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Sarmatian Cavalry
#31
Quote: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.

Hi Matthew,

I started off wearing a Roman Aquincum, but I pull my bow-draw back to the bottom of my ear (right where my jaw connects to my cranium). This gives me a full 30 inch draw. With any helmet having cheek-guards I can't do this, so I went to a simple "pot" helmet shaped like the one at the Sofia museum. It's not "right" for Sarmatian and would be better if the leather strips were replaced with brass ones. The studs came from Roman belt danglies. What we need is a real Roxolanic "spangenhelm," but nobody makes one yet. I think Deepeeka's Improved Archer's Helmet is almost "there," but it's still not right and I'd have to remove the cheek-guards.

The best original source on the Alans is Ammianus Marcellinus (Loeb Library, Harvard, publishers). But Ammianus does give a few wrong impressions. For instance, they were all blue-eyed blondes, and discounting individuals with Asiatic features. He claimed they always lived in wagons, no "houses," but he viewed them during migration, not realizing that once settled in an adopted territory they actually had towns, perhaps even "cities" in the sense of a trading center. Chinese sources record the towns. Herodotus ("The Histories") records the Alani when they were still known as the Massagetae, probably the world's finest cavalrymen, including an interesting monograph of Queen Tomyris defeat of Cyrus the Great. And Julius Frontinus gives us pert details of that battle, how she drew the Persians into a ravine and then turned on them. Josephus gives some early info, as does Tacitus.

The later Alans were Christianized by Bishop Amantius around 380 in Pannonia, then incorporated enmass into the Roman cavalry. They were used by Gratian as his Household guard. A palatine unit-- the Comites Alani-- was used by Flavius Stilicho against Alaric, and the Alan commander Saul was Magister Equite for one day. The largest settlement of Alans was around Orleans, and the federate king Eothar was employed to squash a rebellion in Brittany. Other Christian Alans settled in the Caucacus, and a group of 30,000 Alans were mercenaries for the Kubli Khan, all living near the Pacific coast across from Formosa. Their history is a long one, spanning three continents, and distinguished. I'm not saying they were better fighters than others, and I try to avoid the term "ethnicity." They were a cavalry culture fighting under general-kings, both Europoid and Asian in their physicality.: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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#32
Quote: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.

Comitatus saddles (as designed by John) are only available by Comitatus. They are the best available at the moment, unless you can do one yourself (or know someone knowledgeable to do one). The one Rusty sells is, as far as I know, the Deepeeka version, which shouldn't be touched. Although it might be looking fine, you don't want it to be on your horses back, for sure! Bad construction and even worse padding. Unless they improved a lot since I last saw one, of course. Well, if you want a Roman saddle and want one 'off the shelf' just send John Conyard (of Comitatus) an email Big Grin We've two of his saddles at the moment and they are working fine Big Grin
________________________________________
Jvrjenivs Peregrinvs Magnvs / FEBRVARIVS
A.K.A. Jurjen Draaisma
CORBVLO and Fectio
ALA I BATAVORUM
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#33
Quote: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!!!

Well, personally I think the best article on the subject of arrows is the one published online by Caballo. Although not especially sarmatian, and not 1st century it has the basics in there. I personally go with 3 feathers, as per the Dura founds.

http://www.romanarmy.net/arrows.htm
________________________________________
Jvrjenivs Peregrinvs Magnvs / FEBRVARIVS
A.K.A. Jurjen Draaisma
CORBVLO and Fectio
ALA I BATAVORUM
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#34
Quote: The best original source on the Alans is Ammianus Marcellinus (Loeb Library, Harvard, publishers). But Ammianus does give a few wrong impressions. For instance, they were all blue-eyed blondes, and discounting individuals with Asiatic features. He claimed they always lived in wagons, no "houses," but he viewed them during migration, not realizing that once settled in an adopted territory they actually had towns, perhaps even "cities" in the sense of a trading center.
Ammianus is perhaps the source who tells, but he suffers (like most of his fellow-historians) from conceptions that were not based on personal observations. The Alans, like so many other steppe cultures, were most probably a federation of tribes with perhaps different enthic background and even a language differences. Such groups could join and leave such a federation (like the Taifali did for instance), causing problems for Roman historians who made a mess of the identification of such groups.

Quote:The later Alans were Christianized by Bishop Amantius around 380 in Pannonia, then incorporated enmass into the Roman cavalry. They were used by Gratian as his Household guard. A palatine unit-- the Comites Alani-- was used by Flavius Stilicho against Alaric, and the Alan commander Saul was Magister Equite for one day.
They did better than that! Ardabur or Ardaburius (Greek: Ἀρδαβούριος) served as magister militum in the East Roman army in the 420s, under Theodosius II, and he was consul in 427. His son Flavius Ardabur Aspar (c. 400 – 471) was a patrician and magister militum ("Master of soldiers"), and both played a major role in Roman politics. Aspar's son Ardabur was a consul too.

