Elephants In ancient battlefield

опубликовано: 13-01-2011, 18:15 в разделе Прочая информация
Elephants In ancient battlefieldLong before the invention of tanks and APCs, elephants had been used by ancient Thai kings in their defense of Siam.
As the country's best-known national symbol, the elephant has been closely associated with the Thai people for centuries. Being also Thailand's national animal, it has earned the adoration of many Thais and although its role in the society has diminished due to modernization, Thais continue to treat them with great respect. The rare "white elephant" is also deeply connected to Thai kings so much so that the former national flag has it as emblem.
Noted for their strength and intelligence, as well as their memory and pleasant attitude (when tamed and trained), they are nowadays used to entertain visitors at elephants camps and carry tourists around - an easier task than dragging heavy logs.
Before the logging ban, the elephants worked in the forest.
But that probably didn't earn them such national status. The strength they possess can't be brushed aside, of course, but the animal was most likely selected for other reasons.
For one, it has maintained close link with Thai history and custom, has a long life equal to the average human and been part of local life as a means of transportation.
Among other reasons, and this might have brought in really good score, is that it helped past Siamese kings win the war against the Burmese who pestered >
country as early as 17th century through series of invasions.
Those who have seen the local movie Suriyothai, or the most recent Naresuan movie can only look up to the elephant as dressed up for the battle. Armed with a bladed spear, the rider (usually a king) drives the big boy and overwhelms an enemy. Nobody could stand an elephant in attack mode. Its threatening large ears, long trunk that could hurl a person 30 feet into the sky, not to mention its iron-hard tusk that could easily barbecue a human being, are just overwhelming!
History tells of the Indians first using elephants for battle. The big boys charged the enemies, trampling and breaking their ranks. Alexander the Great, for example, suffered heavy losses against the Indians due the latter's "Elephantry." He won in the end but not without heavy casualties.
Aside from the movies, the only chance a visitor can see re-enactments of those ancient battles is at Samphran Elephant Ground & Zoo, less than an hour drive from Bangkok. But if you come to Thailand in November and head to Surin Province, up north, you will be treated to a spectacular show - the annual Elephant Round-up festival where an impressive re-enactment of an ancient battle between elephants takes the entire arena.
Attended by thousands of spectators from around the world, the festival features the elephant's incredible talents in football, dance,
ainting, also ^demonstrating forest
work and transporting goods and people. But the highlight, as far as I am concerned, is the re-enactment of ancient battles.
The narrator, speaking in Thai (you must have a Thai friend with you), talks of 17th century Ayutthaya that had an enormous army of elephant warriors. It was one of this army that gave Thai elephants their greatest moments in history. Fighting back from the back of a royal elephant, Prince Naresuan crushed the Burmese prince and drove the invading neighbors back to where they belong.
During the re-enactment show, viewers are told about an incredible story of bravery and patriotism. Each of the four foot soldiers are assigned each elephant leg to protect from enemy arrows and spears. If he falls, the closest soldier takes his place.
Riding on the elephants are kings armed with a spear and a sword. The King has two assistants, one waving feathers on both hands, lifting the spirit of the entire army, while the third man clutches at the back close to the tail and drives the animal forward or to any direction during the battle.
Unlike horses which were widely used in ancient wars, elephants are blessed with hard skins so that an ordinary arrow can bounce back. Because of this, specialized arrows were used but the animal can feel the pain only after being hit by about 20 spears. It was the duty of ground soldiers to protect the elephant and their warrior king, even it had cost their lives.
According to the legend, the Burmese prince that Naresuan defeated was once his childhood playmate. He cut him in half from shoulder to waist and that dispirited the Burmese army forcing them to retreat. Prince Naresuan, won back the land.

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