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Keith Kempenich




Location: Durham, NH; St. Cloud, Minnesota
Joined: 28 Oct 2015

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed 28 Oct, 2015 1:32 pm    Post subject: Tournament equipment         Reply with quote

Greetings,

I am working on a project examining the equipment and combat style of the Uccello 'Battle of San Romano' paintings (c. 1440) and I realized I have an issue with source material. The lances in the painting are clearly what I (and others) would call tournament lances, yet I find I have no way of substantiating that with any real scholarship. Same with other features of the painting (armour, helm crests, etc) - things I have taken for granted because of a long history of casual scholarship and enthusiasm I now need to back up in a very real academic sense.

I am wondering if anyone has any suggested sources on these kinds of things that they know off hand that might be useful (beyond what my own searches are finding). Thanks!

Graduate student, History Department, University of New Hampshire.
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Pieter B.





Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Wed 28 Oct, 2015 2:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Tournament equipment         Reply with quote

Keith Kempenich wrote:
Greetings,

I am working on a project examining the equipment and combat style of the Uccello 'Battle of San Romano' paintings (c. 1440) and I realized I have an issue with source material. The lances in the painting are clearly what I (and others) would call tournament lances, yet I find I have no way of substantiating that with any real scholarship. Same with other features of the painting (armour, helm crests, etc) - things I have taken for granted because of a long history of casual scholarship and enthusiasm I now need to back up in a very real academic sense.

I am wondering if anyone has any suggested sources on these kinds of things that they know off hand that might be useful (beyond what my own searches are finding). Thanks!


Why would you (and others) call those lances tournament lances?

The broken lances appear to be completely solid (Not hollowed) and the tip depicted is not a coronel but rather a sharp tip. The armor itself appears to be completely functional and no different from some extant Milanese armor.

Are you looking for something on Italian armor during the early to middle 15th century or rather something on tournaments?
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Wed 28 Oct, 2015 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm with Pieter, Keith. I've never noticed anything about the scenes in the San Romano paintings that doesn't suggest fully-functional war gear. What kind of research are you using the paintings for, and what is your hypothesis? In my opinion the San Romano scenes should have virtually no connection to research regarding 15th-century tournaments because they are apparently depicting very realistic battle sequences. If that is what you're attempting to prove, though, then any of the decent books relating to 15th century armament should serve you well to back up arguments about the realism suggested by the paintings.

-Gregory
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Keith Kempenich




Location: Durham, NH; St. Cloud, Minnesota
Joined: 28 Oct 2015

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed 28 Oct, 2015 9:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The lances nearly match an example in the Royal Armouries tentatively attributed to Henry VIII. The presence of helm crests also suggests a tournament to me. Further, couched lances were not used in that fashion in war, save for in the crusades (this is an issue worth reading the historiography on as it is long and complex, but I find myself convinced by David Bachrach, my advisor, that argues this point). I am open to changing my position, and you bring up good points, but I presently hypothesize that Uccello had probably personally seen tournaments, given his reasonable, but not wholly correct, understanding of armor. His details are technically correct, but the helm crests, use of couched lances and lances that match known tourney examples make me think that, not actual warfare, was his inspiration. It is a gut reaction to the images, but hence the need for research to decide where Uccello was getting his ideas about how war was conducted and the kinds of equipment used.
Graduate student, History Department, University of New Hampshire.
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Wed 28 Oct, 2015 10:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Keith,

I'm not sure if any proper research has been conducted as to whether or not Italians used helmet crests in battle during the course of the fifteenth century. With a lack of other source material it's hard to say... However, it's important to consider that recognition was still necessary on the field of battle, perhaps even more so than in a tournament, from a purely practical point of view. In a time after the use of shields and surcoats displaying heraldic devices, it's certainly possible that some people decided to take up the use of crests in their stead as a way to communicate their position on the battlefield.

Also, what form of lance couching do you not consider to have been used in battle? What contemporary evidence supports this proposed theory? I am not past suspecting that some of the motions made by Uccello's warriors are unrealistic - after a brief check it seems that he never had any combat experience in his life, after all. Still, the poses he suggests for his fighting men were common enough in contemporary art, which detracts from the suggestion that they were using a style specific to tournaments. Here's a nearly contemporary piece from the Jena Codex, which is a very good example:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/95/Husit%C3%A9_-_Jensk%C3%BD_kodex.jpg

He also depicts many warlike details in the Battle of San Romano, including infantrymen wielding glaives and crossbows, dead bodies upon the ground, and men-at-arms attempting to bash each other in the head with war hammers.

