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Michele Allori

Location: Rome, Italy
Joined: 24 May 2017
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Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu 20 Jul, 2017 2:09 am    Post subject: Original call to arms?         Reply with quote

Do we have some surviving papers or archives that show the text for a genuine call to arms in the middle ages? I'm working on a 3D art piece and I wanted it to tell a story, and having a piece of paper or a scroll of some sort with an accurate call to arms (for XV Century setting) would help a lot with it. Maybe some specific one in a museum? Or maybe in some archive there is a text transcription...

Thanks for the help in advance.

Also it would be interesting to see how actually the call to arms was done, during war, in the different countries? did they even have scrolls and written orders or would they only rely on messengers?

Yeah, very cool. Is it historically accurate though?
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Håvard Kongsrud

Location: Norge
Joined: 10 Mar 2015
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 59

PostPosted: Fri 21 Jul, 2017 2:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In Scandinavia, that would be done by lighting the system of "veter" (prepared signal fires placed on hilltops) and sending out "budstikker"/"herør"/ "hærrør"/, sticks with markings, or clefted to contain a message. Shaped like an arrow, the budstikke would be a call to arms. No such "hærpil" (army arrow, or Arrow of war) has survived.

the Norwegian Land Law from the 1270ies (still valid in the XV Century), in Norwegian (Danish) translation Kap. 3 § 2 & 3:

2. Men hvis saa haardelig hænder, at nogen hær gjør anfald eller reises indenlands, da skal de, til hvis hus sandt hærsagn kommer, skjære op hærpiler og la dem fare fra den ene landsende til den anden. Denne pil skal tillands fare efter tjodveiene med tre fuldmyndige mænd i mindste laget; men tilsjøs med bemandet skib. Den skal fare efter tjodleden baade nat og dag. Træpiler skal utskjæres i bygdene fra tjodleden og ind i fjordene og ut til øene og bæres med vidner og bære den ene til den anden.

3. Men alle de mænd, til hvis hus pilen kommer, da gjør den dem stevne til skibs ved sjøen, men til samling til lands. Men hvis da nogen blir sittende rolig, da er han utlæg; ti da skal fare tegn og træl, om det trænges; og hver skal selv faa niste (kost) til sig og til sine huskarer, som ikke selv har forraad til at skaffe sig det. Men om nogen stanser hærbudspil eller ikke følger budet, da er han utlægg og alt det han eier, medmindre nødsfald hindrer; kongen dømmer om disse nødsfald. .

2. But if it happends that an army is making landfall or is raised inland, then those to whose house that true word of the army arrives shall carve 'arrows of war' ("hærpiler") and let them be passed from one end of the country to the other. This arrow will be brought by land by the main roads (tjodveiene) by at least three adult men, and by sea by (fully?) manned ship. It shall be brought along the main shipping lane both night and day. Wooden arrows [of war] shall be carved in the districts from the main shipping lane and inward [along] the fjords and outward to the islands, and passed with witnesses from one to the other.

3. But all the men to whose house the arrow is coming, shall meet by the ship by the sea [districts], but to the assembly [place] in the inland [districts]. But if anybody remain at home, he is considered outlawed; because then both free man and slave shall go, if need be; And each one shall have food and drink for himself and his men, who do not themselves have the means to get it. But if someone stops the arrow of war or does not follow the command, he is outlawed and all his belongings are forfeit, unless emergencies hinder; The king judges these emergencies.

ed: For a prepared show of force, a Public announcement would be red at the Things. Here's a 1370 Call to Arms for a meeting between the King Håkon VI of Norway and Sweden and his enemies in Lödöse. summary in modern Norwegian, full norse verison.
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