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Sub-Roman Britain (Cavalry etc)
#31
Quote:Just found this page today antoninuspius.blogspot.com/2006/10/would-real-king-arthur.html
That's a very good review of both movie and article. What the writer did not know was that Linda Malcor was one of the two main advisors of the movie - her speculative theories were the main backbone of the the movie's claim to being 'historical'.
That Castus was a Dux and led an army was her main connnection (besides the name of course) to linking him with King Arthur, who was said to be a 'Dux Bellorum', a title not connected to the Roman military. Malcor then speculated that Castor's army consisted of the Sarmatians from Britain. She has so far maintained that all these Sarmatians remained in Britain and remained unassimilated until Late Roman times....
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Robert Vermaat
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THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
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#32
Guess one of us need to read her book, if only to see if she has support for her theory.

I volunteer. (What was that they say about never volunteering?)
"Fugit irreparabile tempus" (Irrecoverable time glides away) Virgil

Ron Andrea
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#33
The following is my review of Littleton and Malcor's book after also researching relevant related texts:

From Scythia to Camelot, by C. Scott Littleton and Linda A. Malcor, 2000, Routledge

Littleton and Malcor have made a fresh contribution to the study of Arthurian legends. They examine both the sources and outcomes of northeast Iranian additions to the fables so popular and influential in western culture. Though many modern scholars acknowledge the contribution of Sarmatian and Alan cultures to the corpus of Arthurian history and legend, few have explained the connection in such detail.

Unfortunately, the product is less than it appears. Littleton and Malcor try to attribute all aspects of Arthurian legend to Northeast Iranian traditions, even to the point of seemingly inventing or twisting evidence (see below). Their one-size-fits-all approach becomes most strained the closer it approaches Arthur. Their case seems much more plausible, and less dependent on hearsay, as they relate it to Lancelot, Grail, Fisher King legends. Their Sword in the Stone hypothesis is pure speculation—plausible and entertaining, but thinly supported.

Littleton and Malcor’s “Introductionâ€
"Fugit irreparabile tempus" (Irrecoverable time glides away) Virgil

Ron Andrea
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#34
Well spoken!

Only, even if they did really stir up some new ideas in the Arthurian Soup, I cannot but wonder how much their influence has grown. Based on such a narrow footing as you mentioned above, their impact seems far too big. Sarmatians are as accepted in Arthurian Britain as elves, and with probably similar roots in reality. Sarmatians are 'hot', books and movies are full of them, the uninformed public at large has accepted them lock stock and barrel.

With their discussion of Arthurian Matter and Sarmatian Myth, they have managed to enter the Sarmatians into British Mythology - no small feat.
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Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#35
I agree.

In fact, they have attempted to turn British mythology on its head by saying that the primary points of Arthurian legend stems from Scythian-- not Celtic, Roman, Irish or Germanic--archetypes. No small feat.

As I wrote, they were not quite successful, but their book makes provocative--if not totally persuasive--reading.
"Fugit irreparabile tempus" (Irrecoverable time glides away) Virgil

Ron Andrea
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#36
Oh, please don't get me started on Malcor and Littleton! Their "historical advise" and Disney's interferance destroyed what could have been one of Antoine Fuqua's best movies!

Granted, I do believe that the Sarmatian and Taifali cavalry that was sationed in Britain did influence the warfare of the local tribes over time. Which brings me to the question, would heavy cavalry like that be used to charge forward to open up the enemy line, or did the absense of the stirrup restrict them to only charging at the side or flanks of the enemy force?
Ryan "the Wolfman" Hatch
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#37
We've discussed this before on a number of threads.Try a site search Smile
Fasta Ambrosius Longus
John

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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#38
Quote:We've discussed this before on a number of threads.Try a site search Smile
Ah, yes...sorry, used to a forum with no site search engine...

btw, great site you guys have there, fasta. How expensive would it be for a late Vth/ealry VIth Century British king or warlord to keep and maintain even a small contingent of heavy cavalry? Hard but possible, or out of the question?
Ryan "the Wolfman" Hatch
Aspiring halfwit
2 wins, 0 lossess

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#39
Thanks,the website is due for an update this year.One of our members on here has plans!
I wouldn't know the cost.We have everything paid by the state in our period.I stick to the infantry,its less far to fall. :lol:
Fasta Ambrosius Longus
John

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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#40
Ha! Good point. I bet the Saxons felt the same. Smile

I think Frank D. Reno hit it on the head when he compared the Briton cavalry to that of the Plains Indians, whose horses were unshod and stirrupless. Both were fast, ideal for the guerilla style warfare that the Britons appeared to have preferred, and though they didn't garuantee victory, they certainly helped keep the war going. So yes, I believe that the Britons utilized light and medium cavalry instead of the havy cataphracts everyone seems to be infatuated with.

