Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Knights History-Correct me if i'm wrong Reply to topic
This is a standard topic Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next 
Author Message
Christopher VaughnStrever




Location: San Antonio, TX
Joined: 13 Jun 2008
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 382

PostPosted: Sat 03 Sep, 2011 12:48 pm    Post subject: Knights History-Correct me if i'm wrong         Reply with quote

I have a gig coming up soon. It will be an entertaining presentation on all facets of the Knight. I know the information is accurate from the source books I have been reading very carefully, but I wanted a second (or 3rd, 4th, and so on) opinion about what I have so far.There is a lot of info below, so even if you looked at a small portion I would be pleased with the assistance.

I do not want to sound like another deadliest warrior show, but I do want to be entertaining so that people don't get bored with the info. I have the presentation skills to give it wonderfully and I have demonstrations of the wma aspect of things to be carried out properly without looking like an inaccurate Hollywood movie. But I wanted to interject some humor into the mix of things and come to thing of it, I don't know any good Knightly jokes, modern or historical. So I was wondering if you all had any to share.

Below is a copy and paste of my presentation (I don't have it completely wrote out just yet, this is just the start) It will be a 4 hour presentation, nothing like the normal 30minutes to an hour I usually do. If you would be so kind as to point out any discrepancies there may be I would be greatly appreciative. Also if there is something you think might be good to interject into what I have - please feel free to add your input as I will take it into consideration.

Please keep in mind this is just the quick facts of reference of an outline. Here it is....


The word Knight as it were used in Germany was Ritter, which meant to ride. We therefore trace the history of knighthood to the association of cavalry in war efforts.

