Interesting facts you know about medieval warfare?

Currently viewing this thread:

Don Quijote

Regular
I love clearing up this little misconception.

Medieval armor did not make you slow, or unable to get up when you fell.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMuNXWFPewg

That's an old man in armor falling off a moving horse. he gets up just fine.
 

noosers

Grandmaster Knight
M&BWB
You call Mike Loades an old man?

For all of you please do two things:

a) Explore the Sage Guild thread - contains HEAPS of information. Often provided by very competent persons with proper resources. Avoid Ancalimon unless you´re some Banana Republic Generalissimo and want to get his brainwasher´s contact adress.

b) Go watch Weapons that made Britain. Though the show is not the ultimate wisdom, a few things are explained and shown explicitely well.
 

Don Quijote

Regular
noosers said:
You call Mike Loades an old man?

For all of you please do two things:

a) Explore the Sage Guild thread - contains HEAPS of information. Often provided by very competent persons with proper resources. Avoid Ancalimon unless you´re some Banana Republic Generalissimo and want to get his brainwasher´s contact adress.

b) Go watch Weapons that made Britain. Though the show is not the ultimate wisdom, a few things are explained and shown explicitely well.

He's certainly no teenage star.
 

Fulkram

Recruit
WB
About the norse shields. They were also typically made of a softer wood like birch. The idea was that when an opponent strikes the shield rim direct the weapon will cut into the shield and hopefully become trapped. Then the viking could simply twist his wrist (the shields were center gripped NOT strapped) and pull the weapon straight out of the enemy's hands.

As far as alloys. I don't think anyone was really messing around too much with alloys for armor making during this period. I'm sure it happened, but I think folks would rather get their hands on some iron and some coal or charcoal so they could just make steel. Of course you are going to get some variables in weight depending on what you use, but I think we're just talking about maybe a pound or two at this stage of the game. Of course the gage of the wire or plate, or wire and plate will start to make some significant difference, but they were good enough at standardization that a single blacksmith could likely be depended on to make relative quality armor reliably. They were pretty big into die making and using well before the medieval period. Of course one set of dies could differ from another set dramatically, but I doubt that any particular smith had more than one and maybe a backup handy. I think we would have seen much more evidence of heavy armor if so. Excess material would have led to the demand for more capacity and thusly more blacksmiths and apprentices with more dies. And I think we all know that one die can deliver relatively predictable results repeatably for some time.

As far as the weight and the encumbrance. Look, if that stuff wore like silk, folks would have been wearing it all the damn time and not just when they were about to get into a fight. Go ask a marine or hell any other soldier for that matter if he LIKES to carry his rock around with him wherever he goes. It sucked, they wore it because it kept them alive. If it didn't suck, they would have worn it all the time because you don't always get to chose when you are going to be in a situation where you can get killed.

OO!! last thing, someone made a comment about striking a knight on the ground being a big no no. I doubt that was completely adhered to except during tournaments and duels. I find it difficult to believe someone is going to look at someone who is trying to kill them and think to themselves "I have to act honorably and let this man up" ESPECIALLY if that person who has the advantage is NOT a knight or noble. I think that man who wants to go home to his family is going to exploit his advantage. Now I can see if the person who has the advantage is a noble or knight only subduing the downed knight thinking to themselves, "this person is worth ransom if I capture him". But I still don't see many of them just letting ole boy to his feet and back into a fighting position. I bet those guys were few and far between. It should also be pointed out that order knights of the period (talking about the templars and the knights of St. John) did not allow themselves to be ransomed or sold into slavery. That means if you let them up, no matter what else occurs, you have to die, or they do. No, I don't count that Jerkmonkey Guy, the grandmaster of the Templars that allowed himself to be ransomed during the second crusade. Good thing they finally killed him at Antioch, that damn ransom puts such a massive stain on the majesty of the Templars.
 

omegaweapon

Sergeant at Arms
O!! last thing, someone made a comment about striking a knight on the ground being a....
actually it was one of the few things i believed without discussion. it seems logical, his example of officer, usual soldier is good example.
 

Don Quijote

Regular
As far as the weight and the encumbrance. Look, if that stuff wore like silk, folks would have been wearing it all the damn time and not just when they were about to get into a fight. Go ask a marine or hell any other soldier for that matter if he LIKES to carry his rock around with him wherever he goes. It sucked, they wore it because it kept them alive. If it didn't suck, they would have worn it all the time because you don't always get to chose when you are going to be in a situation where you can get killed.


There are plenty of things which are functional, yet imprudent. A 10 pound backpack of food isn't going to weigh me down much, but I don't need to carry it always. A suit of armor is also freakishly hard to maintain, and requires a squire to put on and take off, and impedes some human functions, yet no prohibits, like defecating and mixturating. Other elements of interaction such as those between amorously inclined people are prohibited. It's also very hot in warm or sunny weather and very cold in cold weather.
 

Vissy

Baron
WBNW
I just like to think that nordic warriors were, in general, better fed than the middle-european armies. Why?

Less people to spread disease, less diseases in general because it wasn't a huge pot of people meddling with each others business. Plus, there was always the fish you could get pretty freely.

Probably explains why nordic people were considered tall on the medieval era.
 

DrSane

That and they lived in a brutal environments where only the strong could survive.
 

saerossaeros

Sergeant
WB
This is indeed an interesting thread.

