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Sarmatian Cavalry
#16
Quote:What era are you looking at reconstructing, and from what region? There is a lot of very interesting material for the Sarmatians, but it comes from varied regions and time periods (5th-4th c. BC until the 4th-5th c. AD or so).

I don't know what era Matthew is working on. My impression is Roxolani, late 1st century AD. There was a break in culture between early Sarmatian (typically Iazyge, or Western) and Alanic, which includes the Roxolani, the "shining Alans." I'm constantly refining my outfit. At the moment, I wear chainmail over a short brick-red linen tunic, a "pot" helmet with a chainmail aventail, and slightly baggy tan trousers. My boots are center-stiched leather with upturned toes, and I wear splint greaves and soft leather wristers. My bows are either a 40lb Magyar (same as Sarmatian)or a 45lb asymetrical Alanic-Hunnic; both are made from horn and sinew by Czaba Grozer. My quiver is semi-round, with triple and quad-fletched Szoloky arrows. My sword is a "Wusun cavalry" model, 22 inch blade, 9 inch grip. The pommel is disk-type with a large jade stone pinned on top; the grip guard is typical narrow Han, the scabbard slide is almost exactly like those found in the Kuban and Crimea, and the sword grip and slide are wrapped in brown cotton twine. This sword is actually early, first showing in 1st century BC, but it's what I have at the moment.
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#17
Quote: Would a saddle for Sarmatian's be similiar to a Roman Saddle?

My understanding is that the Sarmatians and Alans used a form of saddle rather different to the Roman "horned" design. The Germanic steppe tribes later adopted it and it formed the model for most early Medieval cavalry saddles. The Gepidic grave at Apahida contained a highly decorated saddle of this steppe design and I've seen line drawings of its reconstruction, but I haven't been able to find any online. I'll see if I can find which of my books on the early Germanics has a picture of it when I get home, but I have a vague recollection that Thomas Burns A History of the Ostrogoths includes it.

This design had a wooden frame, and a high pommel and higher cantle that helped hold the rider in the seat and allowed the use of the kontos-style lance. The style of plaque decoration on the Apahida saddle is probably also of Indo-Iranian origin and is likely to have been used by higher-ranking Sarmatians as well. You can see one of the two richly-decorated Apahida eagle plaques from the front of the saddle here.
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#18
Tim,

Yes, that style of saddle-- with a semicircular cantles-- appears a pupular steppe design. I think some of the modern Equites Taifali are using them. That cloisene eagle looks Germanic enough, but the stylistic pose can be dated back to the Scythians, then used by Sarmatians, Alans, Goths, and even later by Gengis Khan. Cloisene might have begun as Sarmatian, but it came to the front as the Migration Era Style" and continued until 700.

Anyway, welcome aboard.Smile
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#19
Quote:Anyway, welcome aboard.Smile

Thanks. But I'm actually an old timer who has simply been away for a while. I tried to reactivate my account from the old RAT board but couldn't because I signed up for it via an e-mail address I can't access any more.
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#20
Gotcha!

Same thing happened to me. Computers bump our history... but guaraneed, somewhere, someone, knows everything about us.:roll:
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
#21
Thanks for all the replies, I'm going to check out those books tomorrow. I'm working on mid 3rd century. I'm working on scale armor now, I'm thinking about making the upper area and shoulders from bronze, and horn for the rest. I'm working on a process for the scales, it's a process for sure. I have a lot of expierence with reenacting, but it's in 18th century native american, but ancient history has always been my favorite.

Does anyone have images of the swords and saddles? or armor and helmets?
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#22
Hello Matthew,

Good luck on the mid 3rd century. It's a hard period for finding pictorial evidence. The Trajan's column images are earlier, but there had to be an overlap. The Osprey book shows both the early swords (Iazyage) and the longer ones (Alanic) which do fall into your period. Sarmatian swords had a narrower blade than a spatha, or at least the repro spathas made in India. The grips were single-handed, the grip-check straight across, and the pommels were either disk-shaped (earlier) or rings (later).

The Sarmatian sword in the British Museum was short, not much longer than like a gladius, with a ringed pommel. But it appears to be a cross between Sarmatian and Roman. Swords photos that appear from dealers and auction-houses, like Christies or Royal Athena, are long and described as "migration era." But for you, I think migration era is a little late.

Early saddles were probably of the four pommel style. Commitatus has pictures of these saddles and Rusty at Soul of the Warrior sells them. I'm sure John Conyard provided initial imput on these saddles, and perhaps he designed the prototypes. He's very knowledgable. Consensus, I think, is that Sarmatian saddles may have been the impetus of the Roman saddle.

I know how difficult it is putting a "Sarmatian" impression together, considering the dearth of pictorial material. It's further complicated by the fact that there were two Sarmatian cultures, the western extending from the the Scythians and Sauromatae, the eastern from the Saka/Massagetae/Wusun-Alans. The latter used longer sword-blades. This has been pointed out by several Russians and Janos Harmatta. My impression is two centuries earlier than yours, and even here we see differences.:roll:
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#23
I actually mistyped, I meant mid 1st century, Western Sarmatian. I was exhausted last night, could barely think. I've been trying to find some good artifact images, I'm a good metal worker and wanted to take a stab at a sword. Getting enough time to do research is hard right now, I want to be able to knowledgably portray a Sarmatian as well as I did Native Americans.

