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VMs: Swallow tails + Iconography

> The 'lightning rods' are a different story. I am not
> sure what they represent or whether they are
> significant.

I'm systematically working my way through all my old books that I haven't
touched for years. Sometimes I really can blow the dust from them. I'll
write a precise list with references later, but I can't resist posting some
details :

- The swallow-tail battlements probably were a symbolic ornament more than a
functional defensive artifact. I often see them on towers and roofs where
they were out of the line of attack. They also feature prominently on the
roofs of Italian town halls, where they probably symbolized the power of the
city-state. (Venice buildings have lace-like ornaments on their roofs that
may be a further development of this symbolic rampart.)

- A greek castle has the swallow-tail style of ramparts: Karistos. This is
on an island east of Athens. The book only gives a picture, no further
data. - There goes our "Northern Italy" theory, it couldn't carry the
coconut. -  BTW: Lemnos, Patmos and Rhodes, Leros and Heracleion seem to
have the standard ramparts, but the pictures (cheap tourist book) are not so

- The "lightning rods" often have the following  structure: pointed roof ->
narrow cylinder -> ornamental ball in the middle -> narrow cylinder -> metal
flag / wind vane -> narrow cylinder -> ball on top. They surely were *not*
lightning conductors because these guys knew nothing about electricity. I
don't know why this ornament is so common: German castles, French castles
(?) and Bohemian castles all have them. And they often show up in old
manuscripts, drawings and woodcuts (more details later). Symbol of power? I
haven't got a clue yet.

Greetings, Petr