Quote:The largest settlement of Alans was around Orleans, and the federate king Eothar was employed to squash a rebellion in Brittany. Other Christian Alans settled in the Caucacus, and a group of 30,000 Alans were mercenaries for the Kubli Khan, all living near the Pacific coast across from Formosa. Their history is a long one, spanning three continents, and distinguished.
the Alans of Orleans were perhaps the ones best known to us, but certainly not the only ones. Large Alanic settlements are known in Italy and Gaul from the Notitia Dignitatum. Another large group joined the Vandals from Gaul to Africa, for instance. According to one theory, a score of Alan-names all across Gaul shows where they ended up.

Quote:I'm not saying they were better fighters than others, and I try to avoid the term "ethnicity." They were a cavalry culture fighting under general-kings, both Europoid and Asian in their physicality.:wink:
I'm not sure where you found that they could look Asian? But judging from their history, I would not rule out the possibility that Turkish or etnically asian groups had mixed with them. They certainly served the Romans as good fighters, although they were themselves bested by the Huns. :wink:
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#35
Back to you, Robert

I don't think we're in disagreement. I just felt my post was getting a little long and didn't mention all the Alanic connections. That's why I left out Africa but enclosed it in a blanket term-- "three continents." They even made a northward swing onto Sardinia and almost arrived back in Europe.:wink:

I have always avoided ethnicity, because as you say, the Alans were a confederation of peoples, probably oft disparate, including Turkic, Altic, and Uralic speakers. Most likely, this entire eastern population-- from Saka Haumavarga, to Massagetae, to Aorsi and Alani (as they moved through the historical continuum)-- was a singular evolving culture recorded under its several names.

The one thing the culture has in common, and this accounts for differing languages and ethicities, is its uniform anthropological varience going back to the Altai. One noble, already mentioned, was buried with a prostetic beard. The Altai population runs roughly 30% Asiatic, 70% Europoid, based upon facial and nasal bones. This is the same eastern group that supercedes the Sauromatae and shows up in the Filippovka kurgans:

"The eastern Asiatic admixture was likely of Altai origin. In skull shape and facial structure, the Filippovka specimens differ considerably from remains of Scythians and Volga River-area Sarmatians. The Filippovka skulls most closely resemble those of Saka from Kazakhstan and the Aral Sea region and those of the Usuns of eastern Kazakhstan." (R.M. Iusupov, p.39, Golden Deer of Eurasia, 2000)

This seems to be a general view of Russian anthopologists in the field, and Andrei Alekseev seconds Iusupov. Then we have agreeing Americans: Dr. Anthony and Dr. Kelekna, both anthopologists. Most important for me is Iusupov's phrase "Usuns of eastern Kazakhstan." The Filippovka group was a frontier population of Wusun, the Alans, as they migrated west in front of the Xiongnu. This is why I said Ammianus failed to get it completely correct.

I'm sure the Stormfront people are crying in their beer, but all Alans were not blue-eyed blond-headed Aryans. Even the term Roxolani, "the shining Alans," did not refer to white faces but probably described their armor... or their keen intellectual ability, as in "Idea"

Well, anyway. Thanks for enlarging my post to include such notables as Aspar... who might have become Emperor of the East if it wasn't for his religion and Gothic mistress.Confusedmile:
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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#36
Quote:I don't think we're in disagreement.
Indeed we're not ! Big Grin
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#37
Yes, finding the time to post up on the forum can be tough. I seem to be in a hell of making things 18 hours a day, with riding thrown in.

But over tea I considered how I would set about recreating a 1st Sarmatian horseman. My first stop would be T. Sulimirski "The Sarmatians", just because it has so much in it. I suspect boots and soft kit would not be too hard. There seem to be eastern europeans turning out shoes with turned up soles by the gross for around £60 per pair.

I am aware of the old RQP Mongol buckle set. I even own a set.

[attachment=579]005.JPG[/attachment]

But I would make a simple buckle in bone. A simple twist wire "celtic" brooch would be good for my cloak. Glass beads would be from from Tillerman. Alanus's idea about the making the akinakes seems sound. For a sword I would grind a blade myself and handle it, or just buy a suitable blade. I hate grinding blades. I would propably go for a "Skythian" type bow, but understand why you would want lathes attached. I would try and use birch bark on the bow and quiver, maybe scabbard as well. I've just done a later sword scabbard covered in bark.

[attachment=580]004_2011-04-14.JPG[/attachment]

Flexible scale or mail armour seems a good choice. A helmet seems more tricky. I could try and do something with the Depeeka horn spagenhelm, but I have never seen one in real life. A captured Roman/celtic example seems too much of a cheat. Saddles and kontos are the day job.

[attachment=581]mrp09101.jpg[/attachment]

The helmet does seem to be the problem.


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John Conyard

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#38
John,

Where could one find a suitable blade to put a handle on and make a scabbard? Also, where can i find a suitable head for a Kontos? I was looking at the Spanglehelm, but wasn't sure about it. I've got horn scales pressing right now between bar clamps. What are measurements on horn scales, as I have yet to find any mention on size.