But we must be aware that historical facts are not black and white, such as "shields were made of X" or "armors wheighted X pounds". Back in the days before globalization, cultural interchange happened in a very limited scale. It is possible that a given tribe used such and such kinds of swords, and another, 50 Km away, used another kind sword or armor design, so an absolute statement about equipment wouldn't be reasonable. The reasons for the difference may be just aesthetics, tradition, availability of raw materials, quality of said materials, cultural preferences, origin of the merchants, etc.

Therefore I see no contradiction in saying that shields were sometimes made of soft wood, and sometimes of hard wood. Or that european knights used curved and straight swords.

I just like to think that nordic warriors were, in general, better fed than the middle-european armies. Why? Less people to spread disease, less diseases in general

I'm not sure about that. Cold weather is a great protection against diseases, and the Scandinavian cleaness culture certainly helped even more. But exposure to different kinds of diseases is good in the long run. The middle-European familiarity to deadly diseases created a people with strong immunity. Let's remember that ~80% of the native American population was anihilated by European diseases for which the conquerors were already immune. And if that happened in such a large scale, we can infer that it also happened in a smaller scale, e.g. of continental Europeans attacking island folks who, without such genetic protection, may have fallen easier than they should.

My point is that there are many factors that contribute to a given culture's military success, and one's variety of antibodies is also one of them. 

As a side note: I don't believe Scandinavians were not exposed to diseases. They were seamen, and there are settlements and genetic markings found in Ireland, Southern Italy, the Black Sea and America. Just imagine how many different bacteria and viruses they got in contact! And some of them sailed back to Scandinavia, bringing with them these microorganism. Therefore: Nordics did experience a lot of diseases.


 

omegaweapon

Sergeant at Arms
But we must be aware that historical facts are not black and white, ...
i think everyone know that, there is something about statistical analogy, i believe we are talking about most and dominate things.

hmm omega3 :razz:, hardship always create stronger people. in mind and body, (also i hate hardship).
 

Hazzardevil

Master Knight
NW
saerossaeros said:
As a side note: I don't believe Scandinavians were not exposed to diseases. They were seamen, and there are settlements and genetic markings found in Ireland, Southern Italy, the Black Sea and America. Just imagine how many different bacteria and viruses they got in contact! And some of them sailed back to Scandinavia, bringing with them these microorganism. Therefore: Nordics did experience a lot of diseases.
First of all, I am certain somewthing I say is going to sound very stupid, so believe nothing I say until someone confirms it.

Yes, but by the time the big plagues like the black death where in Britain, Vikings stopped coming to Britain for some reason, so they weren't exposed to the black death and big diseases like that.
 

DrSane

vikings were 5th to 11th century roughly

black death was during the 13th century
 

Thedalitz

Sergeant Knight at Arms
Denmark shares a land border with Germany, and also experienced the plague, so the decendants of the vikings, aka the scandinavians(I dont belive that only Denmark could have experienced the plague, seeing how strongly the countries traded and interacted with each other) where just as exposed as everybody else.
 

saerossaeros

Sergeant
WB
There were many other plagues before the 13th century one. There were land and sea trade routes everywhere. Romans occasionally traded with China and India, which gives you an idea of how exposed people were. And then there were the small scale "plagues" I mentioned. Island people witout contact with the continent were, naturally, more susceptible to continental diseases.
 

M0rdred

Master Knight
The Vikings did for some reason have less disease (the Black Death for instance never hit Scandinavia very hard), most likely for the reasons given above; greater cleanliness and the cold climate, and some historians believe it is for this reason that Feudalism never really took off in Scandinavia. As such people of all classes had greater freedoms as there never were the crippling labour shortages of mainland Europe (and Britain). Therefore Scandinavia enjoyed things like greater women's rights (which exist to the modern day), serfs were generally less oppressed, and Iceland kept a rudimentary form of democracy (on which modern representative democracy is based).

The books I read had more specific examples of the above and why that was, but quite honestly I just don't remember off hand what they were :S

That said they were certainly hit by disease from time to time, one of the most famous Vikings, Erik the Red died of disease (most likely Tuberculosis).
 

Vissy

Baron
WBNW
They were hit by disease often enough to develop enough resistance to them, methinks.

Nordic supremacy in the future?  :lol:
 

saerossaeros

Sergeant
WB
Nordic supremacy in the future?

They wouldn't last a week in Australia or the Amazonian basin.

Heh, reminds me of a comic I read once. The emperor frequently poisoned and infected his son, so that he would survive poison and virus-based assassination attempts. I don't think that's how it works, though...

 

M0rdred

Master Knight
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_eZmEiyTo0  :twisted:

Gah, just noticed it didn't have the most important bit in the video

He put poison in both cups, but had built up a resistance to it himself
 

CrymsonChaos

Sergeant
WB
saerossaeros said:
Nordic supremacy in the future?

They wouldn't last a week in Australia or the Amazonian basin.

Heh, reminds me of a comic I read once. The emperor frequently poisoned and infected his son, so that he would survive poison and virus-based assassination attempts. I don't think that's how it works, though...

I think it depends on the poison/infection, but if it is introduced in small enough amounts, you gradually build up a tolerance.  Although some poisons, no matter how much there is, will pretty much instantly kill you.
 
Top Bottom