Mounted Warriors- Cavalry- Is traced back to 530B.C.E.
-Big Headache from going through that point up to Macedonia
Encounters Between Persia and Europe
- Through wars between the two there was an exchange of influence of Armored cavalry and the growth of this “Heavy Cavalry” came from these encounters.
Macedonia, King Phillip II
-King Phillip II started his rule in 382BC
-Through his rule he encountered the Massagateans where he adopted the Heavy Cavalry into his Army and thus improved upon the original use of the Heavy Cavalry of the Massagateans.
-Heavy Cavalry made up only a small portion of his army. Infantry was the primary focus of his armies.
Macedonia, Alexander the great
-Alexander the Great, his rule started in 356BC.
-Improved the Heavy Calvary from his father’s rule.
-Heavy Cavalry still made up only a small portion of the army.
Rome
-4th Century
- Romans took from the Heavy Calvary units from Macedonian rule.
-Heavy Cavalry still only made up a small part of the army.
Germanic Tribes / Barbarians
-Barbarian was a term used by the Greeks/Romans that meant “Anyone who is not Greek”
-Barbarians included the Ostrogoths, Vandals, Huns, and the Gauls (Celtic in orgin)
-Large family unit = Kinship (400-100 people) The Warriors were called the Hundred and the elected leader was called the Hunno
-Gauls had 65+ Kinships
-Chieftain surrounded by roughly 300 men in war
-These men had ties of kinship to the chieftain, and were offered honor and reward in their warring efforts.
-They had little to no armor.
-If the chieftain were to die, these men would fight to avenge the chieftains death. Even if the fight was inevitably due to failure. Their loyalty was to the extent of their death.
Rome’s Break-up
-As we move through the 5th and 6th centuries when Rome’s territories broke up; Rome’s Heavy Calvary simply existed without growth and nearly fell away from being a part of the armies at all.
Lombard’s
-Scandinavian Germanic Tribe - Scandinavia[1] is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common heritage and language.
-Large army make-up was of Heavy Cavalry – Heavy Calvary used extensively. A main factor in their ways to win battles and wars.
-In 568 the Lombard’s under Alboin’s rule conquered Northern Italy of which was under the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire) and thus established the Kingdom of Lombardy.
-Through the 7th century the Lombard’s were the only force to use the Heavy Cavalry as a focal unit in their armies.
The Franks, Charles Martel
-732 (8th century) Charles Martel defends against the Muslim Army
-Charles Army primarily made up of lightly Armored infantry, while the focal part of his forces was seasoned veterans of Armored men who wore 70+ lbs of armor plus the weight of shields and weapons.
-No cavalry
-Used his armored veterans to make up the Phalanx- formation. They defeated wave after wave of attack from the Heavy Cavalry of the Muslim (Islamic) army.
-Sent scouts into the camp of the Muslims to raid the booty (treasure/money) and to free slaves, This caused the Muslim heavy cavalry to flee from the battle field and in the end completely retreat from the battle. This battle was won on October 10th 732
-This battle won the title for Charles “The Hammer” Martel
-Charles Martel took the Armor from the Horses of the fallen Heavy Calvary and used this for his own Army.
-Enacted laws and taxes in order to continue the financial support of this vast part of his army. This included the act of taking land away from the church for this endeavor as well.
The Franks, Charlemagne
-Came to power in 768
-Grandson of Charles “The Hammer” Martel
-Enacted Edict’s (Laws) as well as War Taxes in order to continue support for the Heavy Calvary.
-Enacted the Paladins of his court – For the first time in history soldiers of the army, Heavy Cavalry were apart of not only the military sense of things though also into a social class. These Paladins were the first steps to Knights coming into existence as well were the source of such fictional tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
-Paladins were equipped with a Birnie (mail armor knee length long and half sleeves) Shield, Lance, sword, and dagger.
-Defeated the Kingdom of Lombardy in 774.
-Enacted the war tax that – for each group of 4 Heavy Cavalry, they were to financially support a 5th Heavy Cavalry Member.
-Recruited Lombard’s into his Cavalry units.
-Through wars with the Avars and the defeated Lombard’s the Stirrups were introduced to the Heavy Cavalry of the Franks. The stirrup allowed for greater use of the horse with enhanced control, allowing the spear to no longer be thrown, though allowing the lance to be couched and held onto for an extreme “impact” force of a weapon (Speed could be converted into Shock) Stirrups are traced back to the China in the 5th Century.
-Passed another Edict in 805 that any man owning more than 300 Acres of land was to equip themselves with a Mail Birnie and sub sequentially to equip themselves as a Paladin and thus the first literal Knights arose.
-Thus there is influence from a vast group of different time periods and nations that contributed elements that make up the Knight. –Barbarians (Germanic Tribes), Islamic, Persian, Chinese, Germanic Tribes and so on.
Feudalism
-The Feudal System was not called such during the Medieval time period. We (Now-days) call it such so as to know the system as a name.
-Four Factors brought the Feudal System about
1. Constant Islamic Invasions disrupted the Network of Commerce (no trade outside of Europe)
2. States/Tribal Ties/Territory was decentralized – Division of King and his Counts (A companion of the emperor)
3. No Institutional Structure for the goal of serving King or State,
4. Hierarchic Characteristics Church and Government unified – The idea that all power comes from god.
-In the 8th thru 10th Centuries we see a reflection of Germanic and Roman ways of life contribute to the Feudal System in Germany and France.
-From the Roman aspect we have the Church institutions operating under the King.
-From the Germanic side we have character of political and military aspects of leadership.
-The Frankish Army under--the close associates of those kings made up the Knights whom were supported financially by local levies. This social Group/ Army of Knights as we mentioned established by Charlemagne formed the Vassalage (King->Prince->Duke->Lord/Knight) and Benefice (payment in land)
-Vassalage was taken from (Again) a Fusion of Roman and Germanic traditions.
-In the Germanic ways Military service was voluntary,
-The Romans forced people to join the army.
-Charlemagne based Vassalage on Mutual loyalty and Mutual Obligations.
-The kings Vassals were either made a Duke (A permanent member of the royal house) or by giving him land & livestock from which the Vassal could profit from – thus we have Benefice which is a fief).
Effects of Feudalism
-Through This military specialization (loyalties) land tenure (benefice) and mutual binding (personal obligation) caused the peasant (A free man) to be tied to the land. Causing him to become a slave to the land.
-Any time away from the land and the produce from his farm land would become lacking.
-The peasant now needed protection and sought out a Knight to protect him.
-The Knight made money because he was in charge of the land by the king.
-If the Knight wanted to make more money he could in effect cause/force the peasant to work harder and longer to make more produce from the farm land.
-The territory of the kings realm became so large that the lines of communication to every portion of his land was quite impossible so that the king could administer his power effectively himself.
-The King gave an extension of his power and authority (both political and religious) to the church and his Vassals/Knights
-Remember that by the Fief given to the Knight, the payment in land, The Knight gave his service to the King in return.
-Three main aspects
1. Knights
2. Agrarian economy the peasant worked
3. Knights obtaining lordship and thus political influence over the peasants.
-All of this developed quite well by the time Charlemagne was made Holy Roman Emperor in 800A.D.
-We are speaking specifically about Germany and France
Expense of Knights
-Cost was measured in Cows.
-Today a cow 800~900lb Steer cost roughly $1040.00
- Helm =============== 6Cows===== $6,240.00
-Mail shirt =============12Cows=== $12,480.00
-Sword with scabbard == 7 Cows==== $7,280.00
-Leg Armor ============ 6Cows==== $6,240.00
-Lance and Shield ====== 2Cows===== $2,080.00
-Horse =============== 12 Cows=== $12,480.00
- A total cost of $41,200.00 Dollars in todays market.
-And don’t forget about the cost of additional horses for campaigns, and the fact of supplies and food such.

