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Is Tech Stirrups placed correctly in the Middle Ages?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Lonecat Nekophrodite, Oct 12, 2020.

  1. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Could not agree more. The point was to show just how many temporal and technical factors went into the development of a single (important) Game Technology. Nobody stood up in 1000 CE and said "We got Steel!" - it was a long process, and not at all the same sequence and process in different parts of the world.

    For any playable game, decisions have to be made as to what Point will be used for the Binary Choice: You have/have not Steel. Once you start adding granularity (I got a little Steel, I got a sort of steel, etc) the game dissolves into tedium very quickly.

    The larger point, though, is that the Technologies that are associated with Units in too many games (not just Civ!) are usually Wrong. Neither Steel nor Stirrups resulted in Knights, unless you accept that people had both but sat around and brooded about what to do with them for 500 - 1000 years. In almost every case, a military 'Unit' is a socio-political unit as well as a technological one: Knights, Hoplites, Legions, Spearmen, Swordsmen, Horse Archers, are all examples, but by no means the only ones. It would be nice to see that 'human factor' reflected in how the units are made available to the gamer.
     
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  2. Zenstrive

    Zenstrive Ocean King

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    Well, it's always weird for me that Steel, Flight, and Refining are basically on the same column in tech three, but artilleries (steel) and biplane (flight) all requires oil (refining)
    Maybe if oil is discoverable by the medieval age tech and can be improved but only give 1 oil each and 2 productions, and by the time we have refining oil well adds like 2 productions and 2 more oil units each.
     
  3. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    From Wikipedia:

    "The use of paired stirrups is credited to the Chinese Jin Dynasty and came to Europe during the Middle Ages. "

    Bear in mind what techs in Civ games represent. They don't always represent the literal invention of a specific technology - steel, for instance, is of medieval origin, not industrial. Instead they represent the points at which units and buildings unlock in the game, and the name is selected as a 'best fit'. The arrival of stirrups in Europe was significant for the development of knights, just as the development of industrial steel production was relevant to the creation of battleships.

    So yes, the technology is correctly placed and the name, while possibly misleading to the most pedantic, is appropriate in the context in which it's meant.

    What does King Arthur have to do with anything? His knights were a complete invention of the French romances, and so indeed modelled on knights rather than cataphracts. The only thing resembling an original source for Arthur is a passing reference in a 7th Century text to a general of that name - which has nothing to say about what sort of force he commanded. Romano-British cavalry wouldn't in any case have had stirrups, since Roman cavalry didn't and their British successors didn't develop any novel cavalry technology.

    If you've ever ridden a horse, you'll know that it's fully possible to do so without stirrups, if only because while learning you'll likely have your foot fall out of the stirrup at least once and yet you'll still be able to hold your position on the horse and control the animal. It's going to be much harder without stirrups, especially in combat, but cultures that aren't used to using them will have trained their cavalrymen accordingly.

    EDIT: Reading the rest of the thread, much of this has already been said. One point on knights, however:

    What we're calling 'knights' are - it's been pointed out here before - more properly called 'men at arms' (a name which is itself widely used incorrectly in English to refer to armoured infantry). It's not the social rank of knighthood, so Civics isn't the appropriate place for them.

    As someone pointed out, it is indeed possible to have heavy cavalry without stirrups - but the point at issue is that the use of stirrups in Europe was associated with the development of knights/men-at-arms, not the hypothetical possibility that knights could have arisen without them.

    In this the technology is similar to the crossbow: it isn't necessary for the soldier to be effective, but it is easier. People could be effective fighting horsemen with less training so long as they had stirrups - as such they were cheaper to maintain, mercenary bands could be supplied with them, and overall the development of a labour-saving technology resulted in them becoming a more common part of military forces. This is why most mainland Europeans replaced archers with crossbowmen in their armies - the two were roughly as effective as one another but crossbows are much easier to use.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
  4. Bibor

    Bibor Doomsday Machine

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    As someone who played from Civ1, just forget about historical accuracy in Civ games. Civ is an abstraction.
    Historical accuracy is well represented in games like Crusader Kings. You send envoys to Constantinople and ten years later you get an 1% increase in productivity of your farms. Not very exciting, is it? :D
     
  5. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    Yeah, I do miss the promotions from civ5 specialising in certain terrains, and if one really wanted to make it realistic (and complicated) one could tie the promotions earning bonuses against certain unit classes to actually fighting those unit classes.
     
