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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 7:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh Knight wrote:
King Olaf of Iceland wasn't a European knight; he came from a different culture.


It was King Olaf I of Norway, actually, appearing in Snorri Sturluson's saga. That caused the confusion. My apologies. For the record, I'm getting these sources from The Great Warbow.

Quote:
And Richard didn't fight with a crossbow, he shot a quarrel or a few quarrels for spite's sake when he couldn't do anything else.


He killed people with a missile weapon in battle. If that's not fighting, what is?

Quote:
And those horsemen were mounted archers, not gentlemen of coat armor.


How do you know this? Either way, minor English gentry served as archers before becoming knights. The stigma against ranged combat, such that existed, was more flexible than you claim.

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You've been led seriously astray.


Right back at you.

Quote:
Such men often had significant armor, but they wore it when using poll weapons--bills and halberds.


Again, artwork shows archers shooting bows in exactly the king of defensive gear described in the text. What evidence do you have that they only wore armor while wielding staff weapons?

Quote:
And yes, some archers had armor, just as I said in my first post: Brigs, helmets, jacks (some with jack chains), even some leg armor (among the mounted archers usually).


Well, we agree here. I consider such equipment rather extensive defensive gear. I think your posts went too far as describing archers as unarmored or very lightly armored. Many had only sallets and soft jacks, yes, but that's not a comprehensive description.

Quote:
But full pauldrons, gauntlets and plate arms? No.


Art depicts archers equipped in that fashion. A few textual sources give them breastplates. You need evidence to dismiss this. Do any period works reject the idea of plate-armed archers as absurd?

Quote:
Yet why do some iconographic sources show them with armor? Hmmm... Maybe for the same reason so many sources showed other things that didn't happen, like infantry battles between dismounted knights shown being fought on horseback, or giants in antique kinds of pseudo-Roman armor, or swords passing through plate armor.


Personal speculation. The burden of proof rests on the person opposing a period source. Harnessed archers appear in artwork of a variety of styles, some quite realistic. Why do you believe what we see in these sources never happen? In the case of swords penetrating plate, you can cite modern tests. What have you got here? From the Middle East, China, and Japan, we know fully armored horsemen could and did draw mighty bows. They didn't wear European harnesses, but their armor protected them from head to toe. So why rule this out in the West? Do the details of European armor construction prevent archery?

Quote:
You show me evidence of significant numbers of *knights* using bows and arrows routinely (not some freak occurance; I can probably find someone who dressed up as a clown for a business meeting today but that doesn't mean that's how it's normally done) and I'll agree with you.


I don't think knights routinely fought with bows, though armored European horsemen seem to done so occasionally during the 13th- and 14th-centuries. I'm not trying to convince you of that.

Quote:
You show me hard evidence, as in a chronicler's account, that archers wore heavy plate (I don't mean weight, I mean significant coverage) on a routine basis (again, not some weird special situation) and I'll agree with you there.


I don't think many archers wore full plate. I'm not trying to convince you of that. 16th-century military writers suggest brigandines, mail, or jacks. The weight of the evidence gives a well-equipped archer a brigandine, sallet, and limb defenses. This doesn't preclude the rare archer in nearly full plate harness, as shown in period art.
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 10:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Xan Stepp wrote:
In that case, you were probably thinking (and also Ben Abbot) of either Ólafr Tryggvason or Ólafr 'helgi' Haroldsson, who were both kings of Norway in the Viking Age. If this is the case, it probably does support your initial point.

I did a quick search, and in Ólafs saga Tryggvasonar 103, there is a reference to Ólafr Tryggvason using a bow in a naval battle, and in Ólafs saga helga 3 it mentions that Ólafr was trained in the bow. But neither of these examples could really be compared to later eras in terms of armor, and neither is exactly a 'standard' battle situation.


Olaf Tryggvason sounds familiar, he might have been the one I was thinking of (this is really not my period, unfortunately). But as you say, they were not European knights, and that's the main point: they had a very different attitude about archery. Still, I should have looked Olaf up before I commented--that was sloppy on my part.

