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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Apr, 2007 2:36 pm    Post subject: Mismatch in arms?         Reply with quote

I am a bit puzzled.

Whereas the armament of early frankish (mounted) freemen is surprisingy equal to their eastern, southern and southeastern counterparts all the way to the widespreaduse of firearms, in the west the successors of the frankish warriors seem to carry far less arms but more armour.

Look at the 14th century p.e. A moorish or a mamluk cavalryman would be equiped with
- one extremely long lance
- bow and lóts of arrows
- most times two swords and the hefty curved dagger
- a mace
- a horsewhip foreseen to be used offensively as needed
- shield
furthermore the rider would be trained to offensively and defensively use the cloth of his turban
The lance deserves extra attention as the 'extremely' long polish hussar lance most likely was copied of the turks as the islamic cavalry used bamboo lances up to7½ metres!!!!!!

Now look at the 14th century knight
- lance
- most likely one sword and a dagger
- mace or hammer
- shield

One wonders if these riders were meant to fight eachother. I doubt it. The strange fact that the mamlukes did not consider the crusaders to be a major threat seems to fit in with this.
Especially the lack of long-range arms of the knight strikes me as very odd. The more so as the Frankish freemen most definitely carried bow and arrows ánd several spears.
What happened? Castle based warfare in Europe?


Peter
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Apr, 2007 9:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, one thing that is certainly worth noting is that the tactical roles of troops in the European armies of the time tended to be more specialized. The average Turkic heavy cavalry--and their Arab and Egyptian copies--had armor, bow, and lance so they were able to handle all three roles of charging, skirmishing, and massed archery, but a European army divided these rules among the men-at-arms (charging), crossbowmen (massed archery), and locally-recruited auxiliaries/Turcopoles (skirmishing).

That's what I think, anyway.
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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2007 12:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was not familiar with the term Turcopoles and the info about them was enlightening. The crusaders indeed had problems with the lighter, more mobile and more flexible cavalry and hired thóse as aids.
This is in line with the islamitic perception of the crusades. Until Saladin they were more occupied with their local interests than with the militairy threat of the 'franji' as they called the crusaders.
The, militairy, objectives of the first crusades were vague anyway.

Makes for very sad reading btw. Só many western civilians in the wake of the armies becoming victims and sold off as slaves.
My school history lessons (in itself quite ancient Wink ) did not include the large numbers of civilians who sought to find a new life in the promised land and who found death or slavery.

Anyway. Question answered. Thanks.

Peter
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2007 9:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah. I forgot to mention that Spanish men-at-arms often had bows as well, especially before the Hundred Years' War spread the northern fashions of armor into the peninsula. This is borne out by the fact that Spanish documents about military and militia practices stipulate a bonus pay for mounted men-at-arms who possessed (and were proficient in the use of) the bow. Unfortunately, they don't indicate the proportions of men-at-arms who were competent archers--whether they were the minority (and that the kings were trying to give a financial incentive so that more of them would take up the bow) or the majority. The accounts of battles tend to indicate that the latter is the case and that the Spanish relied heavily on their foot for missile power just like other European armies of the time.
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2007 9:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Bosman wrote:
I was not familiar with the term Turcopoles and the info about them was enlightening. The crusaders indeed had problems with the lighter, more mobile and more flexible cavalry and hired thóse as aids.
This is in line with the islamitic perception of the crusades. Until Saladin they were more occupied with their local interests than with the militairy threat of the 'franji' as they called the crusaders.
The, militairy, objectives of the first crusades were vague anyway.

Makes for very sad reading btw. Só many western civilians in the wake of the armies becoming victims and sold off as slaves.
My school history lessons (in itself quite ancient Wink ) did not include the large numbers of civilians who sought to find a new life in the promised land and who found death or slavery.

Anyway. Question answered. Thanks.

Peter


It almost sounds like you've been reading David Nichole, his opinons are somewhat... biased...

