The Pavise of Righteousness

If you don’t know what a pavise is, Google.

When I owned a reproduction of a medieval crossbow – legally, I might add – for a good purpose – legal, I might add – I often thought of making a pavise. I have passed from this phase of hobby interest for some years but I regret not giving way to that impulse at the time. It could have been a work of art.

As it is, I might still construct one, but on a virtual basis. There is still a need to shelter from the enemy’s fury as I reload my arguments and satire. The sound of other arrows and bolts thumping into the wood of a pavise while you were winding your windlass  behind it must have been grating to the artistic sensibility – particularly if you had an expensive picture of a saint painted on the front. But it would be nothing to the distress of having those same bolts landing in you.

The basis of the medieval pavise was a stout wooden shield that could be propped onto the ground with a back-stay. It had to be thick enough to take the shots but light enough to pick up and move forward as you advanced. If you were retreating it could be abandoned. This is a pretty good capsule description of a lot of political and moral positions these days.

I shall research a strong position on most controversies and paint a pious picture on the front of my virtual pavise to indicate faith in them. I’m a little doubtful about pictures of Trump, Biden, or Xi. And not a lot more comfortable with Merkel, Morrison, or Johnson.

I refuse to paint a picture of St. Jane of Fonda on the front of anything and I don’t have enough brown paint in the workshop  to do Dusky Justin credit. And pavises were vertical rectangles with a little dome at the top – not horizontal ones. No good trying to fit Clive Palmer on one.

Besides which, it would be an arrow and bolt trap anyway…


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