Experience and learning from such defines maturity, not a number of age
View user's profile Send private message
Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,180

PostPosted: Sun 04 Sep, 2011 12:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Assyrians used mounted cavalry I believe at least in a limited way as scouts or mounted infrantry, but they still used chariots.

I think I remember a pic showing two warriors sitting on the same horse in a bas relief or maybe it was a modern illustration that may have been based on a historical bas relief.

That would be a few centuries before the Greeks.

Keep in mind that the Assyrians had a long history with an early period where they wouldn't have used cavalry followed by a period of declining importance followed by their later period where they became very dominant in Mesopotamia.

( Early period around 1750 B.C. and the late very militarily successful period around 800 B.C. ...... please fact check this because it's off the top of my head and the information isn't fresh ).

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,207

PostPosted: Sun 04 Sep, 2011 6:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Egyptians used cavalry in battle as messengers, scouts, and skirmishers since at least the battle of Kadesh

I thought that Thessaly was the first to employ heavy cavalry (i.e. "shock" tactics)

The Parthians were likely the first to equip cavalry head to toe in metal armour (cataphract).
View user's profile Send private message
Sjors B




Location: Zevenaar, The Netherlands
Joined: 31 Aug 2011

Posts: 43

PostPosted: Sun 04 Sep, 2011 8:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

on the macedonians: they indeed ware among the first to incorperate heavy cavalry in there armys. Alexander the great is wel known for perfecting the hammer and anvil tactic, were you face the enemy head on with heavy infantery and attack there rear or flank with cavalry, smashing the enemy between the two parts of your army (this gained him victory at the battle of Granicus, his first encounter with the persians in Minor Asia)

The origins of european knighthood (Vasality) are most often traced back to Charles Martel.
He indeed gained large amounts of lands wich he then again gave to his servants. They swore an oath of fealty to him and in return gained the title of knigth

to find nice storys about the idealism and ethos of knighthood, you might want to check on te tale of Sir William Marshall (considered by some the greatest knight who ever lived) and the song of Roland.
Also it might be an idea to look into local history of knighthood at the location of the gig. In my experience this results in nice tales that have a strong appeal to your public

member of the langenort school for European martial arts in Nijmegen (NL)
http://www.historicalshows.com/
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 11 Jul 2010

Posts: 1,436

PostPosted: Sun 04 Sep, 2011 8:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

some people promoting irans history have made links between the sassanian and parthian cataphracts as being the influencers of the sarmation 'knights' which supposedly gave the romans and later dark age ppeoples a sort of 'model' for the knightly code of conduct and tactics. etc

i get the feeling there are probably a few flawsin that story.. but i cantprove it either way.

but Definately mention the cataphracts..
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Christopher VaughnStrever




Location: San Antonio, TX
Joined: 13 Jun 2008
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 382

PostPosted: Sun 04 Sep, 2011 9:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Parthians would have used the cataphract as early as the 520B.C., would that be correct? Also did the cataphract ever have been used against the people of europe in that time or later in time? Or would the cataphract only be isolated to the Parthians alone?

What would be the time (year) that charles Martel started to enact soldiers as knights? I could never find this as far as I have been able to dig so far.