The way I see it the military objectives of the crusades were quite clear - remove the muslims from Jerusalem. The implementation of those objectives was a bit more problematic, something to be expected in an army lead by committee with few strong leaders. With the way things were organized, the rivalries, the bad relations with the Byzantines, the impossible transportation situation, poor hygiene etc. it's really nearly miraculous that the first crusade was as successful as it was. The only thing that the first crusade really had going for it was that the muslim leadership was even more fragmented then that of the crusaders.

It wasn't just slavery and death for everyone that followed the collapse of Outremer, there was also assimilation, merging and so forth. The western population of Outremer was never large (one of the reasons they could not hold onto the crusading kingdoms in the first place and those that did not flee or killed in the fighting were quickly absorbed back into the native population. In fact this was happening even before the destruction of Outremer.

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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2007 10:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Russ Ellis wrote:

It almost sounds like you've been reading David Nichole, his opinons are somewhat... biased...

The way I see it the military objectives of the crusades were quite clear - remove the muslims from Jerusalem.


At present my 'main' sources are contemporary accounts and 'islamic' accounts/reconstructions next to some scientific (archelogical) works on the 'making of' Europe.

The militairy objectives were rather more about personal power and riches. 'Freeing' Jerusalem was nothing more than the thinly disguised papal seal of approval on theft.

Please bear in mind that only óne direction of the crusades was into the Middle East.
'The Crusades' was a period of mayor extension of Frankish Europe.
The reconquest of Spain en raids into NW Africa, the teutonic expasion into the NE of europe, 'border conflicts' with the orthodox church were not less important at the time and 'fiefs' in conquered area were one of the key motivating factors.
The period of the crusades was very much an expansion fed from within. Religion was a thin excuse.
There is a véry clearly written book on this and I will have look in my library for it.
I will also look for a modern book on the islamic view on the crusades into thát region. Very informative in a differant way and the combination of the two nothing short of enlightening.

Anyway that is al beside subject of the topic.

On topic, I think that your second refelection is the more likely Lafayette. The Kings put a premium in an effort to promote it. I know of NO paintings of this period portraying a knight carrying bow and arrows. Dom Duarte does not mention them either. I guess it was as rare for them to have them as their standard outfit as for the mamluks not to.

The 'Polish Rider' by Rembrandt is very nice btw. The guy only lack the long lance to fit the mamluk descriptions from teh 14th century to the dot.

Peter
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2007 12:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Bosman wrote:


The militairy objectives were rather more about personal power and riches. 'Freeing' Jerusalem was nothing more than the thinly disguised papal seal of approval on theft.


Ahh now you are talking about motivations rather then military objectives. I suspect that motivations were as varied as those who set out on the crusades. If you are talking about the motivations of Urban II who started off the crusade at the Council of Clermont some of his motivations were to free Jerusalem from the infidel, heal the schism with the Eastern church, and solidify his own authority. If you are talking about Godfrey of Bouillon's motivations some of his motivations were to free Jerusalem from the infidel, expatiate his sins, and probably a bit of adventure. Thinly disquised theft seems unlikely since he was already the Duke of Lorraine, rejected the crown of Jerusalem and the expedition cost him far more then he ever gained from it. If you were Tancred, you might have been looking for wealth and power and honor.

It would seem that all of those motivations and more drove many of the crusaders, there were absolutely elements of financial gain for some, especially younger sons who did not stand to inherit back in Europe, but the thousands of knights who sold land, forgave debts, or even went into debt themselve to finance their own or others crusades cannot be discounted. It is easy for us in the 21st century to cynically dismiss the crusades as a mere land grab, but piety and religion were very real forces in the 11th century and their power as motivators should not be discounted.

The thing is that people throughout history are pretty much the same as people today. It is the rare person that is motivated by only a single factor, most of us now and most of them then were motivated by a variety of things both religious and temporal, both spiritual and material. Trying to abscribe something to this or that single cause is the provence of historians trying to write a limited book on a subject... but often falls short of the reality.