Most importantly, the chaos of the scene is a far cry from a fifteenth century tournament. The general melee had all but disappeared by that point in time, and the systematic program of the individual tilt was the highlight of any event. Bohorts were still held, but I do not know how common they were in Italy, and they certainly would not have involved lances.

Speaking of lances, there's still nothing to suggest that these are tournament lances rather than lances of war. Comparing them to a surviving inventory that post-dates the painting by nearly a century is not a good way of looking at things. One needs to investigate other martial paintings and (on the slight possibility) surviving inventories from that time. As far as I'm aware, lances depicted in use by men-at-arms during the 15th century bears some resemblance to those that Uccello painted. Many others also look like "straight" shafts, but that does not mean that their is either form is mutually exclusive for the use in combat or tournaments. As examples, take Durer's famous knight, who is clearly a martial character, or the mounted men-at-arms in the painting linked above - many other painted martial scenes depict heavy lances of this sort.

However, my personal bottom-line is that it's not reasonable to scrutinize the decisive influences of a several-hundred year old painting. There was so much variation on martial depictions, as well as on the real battlefields of Europe, that it is virtually impossible to distinguish which factors come down to the fallibility of the artist's background knowledge of his subject, artistic conventions of the day, actual military or formal armament, etc, etc... I tried to rip apart a couple of medieval paintings in art history class and the only thing I learned was how futile such endeavors are!

Good luck to you, Keith!

-Gregory

(p.s. This was written right after waking up and before coffee, so please excuse any oddities in the text above.)
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Keith Kempenich




Location: Durham, NH; St. Cloud, Minnesota
Joined: 28 Oct 2015

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu 29 Oct, 2015 11:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I only have a moment, so I must be brief.

The images I've found of 15th C tourneys actually are very similar to the Uccello paintings. The paintings do have some war-like qualities, as you rightly point out, but that is unconvincing evidence that Uccello actually had any idea of what he was depicting. One of the points of research I need to do is looking into how troops were deployed in 15th C Italy, but I suspect the hodgepodge we see in Uccello is not accurate, with infantry, cavalry and crossbowmen all intermingling. As for couched lances, very quickly, they're ineffective against infantry and cavalry alike. Horses don't like running into dense walls of pointy things and charging against a cavalryman is a good way to get your horse killed underneath you. Much of the historiography here is about earlier medieval combat, but there is little reason to think that it would have been employed later.

When it comes to a lot of these details, I am reticent to rely heavily on artistic sources because they all have the same problem (with the exception, I think, of tournaments, which an artist could reasonably have been party to). I need more written sources on the matter, especially on the use of lances. As a whole, the project is turning out to be considerably more research than I was intending... Boy, I wish we could chat on the phone, Gregory, you always have terrific points.

Graduate student, History Department, University of New Hampshire.
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Pieter B.





Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Thu 29 Oct, 2015 12:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Keith Kempenich wrote:
The lances nearly match an example in the Royal Armouries tentatively attributed to Henry VIII. The presence of helm crests also suggests a tournament to me. Further,


What distinguishes a war lance from a tournament lance is that the aim of a tournament is to break the lance and not kill the other person. To aid in this lance is held over the left side of the horse, the lance can be hollowed and the tip is not a sharp one but rather a coronel tip. In the fresco the lance is used more or less straight on and has a sharp tip that seems to have struck flesh. The helmet crest could be artistic licence but I wouldn't rule out that they actually wore that on the battlefield. People turned up at battles in fully or partly gilded armor from time to time, Charles the Duke of Burgundy had his entire archer guard outfitted with a livery coat of purple and black velvet with his emblem embroided in gold thread. It might sound weird but remember that Napoleon had his elite soldiers wear one and a half foot worth of bearskin on their head. You could look at Roman, Greek or Napoleonic examples like Centurions, Hoplites or cuirassiers. Richard III and Henry V wore a crown on their helmet in their battles. On practical grounds it might prove a bit inconvenient so it's possible they took them off just before the battle, on the other hand that does not mean this fresco is styled as a tournament.