Experience and learning from such defines maturity, not a number of age
View user's profile Send private message
Sjors B




Location: Zevenaar, The Netherlands
Joined: 31 Aug 2011

Posts: 43

PostPosted: Sun 04 Sep, 2011 10:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

in the late 300 Cataphrats ware incorperated in the eastern roman armies, they are mentioned at the battle of Adrianople.

as for Charles Martel introducing the idea of knighthood, as far as i know there's no excact date but should be in the early 8th century, because we do know it happened after the battle of Poitiers.
I did found an interesting letter Charlemagne, who is responsible for the larger role of mounted knights in battle, send to his vassals, speaking of the duties a Vasal had to his lord

You shall come to the weser (?) with your men prepared to go on warlike service to any part of our realm that we may point out; that is, you shall come with arms and gear and all warlike equipment of clothing and victuals. Every horseman shall have shield, lance, sword, dagger, a bow and a quiver. On your carts you shall have ready spades, axes, picks and iron-pointed stakes, and all other things needed for the host. The rations shall be for three months, the clothing must last for six

member of the langenort school for European martial arts in Nijmegen (NL)
http://www.historicalshows.com/
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 683

PostPosted: Sun 04 Sep, 2011 10:31 am    Post subject: Re: Knights History-Correct me if i'm wrong         Reply with quote

Quote:
The word Knight as it were used in Germany was Ritter, which meant to ride. We therefore trace the history of knighthood to the association of cavalry in war efforts.
The word "knight" on the other hand, comes from the Old English cniht ("boy" or "servant"), similar to the modern Dutch / German word "knecht" (servant).

This ties into the origins of feudalism rather than that of cavalry. Also interesting in this context are the Ministeriales.

Quote:
-Large family unit = Kinship (400-100 people) The Warriors were called the Hundred and the elected leader was called the Hunno
-Gauls had 65+ Kinships

As far as I know, the "hundred" was a Germanic "unit" (according to Tacitus), but I'm not sure it transfers directly to the Gauls as well.

Quote:
-Chieftain surrounded by roughly 300 men in war

300 men seems like a very high number. Most "military" action done by the Germanics was raiding, which was near constant. Full scale war was not so common. As far as I understand, raids were carried out by small bands, maybe 20 persons.

Quote:
-The Romans forced people to join the army.
I'm sure it varied in the history of Rome, but weren't most legionaries volunteers?
View user's profile Send private message
A. Elema





Joined: 09 Nov 2010

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sun 04 Sep, 2011 4:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm a little confused on a few points.

What's meant by heavy cavalry in a Roman context? Surely it means something different than the heavy cavalry of the high Middle Ages?

The bits about Charles Martel sound like they come directly or indirectly from Lynn White Junior's book Medieval Technology and Social Change. The argument attributing shock cavalry to Charles Martel and claiming it as the origins of feudalism was refuted by Bernard Bacharach more than forty years ago. (Look up "The Great Stirrup Controversy", or read a summary of the arguments here.

The whole use of the term feudalism is also problematic nowadays. Medieval historians have more or less abandoned it for the last thirty-odd years. The problem is that the word is a vague catch-all that gets used to describe very different forms of government. The highly centralized power structure of Norman England didn't look much like the kingdom of France, where powerful barons held their own courts of high justice and waged their own private wars, and neither kingdom looked much like the Holy Roman Empire, where important offices were held by unfree ministeriales and the emperor was elected by an oligarchy of electors. In each kingdom, tax policy, military structures, the relationship with the pope, etc. were quite different. The term feudalism only serves to create a false sense of uniformity.

On the subject of cattle, I think it's an interesting idea to compare the price of cattle and armour, and it probably gives us a much better idea of the cost of medieval armour than a straight attempt to measure inflation since the Middle Ages. On the other hand, I'm not sure if you can compare the price of a medieval cow with that of a modern one. Modern cattle are nowadays mostly raised on very large farms or ranches, which benefit from the efficiencies created by modern machinery, high-yield grains, etc. A medieval peasant would have had far fewer cattle than a modern farmer and the animals would thus have been much more valuable than modern cattle because they were so much more expensive to raise.
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,207

PostPosted: Sun 04 Sep, 2011 6:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
What's meant by heavy cavalry in a Roman context? Surely it means something different than the heavy cavalry of the high Middle Ages?

The term is based on tactics, not equipment. Heavy troops engage in "shock tactics". A bunch of naked celts in a tight phalanx with nothing but spear and shield is consdered heavy infantry. Roman cavalry could be considered light or heavy depending on how it was deployed in each situation - same as all cavalry.

