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The Atlatl and the Maquahuitl

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posted on Mar, 19 2009 @ 11:13 PM
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The Atlatl is basically a launching device historically made from a length of wood, strapped to the arm with a grooved hollow where the spear shaft butts as the other end is gripped. The atlatl is used as an extention of the arm for increased velocity when throwing the spear. Typically the shaft of the spear is a small diameter, and flexible so when launched, the shaft will undulate which improves accuracy during flight.

Tipped with a dart that remains in your prey and the spear shaft can be retrieved and reused. This is a great quiet weapon that allows long range, high velocity and accurate spear throws, and can be made with resources native to most areas with vegitation.

This weapon was used against the Mayans, who quickly adapted it's used, along with their arsenol of weapons.

A simple club, or maquahuitl, would be heavy in weight with two paddle-like sides and a channel around the paddle edge where shards of volvanic glass would be broken from larger pieces. These edges would be razor sharp up to one micron and wicked deadly when contact is made.

I know finding vocalnic glass would not be readily available in most areas, but alternate edges can accomplish the same results.

here are some links for further information.

en.wikipedia.org...

library.thinkquest.org...
maya.csuhayward.edu...
Making an Atlatl From a Branch
(with Picture)


en.wikipedia.org...:Maquahuitl
www.maquahuitl.co.uk...




posted on Mar, 19 2009 @ 11:22 PM
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The atlatl was a great invention for its time. I wonder where the name atlatl came from. Any information about that, OP? Just curious.



posted on Mar, 19 2009 @ 11:34 PM
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reply to post by imd12c4funn
 


Very cool! I've seen the Atlatl used on a couple of Discovery programs,
I imagine it must've wreaked havoc back in the day!



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 12:10 AM
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Originally posted by kyred
The atlatl was a great invention for its time. I wonder where the name atlatl came from. Any information about that, OP? Just curious.


Concerning atlatl, it is only the spelling that makes it look like atl-atl. In fact, the Nahuatl stem is ahtla- with a saltillo in the first syllable. When you add the absolutive suffix -tl, you get ahtla-tl.
Because Spanish speakers had a hard time hearing saltillo (glottal stop), they almost never wrote it. When they did, they used an "h" or a diacritical mark over the preceding vowel. The Jesuit grammarian Horacio Carochi was very thorough about explaining and notating saltillo with diacritics, but the practice never caught on. Nahuatl speakers generally didn't bother writing saltillos, because they KNEW where they were. The only people really in the dark about it are those of us who try to learn Nahuatl from incomplete sources. So the Nahuatl word for a spear thrower has nothing to do with water: (a:-tl, where the stem vowel is long, and the -tl is the absolutive suffix). In fact, the stem ahtla- just seems to mean 'spear thrower' and can't be analyzed into smaller constituent parts. Also, it's not pronounced atl-atl in Nahuatl, although it certainly is by anthropologists and throwing enthusiasts.

the word for 'sling' is ma:tla-tl, so ahtla-tl doesn't appear to be the negation of 'sling.' (That would have to be *ahma:tla-tl).
Now one could make the argument that ma:tla-tl can be analyzed as 'hand-sling' from ma:- 'hand/arm' and tla-tl, but there would have to be some sleight of hand to explain how, if the word is a compound, the stem-final vowel of ma:tla- drops off in the possssed form. ('My sling' is noma:tl, not *noma:tla.)
If one is undaunted by this little problem, one could go on to analyze ma:xtla-tl 'breechclout' as meaning 'crotch sling' by compounding maxac- 'crotch' with -tla-tl. But here you run into a discrepancy of vowel length (ma:x- versus maxac-) as well as needing to get rid of a syllable.
While these are fun to play around with, neither 'hand-sling' nor 'crotch-sling' stands up to scrutiny.

Source: fkarttunen@mail.utexas.edu (Frances Karttunen)



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 02:53 AM
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Originally posted by imd12c4funn

Originally posted by kyred
The atlatl was a great invention for its time. I wonder where the name atlatl came from. Any information about that, OP? Just curious.


I found that the meaning of the word √°tlatl has not been well defined. It has several meanings, among others (and the most prevalent) "ray of sun" and "wood thrower".

EDIT: sorry I couldn't find the real meaning of the word maquahuítl.

[edit on 3/20/2009 by haika]



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