Quote:
couched lances were not used in that fashion in war, save for in the crusades (this is an issue worth reading the historiography on as it is long and complex, but I find myself convinced by David Bachrach, my advisor, that argues this point). I am open to changing my position, and you bring up good points,


The couched lance is one of the key points of Western Heavy cavalry during the period 1100-1580. The lances depicted in the fresco and temporary miniatures/paintings are hard to use to like a spear so couching them and charging is pretty much the only way to use them. The late 14th century or early 15th saw the development of the lance (ar)rest. That (foldable) little bar on the right upper breastplate absorbs the blow. So instead of the arm absorbing the blow it's now that metal bar that transmits the force into the breastplate and spreads it out more evenly.

In regards to the usage we got quite some evidence ranging from training manuals to eye witness accounts of how few could properly couch a lance prior to the Battle of Montlhéry (on account of a long peace).


Quote:
As for couched lances, very quickly, they're ineffective against infantry and cavalry alike. Horses don't like running into dense walls of pointy things and charging against a cavalryman is a good way to get your horse killed underneath you.


This has been disproved and disproved time and again. I could produce a range of eye witness battle accounts from Anything between the Middle Ages and WWI and frankly we got a load of threads on this too. I suggest you try the search function on this forum to find the relevant threads.
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

Posts: 669

PostPosted: Thu 29 Oct, 2015 2:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Keith,

What makes you (or Dr. Bachrach) think that couched lances are ineffective against cavalry or infantry in combat? The early tournament arose specifically to train men how to properly use such a technique in close-quarters combat, and throughout the period of the crusades we hear of cavalry effectively charging targets again and again with couched lances using coherent movements en masse. I would refer you to my recent article in Medieval Warfare magazine (forgot which issue) dealing with the eyewitness Arabic literature that attests to the effectiveness and diversity of the use of couched lances during the crusades.

If the assumption is that heavier armour in the later medieval period would deny the utility of the couched lance, I ask which sort of weapon provides more thrusting power than a heavy lance bearing down on someone in the hands of a skilled man charging on the back of a horse? I reckon it would produce as many joules of energy as any other weapon available to late medieval armies - and it certainly produces more energy than a lance being wielded overhand! If a properly aimed hollow and blunted lance for use in tournaments could literally knock a man off of his horse, what could a solid and sharpened one accomplish? If a static man on foot could pierce heavy armour with a spiked implement, how could one imagine that a couched lance could not have the same effectiveness?

Furthermore, as Pieter pointed out, there are literally hundreds of surviving cuirasses configured for military use that include lance rests - many of these are munitions-grade armour of the sixteenth century that was undeniably meant for military use (like many in the Zeughaus armoury in Graz). There are also various and detailed paintings that depict men wearing cuirasses with lance rests, such as the Battle of Orsha (1514):

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/38/Krell_Battle_of_Orsha_(detail)_34.jpg

By way of comparison, there is also period art and military equipment that suggests the use of spears rather than lances from horseback, often in conjunction with shields. The spear was associated with light cavalry - like the famous Spanish jinetes - which became more prominent in armies as the sixteenth century progressed into the modern age. Here's an English depiction from 1581 that presents a good example of light cavalry with spears:

http://warfare.altervista.org/Renaissance/07_Irish_battle.jpg

However, from paintings to muster rolls to armament, there was always a clear distinction between heavy cavalry, which fought in the traditional manner with lances as the French gendarmes did (click the name), and light cavalry that could be armed in a variety of ways.

As for horses, well, they don't particularly like charging at anything, but they were bred and trained to do so by men for generation upon generation throughout the medieval period. To argue about the nature of horses is a moot point if we consider all of the period literature that tells of how specialized and valuable horses of war were. To think that they could maintain their nerves at all in combat but somehow not face up to lances is a vague and unsubstantiated argument.

Most critically, what evidence beyond conjecture can be produced from the late middle ages to suggest that the tradition of couching lances changed at all during that time? What advantage does thrusting with a lance during a charge have over couching in a physical sense, and what contemporary testimony is there to recommend that such a change actually occurred? The theory that couched lances were ineffective and obsolete in late medieval combat goes against a corpus of period art, literature and surviving armament, and a long tradition of modern historiography has substantiated the fundamental role of the couched lance in late medieval combat.