Agreed about the cattle. It is good to compare equipment cost with cattle but not so useful to go that extra step and convert to modern prices.
View user's profile Send private message
Andrew W




Location: Florida, USA
Joined: 14 Oct 2010

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Sun 04 Sep, 2011 9:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A. Elema wrote:
I'm a little confused on a few points.The bits about Charles Martel sound like they come directly or indirectly from Lynn White Junior's book Medieval Technology and Social Change. The argument attributing shock cavalry to Charles Martel and claiming it as the origins of feudalism was refuted by Bernard Bacharach more than forty years ago. (Look up "The Great Stirrup Controversy", or read a summary of the arguments here.


This argument for the early origins of knighthood has come up again in the writings of Dominique Barthélemy (who highlights especially Charlemagne's cavalry as an early form of knighthood, but also talks about Martel if I remember correctly), most recently in the 2009 translation into English from French of some of his writings from the 90s, The Serf, the Knight, and the Historian. His work has had mixed reception in the reviews I've read, and I don't know how many historians agree with his argument. The consensus recently has been that knighthood proper appeared at the end of the 10th century (for a traditional explanation of the 10th century origins of knighthood, see Poly and Bournazel, The Feudal Transformation, which built on the work of Georges Duby; for an updated take with similar conclusions, see Constance Bouchard, Strong of Body Brave and Noble). Personally, I lean toward the later date, with knighthood as we commonly think of it coming out of the beginning of the 11th century and being fully integrated with the nobility by the 13th (cf Bouchard).
View user's profile Send private message
Job Overbeek





Joined: 21 Apr 2011

Posts: 49

PostPosted: Mon 05 Sep, 2011 1:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sjors B wrote:

The origins of european knighthood (Vasality) are most often traced back to Charles Martel.
He indeed gained large amounts of lands wich he then again gave to his servants. They swore an oath of fealty to him and in return gained the title of knigth

If I know my language then from this I can drive the wordd knight derives from knigth which sounds very much like the Dutch(and German) 'knecht' which means servant.
Am I anywhere close to the original meaning of the word knight?

And I'd say Ritter=rider, not to ride.

edit: Ah when I read on somebody else said the same, glad I'm not completely dumb :P
View user's profile Send private message
Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Cincinnati, OH
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 21 pages
Reading list: 231 books

Spotlight topics: 15
Posts: 9,137

PostPosted: Mon 05 Sep, 2011 2:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I always see knighthood as going part and parcel with the horse. Most terms for the position (apart from knight/knecht) are equestrian-derived: ritter (German), chevalier (French), caballero (Spanish), and cavaliere (Italian). These last three all derive from various words for horses.
Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,207

PostPosted: Mon 05 Sep, 2011 3:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And ritter apparently comes from rîter which is Middle High German for "rider". It is possible that the English term came from a different backgound. The Anglo-Saxon huscarl was essentially a knight except that he didn't fight from horseback. It would make sense for the English word to come from this tradition rather than be associated with horse riding.
View user's profile Send private message
Sjors B




Location: Zevenaar, The Netherlands
Joined: 31 Aug 2011

Posts: 43

PostPosted: Mon 05 Sep, 2011 3:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Job Overbeek wrote:
Sjors B wrote:

The origins of european knighthood (Vasality) are most often traced back to Charles Martel.
He indeed gained large amounts of lands wich he then again gave to his servants. They swore an oath of fealty to him and in return gained the title of knigth

If I know my language then from this I can drive the wordd knight derives from knigth which sounds very much like the Dutch(and German) 'knecht' which means servant.
Am I anywhere close to the original meaning of the word knight?

