( adopted, sometimes perminate often temporary) Name.
B. The head of a clan was called a Laird who held his power because of wealth ( mostly land), Alliances ( very tenuous at best) & his ability to SURVIVE ( his own kin, his own "clansmen", other Lairds, even "kings)
C. Scottish Kings :willy_nilly:
1. All were Lowlander or ??
2. Some accepted the "King's" authority, some did not.
3. Alliances change (often in the middle of a battle)
D. ARMS ( I am offering this , because it reflects the "uniqueness" of the Highland culture, & it leads to my the next Major step in "narrowing this all down. The Highland weapons, although fall into the same general genre as their neighbor, & may have started out similar, but the Highlander, not only made their own changes, BUT clung to them LONG after others moved on.
1. Swords.
A. Basket Hilt Back sword & Broad sword- Although genre of the Basket hilt sword (broad sword & back sword ) was Western European & used by the English, The Highland version was different
Here is a pic of an example of a "lowland/English one.
Here an example of a Highland one

You will note that the Highland one is far more "massive. ( although there are many variations, they all are "massive" )
even though others moved onto other forms ( the rapier
long sword, saber etc, the Scots DID NOT

B. DAGGERS ( the Highland Scots called them "DIRKS"

Notes -
1. I will limit this to some of those, whose hilts lack "cross bars'"

2. I will show 2 general types
a. Those carried during the days of Armour ( when full Armour was worn.)
b. " " when only "partial" or no armour was worn.
c. Daggers were carried by most common men into battle, But to the Highlander, it became a SYMBOL of who he was.

Days of "ARMOUR
1. Blade length = 12- 14 +++" & very pointed.
2. The "BALLOCK" hilt
This hilt style is very ancient & was a style used throughout Europe.Here is a picture of some surviving hilts

3, This was not the "predominate" style Here is an example of an "Irish" dagger.

I think you can, by looking @ the bottom of the hilt why the name
( no offense intended Ladies)

NOTE - The Highland Scot DID retain this style of hilt.

Days of "partial" or no Armour
1. Blade length 10" or less ( The Highland blade remained about 12"- 14" or longer
2. The "ballock" was gone ( except for the Highland Scot.) here is an "Irish" dagger from this time

Not only did the Highlander persist in carrying this style, but did so until "modern" times here is a picture of a couple of good representative Highland "Dirks" from the Jacobean times ( note these are accurate reproductions

I need a break, I imagine you also do. Hopefully you will find this of interesting & add your thoughts

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