Peter Bosman wrote:
Please bear in mind that only óne direction of the crusades was into the Middle East.
'The Crusades' was a period of mayor extension of Frankish Europe.
The reconquest of Spain en raids into NW Africa, the teutonic expasion into the NE of europe, 'border conflicts' with the orthodox church were not less important at the time and 'fiefs' in conquered area were one of the key motivating factors.


Absolutely, but all of those things were also seen as God's will. See comments above about motivation.

Peter Bosman wrote:

There is a véry clearly written book on this and I will have look in my library for it.


Yes, that is a very distinct line of thought posited by multiple authors including the Mr. Nicholle that I noted earlier, however one wonders if the prism of the author's own feelings on the subject of religion and modern view of morality do not have as much to do with that line of thought as anything else.

Peter Bosman wrote:

On topic, I think that your second refelection is the more likely Lafayette. The Kings put a premium in an effort to promote it. I know of NO paintings of this period portraying a knight carrying bow and arrows. Dom Duarte does not mention them either. I guess it was as rare for them to have them as their standard outfit as for the mamluks not to.


Indeed, on one level projectile weapons were considered "discourteous" or "unknightly" and efforts were even made to ban them. On another level such weapons in the hands of commoners threatened the supremacy of the armored cavalryman on the battlefields of Europe hence their persistence.

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Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2007 4:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Please bear in mind that only óne direction of the crusades was into the Middle East.

Yes, narrow period of time that saw the west launching crusades into Europe was probably the only time in both the middle ages and rennaisance periods that they weren't defnding their homes from muslim invaders. But modern apologists never remember that...
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James R





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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2007 5:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Taylor Ellis wrote:
Quote:
Please bear in mind that only óne direction of the crusades was into the Middle East.

Yes, narrow period of time that saw the west launching crusades into Europe was probably the only time in both the middle ages and rennaisance periods that they weren't defnding their homes from muslim invaders. But modern apologists never remember that...


True, and this will sound really crass, but if the crusaders could've looked ahead and taken a tactic used by Europeans on native people, giving gifts of wine and smallpox- or plague-infested blankets would've benn MUCH more effective than longswords and crossbowmen...fight smarter, not harder

Maybe it's the vet coming out, but I have very little sympathy for the middle east over it's entire history, starting with their invasions on ancient Greece.
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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2007 12:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'am sorry guys but could you PLEASE keep the silly political undertow from the forum?!
Firstly there are people with strong opposing views and secondly this forum is not the place.
I strongy suggest you read 'The Travels of Ibn Battuta' to obtain some humane perspective.
Furthermore you are off-topic.

@Russ
The view on 'unknighly' missile weapons may have had an influance on the slow implementation of firearms too, although I guess selfpreservation was a stronger motive and the reason to consider these weapons bád Wink
The way the crossbowmen were treated is a close parallel. They received a solid financial bonus but were sort of social pariahs at the same time because of their 'villanous' weapon.

The Mamluk-handbook is quite informative about the battle-field ethics. HUGELY different from what romantics think of western knightly chivalry.
Personally I think 'chivalry' was something flexible and I find the mamluk-manual refreshingly honest.

The book I looked for is 'The Making of Europe' by Robert Bartlett. Cannot find the islamic view on the crusades but took the Tallhoffer book that litterally illustrates the 'flexibility' of chivalrous behaviour in battle. I want to compair the way he suggests using the lance to the mamluk manual. Interesting.

Peter
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2007 2:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Bosman wrote:
On topic, I think that your second refelection is the more likely Lafayette. The Kings put a premium in an effort to promote it. I know of NO paintings of this period portraying a knight carrying bow and arrows. Dom Duarte does not mention them either. I guess it was as rare for them to have them as their standard outfit as for the mamluks not to.


Dom Duarte is 15th-century, isn't he? That means he's writing after the English and French intervention in the middle of the Hundred Years's War brought dramatic changes to the fashion of arms and armor in Spain and brought them more in line with the rest of Europe. The documents giving incentive for skill in the bow come from the 11th through the 13th centuries, before this great change.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2007 6:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Bosman wrote:
I'am sorry guys but could you PLEASE keep the silly political undertow from the forum?!
Firstly there are people with strong opposing views and secondly this forum is not the place.
I strongy suggest you read 'The Travels of Ibn Battuta' to obtain some humane perspective.
Furthermore you are off-topic.