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Hugh
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 10:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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Since no one has done much research into the total weight to draw weight of crossbows I do not know what the real relationship is. This is all I could find off hand. Leibel states that the great crossbows (well over 2000lb draw) were 100-200 pounds, the difference being steel prod to composite. Estimates on the average 1 foot crossbow to 770lbs(horn)-990lbs(steel), 2 foot crossbow 1760lb (per Harmuth). The latter two types being hand held though Leibel states that the two foot crossbow was more often used outside fortresses that the larger types (springalds and great crossbows) it could not have been carried over too great of distances by one man as the smallest type could. So according to Harmuth and Liebel yes over 1000 was not uncommon. The one foot crossbows (smallest) being not far off from 1000lbs.


Interesting stuff, Randall!

Any idea what weight in both steel and Horn one might see on the one foot crossbows? Not draw eight, but weapon weight.

BTW - Heard anything about the period yew crossbow? I have not.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 11:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary,

I will have to dig around some. I think the two foot steel crossbows run 30-34 lbs. so the one foot ones are likely about 50% less on the upper end as the horn or wood bows would be markedly lighter as the steel bits are what greatly increase the weight. I should have mentioned the info is on late medieval crossbows. At 30-34 it is easy to see why one would not want to carry it around all the time but the pwer they work up is pretty amazing either way no matter where it was used. The great crossbow gets use into the late 15th fairly often as well as into the 16th in Switzerland, Scandinavia and several other major European countries. The two foot crossbow and one foot ones are the two that really remain in major use into the 16th while larger siege ones begin giving ground in the 2nd half of the 15th to firearms.

I called Ralph on Tuesday and spoke about it. He said he is working on it but is quite busy. I made him a bit late to a meeting, sounds like he is very busy at the moment! I am sure he is working on it but he gets a great deal of questions a week so give him a little while. I am going to call him in the near future about some other events going on but will see how things are going with the crossbow if I remember.

RPM
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ugh, Ólafr Tryggvason, Traitor king of Norway. I dislike him for what he did to the traditional Norwegian religion.

Didn't Scandinavian culture pride the use of both bow and melee weapons? I have not studied much in the way of Norse battles, but I've been under the impression that bowmanship (?) was a prized skill.

M.

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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 12:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
Didn't Scandinavian culture pride the use of both bow and melee weapons? I have not studied much in the way of Norse battles, but I've been under the impression that bowmanship (?) was a prized skill.


I think so. Part of my point was that such attitudes varied by culture. The English nobility seems to have had somewhat different relationship toward archery compared with their peers on the continent. While Henry VIII may not have fought with a bow, he participated in competitions and strongly promoted the practice.
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 12:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
I think so. Part of my point was that such attitudes varied by culture. The English nobility seems to have had somewhat different relationship toward archery compared with their peers on the continent. While Henry VIII may not have fought with a bow, he participated in competitions and strongly promoted the practice.


Well, since in the culture being discussed--the one that involved the wearing of plate armor--military archery was considered innappropriate for the men who *wore* full plate, the gentlemen of coat armor, any discussion of how to use archery in full plate is moot, however popular it may have been among the nobility of other cultures. Sure, lots of European noblemen both before and even after Hentry VIII practiced archery: It was an important hunting skill. But since one didn't hunt while in full plate this, too, doesn't relate to our subject.

It's important to understand medieval activities in their correct context, and this is a great example of that. Someone says they saw a MS painting that shows guys wearing armor and shooting bows, so men at arms must have used bows since they were the guys who rode and wore armor, right? Sorry, no, it's the *extent* of armor that matters here. Here's a man wearing partial armor and using a bow on horseback (albeit a crossbow):
http://mdz10.bib-bvb.de/~db/0002/bsb00020451/...?seite=273
but I guarantee he's no man at arms!

Likewise the idea of noblemen using bows: Taken out of context you can say a king of England used a bow and that he valued bowmanship highly and both statements would be true; there was a popular form of hunting called Bow and Stable hunting in which bows were of paramount importance (among other forms). These figures from a 15th-century edition of Gaston Phoebus' Book of the Hunt might well be noblemen:
http://www.bnf.fr/enluminures/images/jpeg/i5_0073.jpg
And of course Henry prized archery, both among noblemen in the hunt (a practice he loved) and among commoners in war (which he loved to win). But to take these statements as an implication that European noblemen engaged in archery in war is simply not valid. Nor were English men at arms any more likely to do so because of the value they saw in the military application of archery; a rich society lady of Victorian England might have attached great importance to the practice of chimney sweeping but would hardly have engaged in it herself!