Thanks
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#39
Well, a good blade to start with could be obtained from blacksmiths like Robert Wimmers (here on RAT) or Mark Morrow (http://www.swordsmith.net/)

For the kontos I think a good (bigger) spearhead will do. I think that most blacksmiths can do one for you (again, two are listed above), but also Armamentaria and the likes should be able to help you with one.
________________________________________
Jvrjenivs Peregrinvs Magnvs / FEBRVARIVS
A.K.A. Jurjen Draaisma
CORBVLO and Fectio
ALA I BATAVORUM
Reply
#40
Quote:Yes, finding the time to post up on the forum can be tough. I seem to be in a hell of making things 18 hours a day, with riding thrown in.
But over tea I considered how I would set about recreating a 1st Sarmatian horseman.
Brilliant.
Although Jurjen described your house to me ;-) , I'm still amazed at what you do.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#41
Hello Matthew and fellow Gentleman,

Find time to post IS a problem... especially here on the "steppes of Maine," more like Siberia where the internet sattelite eludes us.:lol:

All good sound advice. I looked at that buffalo horn helmet, too. But I thought the solder joints were a botched job. Fairly messy. A Scythian-type bow might be a little "early," John had a point about birch-bark. Here is my other "Sarmatain" bow:
[attachment=594]birch-barkbow001.JPG[/attachment]

[attachment=595]birch-barkbow004.JPG[/attachment]
As you see, I favor siyahs because of their leverage, plus they date prior to the 1st century AD. This one is covered in birch bark.

Jurjen's ideas on the contus head are sound. Here is an interesting super-early example, probably a spear head:
[attachment=596]contushead002.JPG[/attachment]
It's a leaf-shaped bronze head from a Petrovka/Sintashta chariot grave, about 2000BC, but the shape and socket puts it as the earliest predecessor to the "European spearhead" pictured below:
[attachment=597]contushead005.JPG[/attachment]
This one can to purchased from KOA, not too expensive but I think of fairly soft steel, probably 1050.

Jurjen also made a good point about 3-fletched arrows. Practicality and availability usually dictated what an archer used. That's why the asymmetrical bow came into use very early. If you couldn't find enough long gray cattle horn, you could make one limb of the bow shorter and then adjust it to zero tiller. Same with arrows, and you could get more bang from the bird by using 3 instead of 4 fletches.:lol:


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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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#42
There is some talk, especially in the Greek section, of the contus being a heavier, thicker, version of the sarissa. But existing "spear head" sockets generally have a diameter of just under 25mm. But of course the shaft could be tapered. If possible try and make it without a collar, but 4m of shaft is hard to get in the car so you may need an iron to join the two parts.

In terms of a sword blade I am told the Paul Chen Godfred viking sword has a good blade you can re-handle. This is pattern welded. You could go to a black smith but I am always surprised at what bargains I can find at the various markets.

I'll need to consider arrows when I get a moment. Confusedmile:
John Conyard

York

A member of Comitatus Late Roman
Reconstruction Group

<a class="postlink" href="http://www.comitatus.net">http://www.comitatus.net
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.historicalinterpretations.net">http://www.historicalinterpretations.net
<a class="postlink" href="http://lateantiquearchaeology.wordpress.com">http://lateantiquearchaeology.wordpress.com
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#43
Quote:I'll need to consider arrows when I get a moment. Confusedmile:

Hello John,

What we need are trilobate heads, but I can't find anyone who makes or sells them.:???:
For practice arrows, I'm using Szalokys' pressed pine, sold here in the US by Kim Coleman at Seven Meadows Archery. A very nice lady.

Isn't the Godfried Viking sword blade a little wide for 1st century Sarmatain?
Oh, and here is something that links to the Equites Taifali Iuniores shield pattern:
[attachment=598]dragonpearl014.JPG[/attachment]
Looks a lot like the Dragon and Pearl to me!


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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
#44
First , thanks to all for a great thread- I'm learning a vast amount in every post.

Hector Cole makes some interesting arrow heads- I don't know if either of these would work?
[Image: T18romansocket.gif]

Or this one tanged Roman three fluted?

http://www.hectorcoleironwork.com/images/type%2018.gif

http://www.hectorcoleironwork.com/Arrowheads.html

I have seen some bronze trilobate ones with erary Roman re-enactors- will try and find out more.
[Image: wip2_r1_c1-1-1.jpg] [Image: Comitatuslogo3.jpg]


aka Paul B, moderator
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#45
After some serious thought, (and nearly slicing a fingertip off), I'm going to make my armor from metal, I remembered that I have a full sheet of either 18 or 16 guage mild steel at my fathers, metal is way easier than horn to shape and work.

Thanks for all the great info, keep it coming!

BTW, What about this style of Spangenhelm? http://www.mingloo.com/ah6737.html
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