Finally, and as a bit of an aside at this point... As for Uccello mixing up all of the types of troops on the battlefield, I do not blame him! His canvases were not made of unlimited space. With what space he had to work with, he shows a great diversity of scenery in his triptych of the Battle of San Romano, and it is every bit as reflective of real combat as any other contemporary depictions. It is certainly not perfect, but it is better than almost all others - especially those silly French chronicles. Cheers!

-Gregory
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 420

PostPosted: Sat 31 Oct, 2015 2:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The names Steve Muhlberger (knightly culture) and Noel Fallows (skills and equipment) come offhand to mind. I don't know whether Toby Capwell has published much of his research on jousting equipment, but there is a great deal of knowledge on the hard drives and in the sketchbooks of the "jousting as historical recreation" community. If you want to test the hypothesis that couched lances were not used in battle in Italy in the fifteenth century you will need to read a lot of French and Latin and Italian of course (but you know, practice in any one of those languages reinforces the others, so its not as scary as it sounds).

Keith Kempenich wrote:
As for couched lances, very quickly, they're ineffective against infantry and cavalry alike. Horses don't like running into dense walls of pointy things and charging against a cavalryman is a good way to get your horse killed underneath you. Much of the historiography here is about earlier medieval combat, but there is little reason to think that it would have been employed later.

That is an area where you might profitably challenge the oppinio recepta by Anglophones. I looked into the theory that when cavalry charge dense formations of infantry one side or the other always turns away before contact, and I noticed that I could not find any experienced soldier who said this before the Napoleonic Wars, and that the specialists in Napoleonic and 19th century warfare seem to think that “cavalry will shy from a well-formed square” is just a rule of thumb not a universal law. Moreover, the one person I know who is both a PhD in history and an expert rider and horse-trainer with some skill with lance and bow has no doubt that the right horses with the right training will get close enough to groups of infantry for their rider to use sword and lance. People who should know better keep using it like a broom to sweep inconvenient evidence under the rug rather than as a heuristic to be tested to see if it fits the place and time which they study. I blame John Keegan and J.F.C. Fuller for popularizing it.

I once considered writing my Master's thesis on the subject of the mechanics of combat between cavalry and infantry in Latin Christendom in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, but my own education has taken me in different directions.
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Keith Kempenich




Location: Durham, NH; St. Cloud, Minnesota
Joined: 28 Oct 2015

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PostPosted: Sun 01 Nov, 2015 9:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oof, lot to respond to here! I'll do what I can. However, I have pulled back a bit on the scope of the project and will probably just be focusing on the lances in the Uccello paintings and maybe the armour as well if I have the time. The piece I am writing will be more descriptive as an art history piece rather than theoretical as a strict history essay. My ignorance of 15th century warfare in Italy is too great to be rectified in a short time. Your excellent points, Gregory, reveal that I have much to learn there and cannot apply earlier medieval phenomena to the early renaissance. Perhaps charges were used to greater effect later? I don't know one way or another.

Anyway, apart from some great points of argument from you all, what I would request is the source materials you're referencing (not because I disbelieve you, but because I want to follow up and discuss with Bachrach, etc.). Gregory - you're 100% right about the couched lance in the crusades; Usama Ibn Munqid is a terrific read for that and other bizarre and hilarious topics. But the light cavalry of the Saraces were a very different opponent than a typical heavy cavalryman in the West at the time. But in European warfare, I remain unconvinced of the efficacy of "mounted shock combat." We read too often of miles dismounting to fight to believe that the tactic was essential, and if tourneys were so critical, we wouldn't read of them so often being banned, by secular leaders like Edward I, not simply condemned by the church. Again, with regards to the early renaissance, I am ignorant one way or another, though you all make a strong case.

Pieter, good points about the crests. About the lances, though, that is the kind of information that I already know and take for granted, but I realized (see my first post again) that I have no sources to actually cite regarding that info. The use of coronal lance heads is pretty evident, but some of the other details I picked up over the years without a solid academic source to reference now. That was my original reason for posting, after all.

