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Loot the Met

The top four zombie-defense tools at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, according to Dirk Breiding, assistant curator of arms and armor.


1. First, I would wear complete head-to-toe armor. We have a gilt-steel set that was made in 1527 in the Royal Workshops at Greenwich, England, likely for Henry VIII. It works extremely well. You’re a lot more agile in armor than people think; it’s a misconception that it would slow you down. I’d say there’s only a 5 to 10 percent decrease in mobility, but you can do anything in armor that you can do without.

2. My first weapon choice would be a crossbow, which was pretty accurate up to 200 feet. This horn bow from Germany in the 1460s shoots bolts, which are like arrows but shorter and thicker. It will take a moment or two to get it ready to shoot, but the power behind it is not to be underestimated. Those bolts should be able to travel through a couple of zombies at a time, especially if there’s a field of them coming at you.

3. For anything at close range, you probably just want to chop them up with a good Japanese sword. The ones by Masamune have some of the best blades; he was like the Rembrandt of sword-making, a master. The only problem would be the mess: Blood is not very good for high-quality steel. You would have to constantly keep cleaning the blade, otherwise the liquid will start rusting the steel. Blood is worse than water that way.

4. To keep those creatures a good ten feet away, a staff weapon might be a good idea. I would recommend a halberd, which is a combination of an ax and a spear mounted to a large wooden pole, between eight and ten feet long. We have several very beautiful ones that were used by bodyguards of famous people in Saxony and Germany in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. They give you a much farther reach than a standard ax or sword.


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