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Hugh
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 1:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh Knight wrote:
Well, since in the culture being discussed--the one that involved the wearing of plate armor--military archery was considered innappropriate for the men who *wore* full plate, the gentlemen of coat armor, any discussion of how to use archery in full plate is moot, however popular it may have been among the nobility of other cultures.


If not for the artwork, I might agree. Unfortunately, you can't dismiss period evidence by fiat. That's poor scholarship. If in men in full or nearly full harness shouldn't wield bows, why do we see them doing just that? Illustrations give the question legitimacy. And remember, plate armor wasn't restricted to the nobility. Pikemen could wear three-quarters harness or more. The armored archers in question might be of that social status. They're never mounted, to my knowledge, so I wouldn't assume they're supposed to be gentlemen.

Quote:
But to take these statements as an implication that European noblemen engaged in archery in war is simply not valid.


It depends. A single family might send the older son to war as a man-at-arms, the younger as an archer. Mounted archers had similar origins to men-at-arms and enjoyed many of the same privileges, such as lesser punishments for offenses.
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Xan Stepp




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 1:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I thought I would address several of the points brought out here, but in more of a summary and skip the quotes. First of all, Ólafr Tryggvason is known as Olaf I in English, and he is likely the king that several of you are thinking about. Also the episode that you are thinking of, is probably near the end of Ólafs saga Tryggvasonar which is found in Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla. He is engaged in a naval battle at the end and shoots his bow. As the battle continues, he passes his bow to one of his followers, who declares that he is too weak to draw it, and that you need to be a great king to do so. This may be the statement which leads some people to believe that it is a great bow or any number of things. But the Old Norse word used in the text is simply bogi which simply means "bow," so nothing more can really be said about it.

Yes, the Nordic cultures did value skill in the bow, but as has been pointed out, this was not necessarily skill in battle. However, I do think that the text of Ólafs saga Tryggvasonar as well as some of the other sagas do indicate that there was no stigma attached to using a bow in battle. It was something that you did if you had to, but you fought with real weapons if you could.

And Mr. Eversberg, it would have been cool if the traditional "religion" had stayed around, but the writing was on the wall. Denmark had already converted, as well as many Scandinavians in the British Isles, so if Ólafr hadn't Christianized Norway, someone else would have, and if it had been done differently, we may know even less about the old beliefs than we do now.

Deyr fé, deyja frćndur
deyr sjálfur iđ sama;
en orđstír deyr aldregi
hveim er sér góđan getur.
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 1:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
If not for the artwork, I might agree. Unfortunately, you can't dismiss period evidence by fiat. That's poor scholarship. If in men in full or nearly full harness shouldn't wield bows, why do we see them doing just that? Illustrations give the question legitimacy. And remember, plate armor wasn't restricted to the nobility. Pikemen could wear three-quarters harness or more. The armored archers in question might be of that social status. They're never mounted, to my knowledge, so I wouldn't assume they're supposed to be gentlemen.


Can you please post evidence that shows that European archers used full plate (specifically pauldrons, full arms and plate gauntlets) in battle. Such evidence should consist of levy accounts, primary-source chronicles, or that sort of reliable evidence since we've already seen that the artwork is frequently unreliable.

Quote:
It depends. A single family might send the older son to war as a man-at-arms, the younger as an archer. Mounted archers had similar origins to men-at-arms and enjoyed many of the same privileges, such as lesser punishments for offenses.


Can you please supply evidence for this?

By the way, your use of the term "man at arms" is at variance with what the term really means. A man at arms is not a lower-class soldier, the term includes princes, barons, lords, knights, squires and very wealthy men who could afford to fight in full armor with appropriate horses, etc. When someone says "man at arms" he means the equivilent of a fully-armored knight. I find it extremely difficult to believe a family would send one son to war as a knight-equivilent and another as an archer, but I await your evidence showing that this occurred.