I agree with this statement wholeheartedly, but I must remind you it's not our members' place to moderate this forum. If you have concerns, contact a Moderator directly. Don't take it on yourself to moderate.

For everyone else, these other discussions about culture, politics, political correctness, etc. are off-topic and not appropriate for this site. Please leave them and get back on topic.

Happy

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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2007 6:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Bosman wrote:

@Russ
The view on 'unknighly' missile weapons may have had an influance on the slow implementation of firearms too, although I guess selfpreservation was a stronger motive and the reason to consider these weapons bád Wink
The way the crossbowmen were treated is a close parallel. They received a solid financial bonus but were sort of social pariahs at the same time because of their 'villanous' weapon.


Absolutely. It's very disconcerting to be an armored warrior who has spent his whole life training for battle and then find yourself pin cushioned by some peasant who has a few hours training with a crossbow. It sort of hurts your ego and makes you wonder about your place in the world... Big Grin

Notably, we are not immune to those sorts of thoughts today, every so often we get a post here or elsewhere with someone propogating the idea that swords or spears are more "manly" or "courageous" weapons because you have to be within arms length of your enemy to use them.

Peter Bosman wrote:

The Mamluk-handbook is quite informative about the battle-field ethics. HUGELY different from what romantics think of western knightly chivalry.


I've noted that Eastern authors in general tend to be a bit more pragmatic then their Western counterparts. Warriors tend to be pragmatic the world over, but how they are portrayed by authors is another thing again.

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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2007 7:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The franks and mameluks spent conciderably more time fighting each other in their respective homelands than fighting each other.

There also a question of what you are going to use your cavalry for.
European heavy cavalry is used for massed charges, in a field battle environment, in conjunction with infantry formations.

In the east, cavalry is also used for skirmishing, covering ground, and "irregular warfare". This dates all the way back to the parthian and late roman empires, where multipurpose cavalry replaced large ammounts of infantry for the purpose of controlling large amounts of territory.

While the europeans used cavlry for these tasks as well, it was not carried out by the noble heavy cavalry themselves, but franchised out to yeomen and similar.

If you are fighing tribesmen in the mountains, you defintely want more mobility, a bow, and a large arsenal of weapons.
Earlier, less specialiced european heavy cav would also carry more different weapons, including light crossbows.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Apr, 2007 12:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:

I agree with this statement wholeheartedly, but I must remind you it's not our members' place to moderate this forum. If you have concerns, contact a Moderator directly. Don't take it on yourself to moderate.


You are obviously technically correct. It was my most neutral way to express my opposing view.

On topic.
The series of conflict between the French and English rouned up as a 100 years war was about to conclude when Dom Duarte wrote his book in 1438. What he wrote is how his father and family including him reconquered what became the Kingdom of Portugal on the moors.
I guess he was more influanced by his opponents than by a far away conflict. No, I think the answer is as already stated a different strategic choise.

Going through Talhoffer I saw he portrays a crossbowman on horseback. Furthermore I find it strinking that the plates are about how to deal with the lancer and none of the plates deals with how to lance save by default.
This lancer btw only uses óne of the four holds described in the Mamluk manual. Duarte describes the same technique ánd a technique not in the Mamluk manual. Fun stuff this Laughing Out Loud

Meanwhile I am still intrigued by the remark on the a-symetrical scabbard mouth as this appear to be só logical yet I have sofar not seen ONE example of it.

Peter
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Apr, 2007 3:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Bosman wrote:
The series of conflict between the French and English rouned up as a 100 years war was about to conclude when Dom Duarte wrote his book in 1438. What he wrote is how his father and family including him reconquered what became the Kingdom of Portugal on the moors.
I guess he was more influanced by his opponents than by a far away conflict. No, I think the answer is as already stated a different strategic choise.


