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blog History for Fantasy Writers: Cowboys of Europe

Discussion in 'Research' started by Black Dragon, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Skip Knox submitted a new blog post:

    History for Fantasy Writers: Cowboys of Europe
    by E.L. Skip Knox

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    In the south of France, around the mouths of the Rhône River, lies a region known as the Camargue. It is a land of marshes and reeds and waterfowl. Vast quantities of salt are produced in its wide salt pans, salt with a distinctive pink hue.

    And there are cowboys.

    Les Gardiens

    The cattle are black, with curved white horns. They graze more or less wild across the marshes, though they are marked with the brands of their owners.

    The ranchers are called gardiens. They ride small, white horses of an Arabian type that are one of the oldest horse breeds in Europe. They carry long spear-like sticks with a small, metal trident on the end. The gardiens have ridden these horses and herded these bulls for centuries, though their way of life steadily declined after the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution.

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    Enter the Marquis Folco de Baroncelli-Javon (1869-1943). His family originally came from Florence, settling in Avignon in the 15th century. Enter, too, Buffalo Bill Cody.

    In 1889, Buffalo Bill brought his Wild West Show to Paris as part of a larger exhibition. Exhibitions were all the rage in the later 19th century, and Buffalo Bill’s show proved so popular it nearly overshadowed everything else. Which is saying something, because it was...
    Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
     
  2. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Sage

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    I fear any reference to the Camargue will forever cause Moorcock's 'Kamarg' and folks riding giant flamingos to pop into my mind.
     
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Understood. It's no doubt where he got the idea!
     
  4. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    Hehehe... The giant flamingos are pretty cool, actually.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Pretty much the same as any other group non-nobles who were not warriors--knives, cudgels of various descriptions. Maybe a sling or bow and arrow.
     
  6. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

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    What about whips? Whips are pretty neat when wielded by cowboys.
     
  7. Professor Snape

    Professor Snape Dreamer

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    Yes, whips are cool, but knives and cudgels are cooler by far.
     
  8. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Unless you're Indiana Jones, in which case the whip is cooler. But Indy would make cudgels look cool.
     
  9. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    I learned about the Gardiens some time ago, but I had no idea about their recent history. It's rather inspiring to think that one good show given to the right audience could lead to the preservation of a culture and way of life.
     
  10. Loved this post Skip! My mother-in-law and her twin sister, who are in their 70's, are both horse fanatics and ex-veterinarians. I was thrilled to send them some information and links to a few other horse cultures that they didn't know as much about. They'll be online for days doing searches now. :) Horse cultures are fascinating to me and the idea of one existing in the more remote areas of a modern fantasy setting is an idea I have toyed off and on over the years. This post inspired me to look at that idea again because my love of the American cowboy as the model was not deep enough for me to want to use it as my own story model. But other than the nomadic horse cultures of the steppes / Mongolia I had little other inspiration to draw from. Of all those you mentioned, the Gardiens and Vaqueros were the only ones I had heard of before. Thanks!
     
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