  6. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    I have also used Wikipedia, but only when nothing better is available: it makes a good, quick source - usually. In this case, though, the use is of paired solid stirrups, that provide a solid base for the feet while in the saddle, and it dates specifically from a painting dated to 302 CE in Jin China, but there is another depiction from 200 years earlier showing a Kushan rider using a 'foot rest' stirrup. This implies, though it does not prove, that the Jin stirrup was a development of the Kushan original. This would be consistent with the Chinese adoption of other elements of horsemanship and horse tack from the 'northern Barbarians'.

    Actually, the stirrup can be an impediment to certain types of horsemanship. IF you intend to stay firmly upright in the saddle then stirrups are useful. IF, on the other hand, you are going to be dodging about, hiding on one side of the horse or another or using a shield to deflect missiles aimed at one side of the horse or the other, the stirrup just gets in your way. That's why mounted Native North American warriors did not use stirrups (but, the saddles for their women to ride while carrying babies did have stirrups - they knew all about the Technology when it was applicable and useful): they regularly 'dodged' all over the horse. In one early battle with the Nez Perce, one of the premier horse tribes of the Americas, the US Army thought a herd of horses was being driven towards them, because they saw no riders on them - and lost over 20 men to enemy fire from beneath or aside the horses before they knew what hit them. For another example, Roman light cavalry, all pre-stirrup, had a training exercise in which they rode down a path while men on both sides threw padded missiles at them or their horse, and they had to deflect all missiles from both sides using their shield - around, under, and beside the horse. Stirrups would not have helped, and in fact would have made the exercise almost impossible.

    Not quite. The 'knight' did start as a socio-political phenomena, with the Miles of Charlemagne. It was only after everybody realized that it was much more efficient for the knight to stay home and manage his land/estates and send a substitute equipped as a knight to the muster that the term 'man-at-arms' or the old French term serjean, meaning a non-nobleman armed like a knight (and from which we get Sergeant) became common. That also coincided in the late Medieval Era with the rise of armies composed almost entirely of Mercenaries, since most of the 'knights' were now, in fact, paid soldiers. Your statement is correct, but only as a development of the original 'noble' knight. Furthermore, the aristocracy always maintained that their prime function was as 'defenders' of the crown and social order, so that aristocratic component of the armies was never absent and in the Industrial Era remained firmly established in the officer corps of most European armies by both custom and Law. In the last years of the French Monarchy, you had to show 4 'quarters' of nobility in your ancestry to become an officer in the infantry or cavalry - if you weren't an aristocrat, only the plebian artillery was open to you

    As said, the stirrup is 'easier' only if the rider is doing easy things - sitting upright on the horse, and even then the type of saddle has more influence. As a child, I was taught to ride without using stirrups: I had to learn how to control and manage the horse using hand and leg pressure only before I was allowed to put my feet in stirrups at all. That, in fact (I later learned) was a standard training measure in most European armies from at least the 18th century (see Warnery's Thoughts on Cavalry, 1754 CE).
    As to the crossbow, no question that its adoption had a lot to do with the fact that bowmen had to be raised from childhood practicing while a crossbowman could be trained in a few weeks. Another point, though, was that once metallurgy advanced to the point where steel spring crossbow 'prods' could be manufactured, the crossbow was easier to produce than a longbow, which had to be grown by tailoring a yew tree - and taking years. Ironically (in game terms) the crossbow with its specialized metallurgy was more expensive to produce than an early hackbus' musket which also took very little training time to use, comparatively.

    But I repeat: the Stirrup may be associated in popular history with the knight, but it was in no way the essential technological requirement for a mounted armored lance-using horseman: Sarmatians both against and in the Roman Army (Equites Sarmatii shows up as the title for Roman auxiliary cavalry units throughout the late 2nd - early 5th centuries) and Middle Eastern Cataphracts and Clibanarii, all Pre-Stirrup, all used lances and were fully armored riders.
    Even the chivalry of the time knew that: a Knight did not Win His Stirrups, he was said to Win His Spurs, a phrase which is still with us.
     
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  7. Lonecat Nekophrodite

    Lonecat Nekophrodite King

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    And with this one has to be good at calculus. and win the entry exam.
    So when did the concept of 'Educated Officers' began to phase out 'Aristocratic Officers'? Does it associated with the rise of Bourgoise, With the concept of 'Nation' VS 'Christendom', or with the 'scientific results' that educated officiers and commanders fight wars better than Knights and Princes who earned special entry to the Armed Forces? What is the war that proven so? American Revolution? French Revolution? Crimean War, or First World War where the end results was the end of noblemen priviledges in Europe and the rise of influential demagogues like Ben Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and such?
     
