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J. Douglas





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PostPosted: Sun 12 Mar, 2017 7:17 am    Post subject: Over armed cavalry and where to keep your spears         Reply with quote

So, I've just been searching around different medieval cavalry types, before coming once again across the famous Mongolian horse-archers. I also found a page on hobelars- a light medieval Irish or Scottish or Welsh cavalry type.

What does this have to do with weapons?

Well, of course horse archers carry bows, and maybe swords or bucklers

Hobelars carry small lances or spears, and some also had small longbows or recurve bows.


Here is where my question comes in. If you carry a small horse bow, (which can be stored in quiver-like pouches, as the Mongolians demonstrated) then where would you carry your spear? Am I (or my sources) mistaken and no cavalry ever carried spears and bows?

I personally imagine spears being slung on the back or the horse or the back, as they would not have had to be drawn too quickly- and you can un-sling the spear and then take it out, etc. But there is no evidence for this, and I'm not even sure it would be plausible.

But any, does anyone have any ideas or know for a fact?

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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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Sun 12 Mar, 2017 7:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.--I have always been under the impression that 'mass produced' war spears and/or pikes were either carried in bundles on horseback or in wagons right up until time for battle. I would feel fairly confident to say that *some* warriors may have carried their own spears---especially if it were their own personal weapon. I can't really see a spear being carried slung across the back while riding a horse. I could be wrong though. Happy .......McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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J. Douglas





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PostPosted: Sun 12 Mar, 2017 8:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Moore wrote:
J.--I have always been under the impression that 'mass produced' war spears and/or pikes were either carried in bundles on horseback or in wagons right up until time for battle. I would feel fairly confident to say that *some* warriors may have carried their own spears---especially if it were their own personal weapon. I can't really see a spear being carried slung across the back while riding a horse. I could be wrong though. Happy .......McM


Your definitly right about the kept in the wagons. I guess it would look a little strange to see a soldier with a spear on his back! Happy

But where do you think they would have been kept IN BATTLE? Would the horse archer just pull out his sword when fighting comes too close? Or would he ride back and get a spear from the wagons?

Actully now I think about it, they would just use their swords. But thank you for your answer, you are DEFINITLY right about not carrying your own spear around. Big Grin

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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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Sun 12 Mar, 2017 8:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maurice's Strategikon describes slinging the spear across the back, so it can be done. Unfortunately, the 6th century CE is not a time which has left us many detailed and realistic pictures of soldiers so we could see how that works. Lance buckets attached to the saddle or the stirrups are a later solution
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J. Douglas





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PostPosted: Sun 12 Mar, 2017 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
Maurice's Strategikon describes slinging the spear across the back, so it can be done. Unfortunately, the 6th century CE is not a time which has left us many detailed and realistic pictures of soldiers so we could see how that works. Lance buckets attached to the saddle or the stirrups are a later solution

Okay, thanks! Very useful information!

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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Tord Grasmo





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PostPosted: Sun 12 Mar, 2017 4:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know helpful it is, but it is referenced in Norwegian sources that it is not uncommon to have a "spear" (speculated to be really short spears with possibly a cutting edge) sheathed at your side (as you would a longsword or arming sword). As longswords could readily be carried in a sheath on your saddle, I imagine one could keep a spear in a similar way.
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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Sun 12 Mar, 2017 5:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tord---I have a spear very similar to what you describe that I built myself from a long-bladed hewing spearhead and a weighted butt-cap. The shaft is only about 5 feet, and I have little doubt that it could be carried easily on the back, at the hip, or in the saddle. It really is a very versatile weapon. Just FWIW.... Happy ......McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Charles Dooley





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PostPosted: Sun 12 Mar, 2017 5:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In this 19th century drawing at least one of the Bashkir horsemen has a lance on a sling.


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Orlowski Bashkirs.jpg

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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Mar, 2017 6:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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 http://angloboerwarmuseum.com/Boer20c_techofwar_lance.html 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.
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J. Douglas





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PostPosted: Mon 13 Mar, 2017 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys! Great information and pics!
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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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Mar, 2017 1:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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 http://angloboerwarmuseum.com/Boer20c_techofwar_lance.html 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?!


Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/516928863450981467/
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Mar, 2017 1:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tord Grasmo wrote:
I don't know helpful it is, but it is referenced in Norwegian sources that it is not uncommon to have a "spear" (speculated to be really short spears with possibly a cutting edge) sheathed at your side (as you would a longsword or arming sword). As longswords could readily be carried in a sheath on your saddle, I imagine one could keep a spear in a similar way.


