Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Sub-Roman Britain (Cavalry etc)
#16
Of 5th c. Britannia and its military dispositions we know nothing.
Zip.
Zilch.
Nada.

All we can do is specualte.

We can (must) look at Late Roman cavalry to start with, then speculate how much (if anything) could have been continued after a decade or more. Then look at what we know of later insular sources, and possibly project that back in time. Another possibility is looking at (sparse) contemporary sources and speculate that what they describe could also be applied to 5th c. Britain.

From contemporary or near-contemporary sources (Constantius, Patrick, Gildas) we can only learn that soldiers existed, larger battles were fought (Riothamus) and that military concepts were known (Gildas e.g. speaks of 'wings' in battle formations, so he had at least minimal military knowledge).

No battle-lists exist. No army lists, no numbers are given for battles. The closest we get is when the first authors begin to write about that time during the 8th c. (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Bede, Nennius).

So, all we can do is speculate. I'm sorry, you're going to have to get used to that while discussing 5th c. Britain. Cry
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
#17
An indirect source may come from irish texts. Irish wrote up about everything since they were christianised. But Old Irish is a very difficult language, full of archaisms and variations, and those texts haven't been yet fully exploited.

This may bring however, in a (let's hope!) short future, better knownledge of Dark Ages Britain and Ireland for everyone interested.
"O niurt Ambrois ri Frangc ocus Brethan Letha."
"By the strenght of Ambrosius, king of the Franks and the Armorican Bretons."
Lebor Bretnach, Irish manuscript of the Historia Brittonum.
[Image: 955d308995.jpg]
Agraes / Morcant map Conmail / Benjamin Franckaert
Reply
#18
That's why they call them the Dark Ages.

I took that Gildas reference ("under the protecting wings of their parents") as a simile. Of course, as you and other have pointed out before, Gildas was no historian, and wasn't trying to be.

My work is in the Sixth Century, which if anything is more obscure--because less amenable to the extrapolations you suggest, than the Fifth. On the other hand, that dearth licences more artistry.

Thanks for the help. If you do start a soft stirrup thread, my first question would be: if they're as useless as implied above, why did they exist? Or did they?
"Fugit irreparabile tempus" (Irrecoverable time glides away) Virgil

Ron Andrea
Reply
#19
Quote:An indirect source may come from irish texts. Irish wrote up about everything since they were christianised. But Old Irish is a very difficult language, full of archaisms and variations, and those texts haven't been yet fully exploited.
This may bring however, in a (let's hope!) short future, better knownledge of Dark Ages Britain and Ireland for everyone interested.

So far, no one involved in post-Roman British history has heard about such a source. ince it has not been published or ebven dated, I can't accept any claims coming from that 'mystery source'.
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
#20
Quote:I took that Gildas reference ("under the protecting wings of their parents") as a simile. Of course, as you and other have pointed out before, Gildas was no historian, and wasn't trying to be.

I agree immediately agree with Gildas being no historian.
However, you missed the 'wing' reference. it in DEB ch. 6:

Quote:After this, when news of such deeds was carried to the senate, and it was hastening with speedy army to take vengeance on the crafty foxes, as they named them, there was no preparation of a fighting fleet on sea to make a brave struggle for country, nor a marshalled army or right wing, nor any other warlike equipment on land
________________________________
quibus ita gestis cum talia senatui nuntiarentur et propero exercitu uulpeculas ut fingebat subdolas ulcisci festinaret, non militaris in mari classis parata fortiter dimicare pro patria nec quadratum agmen neque dextrum cornu aliiue belli apparatus in litore conseruntur.

Another reference could be to 'army wing' in a more strategical sense in ch. 13:
Quote:He then extends one wing to Spain, the other to Italy, fixing the throne of his iniquitous empire at Trier
_________________________________
et unam alarum ad hispaniam, alteram ad italiam extendens et thronum iniquissimi imperii apud treueros statuens
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
#21
'Where's the discussion on "soft" stirrups? I can't see a use for them. You can't use them for mounting, they aren't going to help you brace in the saddle and if you fall off, they are likely to get tangled around your foot and leg so you get dragged.'

I would see the use of soft stirrups as being a way to rest your legs on long rides. Riding a horse with you legs daggling down the whole time is very tiring.
Theodorex Rufus

aka Brent Jacobson

Equites Honoraini Senores
Reply
#22
Gentlemen,

Vortigern Studies posted the following on 22 Jan 2006 on the "Introduction of the Stirrup" thread:

I think the conservative state of affairs is that the iron stirrup (the ones you can stand up in) was introduced by the Avars, 8th c. or thereabouts. But the simple stirrup loops (rope/string for support) may have been around far earlier.

The speculative nature of his comment excited my inquiry. It's easy to see how, once you have a girth strap to hold some sort of saddle, hanging loops to add mounting or riding would be easy. In fact, while such a contraption would make no sense for someone riding bareback, it would make sense once saddles appeared...which was quite early according to other threads.
"Fugit irreparabile tempus" (Irrecoverable time glides away) Virgil

Ron Andrea
Reply
#23
Quote:'Where's the discussion on "soft" stirrups? I can't see a use for them. You can't use them for mounting, they aren't going to help you brace in the saddle and if you fall off, they are likely to get tangled around your foot and leg so you get dragged.'
I would see the use of soft stirrups as being a way to rest your legs on long rides. Riding a horse with you legs daggling down the whole time is very tiring.

