Booknotes: Astride Two Worlds
17 hours ago
[T]heir way of life is so rough that have no use for fire or seasoned food, but live on roots of wild plants and the half-raw flesh of any sort of animal, which they warm a little by placing it between their thighs and the backs of their horses.
Hans Schiltberger, a fourteenth-century mercenary and adventurer from Bavaria, claimed to have observed that among the Tatars, nomadic neighbors of the Mongols who captured Kiev in 1240, horsemen preparing to travel long distances placed raw meat under their saddles. "I have also seen that when the Tatars are on a long journey they take a piece of raw meat, cut it into slices, place it under the saddle, ride on it, and eat it when they are hungry. They salt it first and claim that it will not spoil because it is dried by the warmth of the horse and becomes tender under the saddle from riding, after the moisture has gone out of it." Tenderized raw meat seems to have been something of a steppe signature dish.
History of Mathematics and Science in the Ancient WorldProfessor ElektratigFinal Exam
This examination consists of two question, requiring both mathematical calculations and an essay discussing the historical reasoning behind those calculations.1. In Book XXXI of his Res Gestae, Ammianus Marcellinus described the Huns as wearing "garments made of the skins of field-mice." Calculate the number of such skins it would take to clothe the average Hun warrior, using both Euclidian and non-Euclidian geometry. Explain the reasoning behind your calculations, including considerations such as (a) the size of the average Hun warrior (taking into account Ammianus's description of the Huns as "of great size, and bow-legged, so that you might fancy them two-legged beasts"), and (b) the types of garments that you believe the average Hun warrior wore, such as tunics, hats, leggings or trousers, shoes, etc., and which of those garments you believe would have been fashioned from the skins of field mice rather than from some other material. If you conclude Ammianus correctly described the Huns as covering their "shaggy legs" "with the skins of kids" rather than with the skins of field-mice, calculate the number of kids required.2. Ammianus also observed that the Huns did not cook their meat using fire, but rather warmed "the half-raw flesh of any animal" "by placing it between their own thighs and the backs of their horses." Calculate the amount of riding time necessary to adequately warm to "half-raw" the flesh of a chicken, a boar, a stag, a bear and a trout. Explain the bases of your calculations, including the effect on warming time of (a) the speed and gait of the horse, (b) the amount of flesh being warmed, (c) the season, and (d) whether the warrior was wearing leggings, the material of the leggings, and, if leggings were worn, whether the half-raw flesh was placed inside or outside the leggingsThe exam will last one hour.