You have any sources you can give of this?
What time period are we in?
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J. Douglas





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PostPosted: Mon 13 Mar, 2017 1:40 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 http://angloboerwarmuseum.com/Boer20c_techofwar_lance.html 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?!


Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/516928863450981467/


Great image! Is that a Cossack, by any chance? Anyway, amazing picture! Seems very useful!

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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J. Douglas





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PostPosted: Mon 13 Mar, 2017 1:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Tord Grasmo wrote:
I don't know helpful it is, but it is referenced in Norwegian sources that it is not uncommon to have a "spear" (speculated to be really short spears with possibly a cutting edge) sheathed at your side (as you would a longsword or arming sword). As longswords could readily be carried in a sheath on your saddle, I imagine one could keep a spear in a similar way.


You have any sources you can give of this?
What time period are we in?



I think it is Maurice's Strategikon, 6th or so century AD. or that may be another one.

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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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Mar, 2017 2:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Somewhere....in the fog of my brain....I remember something of a story or legend about a famous warrior who used a short, sturdy hewing spear. Nordic? Celtic? I can remember reading something about it here on this site...just don't remember who posted it, when, or what topic. WTF?! It's hell gettin' old. Worried ....McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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J. Douglas





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PostPosted: Mon 13 Mar, 2017 3:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On a similar note, what do you think of this? I believe this is a foot archer, but I'm not sure.

As you can see, the man on the left keeps a longbow (I've heard of this happening with recurve bows, but I'm not sure about longbows) slung on his back.



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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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Ralph Grinly





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PostPosted: Mon 13 Mar, 2017 5:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It looks to me like that loop on the spear butt is sitting over the toe of the riders boot ? That looks rather practical to me..but then i'm no rider Happy Maybe someone that DOES ride could try it out and let us know if it's practical, along with the shoulder loop ?

I *think* 19th C lancers carried their lances in a similar way, but instead of the loop over the toe, the butt of the lance rested in a leather bucket attached to the outside of the stirrup..a similar style of carrying a lance/spear on horseback ?
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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Mar, 2017 5:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On taking a second look, I believe you are absolutely correct. Wink Looks very sturdy and secure, but easy to get out of. Happy .....McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Charles Dooley





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PostPosted: Mon 13 Mar, 2017 6:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ralph Grinly wrote:
It looks to me like that loop on the spear butt is sitting over the toe of the riders boot ? That looks rather practical to me..but then i'm no rider Happy Maybe someone that DOES ride could try it out and let us know if it's practical, along with the shoulder loop ?

I *think* 19th C lancers carried their lances in a similar way, but instead of the loop over the toe, the butt of the lance rested in a leather bucket attached to the outside of the stirrup..a similar style of carrying a lance/spear on horseback ?




Here is another Napoleonic depiction of a Central Asian lancer with a similar loop on his lance.



 Attachment: 134.27 KB
Kirghiz.jpg

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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Mar, 2017 2:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can find the passage of Procopius at https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/History_of_the_Wars/Book_I#I (although Procopius is a scholarly writer trying to impress readers with his ability to read 1200-year-old Greek and write 900-year-old-Greek, so its wise to take what he says with a pinch of salt). In this case, Procopius is trying to explain that just because the soldiers he is going to write about don't fight like the ones in the classics does not mean that you should go read the classics instead of his history https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/History_of_the_Wars/Book_I#I

Procopius, Wars, 1.1.12-14 c/o Wikisource wrote:
But the bowmen of the present time go into battle wearing corselets and fitted out with greaves which extend up to the knee. From the right side hang their arrows, from the other the sword. And there are some who have a spear also attached to them and, at the shoulders, a sort of small shield without a grip, such as to cover the region of the face and neck. They are expert horsemen, and are able without difficulty to direct their bows to either side while riding at full speed, and to shoot an opponent whether in pursuit or in flight. They draw the bowstring along by the forehead about opposite the right ear, thereby charging the arrow with such an impetus as to kill whoever stands in the way, shield and corselet alike having no power to check its force.


I don't think there are any public-domain translations of Maurice, but you can find paperback copies of G.T. Dennis' translation for not much.

J. Douglas wrote:
On a similar note, what do you think of this? I believe this is a foot archer, but I'm not sure.

As you can see, the man on the left keeps a longbow (I've heard of this happening with recurve bows, but I'm not sure about longbows) slung on his back.

Pretty sure that is a 19th century 'Osprey illustration' only before you could send the artist a Dropbox full of photos of medieval art to work from. So I would not worry about it.
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