And I'd say Ritter=rider, not to ride.

edit: Ah when I read on somebody else said the same, glad I'm not completely dumb :P


The english word for knight indeed derives from both the dutch word Knecht and the anglo saxon word Cniht (as paul Hansen said) wich both ment servant.
A funny detail then again is that the dutch word for knight: ridder, by german origin from ritter being derived form rider.
In the end its al different names for the same thing, and they describe what knighthood in its origin is about: To serve you king (or any other lord to whom you've sworn an oath of fealty) and the great value of your service comes from the fact that you're a mounted combatant that brings his own equipment in the field ,and often your own servants to fight for you again, wich resulted in a strong sence of hierarchy within knighthood

member of the langenort school for European martial arts in Nijmegen (NL)
http://www.historicalshows.com/
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Christopher VaughnStrever




Location: San Antonio, TX
Joined: 13 Jun 2008
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 382

PostPosted: Tue 06 Sep, 2011 9:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is Awesome info! Thanks thus far. I have incorporated the additions and changes into my outline that has been mentioned. I have also looked into the suggested material of subjects such as the battle at Poiters (Which is also called the battle of tours?) and the tales of Roland and William and other points

Any other thoughts?

Experience and learning from such defines maturity, not a number of age
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,207

PostPosted: Tue 06 Sep, 2011 3:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher VaughnStrever wrote:
This is Awesome info! Thanks thus far. I have incorporated the additions and changes into my outline that has been mentioned. I have also looked into the suggested material of subjects such as the battle at Poiters (Which is also called the battle of tours?)


Many authors call it the "Battle of Tours-Poitiers".
http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/articles/watson2.htm
View user's profile Send private message
A. Elema





Joined: 09 Nov 2010

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Tue 06 Sep, 2011 3:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Andrew, thanks for the cites.

Is the Barthélemy book the same one as La mutation de l'an mil, a-t-elle eu lieu? I have only vague memories of its discussion of cavalry, but I should go back and take a look at it.
View user's profile Send private message
Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Tue 06 Sep, 2011 4:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Christopher,

This sounds like a really good list to compile for your presentation. There are a number of things I would nitpick personally, and I will address the list below.

"-King Phillip II started his rule in 382BC"

Philip II was born in 382 BCE. He started his rule in 359 and was assassinated in 336.

"Alexander the Great, his rule started in 356BC"

Once again, Alexander was born in 356 BCE... His rule started when he succeeded Philip II in 336 and he died in 323.

"Improved the Heavy Calvary from his father’s rule."

How would you say Alexander did this? He still kept the same corps of "Companions" as the primary heavy cavalry force in his army - this was a development owed to Philip II. In fact, Alexander lead his father's Companions at the battle of Chaeronea in 338 BCE, and this is how he established much of his reputation as a bold commander among Philip's army.

"4th Century - Romans took from the Heavy Calvary units from Macedonian rule. "

The Romans would not engage Greeks until Pyrrhus invaded Southern Italy in 281 BCE. Their own cavalry units were *typically* relegated to use as scouts and light combatants throughout most of the Republic and early Empire. There's no evidence to suggest that they were impressed by the Greek use of shock cavalry and specifically utilized such tactics for some time into the Empire, with the development of kataphractoi - which, of course, were of Persian influence.

"Germanic Tribes/Barbarians"

What's any of this got to do with the history of knights? Seems a bit congested. I'd skip over the details that don't necessarily contribute to an understanding of the development of cavalry warfare. If you want to go into the ideology of Feudalism (which could arguably spring from some of these details) your list of information would have to be twice as long and ten times more complex.

Skipping ahead... There's Feudalism. Fun.

"1. Constant Islamic Invasions disrupted the Network of Commerce (no trade outside of Europe)"

False. There was still immense amounts of trading going on in Southern Europe throughout the Mediterranean after the Roman period - particularly between Islamic and Christian states, a great deal of the time. There was also a massive amount of pirating, coastal and seaborne warfare and general chaos after the empire's fall - but Europe's pulse remained, however faint it may have become compared to what it was during Rome's greatest moments. The Eastern Roman Empire flourished during the early Medieval period and also maintained reasonable amounts of trade with Italian coastal cities such as Pisa, Genoa and Venice. Sicily was a stronghold that fell into Islamic hands and disrupted European maritime power quite a lot, but also brought a plethora of new markets into Europe's scope if the cities conducting trade would play nice... The details go on and on... Refer to Horden and Purcell's exacting work The Corrupting Sea to understand just why such blanket statements are entirely orthodox in a "Dark Ages" sort of way and should be dismissed.

"2. States/Tribal Ties/Territory was decentralized – Division of King and his Counts (A companion of the emperor)
3. No Institutional Structure for the goal of serving King or State,
4. Hierarchic Characteristics Church and Government unified – The idea that all power comes from god."