1438? That means he's writing long after the French and English intervention in Spanish warfare--which happened in the 1370s or 1380s, if I'm not mistaken--and hence also long after Spanish arms and armor changed to be much more like the rest of Europe. Before that, Spanish men-at-arms tended to be somewhat less heavily armored than in other parts (although "less heavily armored" is a relative term) and the memoirs of the participants in the first French and English interventions mention the Spanish heavy horsemen as being more capable of skirmishing than their French/English counterparts. I believe you are familiar with the Battle of Aljubarotta and the related campaign? That's the intervention I'm talking about.

So, by the time Dom Duarte was writing, Spain was no longer so visibly different in terms of arms and armor, and what he wrote about horsemanship is probably precisely the same thing as what Frenchmen, Englishmen, and Germans would have been doing at his time. And you probably already know this. Wink

Talhoffer's portrayal of a mounted crossbowman is just to be expected, since the German lands employed many mounted crossbowmen in their wars at his time. Interestingly, he's portraying unarmored men with crossbows, while the majority of mounted crossbowmen were fairly heavily armored--though they're still very light compared to the standards of men-at-arms.
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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Apr, 2007 12:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am not aware of an 'intervention' is 'spanish warfare' morover do not see what is has to do with the 100 years war.
For about 700 years the iberian kingdoms were busy with the moors. Obviously that was not all that happened and royalty pretty much a european interbreeding program so the inberian peninsula was far from isolated. I think no 'intervention' was needed to know about the rest of 'europe' and also were the moors a strong selective factor.
Now 'war against the moors' must be treated with care too as during those 700 years grew an intricate and strange web of alliances and interdependancies between moorisch and christian rulers. During moorish ruling the christian knights were still in their own castles by and large.
The story of 'el cid' is illustrative. Both even foúght at echathers sides more often than not. Their relative armaments and techniques will have influance eachother greatly and was probably in several case intentionally complementary. 'Spanish warfare' did not exist as such.

Whatever however. We are talking >7 centuries so huge changes are a certainty.
I just wondered about the marked difference and get it now. Both why the frankish mounted warrior gave the bow up and why the islamic cavalry generally did not.
Thanks.

Peter
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Apr, 2007 1:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Bosman wrote:
I am not aware of an 'intervention' is 'spanish warfare' morover do not see what is has to do with the 100 years war.


It has everything to do with it. During a long hiatus in the Hundred Years' War, the French and the English backed opposing sides in a Spanish/Portuguese dynastic struggle and actually brought their troops over to directly intervene in the war. Check this (woefully short and incomplete) Wikipedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castilian_Civil_War

Quote:
For about 700 years the iberian kingdoms were busy with the moors. Obviously that was not all that happened and royalty pretty much a european interbreeding program so the inberian peninsula was far from isolated. I think no 'intervention' was needed to know about the rest of 'europe' and also were the moors a strong selective factor.
Now 'war against the moors' must be treated with care too as during those 700 years grew an intricate and strange web of alliances and interdependancies between moorisch and christian rulers. During moorish ruling the christian knights were still in their own castles by and large.
The story of 'el cid' is illustrative. Both even foúght at echathers sides more often than not. Their relative armaments and techniques will have influance eachother greatly and was probably in several case intentionally complementary. 'Spanish warfare' did not exist as such.


Well, the point is that the Iberian peninsula might not have been isolated--it certainly was well informed about arms and armor developments elsewhere. But for most of that time they mostly fought the Moors or each other, and this style of warfare favored a somewhat lighter configuration of armor more suited to a double role of both charging and skirmishing. Only with the intervention did the Iberians suddenly find themselves fighting with and against French/English troops wearing heavier styles of armor, and this motivated them to shift to a heavier style as well just in case they had to deal with another case of foreign intervention.

Of course, it made no difference to their light troops--the light remained light. But their men-at-arms changed considerably from a lighter configuration to one more resembling their trans-Pyrenean counterparts within the decades of intervention. This might not be immediately visible since a great deal of the change came in the field of horse armor rather than the men's harnesses.
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