  8. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    The idea that officers should actually know their job rather than simply have the 'blood' was a concept that appeared at very different times in different armies. In fact, a good case could be made that the British Army maintained the illusion that the Aristocracy should lead simply because they were aristocratic right up until the end of World War Two. In all the European armies there was extreme Class Conscipusness in the officer corps until World War Two, in fact. Even in the supposedly 'rational' German Army there was a distinct antagonism between the 'Prussian' Old Guard of General Staff officers and the 'new' Nazi officers that lasted until rather late in the war. In other armies, the French still had a very aristocratic 'traditional' officer corps going into 1940.

    The Soviet Army, of course, had no traditional 'aristocratc' officers because they had been Imperial Russian Army and most of them had been purged during and after the Civil War. 'Military specialists', the codeword for former Imperial officers who stayed in the Red Army because no one else had been trained to do the staff jobs yet, were largely replaced during the purges of 1937 - 1939, when being from an aristocratic or even a mildly wealthy merchant family was enough to get you 'disappeared' into the Gulag or the basement of the Lubyanka.

    The US Army was peculiar because, until after WWII, it was almost entirely a very small group of professional officers. Virtually all were trained at West Point and virtually none came from any class of aristocratic rich noble military men, because the United States never had any such thing: US military men rarely got rich unless they had made their money (or their family had) before they went into the Army - like George Patton, whose family and ancestors, though, did not make their money doing anything military.
     
  9. Lonecat Nekophrodite

    Lonecat Nekophrodite King

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    ^ And what about Japan. After the end of Samurai into the end of Empire? Did IJA and IJN officiers still comprised of memebers of Samurai clans or just about anyone who passed Cadet School entry exam? in Russo Japanese War. General Nogi lost TWO suns on the Assaults on Hill 203 (And there are Japanese flicks too!)
     
  10. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    Being a good, quick source is quite an advantage for commenting casually on internet forum threads. Wikipedia is a lot more reliable and better-cited than it used to be, and since most articles are well-cited referring to Wikipedia is effective shorthand for referring to the sources they use, unless there are demonstrably errors in the writers' understanding of the source they're citing. Much as Encyclopedia Britannica dislikes it, an analysis way back in 2005 determined that Wikipedia's accuracy was comparable, and Wikipedia has come a long way since then.

    That's interesting context to be sure, but doesn't really relate to my point. The arrival of stirrups in Europe was associated with an increased significance of heavy cavalry, wherever they originated in the first instance. That was my point regarding the placement of the technology: it doesn't matter how effective it's possible to be with cavalry warfare without stirrups, knights (in the context commonly understood) did use stirrups, and did so at about the time the technology reached Europe.

    Civ's tech tree is not intended to be hypothetical, and is by the concept of the series as a whole very Eurocentric in its progression - a technology represents a time period associated with specific developments rather than necessarily the direct cause of those developments, and techs' placement reflects their emergence in Europe: Gunpowder and Printing, for instance, are much later in the tech tree than they would be if those techs reflected the points when they emerged in China. "Stirrups" simply represents the approximate period when knights arose in Europe, using a tech whose name is associated with (but need not be necessary for) that development historically.

    As an analogy take, again, a tech like Printing: the printing press wasn't necessary for the creation of the Forbidden City and in China itself predated it, but both European printing and the Forbidden City in China were created in the early 15th Century. The tech Printing could just be named "1400-1440".

    Again, interesting in its own right but not relevant. The only point here is that European knights did use stirrups and warfare that suited them, whether or not they needed to.

    Obviously they knew about the technology. They got horses in the first place from Europeans, since the animals had been extinct in the Americas since before humans arrived there, so were familiar with everything Europeans used to ride and control them.

    This presents a more homogeneous impression of social hierarchies in Europe at the time than was the case; exactly what constituted a knight varied over time and in different European states, even though France/West Francia was pre-eminent and its example widely followed as a result. Charlemagne's miles were initially just armoured horsemen - the noble knight derived from the practice of favouring cavalrymen with social position due to their significance to Charlemagne's conquests, rather than vice versa. William did the same in England. The actual root of the word appears to lie in Germanic words for 'servant' or 'retainer' - they were essentially low-status soldiery who, as cavalry became more important parts of armies and were feted for their military success, became highly regarded enough to reward with titles and estates.

    And I repeat: It doesn't need to be. Civ is following popular history, and doing so reasonably - Civ VI's tech tree has more correspondence with historical technological progression in Europe than some entries in the series.