Hi Brent,
I was recently assured by someone who rides horses with soft stirrups that they indeed help to brace you in the saddle. He's also less convinced that stirrups add to the ability to slash downwards from the saddle. I can't vouch for either statement from personal experience though.

Maybe there are some tests around who can prodoce data for the added value for either soft or hard stirrups? My knowledge about them is so small that my statements can only amount to speculation. Cry
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
#24
Quote:Gentlemen,

Vortigern Studies posted the following on 22 Jan 2006 on the "Introduction of the Stirrup" thread:
Quote:I think the conservative state of affairs is that the iron stirrup (the ones you can stand up in) was introduced by the Avars, 8th c. or thereabouts. But the simple stirrup loops (rope/string for support) may have been around far earlier.
The speculative nature of his comment excited my inquiry. It's easy to see how, once you have a girth strap to hold some sort of saddle, hanging loops to add mounting or riding would be easy. In fact, while such a contraption would make no sense for someone riding bareback, it would make sense once saddles appeared...which was quite early according to other threads.
The reason behind my statement (speculative of course) was thye possibility of the soft stirrup being invented much earlier without turning up in the archaeological record.
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
#25
That's true, of course, but you'd think it would show up on monuments or mentioned in records. Guess it was too trivial.

I guess we'll have to wait until someone comes up with something concrete...or, in this case, leather.
"Fugit irreparabile tempus" (Irrecoverable time glides away) Virgil

Ron Andrea
Reply
#26
Quote:That's true, of course, but you'd think it would show up on monuments or mentioned in records. Guess it was too trivial.

I guess we'll have to wait until someone comes up with something concrete...or, in this case, leather.

But we do find ('hard') stirrups being depicted in art and mentioned in documents at around the time we find them turning up in the archaeological record. We also see the Latin verb for getting on a horse change at the same time, indicating that stirrups were now being used to allow a rider to 'ascend' to the saddle rather than 'vault' into it.

If 'soft' stirrups' had appeared centuries earlier, we have to ask ourselves why we don't see this ancilliary evidence of a change. I think the most obvious answer is that there simply were no earlier 'soft' stirrups at all.
Reply
#27
Quote:I would see the use of soft stirrups as being a way to rest your legs on long rides. Riding a horse with you legs daggling down the whole time is very tiring.

Native American and stirrupless Romans did it all the time. I take my feet out of the stirrups to give them a break or hang them over the front of the saddle. You get used to it. In fact, when I got a stress fracture in my foot from dancing, I couldn't use stirrups so I rode without them for 6 weeks. Did wonders for my balance.

I can speak for modern "soft stirrups". Stirrups on bareback pads are useless because they are just sewn into the pad. The pad itself doesn't have a structure so it's not going to stay on the horse very well, esp. if it makes some sharp turns or starts to buck. You also can't use them to mount.

So maybe there were some leather straps on saddles that served as stirrups, but without any pictorial, archaeological, or references in the literature of the time, I'd be skeptical about their use.
----------
Deb
Sulpicia Lepdinia
Legio XX
Reply
#28
All of which argues against the presence of soft stirrups, even on saddles of the day. (The "day" of interst being fifth and sixth century sub-Roman Britannia.)

Obviously, many horsemen mounted, rode, and even fought from horseback centuries before the advent of the hard stirrup. It may not be necessary to postulate an intermediate development, i.e. soft stirrups, even after the introduction of saddles.

Thank you for your insights.
"Fugit irreparabile tempus" (Irrecoverable time glides away) Virgil

Ron Andrea
Reply
#29
Quote:Helmut Nickol wrote in “Arthurian Cavalry” in The New Arthurian Encyclopedia (pp. 74-76) that Sarmatian veterans (from Pannolonia (Hungary)) settled in Lancashire circa 200 AD, with their descents still there as attested by a census 250 years later.

Just found this page today antoninuspius.blogspot.com/2006/10/would-real-king-arthur.html
** Vincula/Lucy **
Reply
#30
Thank you for the lead.

Of course, most scholars agree that Arthurian legend did not come from a single source but was a "stew pot" of myths and legends from a variety of sources, including some potential Roman or sub-Roman Briton.

We need only to look at the evolution of Arthur as we find him among the medieval sources--Geoffery of Monmouth, Wace, Lazamon, Mallory, etc.-- to see both details and tone changing with each iteration.

My interest here was to seek historic Roman antecedents for that mix of stories, not necessarily the "historic" King Arthur. That a competent Roman centurion with a similar name may have served in Britannia several hundred years before the supposed Historic Arthur (not a king nor with round table, knights, Lancelot, Merlin, etc.) is certainly suggestive...and adds to the fun.

Thanks again.
"Fugit irreparabile tempus" (Irrecoverable time glides away) Virgil

Ron Andrea
Reply


Forum Jump: