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Mrak E.Smith





Joined: 30 Sep 2006

Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sat 07 Jun, 2008 9:38 pm    Post subject: How does a double-purposed horseman carry his lance?         Reply with quote

A "double-purposed horseman",using both bow and hand-to-hand weapon, say, a Sassanian / Byzantine cataphract or Saracen/Eastern heavy cavalry carry his lance or other polearms when he is using bow with both of his hands? In Osprey Warrior 10 Saracen Faris 1050-1250AD I found this picture, it seems to be a good method but the text of this plate suggests just place the lance under the thigh with no fastening accessories. Do you have any clues?


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B. Fulton





Joined: 28 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jun, 2008 8:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It certainly seems to be workable. Not being primarily interested in that period, I don't know, but having carried a cavalry saber and a rifle scabbard much the same way, for rapid access (and short periods of time, i.e shooting the bow before swapping out) it would likely work very well.
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Jun, 2008 9:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That seems possible, assuming the rider sits in the saddle until ready to fire; but I can see all kinds of things going badly if the lance slips or shifts. For example, say the tip of the lance dips and catches the ground. At a gallop, with a pole laced between your leg, which is stuck through a stirrup. Smells of broken leg at best.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Jun, 2008 5:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also seems possible for a short period of time or if the bow is used with the horse stationary or moving slowly for a quick arrow or two before going back to the lance.

Armed with lance and bow I could see the bow and arrows being cased and used after the lance has been used or broken and the bow being there as a ranged back up when in " raiding/cheveauché/scouting mode ".

In formation, in preparation for battle, one could choose to use the lance and still have the case bow and arrow along for the ride !? As it might be useful later.

If one was giving priority to the bow one could just leave the lance behind ? I also wonder if a logistic solution would be to have some pack horses following closely with lances available ?

Options:

1) Carry lance with cased bow/arrows as backup.
2) Discard lance after use and go to the bow.
3) Leave the lance behind and prioritize the horse bowman role
4) Same as (3) but have lances and extra arrow supplies carried by packhorses.
5) Every second horseman/horsearcher hold the first one's lance and alternate in the lancer and archer roles.
6) Before battle depending on the tactical situation a proportion of the horsemen choose one or the other.

7) Some carry technique making the carrying of the lance while using the bow that doesn't degrade the effectiveness of the bow, isn't awkward or too hazardous for someone with the right technique and high levels of skill ( Something we would have trouble pulling off ).

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Nathan Gilleland





Joined: 25 Apr 2008

Posts: 199

PostPosted: Mon 09 Jun, 2008 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Something to point out in the picture:

All the men holding the lances under their thighs are stationary. It does not appear that the horses are moving at all.

But it does seem to me that it would be possible to carry it under your thigh for periods of time. My questions are these:

How long would the lance be?

How heavy would the lance be?

How long are you expected to ride?


One possible solution is that the saddle may have a small rest for the lance to sit against. This would help to stabilize the lance (keeping it from tipping into the ground), relax your thigh so you don't have to hold it so tightly, which means that you could ride for more prolonged periods of time.

This is just a thought on my part, but I don't think the rest would need to be much, more like small lumps on the side of the saddle for the lance to sit on top of. Any evidence of something like that?

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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 411

PostPosted: Mon 09 Jun, 2008 5:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Strategikon (a Byzantine cavalry manual of c. 600 CE which should be required reading for anyone interested in cavalry) recommands the use of Avar lances with a thong in the middle. I imagined that they were lashed to some part of the saddle or the horseman's body when travelling. It also implies that in battle troops should carry lance or bow, but not both, although all troopers are supposed to be issued both weapons if they know how to use them.

I'd be interested in insights from actual horsemen here, though!
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Henrik Zoltan Toth




Location: Hungary
Joined: 18 Feb 2007

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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jun, 2008 2:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In "Tactica" wrote Emperor Leo that the hungarians (10 th Cent.) used in the battle lance and bow. If not used, the lance was carried on the back. Western cronicles called the hungarians pagans with short lances. This tradition was still alife in the 14-15. Century too, the hungarians used on tourniers and buhurts shorter lances than the common european knight.
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