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Hugh
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 1:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I do know in the crusades as time went by, there were christian turcomans (in period terms this was a troop type now, not a cultural type). Many of these had European last names, so it would be no suprise at all if these mounted archers were of european descent.

Now from what part of the social ladder they were drawn from I don't know. They were mounted, so this could incdicate a higher status.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 7:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh Knight wrote:
Can you please post evidence that shows that European archers used full plate (specifically pauldrons, full arms and plate gauntlets) in battle. Such evidence should consist of levy accounts, primary-source chronicles, or that sort of reliable evidence since we've already seen that the artwork is frequently unreliable.


Pick up a copy of The Great Warbow to see various images of such archers. Here is one example, though you'll have to register with the site to see it in detail. I couldn't find it anywhere else.

Quote:
Can you please supply evidence for this?


The Great Warbow, page 204-5. He cites various sources in this section, both primary and secondary. For some primary source conformation, Henry V asked a knight to recruit archers "of gentle progeny." (CPR, 1416-1422, 341.)

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When someone says "man at arms" he means the equivilent of a fully-armored knight.


That's exactly what I mean.
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 9:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Pick up a copy of The Great Warbow to see various images of such archers. Here is one example, though you'll have to register with the site to see it in detail. I couldn't find it anywhere else.


We've already established that the artwork of the period is so unreliable as to be unsatisfactory as evidence.

Quote:
The Great Warbow, page 204-5. He cites various sources in this section, both primary and secondary. For some primary source conformation, Henry V asked a knight to recruit archers "of gentle progeny." (CPR, 1416-1422, 341.)


That's not evidence it's a citation. Besides, are you unaware that Hardy's scholarship has been pretty heavily questioned? Here's what it should look like:
1.) Present an argument: "Medieval gentlemen considered military archery beneath their station while respecting its usefulness when performed by peasants."
2.) Provide primary-source evidence: Paris of Pozzo, writing about archers as prisoners in 14th century said: "A man may not torture a prisoner to extort money from him by way of ransom, but it is different in the case of peasants."
3.) Cite the primary-source evidence: "Keen, M., The Laws of War in the Late Middle Ages, London, 1965, p. 180
4.) Reinforce this with evidence from modern historians: "...through most of the middle ages the bow was scorned by the gentryas a war weapon for themselves." (Bradbury, J., The Medieval Archer, Boydell Press, 1985, p. 1)
5.) Add other insights and/or evidence: "...archers had recognized status, always lower than knights, but normally higher than ordinary infantry." and "...archers were mainly either rural levies or mercenaries..." (Ibid., p.171)
6.) Tell how we know the argument is true: Archers were paid a lot less than men at arms!!! (*Please* tell me you don't need evidence for that; I'll look up the numbers if I have to, but I hope not.)

And who knows what "gentle progeny" meant in the context of that quote; hell, Shakespeare has Henry V say that anyone who fought at Agincourt would "gentle his condition", but we know that wasn't the case. Henry could have been speaking metaphorically, as when an earlier Henry asked if no one could rid him of that "troublesome priest" (Thomas). So, do you have any evidence that Henry *got* noble archers for his army? Or did he perhaps get commanders for his archers?

Quote:
That's exactly what I mean.


Well, if you know what the term means, then you have yet to show any evidence that families routinely sent one son to war as a yeoman archer and another as a wealthy man at arms.

Look, I'm finished here. If you want to shoot archery in armor, go ahead and do so. Have fun. But there's simply no evidence whatsoever that gentlemen of coat armor routinely wielded bows in war. Did some nutcase do so? Maybe, I've learned never to say never, but as a normal thing? Nope.

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Hugh
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Jan, 2009 12:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh Knight wrote:
That's not evidence it's a citation. Besides, are you unaware that Hardy's scholarship has been pretty heavily questioned?

To be fair to Benjamin that section was written by Strickland who seems to be a far better and less biased researcher than Hardy. However there is nothing to suggest that those "gentle men" wore full armour when employed as archers. I agree that the relevant illustrations are of limited use and, at best, could help support an argument based on far more credible evidence, which doesn't seem to exist.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Jan, 2009 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You people are way smarter than I am Eek!