On that subject, is there much written record on the Sarmatian language? My wife wants to be involved as well.
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#24
Quote:I actually mistyped, I meant mid 1st century, Western Sarmatian. I was exhausted last night, could barely think. I've been trying to find some good artifact images, I'm a good metal worker and wanted to take a stab at a sword. Getting enough time to do research is hard right now, I want to be able to knowledgably portray a Sarmatian as well as I did Native Americans.

On that subject, is there much written record on the Sarmatian language? My wife wants to be involved as well.

Hello Matthew,

Ah! The 1st century... just as hard. The western Saraumatae (phase I) were the Iazyges and two or three related tribes, the last either dying out or infused with the eastern branch. This group had short Scythian-styled swords, and the one in the British Museum can be dated fairly early because it was found with coins of Commodus. Five or six thousand Iazyges were sent into Britain early on by M. Aurelius, which accounts for the sword. The language was lost.

Not that I want to influence you; BUT if you go with the western branch (phase II and III), you can still have a 1st century impression and also find more grit. The first tribe to hit the Danube and Europe was the Roxolani (the "Shining Alani"), then the Taifali who joined the Tyrfingi Goths, then the major emigration of Alans proper. This group has influenced my reenactment impression, although my helmet is not like the Roxolani ones on Trajan's column.

This group had long swords, as described by Tacitus, and their armor was sometimes heavy, especially cataphracts. I pictured an early Han-influenced sword on related RAT threads-- "The Orlat Battle Plaque," "Early Alanic Sword," and "Reproduction Akinakes." The akinakes-- thigh dagger-- is well documented and easy to make. Your scale armor fits, since some of it was described as made from horse-hooves or horn.

The eastern language is still extant, now called Ossetic, still spoken by Alanic descendants in the Caucasus. Janos Harmatta has done a lot with the language, publishing a paper, which see. (I think it's still on the internet) John Colarusso did a thesarus on Ossetic. He was teaching at MacMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. At one time I had his email address, but I lost it.:roll:

The Phase I branch infused with the Alanic branch, and their customs and language became easternized. By the end of the 2nd century, the Iazyges and Roxolani were referred to by Roman historians as "Sarmatians." This group caused havoc for years and whipped Theodosius the Younger to the point where he was recalled and "sent home" to Spain. They also influenced Germanic tribes in their style of fighting.

Hope some of this is helpful.Wink
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#25
Quote: John Colarusso did a thesarus on Ossetic. He was teaching at MacMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. At one time I had his email address, but I lost it.:roll:
But that's what the internet is for. ;-)
John Colarusso, Ph.D. (Harvard)
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 905-525-9140, ext. 23902
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#26
Alanus,

The first century is such a hazy time. I'm going to send you my work email, during the day it has to stay open, I can talk much more. I would be interested in what you have found. I'm aiming for a cavalry persona, but I also want to be able to switch to infantry or archer. I love it all.

I might be starting on the thigh dagger, they are wicked side arms, yours that you posted is really nice btw. I haven't been able to find any close repro's for a helmet so far. My dad and I are going to build a bow as soon as I order a horn, I'm going to use a water buffalo horm for the arms. On that subject, does anyone know if Sarmatians used 3 or 4 fledgings per arrow? I found some good pictures of arrowheads that have been found, I love ancient arrows!!!
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#27
Quote:But that's what the internet is for. ;-)
John Colarusso, Ph.D. (Harvard)
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 905-525-9140, ext. 23902

Hello Robert,

Ah! Thanks for that. The internet works wonders for most researchers, but for me it creeps. It takes five minutes to load a page!:roll: I surf it less often and have a hard time answering these posts.

At least he's still at MacMasters. Prof. Colarusso, at one time, associated himself with the likes of "you-know-who" (Littleton and Malcor), but he knows his Ossetic stuff far better than they did.Wink
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
#28
Back to you, Matthew

Glad to hear that you're going ahead with a Sarmatian impression.
The first century is tough to reseach, especially anything that isn't Germanic or Celtic. Ancient authors who recorded this culture wrote before and after-- Herodotus and Ammianus Marcellinus. Today we have Russian archaeologists, but for folks like me who don't read Russian, that's a problem. The most informative book is the "Golden Deer of Eurasia," since it mostly deals with Filipovka and the early phase of Alanic intrusion, actually too early, mostly 3rd and 4th century BC.

I don't know about arrow fletching, whether 3 or 4. I shoot both and find no difference. Both styles miss the target equally!:lol:

I'll get back to you with a PM.Wink
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
#29
Quote:Alanus,

I'm aiming for a cavalry persona, but I also want to be able to switch to infantry or archer. I love it all.

I might be starting on the thigh dagger, they are wicked side arms, yours that you posted is really nice btw. I haven't been able to find any close repro's for a helmet so far. My dad and I are going to build a bow as soon as I order a horn, I'm going to use a water buffalo horm for the arms.

An Alanic Sarmatian cavalryman was well equipped-- contus, sword, akinakes, and bow. The Iazyage horsemen used the contus less and they were less armored. At the moment, no manufacturer is making an eastern Sarmatian helmet, such as those pictured on Trajan's column and in the book by Brzinski & Mielczarek. They are spangelhelms, perhaps originated by the Roxolani or Alans major, and pre-Germanic. The akinakes (minus the holster) is exactly duplicated by the "Medeival Dagger" sold online by Museum Replicas Limited, but not in their printed catalog.

At the moment, putting something Sarmatian together is really fudging it.
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
#30
What type of helmet do you use yourself? You've got me leaning towards Alan now, I'm still in the research stage and I'm finding a bit more on Alan's at this moment.

For fudging, your doing a great impression Alanus!
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