On another note, I've always been intrigued by Gildas' reference to Cuneglas as the "charioteer of the bear", not because of the possible "Arth" connection, but because of the reference to possible chariot warfare. Is it possible that in areas where the Romans had had only minimal influence, Celtic chariot warfare persisted into the vth and VIth Centuries?
Ryan "the Wolfman" Hatch
Aspiring halfwit
2 wins, 0 lossess

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#41
Quote:On another note, I've always been intrigued by Gildas' reference to Cuneglas as the "charioteer of the bear", not because of the possible "Arth" connection, but because of the reference to possible chariot warfare. Is it possible that in areas where the Romans had had only minimal influence, Celtic chariot warfare persisted into the vth and VIth Centuries?


I have always read this as an anachronism from legends of the likes of Culchulainn ... as the one man a warrior could really rely on was his charioteer as he would be relied upon to get you out of the battle when things got bad.
Conal Moran

Do or do not, there is no try!
Yoda
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#42
Quote:How expensive would it be for a late Vth/ealry VIth Century British king or warlord to keep and maintain even a small contingent of heavy cavalry? Hard but possible, or out of the question?

Heavy cavalry requires strong horses as opposed to our native ponies. As you need a constant supply of fresh blood if you're going to prevent your war horses devolving over just a few generations, how would you maintain suitable breeding stock?

If there were a Dux Bellorum operating a succesful body of cavalry in the late 5th/early 6th century, it could be this decline in horse-power that drastically reduced or even totally eliminated his military advantage by the mid 6th century.

I've been talking to some horse breeding friends recently...amazing what you mull over when fuelled by beer and good company.
"Medicus" Matt Bunker

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#43
Interestingly, there is mention of two possible breeds in the Early Breton Laws, those beeing Taifaili and Saxon horses. The Taifaili were present in Britain under Roman rule, but they were also settled not that far from the continental Britons, in Poitou. Saxons were also in Gaul, in the Loire region and in Normandy around Bayeux.

As for those laws, they were dated by Léon Fleuriot from the Vth century, thought Dumville proposed a more large datation, between the Vth and the IXth centuries.

Here a synthesis (in French) about the subject:
http://schnucks0.free.fr/forum/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=388
"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.
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Agraes / Morcant map Conmail / Benjamin Franckaert
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#44
As an interst to those who would like to know how horses fair in covering lond distances I recommend this book;

Josey Wales by Forrest Carter
# Paperback: 431 pages
# Publisher: University of New Mexico Press (1 Sep 1989)
# Language English
# ISBN-10: 0826311687
# ISBN-13: 978-0826311689

This is two books in one. The Outlaw Josey Wales ( i.e. Clint Eastwood Big Grin ) and Gone To Texas so it's two westerns. The second one has some interesting descriptions of how to cover distance using horses ... in pursuit etc.
Conal Moran

Do or do not, there is no try!
Yoda
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#45
Here are a few things of interest. I don't know how "sarmatianized" the Roman cavalry was, but this is a description of changing mounts, "They run over very great distances, pursuing others or themselves turning their backs, being mounted on swift and obedient horses and leading one, or sometimes two, so that an exchange may keep up the strength of their mounts and that their freshness may be renewed by alternative periods of rest.' (Ammianus XVII, 12, 3).

I've heard it claimed that the Avars introduced the stirrup to Europe, and I have a Chinese stone picture of Saluzi, the warhorse of Emperor Taizong, c. 636. It shows stirrups as we see them today and also a "crenellated" mane, Alanic-style.

Here's an idea of what weapons may have been employed by the post-Roman British. It describes the actions of a foster-son (and perhaps body-guard) of King Morgan of Gwent, "... but in a moment his procurator Guengarth, coming up on horseback with shield and sword and lance, hurled himself into the river..." (Saint Cadoc Records, Cottonian MS., Vesp. A. xiv, B.M.) This sounds pretty much like the same stuff used by the Roman cavalry.
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

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

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