Topic: Military history/Medieval warfare
The Great Stirrup Controversy is the academic debate about the Stirrup Thesis, the theory that feudalism in Europe developed largely as a result of the introduction of the stirrup to cavalry in the 8th century CE. It relates to the hypothesis suggested by Lynn Townsend White Jr. in his 1962 book, Medieval Technology and Social Change. White believed that the stirrup enabled heavy cavalry and shock combat, which in turn prompted the Carolingian dynasty of the 8th and 9th centuries to organize its territory into a vassalage system, rewarding mounted warriors with land grants for their service. White's book has proved very influential, but others have accused him of speculation, oversimplification, and ignoring contradictory evidence on the subject. Scholars have debated whether the stirrup actually provided the impetus for this social change, or whether the rise of heavy cavalry resulted from political changes in Medieval Europe.
The Strategikon or Strategicon (Greek: Στρατηγικόν) is a manual of war traditionally regarded as written in the late 6th century and usually attributed to the Byzantine Emperor Maurice. It is moreover a practical manual, "a rather modest elementary handbook" in the words of its introduction, "for those devoting themselves to generalship". This book gives a general guide, handbook, of the Byzantine military's strategies. In his introduction to his 1984 translation of the text, George T. Dennis noted "The Strategikon is written in a very straightforward and generally uncomplicated Greek."
The Strategikon may have been written in an effort to codify the military reforms brought about by the soldier-emperor Maurice. There is debate in academic circles as to the true author of the Strategikon. Maurice may have only commissioned it; perhaps his brother Peter, or another general of his court, was the true author. The dating is also debated. If it was written in the 6th century, the Strategikon may have been produced to codify the experience of the Balkan and Persian campaigns, or the campaigns may have been carried out in compliance with the manual. However, starting in the late 19th century, some historians have argued for a later date in the eighth or ninth century, on philological or technological grounds. In any case, it is considered one of the most important military texts of the medieval years, along with the 10th century military treatises attributed to the Byzantine emperors Leo VI (Tactica) and Nicephorus Phocas (De velitatione and Praecepta Militaria); Leo's Tactica in particular drew heavily from the Strategikon.
The text consists of 12 chapters, or "books", on various aspects of the tactics employed by the Byzantine military of the 6th and 7th century A.D. It is primarily focused on cavalry tactics and formations, yet it also elaborates on matters of infantry, sieges, baggage trains, drilling and marching. The author was familiar with classical military treatises, especially Onasander and Aelian, which he used as conceptional models rather than sources of content. Each book has a general topic to be discussed, and each book goes into great detail even separating each book further into subsections and including maps. These maps are not large and extravagant but more symbols to show positions and a standard design of the formations the Byzantine military used at this time. Books seven and eight contain practical advice to the General in the form of instructions and maxims. The eleventh book has ethnographic interest, with its portrayal of various Byzantine enemies (Franks, Lombards, Avars, Turks, and Slavs). The Strategikon also belongs to Byzantine legal literature, since it contains a list of military infractions and their suitable penalties.
- "Strategikon of Maurice" | 2017-08-22 | 19 Upvotes 1 Comments
Subutai (Classical Mongolian: Sübügätäi or Sübü'ätäi; Tuvan: Сүбэдэй, [sybɛˈdɛj]; Modern Mongolian: Сүбээдэй, Sübeedei. [sʊbeːˈdɛ]; Chinese: 速不台 1175–1248) was an Uriankhai general, and the primary military strategist of Genghis Khan and Ögedei Khan. He directed more than 20 campaigns in which he conquered 32 nations and won 65 pitched battles, during which he conquered or overran more territory than any other commander in history. He gained victory by means of imaginative and sophisticated strategies and routinely coordinated movements of armies that were hundreds of kilometers away from each other. He is also remembered for devising the campaign that destroyed the armies of Hungary and Poland within two days of each other, by forces over 500 kilometers apart.
- "Subutai – Primary military strategist of Genghis Khan" | 2017-06-14 | 84 Upvotes 22 Comments
Guédelon Castle (Château de Guédelon) is a castle currently under construction near Treigny, France. The castle is the focus of an experimental archaeology project aimed at recreating a 13th-century castle and its environment using period technique, dress, and material.
In order to fully investigate the technology required in the past, the project is using only period construction techniques, tools, and costumes. Materials, including wood and stone, are all obtained locally. Jacques Moulin, chief architect for the project, designed the castle according to the architectural model developed during the 12th and 13th centuries by Philip II of France.
Construction started in 1997 under Michel Guyot, owner of Château de Saint-Fargeau, a castle in Saint-Fargeau 13 kilometres away. The site was chosen according to the availability of construction materials: an abandoned stone quarry, in a large forest, with a nearby pond. The site is in a rural woodland area and the nearest town is Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to the northeast.