Sean, the Latin is in the works but the French and Italian are taking a backseat to German for now. This is a one-off project, not my main area of interest. My Master's thesis is going to be on comparing the wound pathologies shown in art and heroic literature of the crusades era, possibly arguing for a reason for the ridiculous wounds (not sure yet, though).

Thanks guys, terrific discussion! Happy

Graduate student, History Department, University of New Hampshire.
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Mark Lewis





Joined: 19 Apr 2014

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PostPosted: Sun 01 Nov, 2015 10:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recently came across this ebook where Chris Dobson lays out an argument for the Paris panel (of Micheletto Attendolo) not being originally part of the San Romano series, but being part of a separate commission which was only later associated with the other panels when displayed by Lorenzo de Medici. I found it to be a very interesting read, even if one might disagree with his final conclusion.
http://www.chrisdobson.net/pdfs/San-Romano-Preview.pdf
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Pieter B.





Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Reading list: 10 books

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PostPosted: Sun 01 Nov, 2015 12:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Keith Kempenich wrote:
Oof, lot to respond to here! I'll do what I can. However, I have pulled back a bit on the scope of the project and will probably just be focusing on the lances in the Uccello paintings and maybe the armour as well if I have the time. The piece I am writing will be more descriptive as an art history piece rather than theoretical as a strict history essay. My ignorance of 15th century warfare in Italy is too great to be rectified in a short time. Your excellent points, Gregory, reveal that I have much to learn there and cannot apply earlier medieval phenomena to the early renaissance. Perhaps charges were used to greater effect later? I don't know one way or another.

Anyway, apart from some great points of argument from you all, what I would request is the source materials you're referencing (not because I disbelieve you, but because I want to follow up and discuss with Bachrach, etc.). Gregory - you're 100% right about the couched lance in the crusades; Usama Ibn Munqid is a terrific read for that and other bizarre and hilarious topics. But the light cavalry of the Saraces were a very different opponent than a typical heavy cavalryman in the West at the time. But in European warfare, I remain unconvinced of the efficacy of "mounted shock combat." We read too often of miles dismounting to fight to believe that the tactic was essential, and if tourneys were so critical, we wouldn't read of them so often being banned, by secular leaders like Edward I, not simply condemned by the church. Again, with regards to the early renaissance, I am ignorant one way or another, though you all make a strong case.

Pieter, good points about the crests. About the lances, though, that is the kind of information that I already know and take for granted, but I realized (see my first post again) that I have no sources to actually cite regarding that info. The use of coronal lance heads is pretty evident, but some of the other details I picked up over the years without a solid academic source to reference now. That was my original reason for posting, after all.

Sean, the Latin is in the works but the French and Italian are taking a backseat to German for now. This is a one-off project, not my main area of interest. My Master's thesis is going to be on comparing the wound pathologies shown in art and heroic literature of the crusades era, possibly arguing for a reason for the ridiculous wounds (not sure yet, though).

Thanks guys, terrific discussion! Happy



If you want to focus on the lances I might have something interesting for you. I made a thread about the way they hold them about a year ago and sadly it hasn't received a proper answer so far. It might make for a great addition to your paper.

http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=31201&highlight=


As for sources, the training manual I was talking about is written by the Portuguese king and it's called Bem cavalgar. It's chiefly written for hunting and jousting purpose but also mentions war. The piece on the Battle of Montlhéry was written by Phillip de Commines (ex)valet/chamberlain of the Duke of Burgundy and later lord of Argenton. If you read it in conjunction with the later memoirs on Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard you will see the attitude to fighting on foot changed over time and with region. deploying the man-at-arms on horseback or foot was determined by both tactical considerations and culture. It's also important to note that virtually all battles in which a large part of them were dismounted also had a part on horseback in reserve or to protect the flanks, but now I am getting ahead of myself.

The memoirs were written in French and if you speak that I highly recommend you cite the original. I do not speak French so all I can give you now is an English translation.

