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muck's comprehensive list of medieval-ish stereotypes debunked

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  • I think I have a good example for a medieval castle that was upgraded in the "cannon age" 14 / 15th century and also outfitted with strategic round bastions to house their own guns and the typical star shaped fortifications. I know it quite well because I studied in Bielefeld and quite regularly visit the medieval fair in summer that is held on this castle:




    The gun bastions point to a narrow gap in the Teutoburg forest by the Way, so that any enemy wishing to cross without having to climb over the mountains could have been put under fire.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparrenberg_Castle


    Some pics from wiki commons:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...rrenburg_2.jpg

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    • Originally posted by JimHPTN View Post
      For all of the falchion/messer fans here, Shadiversity posted a whole series of videos on these weapons talking about James Elmslie's typology for these weapons. I'm sorry that I can't post the YouTube links, but I'm traveling and working with my cellphone. I would suggest looking them up as they are worth the time if you don't already know much about the subject.

      https://youtu.be/7WaE9AqrIAU

      Edit: I just learned a little more about my phone and have learned how to copy links.

      Thanks for the link to this very informative video series. I might not have been a fan of falchions/messers, but I am certainly one now
      I quite like the proposed convention of referring to both of these inter-related sword types as medieval backswords or single swords.

      On a related note - here is an interesting video on single vs double edged swords:



      Honestly, given the added ease of manufacture, improved cutting potential, and higher resilience of single-edged swords, I am surprised that these swords did not force the double edge swords into obsolescence, at least as a personal sidearms (although I can see why it would be advantageous to have double edges on larger blades such as zweihanders). Additionally, once you account for the facts that the best type of hilt possible (the basket hilt) makes it rather unwieldy to utilize the back edge, and the fact that many single edge swords have a false back edge at the very top of the blade in case it is ever needed - it is only logical to ask why double edged arming swords persisted for as long as they did.

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      • Originally posted by Aradan View Post


        Thanks for the link to this very informative video series. I might not have been a fan of falchions/messers, but I am certainly one now
        I quite like the proposed convention of referring to both of these inter-related sword types as medieval backswords or single swords.

        On a related note - here is an interesting video on single vs double edged swords:



        Honestly, given the added ease of manufacture, improved cutting potential, and higher resilience of single-edged swords, I am surprised that these swords did not force the double edge swords into obsolescence, at least as a personal sidearms (although I can see why it would be advantageous to have double edges on larger blades such as zweihanders). Additionally, once you account for the facts that the best type of hilt possible (the basket hilt) makes it rather unwieldy to utilize the back edge, and the fact that many single edge swords have a false back edge at the very top of the blade in case it is ever needed - it is only logical to ask why double edged arming swords persisted for as long as they did.
        From what i remember its because Messers were less efective vs armored enemies not that you should even be using either.

        As for the rule of first night i read something that there was indeed such custom but it had not involved actual sex at all or anything of such thing.

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        • Originally posted by Asheren View Post

          From what i remember its because Messers were less efective vs armored enemies not that you should even be using either.
          I believe that is correct from what I have read and seen from people knowledgeable about the subject. Both the messer and falchion are optimized for use against unarmored opponents but would make them useless against armored opponents. The preferred weapons would be polearms such as halberds and projectile weapons such as handgonnes and crossbows.

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          • Originally posted by JimHPTN View Post

            I believe that is correct from what I have read and seen from people knowledgeable about the subject. Both the messer and falchion are optimized for use against unarmored opponents but would make them useless against armored opponents. The preferred weapons would be polearms such as halberds and projectile weapons such as handgonnes and crossbows.
            Actualy crossbows were supprisingly not that much effecive compared to what we are lead to belive at least early designs. It was due to low draw lenght on them.

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            • Originally posted by Asheren View Post

              Actualy crossbows were supprisingly not that much effecive compared to what we are lead to belive at least early designs. It was due to low draw lenght on them.
              This is very true. To be effective, it required the versions with very high draw weights, in other words with the various gear and pulley type draw systems. Even the early gonnes may not have been all that effective. In a side note, it appears that there are many more handgonnes than crossbows by the middle to end of the 15th century, at least in Southern Germany. I'll try to confirm some numbers when I get back home. I'm reading a book on the armed aspects of early modern Southern Germany that ranges from~1400 to ~1700. It should have a lot of useful information about the social structure of the time.

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              • Just a correction on one of my previous posts but studies about knight horses have emerged more precise recently
                It seems that hyper heavy cavalry horses like assessed previously was not the norm
                In fact there seems to be a misunderstanding
                What we call high horse today is any horse with a height > or = to 170 cm
                The only races reaching that are the draft horses
                According to horse armor analyses (admitely not very numerous) high horses in medieval times were more around 150 to 160 cm
                Remember that a savage horse height is only around 135-140 cm

                So to summarize medieval horses were probably closer to the Lusitano in height with probably a stronger body (selected for "heavy " lift rather than speed race) so a weight around 500 kg

                Something looking more like that : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A9rens_horse than that : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draft_horse

                In any case they wouldn't be arab or angloarab type of horses made for speed, not for lifting heavy weight (even if any horse can carry up to 30% of his own weight easily)

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                • Originally posted by Asheren View Post

                  Actualy crossbows were supprisingly not that much effecive compared to what we are lead to belive at least early designs. It was due to low draw lenght on them.

                  Yep. It seems that although crossbows performed well-enough against chainmail and gambesons, plate armour was all but impervious even to the heaviest of crossbows.

                  Some interesting test videos pertinent to this topic:


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                  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EszwYNvvCjQ



                    Something i'd never thought about before, the medievil way of walking in smooth soles without heels and how it affects your walking style, distance and how you fight.

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