    It wasn't a metaphor at the time. Knights had more decorative spurs than squires, and it was a literal promotion to knighthood to be given gilded spurs. A spur is easily granted as a personal possession that can be carried around and attached or detached from boots at need (and, at need, could be removed as a demotion). I don't imagine it related at all to the relative significance of the items, it's just not very practical to lug a pair of stirrups everywhere.
     
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  11. Lily_Lancer

    Lily_Lancer Deity

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    For balance reasons. In vanilla version Stirrup only requires 3 techs, and knight was the king of domination then.
     
  12. Evie

    Evie Pronounced like Eevee

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    Ooooooof, that's actually conflating a lot of different things and wrongly.

    It's true that horses returned to the Americas with Europeans (specifically, the Spanish), but by the 17th and 18th century, a lot of those horses had escaped and formed wild populations across the plains that spread far ahead of European colonization. In many cases, Native nations encountered European horses long before European men. And they certainly didn't need Europeans to tell them what use these "oversized dogs" could have. Many Native people were expert breeders and horse riders by the time Europeans first encountered them (which in turn helped spread horses even further ahead of Europeans, because those Natives who captured horses traded them to neighboring tribes, who traded them onward, and so forth)

    So it's very far from true that any Native people with access to horses would necessarily be familiar with European technology. Especially horse technology, because a lot of the non-Spanish early visitors to the American hinterlands would be using river-travel by canoe (a technology they DID learn from the natives), not horses, so wouldn't be exposure to European horse technology.

    That said, it's very possible that those stirrup saddle in particular only appeared after actual European contact, and were inspired by European technology.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020
  13. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    I'm going to be as nice as I can about this, but NO: the arrival of stirrups in Europe was AFTER the rise of heavy cavalry there, and Knights as understood in the Medieval context appeared almost 500 years after Stirrups in Europe. To presume that Stirrups is the deciding Tech for medieval knights also presumes an incredibly low Learning Curve for European horsemen.

    I'll repeat: the late 5th century CE is the earliest evidence of any stirrups in Europe, and the earliest evudence of widespread use of them in eastern Europe is from about a century later.
    A century earlier (4th century CE), the Romans were facing Ostro- and VisiGothic heavy cavalry fighting in link mail with lances and long swords - sound familiar? Two centuries before that, the Romans were both facing and hiring Sarmatian heavy cavalry on armored horses wearing lamellar armor with lances and long swords. In other words, the 'knight' or armored horseman using a lance for an impact charge, was present in western Europe at least 300 years before the first stirrup of any kind arrived.

    Furthermore, the 'rise of cavalry' had nothing to do with stirrups but everything to do with mobility: the Roman Empire had a border running for several thousand kilometers around the Mediterranean basin and neighboring territories which they had to defend. The Roman Imperial Army reached a peak of about 55 Legions and 500,000 men total in the early Imperial era, and it simply wasn't enough if the majority of those forces were heavy infantry on foot - no matter how good the roads - trying to catch light 'barbarian' infantry or cavalry raiding forces. Consequently, they hired more and more auxiliary cavalry units, including many of the Sarmatian, German, and Hun folks who were bedeviling their borders. By the late Empire, they were also 'devolving' the army into a Garrison force that held the border forts and a 'Field Army' of elite infantry (too frequently Foreign) and cavalry to run down raiders. On the other end of the continent, China faced the same problem with all-cavalry armies and raiders sweeping down from the north, and did much the same thing: hired lots of 'northern Barbarians', traded with them to obtain cavalry horses to mount some of their own troops, and by the Tang Dynasty of the early Medieval Era the 'strike forces' of the army was - you guessed it - armored horsemen with lance and sword - and bows sometimes, because many of the Tang aristocracy that provided the heavy cavalry were either partially or fully Northern Barbarians that had settled in 'China'.

    Which brings up a final point: The Gothic, Sarmatian, Hun, Jurchen and other groups' heavy cavalry were always the nobility or 'aristocracy' of the group, because all that armor and well-fed horses were enormously expensive. That was even true for large tax-collecting Empires: the Roman auxiliary cavalry was always 3 or 4 to 1 light to heavy, while the Chinese Tang heavy cavalry forces were numbered in the hundreds in armies composed of thousands (the one figure I read was an army of 80,000 men with a 1000 man heavy cavalry force). That expense factor has always been true of heavy cavalry forces - Alexander had about 2000 Hetairoi heavy cavalry in an army of over 30,000 Macedonians, and much, much later Napoleon I with a French Imperial Army of almost 1,000,000 men in 1812 fielded a total of 14 regiments of armored heavy cavalry - about 12,000 men.