Quote:
Our first orders were, that every man should
alight, without any exception : but that was countermanded
afterwards, and nearly all the men-at-arms mounted again.
However, several good knights and squires were ordered to
remain on foot ; and among the rest, the Lord des Cordesf
and his brother.^ The Lord Philip de Lalain was likewise
on foot (for at that time, among the Burgundians, it
was most honourable to fight in that manner among the
archers), and there was always a large number of these
volunteers among them, to encourage the infantry, and make
them fight the better ; which custom they had learnt from
the English, when Duke Philip made war upon France,


Quote:
The king's troops defiled
through the forest of Torfou, and were not, at their first ap-
pearance, above four hundred men-at-arms ; so that, if they
had been charged at once, in all probability there had been
but little or no resistance ; because, as I have said, they were
forced to march one abreast ; but their' numbers still in-
creasing, the Lord of Contay, wlio was an experienced officer,
rode up to the Count of Charolois, and told him, that if he
had a mind to win the battle, it was high time to charge the
enemy; giving his reasons for it, and telling him, that if
he had attacked them sooner, he would have routed them
already, for then they were but few, but now they increased
visibly ;



Quote:
But to return from this digression ; the Count of Charolois
advanced, without giving any breath either to his archers
or foot soldiers. The king's troops (being all men-at-arms)
marched out at both ends of the hedge, and when they came
near enough to make use of their lances, the Burgundian
men-at-arms broke through the ranks of their own archers
(who were the flower and hope of their army), without
giving them leisure to discharge one arrow. The whole
number of our horse was, I believe, not above 1200, and of
them scarce fifty understood how to lay a lance in rest ; there
were not 400 of them armed with cuirasses, and very few of
their servants had any arms at all ; and the reason of it was,
because of the long peace, and because, for the ease of their
subjects, the house of Burgundy had not been used to keep
any standing forces in pay : but since that time that country
has not enjoyed any repose, but is rather grown worse than
better at this very day. However, though the strength and
flower of their army was thus broken and thrown into
disorder by themselves,


Quote:
As he wheeled about to march into
the field (part of his men had already become separated
from him), he was so furiously attacked on a sudden by
about fifteen or sixteen men-at arms, that at the very first
charge they slew Philip D'Oignies *, his esquire-carver, who
bore his guidon. The Count of Charolois himself was in
imminent danger in this encounter, and received several
wounds, but especially one in the neck with a sword (the
mark of which remained to his dying day), for want of his
bevor, which, being slightly fastened on in the morning,
dropped from his head in the battle, and I myself saw it fall.


Quote:
Immediately afterwards, we discovered the Count of St.
Paul marching out of the forest, at the head of about forty
men-at-arms, under his own colours, and advancing directly
towards us, still increasing in numbers as he moved on ; but
they still seemed very far from us. We sent to him three
or four times to pray him to hasten his march ; but he kept
his own pace, marching on very slowly and in good order,
and causing his men to gather up the lances that lay scattered
on the ground, which sight greatly rejoiced and animated our
troops. With him a great number rallied again, and at last
came and joined us, so that we found ourselves to be a com-
plete body of about eight hundred men-at-arms ; but we
had few or no foot, which prevented the count from gaining
a complete victory, for there was a ditch and a thick hedge
between the two armies.


And here is another source on the battle of Fornovo

http://deremilitari.org/2013/04/alessandro-be...novo-1495/

It makes a distinction between light lances (spears) used by light cavalry and the heavy (normal) lances used by the man-at-arms.

Quote:
I saw corpses of brave men protruding at intervals which had been despoiled by many; the Greek and Latin soldiers had been first and had removed the more precious ornaments even from those still living, and then crowds of native peasants who had watched the issue of the battle from the summits of the mountains carried off the armor, and finally groups of servants and camp-followers removed the underclothing and left naked everywhere soldiers who were dead or half-alive. Nor, if there was the least inducement, did violence and greed spare the horses’ bodies; I saw saddles, coverings, hides, and finally shoes of horses torn away, and I saw bundles of lances, some torn, others whole, innumerable darts, arrows, iron and bronze pikes and other instruments scattered over the ground. Very many wounded were found naked among the corpses, some begging aid, some half-dead. They were weakened by hunger and loss of blood and wearied by the heat of the sun and thirst; with tongues thrust out they begged for water. In this affair no form of cruelty seemed to be lacking. There were about 115 of these; some Frenchmen were mingled among them, begrimed with mud and blood and looking like slaves, and these without distinction were brought into the Venetian camp and attended by the surgeons at public expense. Some still breathed after hands and feet had been amputated, intestines collapsed, brains laid bare, so unyielding of life is nature.