This is all relatively good, and should work for trying to create a general understanding of "Feudalism," which by and large is also becoming a rather dated term... I'd shy away from focusing too much on all of this stuff because it often raises far more questions than it can answer. Feudal society as we understand it was often pocketed into particular areas of Western Europe and hardly applied to many places where knighthood or Medieval European society in general flourished during the High Middle Ages. It is very suggestive and not so precise.

"-The Romans forced people to join the army. "

Which Romans are we talking about here, and when? By the time that the Roman army was professionalized there was very little to no existing mandates to force people into service - the acts of granting citizenship to men from outside of Italy was one of the most enticing and successful ways that Rome was able to amass such large armies during the late imperial era. From time to time the spirit of the Empire faltered, certainly, and extreme examples of forced service may be notable... But this is not aligned with what you're trying to take away from this information.

After 476 "Roman" should not apply in a Western sense of the word. Germanic bonds of loyalty were the primary cohesion in post-Roman Western Europe, when Vandals and Goths of all sorts ruled most of Italy, Southern France, Spain and even parts of Northern Africa for a time! In the East, Byzantium never had a draft-like system and they never really got close to anything "Feudal" either, putting them well outside the spirit of knighthood. By the 10th century they relied heavily upon mercenary armies and had a mysterious system of landed soldiery that was probably derived from "Theme" system of governing/taxing/protecting the various segments of the empire.

"-Through This military specialization (loyalties) land tenure (benefice) and mutual binding (personal obligation) caused the peasant (A free man) to be tied to the land. Causing him to become a slave to the land....
-If the Knight wanted to make more money he could in effect cause/force the peasant to work harder and longer to make more produce from the farm land.
"

Slave is a very bad word to use here. Serfs were not slaves - they were still "free men" and had rights and protections under their lords and the laws of the various lands they settled. Knights could not force their serfs (lawfully) to produce more or to give more of their product to them. Laws in England and France were very particular not about the percentages of labor, crops and materials that were due to a lord, but about the exact amounts required. This could both benefit and harm a serf... If a peasant family had a particularly good year on their borrowed land they were able to lawfully keep surpluses of produce, having only to give a particular amount (usually identified in weights) to their liege lords. On the other hand, during a bad year, these amounts may have been strenuous and really screwed the serfs over! All in all, though, laws were typically well-attended to and even more than that, there was the power of tradition, which usually trumped any excuses a lord may have for taking more than their due share from the land.

Serfdom is also a surprisingly isolated economic venture in Europe during the High Middle Ages and really has very little to do with knighthood for that reason. Serfs may have made up as much as 30% of the population of England in the late 11th century but you could probably walk through 30 villages in Southern France without seeing a single serf at the same time. The diversity here is implicit to the point I made earlier about blanket statements and the usefulness of "Feudalism" as a device to teach about Medieval history.

Most of the other items that you have under "effects of Feudalism" are generally acceptable as good summary, but almost all still fall under the heavy hand of scrutiny. These are major blanket statements and you have to be aware to inform your crowd that many of these circumstances would be intolerable, unheard of or completely corrupted in various parts of Central and Western Europe during the heyday of knighthood between roughly 1000-1400 CE. The best way to do this sort of presentation is to focus yourself on a very particular time and place in Europe and feed specific, enlightening and interesting details about the presence of such things as: feudal landholding, fealty and vassalage and the expectations and functions of knights in daily life and during warfare. For example, you can examine Northern France in 1190 or thereabouts... There, you can use such awesome individuals as William Marshall, Richard the Lionheart and Henry II as pivotal and revealing characters that help to weave a story about knighthood and its highlights.

Cheers.

-Gregory
View user's profile Send private message
Andrew W




Location: Florida, USA
Joined: 14 Oct 2010

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Tue 06 Sep, 2011 6:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A. Elema wrote:
Is the Barthélemy book the same one as La mutation de l'an mil, a-t-elle eu lieu? I have only vague memories of its discussion of cavalry, but I should go back and take a look at it.


Yes, with a new concluding chapter. The discussion was more about the relationship of the nobility to the idea of knighthood than with a rank and file cavalry (Barthélemy arguing, for example, that dubbing ceremonies were an elite affectation in the tenth century, etc).
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Knights History-Correct me if i'm wrong
Page 1 of 5 Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum