Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War by Jeffrey A. Lockwood

By Jeffrey A. Lockwood

Six-Legged infantrymen: utilizing bugs as guns of warfare КНИГИ ;ВОЕННАЯ ИСТОРИЯ Издательство: Oxford collage PressАвтор(ы): Jeffrey A. LockwoodЯзык: EnglishГод издания: 2009Количество страниц: 400ISBN: 978-0-19-533305-3Формат: pdf (e-book)Размер: 4.26 mb RapidIfolder sixty eight

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Although venomous snakes aren’t herbivorous, the ancient notion of poisons being relayed through a food chain isn’t entirely absurd. Some plants acquire toxic elements from the soil, such as the poisonvetches and goldenweeds that concentrate selenium in their tissues. Likewise, insects often acquire their toxins from feeding on poisonous plants—the monarch butterfly larva obtains its toxins from milkweed, for example. And gods and humans can apply the same principle. ” So compelling was this account that Greek mythology provides the term that is still applied those who devoted to archery: toxophilus (toxo refers to both “poison” and “bow,” while philus refers to “love”).

30 These inventions worked well for firing arrows, but were limited in terms of their payloads. Once the Greek engineers substituted torsion springs and counterweights for composite 24 Stinging Defeats and Venomous Victories bows, the “siege engines” became capable of heaving almost anything, including insects. The Greeks also ensured that the etymology and entomology of war become intriguingly entwined in the word bombard, which comes from bombos, meaning “bee”—an allusion to the threatening hum associated with both an angry swarm and an incoming projectile.

Pliny advised that the venom was most deadly in the morning, “before the insects [sic] have wasted any of their poison through accidental strikes”20—an odd claim given that scorpions are nocturnal hunters. Another Roman natural historian, Claudius Aelianus, who enjoyed the patronage of Severus, suggested that one carefully spit on the tip of the sting to temporarily block the tiny opening through which venom was injected. Crawling around the desert spitting on short-tempered scorpions seems wholly ill-advised.

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