Another translation of an early 15th century battle also makes the distinction between light and heavy 'spears' or lances.

http://deremilitari.org/2013/04/jan-duglosz-t...wald-1410/


It's probably also worth looking into some source material on the battle of Bosworth.



As for tournaments; realize that jousts can be part of a tournament but a tournament is not necessarily a joust. Early tournaments often had mixed force of cavalry and infantry and essentially no rules which resulted in numerous deaths on both sides. Quite a lot of cash was involved in tournaments too which could bankrupt some people which is not really good if you want to have a proper army. I believe you can learn how to use a lance without tournaments just like you can learn football/soccer without playing in the world cup. The folks that jousted in tournaments knew how to use a lance before they competed in it, training is critical but not all tournaments were training grounds. As far as I can tell Napoleon didn't organize jousts for his Polish and Dutch lancers and they seem to have been reasonably effective without them Wink
Maybe he used Quintain or friendly matches but I haven't the faintest regarding Napoleonic training.

If your German is good enough you could try the memoirs of Georg von Ehingen

Quote:
Allß eß nun woll uff den abend ward, kamend ettlich der unsern und sagten, eß wer ain mechtiger haid, der begerte ainß kristen ritterß, der sich mitt im schlahen söllte, glychen platz zwischen bäden huffen. Allso batt ich den kapitany, daß er mir söllicheß zuo thon vergünden wöllt, dan ich war gar wol gerüst und gantz geregnig inn ring harnisch. So hette ich och ain starcken, werlichen jennetten, der mir vom küng geschenkgt ward. Daß ward mir vom kapetany vergünnt. Allso ließ unsser kapetany den scharmitzern abblasen. Die ruckten all zuo dem huffen. Da macht ich ain krütz mitt meinem spieß vir mich und ruckt all gemach von unserm huffen gegen dem häden zuo tall. Da die haiden das hersahen, ruckent sie och zuo irem huffen. Allso schicktt unser kapitany ain trumpter gegen der haiden huffen; der bließ und gab zaichen. Allso gar geschwind rukgtt ain häden uff ainem schönen barbaryeschen pferd da her gen tall der ebne zuo. Da saumpt ich mich nitt lang und rucktt den nechsten gegen im. Der häd werff sin schilt für sich und legt sin spieß uff sein arm und rant gar ernstlich gegen mir här und schray mich an. Allso ließ och gegen im her gon. Hett min spieß uff meim schenckel, und als ich gar nach zuo im kam, warff ich den spieß inn daß gerüst und rant im uff sin schilt. Und wie wol er mich mitt sim spieß inn ain flankart oder bantzer ermel rannt, gewan ich im doch von mim treffen ain sollichen schwanck ab, daß roß und man zur erden fiellen. Aber sin spieß heng mit inn dem ring harnisch und irt mich, das ich nitt so bald der von ledigen, och von meinem pferd kumen möcht. Er war uff von sinem pferd. Ich hett min schwert inn miner hand; der glych hett er sin schwert och gefaßt. Und tratten gegen ain ander und gab jeder dem andern ain trefenlichen stich. Der häd hett ain guotte brigenden. Wie wol ich im nebend denn schillt stach, bracht im kain schaden. Sin stich mocht mir och nitt geschaden. Mir fasten ain ander inn die arm und arbettend so lang, daß mir bäd zu erden fielen nebend ain ander. Aber der häd war mechtiger starck. Er riß sich von mir. Und kamen allso bäd mitt den lyben uffrecht und doch kniend nebend ain ander. Stieß ich in mitt mier lincken hand von mir, das ich mitt meim schwert ain stich uff in herhollen möcht, alß och geschah. Dan im stoß mitt der linckenhand kam er mitt dem lyb so wytt von mir, daß ich im ain stich inn sin angesicht gab. Und wie woll ich den stich nitt gar volkumenlich gehaben möcht verwuntten, daß er hinder sich schwangtt und ettwaß geblentt ward. Allso gab ich im ernst ain rechten stich inn sin angesicht und stach in uff die erden nider und trang allso uff in und stach im den halß ab. Allso stand ich uff, nam sin schwert und tratt zuo meinem pferdt. Do stonden bäde pferd by ain ander. Sie waren den gantzen tag fast gearbät worden und ware gar zem. Do die häden sachen, daß ich gesigtt, rugkten sie mitt irrem huffen hinweg. Aber die Portigalläß und kristen ruckten ettlich her zuo und huwen dem haiden sin haupt ab, namen sin spieß unnd stackten daruff, zugen im sin harnysch ab. (...)



