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Connor Ruebusch




Location: Cincinnati
Joined: 10 Nov 2009

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 1:27 pm    Post subject: The Norman Military         Reply with quote

Well, first of all, I have to say that I love Mr. Kelly's article on the Normans. I particularly enjoy the section on the composition of the Norman familia. I'm trying to conduct a little casual research for the purposes of writing fiction, and this has been a very helpful source. While I'd like to seek out the sources listed after the article, in the meantime I thought I'd come here to ask about some of the finer points!

So, anyone who has any knowledge of the composition of the Norman mercenary army, please share your know-how here. Some questions to which I am seeking answers:

1.) How did the recruitment process actually go? Mr. Kelly writes: "William I knew the value of infantry and recruited large numbers of them for the invasion of England." From what demographics would the Conqueror have recruited these soldiers? Would they be professional freelance mercenaries?

2.) If the recruited milites (or pedites) did in fact need to be trained, what sort of training would go on? Would the army be trained as a whole, or in sections (battalions or the period equivalent)? What sort of drilling would be used to drill a finely disciplined army like the Norman familia?

3.) Would the leaders of the army (I'm assuming there were some sort of regiments, or conrois, or something) consist of the feudal knights or the commoner milites?

Thanks in advance for your help. Happy

Edit: Here's a link to the article, by the way. If you haven't read it, I urge you to do so!
http://www.albion-swords.com/articles/norman.htm

Ex animo,

Connor
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Thomas Reitmeier





Joined: 23 Apr 2007

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Fri 03 Jun, 2011 5:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So far as I can say they had mercenary from the Western Belgium, Flemings and infantry from the neighborhood especialy Main and Bretagne and also groups named ''Brabanter (Brabancons)'', also Belgium.
Their where to mention another mercenarys: ''Cotteraux'' and ''Routiers''. The first was probably infantry of common men and outlaws and where feared at this time. Some say the Bretons (from Bretagne) was the best cavalry in the period as William conquered England.
(And sorry for my english, i can better read as write.) Worried
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Connor Ruebusch




Location: Cincinnati
Joined: 10 Nov 2009

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Thu 09 Jun, 2011 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas Reitmeier wrote:
So far as I can say they had mercenary from the Western Belgium, Flemings and infantry from the neighborhood especialy Main and Bretagne and also groups named ''Brabanter (Brabancons)'', also Belgium.
Their where to mention another mercenarys: ''Cotteraux'' and ''Routiers''. The first was probably infantry of common men and outlaws and where feared at this time. Some say the Bretons (from Bretagne) was the best cavalry in the period as William conquered England.
(And sorry for my english, i can better read as write.) Worried


Yes, but where do these mercenaries come from? If they're recruiting from roving companies of mercenaries, are they ex-soldiers? Are they commoners who just know how to fight? If they don't all know to fight, how did the Normans train them? We have a pretty good idea that the Norman military was pretty disciplined, right? The difference in discipline between themselves and the Saxons was certainly demonstrated at the Battle of Hastings.

Ex animo,

Connor
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Thomas Reitmeier





Joined: 23 Apr 2007

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu 09 Jun, 2011 3:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The most troops came from Main and Bretagne. They were vassal states and tributary. The soldiers from Belgium was ''borrowed'' (with money certainly or land) from their Lords and I think William was a man no one can't refuse.
The others was probably recruited like the english archers in the 100 years war. But the troops must be professionals, because the Normans had no time for a sufficient training for an army with such a dicipline.
In the usual books on this subject (Norman Conquest) I can nothing find how the recruitment process did go.
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Connor Ruebusch




Location: Cincinnati
Joined: 10 Nov 2009

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Thu 09 Jun, 2011 9:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas Reitmeier wrote:
The most troops came from Main and Bretagne. They were vassal states and tributary. The soldiers from Belgium was ''borrowed'' (with money certainly or land) from their Lords and I think William was a man no one can't refuse.
The others was probably recruited like the english archers in the 100 years war. But the troops must be professionals, because the Normans had no time for a sufficient training for an army with such a dicipline.
In the usual books on this subject (Norman Conquest) I can nothing find how the recruitment process did go.


Thanks for your help. Reading over my last response, it sounds a bit demanding and short! I'm sorry, as that was not intended. Happy I appreciate the help. Does anyone know how drilling was done for troops in this time period in general? I've heard that cavalry in particular trained in conrois.

Ex animo,

Connor
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Thomas Reitmeier





Joined: 23 Apr 2007

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2011 5:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, they trained in conrois and certainly they invented it. In the Western Europe in the late 11th and early 12th century conrois was typical for the Normans. With this tactic they had victories against the papal infantry at Civitate (1053), against the Siculo-Muslims at Enna (Sicily 1061), Hastings (1066) and Durazzo (1081, against anglo-saxon offsprings in service of Byzantium,varangians so to speak). But how they trained? Probably like every Army exercise since centuries. The Normans had own soldiers and they did was every soldier does: fighting, exercising, stand watch, provide legal certainty and probably the most time they feel bored.
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,094

PostPosted: Fri 10 Jun, 2011 6:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas,

Is there evidence that the Normans created the conroi? There have been a number of scholars place this unit to the French and that the Norman's simply adopted it.

RPM
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Thomas Reitmeier





Joined: 23 Apr 2007

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sat 11 Jun, 2011 4:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall,

No, there is not really a evidence. To this time many inventions came to Western Europe and nobody can absolutely argue from where they came. Normans have contact with Arabs in Sicily and connections with Byzantium (also the Frenchs).
There where inventions like a new saddle with higher "horns" in front and back. Some came with a longer lance. The stirrups were longer, so they could stand in. Normans (and Frenchs, Germans ...) adopt these inventions, make them better and used these things.The Normans was the most successful ( they take England), an so accredit contemporaries and historians (the most), that the Normans was the first in europe. That's the way the cookie crumbles, in the 11th century and also in the 21st century. The most people know the discoverer of the penicillin, but nobody knows who have had the cheese sandwich leave over. ( I hope you can manage my english with german grammatic Big Grin )
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,094

PostPosted: Sat 11 Jun, 2011 6:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree. No doubt the Normans were some of the best to integrate various arms, armours, technologies and systems. I was just curious what your statement was built on.

RPM
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Fri 17 Jun, 2011 10:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One possibility that shouldn't be discounted for the origins of the Norman infantry is dismounted knights. Horse transport had always been a dodgier matter than the transportation of personnel, and I've read somewhere (I'll try to look up exactly where) about a theory that many of the milites might have had to fight on foot at Hastings because there was enough transport for them but not for their horses. It sounds like a rather plausible explanation for the presence of fairly well-armoured infantry among the Norman ranks.
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