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J. Douglas

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PostPosted: Tue 14 Mar, 2017 3:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On a similar subject, I once read a book (it was in Spanish, I had to get it translated through a mixture of asking my sister who had done an A-level in Spanish the year before, google translate, and guesswork)

Anyway, in this book it gave an overview of a medieval light cavalryman' equipment. I disagreed with it personally. I think it's a bit much. But what would your opinions be? Is it plausible?

Anyway, the book said- (this isn't quoted, just a rough version from my memory. Big Grin )

-a short spear or lance
- a bow, most probably a recurve bow.
- a light sword
- a small sheild, targe, or large buckler
-a rondel dagger
- a small axe or mace
- a Gamberson, aketon, arming doublet, jack of plates, coat of plates, or chainmail.
- a Norman-style helmet (can't remember the name, more or less a steel skull-cap), a kettle helm, or a Sallet.

Do you think this is realistic, or is there too-much equipment? (Note- it gave this as what would be always carried, there was another section of what could be carried if you had a page of some sort. Overall, by the way, I was a bit disappointed with the book. But it only cost, you get what you pay for!)

I wondered why he was unscrewing his pommel.

Then it hit me.

~JD (call me James if you want to quote me)
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Benjamin H. Abbott

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PostPosted: Tue 14 Mar, 2017 3:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know of much evidence that Western European light cavalry carried bows by default in the medieval period, though some probably did.

In broad terms, though, the above kit matches what elite (or at least higher-status) cavalry used across much of the Middle East and Asia. A common Turkish-style setup included bow, arrows, saber, lance, mace, dagger, shield, and armor. Sometimes the horse would be armored too, and in the 16th century there might be an arquebus in addition to the bow. I believe Eastern European cavalry often carried a estoc alongside the saber and mace/hammer/axe.

In the Chinese region and in Korea, armored horse archers at times carried various polearms instead of a lance.

Sir John Smythe, 1594 wrote:
But because their so many weapons, as are before mentioned for one horseman to vse may seeme strange to such of this time as do not loue to trouble themselues but with very few weapons, I say it is no strange matter, considering that such as doo meane to fight wel, do like to haue store of weapons, that incase one or two should faile, they may presentlie betake themselues to the choise and vse of others, according to the time and occasion: But such as would thinke those weapons by me before mentioned to be too many for one man to vse, woulde thinke it a great deale more strange, to see a Turky horsman that trauelling by the way doth besides his Cemeterie, and his crooked dagger, voluntarily carrie his Launce, his harquebuze, and his Turkie bowe, with his sheafe of arrowes, with another weapon which now I haue forgot, and all those weapons they doo weare and carie so conuenientlie, and aptlie, as they may vse euery one of them in his most conuenient time and place.

It all seems somewhat excessive, but the evidence indicates such extensive cavalry kits were widespread and effective. Medieval Western European cavalry used bows much less frequently, so they didn't have quite the same grab bag of weapons. I can't think of any mounted crossbowers that carried lances as well, but there may have been some. Perhaps the French mounted archers circa 1500? The heavy lance, the type used with a rest, of that period doesn't strike me as suited to stowing anywhere.

And of course light cavalry in certain times and places might carry only swords or only bows. As usual, it depends.

Edit: Also note that a 12th-century Middle Eastern manual instructs putting the lance under the left or right thigh when shooting the bow. Presumably that's for stationary shooting.

Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
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Gene Green

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PostPosted: Mon 20 Mar, 2017 7:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Sean Manning wrote:
Charles Dooley wrote:
In this 19th century drawing at least one of the Bashkir horsemen has a lance on a sling.

That is a very interesting drawing. I hope you can find a larger version so we can decide whether the lance has a second strap near the stirrup or just the one over the right shoulder.

Procopius and Maurice are the first clear sources for cavalry carrying both weapons which I know, and they wrote just at the time that the stirrup was being adopted by Roman cavalry. I suspect that the right kind of stirrup or saddle makes it easier to sling a lance over your shoulder on horseback.

I believe that some of the cavalry lances used at the beginning of the last century had shoulder straps or spiked butts so that they could be slung or stuck in the ground when the cavalry were using their rifles and machine guns. Photos and paintings should not be too hard to find, like Although we don't like to remember it, sabres and lances were still effective weapons in the First World War, and sometimes the cavalry machine-gunned the infantry rather than vice versa.

This should supposedly be a Russian military painting from 1812 of a Bashkir cavalryman [doubtful with the "86" in the bottom right, so perhaps a 1886 edition of Napoleonic era soldier from 1812?].
Here the spear and straps are more visible though. It does look like the spear is resting on a strap attached to the stirrups?!


Hate to be a party pooper but this is most certainly 1986. The caption is written in modern (post-1918) Russian orthography, and the style of the picture (esp the clouds) and artist's signature is also very modern.
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Gene Green

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PostPosted: Mon 20 Mar, 2017 7:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Got curious and found this picture, according to the source drawn by A. Orlowski in the first quarter of XIX century. Hard to see if there's a tie to the stirrup, but by the way the spear is hanging, it seems very probable.

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