This isn't my most structured post but I hope it will help, good luck with your paper.
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 420

PostPosted: Sun 01 Nov, 2015 3:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Keith Kempenich wrote:
Anyway, apart from some great points of argument from you all, what I would request is the source materials you're referencing (not because I disbelieve you, but because I want to follow up and discuss with Bachrach, etc.).

I can't suggest sources on the mechanics of combat between groups of cavalry in the 15th century. I already cited Fallows and Muhlberger and Capwell as some names to begin with (but you can probably leave out Muhlberger if you are focusing on equipment).

Edit: See also Rene du Anjou's Book of the Tournament and BNF Français 1997 as published in René du Belleval ed., Du Costume MIlitaire des Français en 1446; both MS and transcription have been posted to the internet.

You can find evidence that cavalry engaged in hand-to-hand combat with edged weapons in almost any detailed description of a battle from the Neo-Assyrian period to the middle of the nineteenth century. Russ Mitchell's article in the Jnl of Med'l Mil Hist might also be helpful on just how diverse cavalry fighting styles can be. For infantry and cavalry in later medieval western Europe striking each other with hand-held weapons, I started with the Latin sources cited in DeVries' Military Revolution. Those were fruitful, but I suspect that the early sources for Northallerton, Poitiers, and Marignano also have useful material. I try to avoid the "mounted shock combat" label as it seems to confuse people more than it helps and since early medieval history is not my field.

For how a rule of thumb from the nineteenth century got turned into a universal rule, I already cited Keegan's Face of Battle and Fuller's Generalship of Alexander the Great. Later writers often cite Keegan approvingly if they bother to support this rule at all, but he was not so sure about it and not a keen reader of early sources. I don't have any books on the mechanics of Napoleonic combat to hand in Austria. Offhand I would mine the bibliography of Parker's Military Revolution, and the literature on exactly what kind of tactics developed in India as European-style armies of native soldiers were established there as cited in eg. John Lynn's Battle to dig further into the complicated things which could happen on 18th and 19th century battlefields.

I would like to write a study of the mechanics of combat between infantry and cavalry one day, but I won't do it for free, and my job is other kinds of research.
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Mon 02 Nov, 2015 2:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

HI all, an interersting discussion.

You need to differentiate a crest from a panche for starters. One is a physical representation of a device and usually carries some significance in relation to the wearer or event. The other is decorative and the another example of conspicuous display of wealth and status. I've always taken the San Romano to be the latter, I doubt any of what the knights are wearing on their helms could easily identify them.

2nd, the Henry VIII/Brandon lances in the RA collection might well be 'bordenasse' or bearing lances. They have never had any serious work done on them so they are not much use for drawing any conclusions from. I've looked at them as close up as is possible and there is all sorts of weird stuff going on with them.

On how lances are used in the late 15th cent to defeat an opponent, if you do not couch them and use the arret/graper system I very much doubt you will do damage to anyone apart from yourself. If you have two forces colliding the shock and damage will be taken along the path of least resistance to the weakest point. If your lance is not connected properly to the harness you'll get your wrist, elbow or shoulder wrenched from the shock. Been there, done that!

To penetrate a harness with a sharp lance is very difficult, just poking at them without couching and joining the tip of the lance to the energy of the horse and rider will be ineffective. Fine if your adversary is in mail but for a harness, you cannot just couch the lance and poke your adversary, that way pain and failure lies.

Sadly nobody has yet done a study on the corpus of lances and to be honest there are so few and so varied that again, conclusions might be problematic. There are however a lot of written refs, Fallows etc has already been cited above.

Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 420

PostPosted: Wed 04 Nov, 2015 1:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Mark! Other than Dr. Capwell (who does not post much) and Gordon “Rittermeister” Frye (who is most interested in the 16th century) you are the horsiest forum member whom I can think of.

Dr. Capwell's new book cites some research into the appearance of the heavy lance at the end of the fourteenth and beginning of the fifteenth century, and the appearance of special words like "lancegay" or "javelin" to refer to lances with a more versatile design.
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