- "Guédelon Castle" | 2020-04-11 | 202 Upvotes 40 Comments
The Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), officially the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (Italian: Sovrano Militare Ordine Ospedaliero di San Giovanni di Gerusalemme di Rodi e di Malta; Latin: Supremus Militaris Ordo Hospitalarius Sancti Ioannis Hierosolymitani Rhodiensis et Melitensis), commonly known as the Order of Malta, Malta Order or Knights of Malta, is a Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalric and noble nature. Though it possesses no territory, the order is a sovereign entity of international law and maintains diplomatic relations with many countries.
SMOM claims continuity with the Knights Hospitaller, a chivalric order that was founded c. 1099 by the Blessed Gerard in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The order is led by an elected Prince and Grand Master. Its motto is Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum ('defence of the faith and assistance to the poor'). The order venerates the Virgin Mary as its patroness, under the title of Our Lady of Philermos. Its modern-day role is largely focused on providing humanitarian assistance and assisting with international humanitarian relations, for which purpose it has had permanent observer status at the United Nations General Assembly since 1994.
- "Sovereign Military Order of Malta" | 2021-03-01 | 18 Upvotes 16 Comments
La Verdadera Destreza is the conventional term for the Spanish tradition of fencing of the early modern period. The word destreza literally translates to 'dexterity' or 'skill, ability', and thus la verdadera destreza to 'the true skill' or 'the true art'.
While destreza is primarily a system of swordsmanship, it is intended to be a universal method of fighting, applicable to all weapons in principle, but in practice dedicated to the rapier specifically, or the rapier combined with a defensive weapon such as a cloak, a buckler or a parrying dagger, besides other weapons such as the late-renaissance two-handed montante; the flail; and polearms such as the pike and halberd.
Its precepts are based on reason, geometry, and tied to intellectual, philosophical, and moral ideals, incorporating various aspects of a well-rounded Renaissance humanist education, with a special focus on the writings of classical authors such as Aristotle, Euclid, and Plato.
The tradition is documented in scores of fencing manuals, but centers on the works of two primary authors, Jerónimo Sánchez de Carranza (Hieronimo de Carança, died c. 1608) and his student Luis Pacheco de Narváez (1570–1640).
- "Destreza" | 2023-04-03 | 43 Upvotes 20 Comments
The Defenestrations of Prague (Czech: Pražská defenestrace, German: Prager Fenstersturz, Latin: Defenestratio Pragensis) were three incidents in the history of Bohemia in which people were defenestrated (thrown out of a window). Though already existing in Middle French, the word defenestrate ("out of the window") is believed to have first been used in English in reference to the episodes in Prague in 1618 when the disgruntled Protestant estates threw two royal governors and their secretary out of a window of the Hradčany Castle and wrote an extensive apologia explaining their action. In the Middle Ages and early modern times, defenestration was not uncommon—the act carried elements of lynching and mob violence in the form of murder committed together.
The first governmental defenestration occurred in 1419, the second in 1483 and the third in 1618, although the term "Defenestration of Prague" more commonly refers to the third. Often, however, the 1483 event is not recognized as a "significant defenestration", which leads to some ambiguity when the 1618 defenestration is referred to as the "second Prague defenestration". The first and third defenestrations helped to trigger a prolonged religious conflict inside Bohemia (the Hussite Wars, 1st defenestration) or beyond (Thirty Years' War, 3rd defenestration), while the second helped establish a religious peace in the country for 31 years (Peace of Kutná Hora, 2nd defenestration).
- "Defenestrations of Prague" | 2023-05-08 | 35 Upvotes 35 Comments
The Venetian Arsenal (Italian: Arsenale di Venezia) is a complex of former shipyards and armories clustered together in the city of Venice in northern Italy. Owned by the state, the Arsenal was responsible for the bulk of the Venetian republic's naval power from the late Middle Ages to the early modern period. It was "one of the earliest large-scale industrial enterprises in history".
- "Venetian Arsenal" | 2023-05-28 | 27 Upvotes 2 Comments
A rondel dagger or roundel dagger was a type of stiff-bladed dagger in Europe in the late Middle Ages (from the 14th century onwards), used by a variety of people from merchants to knights. It was worn at the waist and might be used as a utility tool, or worn into battle or in a jousting tournament as a side arm.
The rondel dagger featured a long, slim steel blade with a round or circular hand guard and pommel. Designed for close-quarter combat, it was effective in puncturing and bursting mail armor links and penetrating weak points in plate armor. The dagger evolved from the early knightly dagger and became the standard side-arm for knights in the 15th century. It was used as a backup weapon for hand-to-hand fighting and as a tool to force surrender, as captured knights could be ransomed. The rondel dagger also gained popularity among the middle class in the 15th century. Various combat techniques involving the rondel dagger can be found in Hans Talhoffer's combat manuals from the 1440s to 1460s.
- "Rondel Dagger" | 2023-06-15 | 16 Upvotes 5 Comments