- Aug 2022
"Whistling" or "screaming" arrows (shaojian) made by the horseback archers of the steppes were described by the Chinese chronicler Sima Qian in about 100 B.C. A small, perforated bone or wood sound chamber—the whistle—was attached to the shaft behind the arrowhead.
Alexander had learned from King Porus during his 326 B.C. Indian campaign that elephants have sensitive hearing and poor eyesight, which makes them averse to unexpected loud, discordant sounds.
Since 2016, American diplomats in Cuba, Russia, China and elsewhere have experienced "Havana Syndrome," associated with mysterious neurological and brain injuries thought to be inflicted by unknown high-powered microwave or targeted sonic energy systems. Sound wave transmitters are not only psychologically toxic but can cause pain and dizziness, burns, irreversible damage to inner ears and possibly neurological and internal injuries.
Numerous other technologies to produce booming detonations to disorient and frighten enemies were described in ancient Chinese war manuals. These explosive devices employed gunpowder, invented in China around A.D. 850, reaching Europe about 1250.
What does the history of shock and awe in history look like?
Bloodcurdling war cries are a universal way of striking terror in foes. Maori war chants, the Japanese battle cry "Banzai!" (Long Live the Emperor) in World War II, the Ottomans' "Vur Ha!" (Strike), the Spanish "Desperta Ferro!" (Awaken the Iron), and the "Rebel Yell" of Confederate soldiers are examples. In antiquity, the sound of Greek warriors bellowing "Alala!" while banging swords on bronze shields was likened to hooting owls or a screeching flock of monstrous birds.
Perseus of Macedon prepared for a Roman attack with war elephants in 168 B.C. by having artisans build wooden models of elephants on wheels.
in 202 B.C., blasts of Roman war trumpets panicked Carthaginian general Hannibal's war elephants in the Battle of Zama, ending the Second Punic War.
In 280 B.C., the Romans first encountered war elephants, brought to Italy by Greek King Pyrrhus.
Captured as a boy from Bisaltia in northeastern Greece, a prisoner named Naris heard about the marvelous dancing horses in the Kardian barbershop where he worked.
Naris usedhis knowledge of the trained dancing horses of the Kardians of Thrace against them in battle to win.
Deploying sound in war has evolved over millennia, from natural animal sounds and music to today's advanced sonic devices.
Can't help but think about the blasting of music by US forces used heavy metal to blast out Manuel Antonio Noriega, the former military leader of Panama.
- King Pyrrhus
- Perseus of Macedon
- 326 BCE
- Havana Syndrome
- war cries
- 202 BCE
- Alexander the Great
- Confederate army
- 280 BCE
- Ottoman army
- shock and awe
- acoustic weapons
- world building
- Roman army
- Battle of Zama
- 168 BCE
- Battle of Pydna
- Spanish army
- Second Punic War
- screaming arrows
- Chinese warfare
- Manuel Antonio Noriega