So, if an English archer could own a fair bit of armor, but wouldn't wear it all the time, would the army order him to "suit up" and become a billman that day, or are all archers also melee combatants, dropping bows and drawing weapons?

M.

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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Jan, 2009 12:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
So, if an English archer could own a fair bit of armor, but wouldn't wear it all the time, would the army order him to "suit up" and become a billman that day, or are all archers also melee combatants, dropping bows and drawing weapons?


Actually, that's an interesting question because it relates to the logistics of warfare. The simple fact is that the "train" of a medieval army was huge, with wagon upon wagon bearing the necessities of war and luxuries for the most wealthy. We know that some of the gear of war for lower-class troops was carried in the train because at Crecy one of the big problems the Genoese crossbowmen faced was that their pavises and some of their armor was in wagons in the train, and they had no time to get it before being engaged by English arrows. I have often wondered if it wouldn't have altered the outcome of the battle to some extent if the Genoese had had time to fully prepare before the engagement (of course, had they had the time the French would also have had time to bring themselves into better order, and that would have made even more of a difference).

Having said that, however, I've seen nothing to suggest that archers carried a load of gear so that they could switch from bowmen to billmen from one battle in a campaign to another. In the battles of the Wars of the Roses men generally fought as one type or the other with both sorts of troops fighting at the same time--there'd have been no time to change over. Archers often carried supplementary weapons into battle, but they tended to be things like swords and bucklers, or the mauls used to drive stakes, that sort of thing.

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Hugh
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Jan, 2009 1:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So you're hired as an "archer", but serve as whatever they tell you to do? I figure someone would have to help lend mass to the relatively small line of men at arms.

M.

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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Jan, 2009 1:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
So you're hired as an "archer", but serve as whatever they tell you to do? I figure someone would have to help lend mass to the relatively small line of men at arms.


It's important to understand something: The English men at arms stood by themselves in the battles of the HYW. They did most of the killing at Poitier, Agincourt, etc. In a way they presaged the tactics of the Napoleanic Wars in which thin lines of Englishmen held firm against the thick columns of France. Not that muskets were the weapons, but the principle was similar with a tightly-packed, jammed-in mass of French (thanks to the effects of English archers) coming into contact with a spread-out (not a lot, just enough to allow the use of their weapons) English line. The narrow front of the French meant that even if they had a hugely superiority in overall numbers they weren't superior *at the point of contact*--where it mattered, and they were so packed in they had difficulty using their weapons. So just as Napolean's columns ground against the Thin Red Line with most of the French in the columns unable to shoot compared with *all* the English being able to shoot, so it was with the men at arms of the HYW.

An archer had no place in a line of men at arms; the Archers of the HYW stood outside the line of men at arms, not with them. They would sometimes fall on the sides of a beaten formation and would sometimes follow after if there was a rout, but that's it. Things were a bit different in the mid-15th-century when it was too hard to afford fully-armored men at arms. They discovered they could put three peasants with halberds in the line for less than a single man at arms with roughly the same military effectiveness for a lot less money and the importance of the knight waned rapidly (that's what ended formations of men at arms on the battlefield, not the gunpowder myth so many historians parrot), but those were partly-armored halberdiers, not archers.

But if you were hired as an archer you fought as an archer. Archers were highly-skilled, well-paid professionals. Again, as I wrote previously, I haven't seen any records to suggest that archers fought sometimes as archers and other times as billmen in any given campaign (nor have I seen that they didn't, but I've looked for this without finding it).

After the HYW the other nations of Europe came to have a very high opinion of English archers indeed. Not just for their bowmanship, but for their ferocity, size and strength. A Venetian ambassador to England wrote back to his government, telling them that English archers were larger and stronger than other men, just as one example. Thus, some European lords began hiring English archers for bodyguard units, often equipping them with glaives (etc.) and putting them in fairly comprehensive armor (but not as archers!). And since there were *lots* of unempoloyed English troops running around after the HYW, men used to the practice of war, this was an attractive option--and a bit of a prestige booster as well for the hiring lord.

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Hugh
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Jan, 2009 2:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh Knight wrote:
We've already established that the artwork of the period is so unreliable as to be unsatisfactory as evidence.


No, you have asserted this. We haven't established anything of the sort. Discount period evidence at your pleasure, but don't expect me to do the same. The artwork at least makes questions about the practicality of shooting bows in plate armor worth asking. It's a legitimate inquiry. I resent your attempts to stifle the debate. You could reasonably say that we have little evidence beyond illustrations for archers wearing breastplates and pauldrons/spaulders. That's fair. You can't rule out the pictorial record without some basis.

So, I'll restate the question that needs a answer: Can you draw and release a bow while armored as archers are in the artwork?

Quote:
That's not evidence it's a citation.


Same thing. It's not a primary source, but Strickland's an eminent scholar who draws on countless period documents. As I said, feel free to pick up a copy of the book and analyze his sources for yourself.

Quote:
And who knows what "gentle progeny" meant in the context of that quote; hell, Shakespeare has Henry V say that anyone who fought at Agincourt would "gentle his condition", but we know that wasn't the case.


What does Shakespeare have to do with anything? The quotation comes from the Calendar of Patent Rolls, printed over a hundred years before the Bard was born.

Quote:
So, do you have any evidence that Henry *got* noble archers for his army?


I see. You don't like textual sources much more than the artwork when they undermines your position. If King Henry asked for archers of gentle progeny, we can be fairly certain this wasn't an absurd idea. Combined with what Strickland writes about mounted archers and men-at-arms coming from similar backgrounds and enjoying similar privileges, it's enough for me. This doesn't mean that English nobles chose the bow over the lance. Nothing of the sort. Only the that the dislike of missile combat wasn't as absolute as you've claimed. A subtle distinction.
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Jan, 2009 4:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Hugh Knight wrote:
We've already established that the artwork of the period is so unreliable as to be unsatisfactory as evidence.


No, you have asserted this. We haven't established anything of the sort. Discount period evidence at your pleasure, but don't expect me to do the same. The artwork at least makes questions about the practicality of shooting bows in plate armor worth asking. It's a legitimate inquiry. I resent your attempts to stifle the debate. You could reasonably say that we have little evidence beyond illustrations for archers wearing breastplates and pauldrons/spaulders. That's fair. You can't rule out the pictorial record without some basis.

So, I'll restate the question that needs a answer: Can you draw and release a bow while armored as archers are in the artwork?

Quote:
That's not evidence it's a citation.


Same thing. It's not a primary source, but Strickland's an eminent scholar who draws on countless period documents. As I said, feel free to pick up a copy of the book and analyze his sources for yourself.

Quote:
And who knows what "gentle progeny" meant in the context of that quote; hell, Shakespeare has Henry V say that anyone who fought at Agincourt would "gentle his condition", but we know that wasn't the case.


What does Shakespeare have to do with anything? The quotation comes from the Calendar of Patent Rolls, printed over a hundred years before the Bard was born.

Quote:
So, do you have any evidence that Henry *got* noble archers for his army?


I see. You don't like textual sources much more than the artwork when they undermines your position. If King Henry asked for archers of gentle progeny, we can be fairly certain this wasn't an absurd idea. Combined with what Strickland writes about mounted archers and men-at-arms coming from similar backgrounds and enjoying similar privileges, it's enough for me. This doesn't mean that English nobles chose the bow over the lance. Nothing of the sort. Only the that the dislike of missile combat wasn't as absolute as you've claimed. A subtle distinction.


I told you, I'm finished with this argument, you may do as you please. I will just say one thing, however, since you misunderstood me so badly: My comment about Henry V wasn't meant to be evidentiary but rather illustrative of the use of an expression that had no real-world intent. Thus, my argument was an analogy. By quoting a text that says Henry VIII wanted gentle-born archers you didn't prove anything about your point because not only do we remain unclear as to what he meant, you've also failed to provide evidence as to whether anyone actually followed up on his request if he actually meant what you claim (without support) that he did. That's why I went to all the effort to show you how to make an argument and then support it. I think text sources are very important: we just have to use them carefully. I'm sorry you mistook analytical insight for intellectual dishonesty on my part.

Regards,
Hugh
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