    Stirrup is an easy shorthand for 'heavy cavalry' but it is a popular Myth of which, IMHO, we have more than enough of in a supposedly 4X historical game already. Furthermore, it is not necessary to perpetuate such a myth in the game. The limiting factor for heavy cavalry was always how to pay for it. Specifically, how to pay all the time so that the heavy cavalryman could practice his skills constantly to become effective enough in battle to make all that expense worthwhile. That meant, in the majority of cases, the heavy cavalry were a small noble (and rich) group of a larger force (like in the steppe groups or Gothic German tribes - or the later Lombards, and the Macedonian aristocratic 'Companions' of the king) or a group given special advantages so that they could earn their keep while maintaining themselves as a warrior elite - knights.
    By relating 'heavy cavalry' to a Social/Civic function rather than an unreal technical one the game could also open up to other instances where the social/civic functions allow/make possible/prohibit the Military Units. That's long overdue, but I freely admit, might rankle the gamer who wants to form Armored Knights cheaply out of his Athenian Democrats.
     
  14. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    Okay, I'll acknowledge sloppiness on my part - by 'Europe' I ought more precisely have said Western Europe since the sorts of fighter we're referring to are those of the feudal period, principally in France and England (since although the latter was not significant in the development of knights, it was significant in the development of the English language we're using to talk about them. Ultimately what we call a knight is strongly coloured by the concept familiar to English culture when the word was widely adopted, which was not Samartians).

    Knights, as you've pointed out, were a Carolingian invention. Your 600 AD figure from an earlier post in which stirrups start showing up widely among Eastern European tribes is consistent with their 9th Century spread among a civilisation possibly derived from similar tribes, and which certainly would have had contact with them. Yet again, it's not relevant what gear older armoured lancers were wearing when we're specifically discussing knights. The Knights in Civ VI represent feudal-era men at arms of the sort we associate the name "knight" with, not heavy cavalry generically - and they unambiguously had stirrups, since we have extensive surviving armour and images of them to demonstrate that they did.

    Once again that isn't my point. Knight in Civ VI does not mean 'heavy horseman' - that's what a Horseman is. It means, specifically, the form of heavy horsemen the English called by that name - there's no such thing as a culturally neutral language and you can't meaningfully discuss this topic without acknowledging that the people we inherit the word "knight" from had a specific feature of their own experience in mind when using it. We have other terms, necessarily adopted from other languages or later coinages, to use when describing armoured cavalry of societies and times the medieval English weren't familiar with.

    And, incidentally, equating knights with lancers is exactly the sort of simplification you're complaining about with stirrups. Knights were not necessarily lance-armed shock cavalry, and this was a relatively late development - again using Wikipedia for convenience, primarily from the 14th Century onwards..

    Again, potentially clumsy wording on my part. I've been confining my points to the period relevant to knights - i.e. the feudal era (granting, before you mention it, the vagueness of the name and the lack of clarity there's always been about whether this was really substantively different from pre-existing forms of post-Roman government) from the 9th Century onwards.

    The English word might well be illuminating in this context: if knights were indeed initially servants or retainers, they may specifically have been members of the retinue of the leaders who could afford to equip them, and Norman knights once in England have been characterised as 'poor'. That may be specific to the Norman situation, but once you start maintaining cavalry as a major component of large fighting forces it ceases to be sustainable to rely on rich kids bringing their own gear to make up the numbers.
     
  15. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Slightly earlier. Anna Commena mentions that a 'Frankish knight' would "charge through the walls of Byzantium" describing the impact of a lance-armed mounted charge. She wrote in about 1140 CE describing events a few years earlier, and to my knowledge, this is the earliest mention of an Impact Charge by a 'knight'. For certain, in 1066 CE the Norman knights were not charging with couched lances, because the Bayeaux Tapestry shows them thrusting overhand with their spears. Norman/French knights at least, were charging with couched lance by the time of the first crusade. To say that knights were not necessarily lance-armed is correct but misleading. Once they started charging with couched lance that became their primary mode of fighting, to the point that it was very hard to get them to do anything else: at Agincourt after being massacred twice in mounted charges at Crecy and Poitiers they tried dismounting to attack (with equally dismal results) but against the Ottomans at Mohacs, the English in the three 'longbow victories' and the Flemings at Courtrai they charged. And since they were facing longbowmen behind obstacles, or a massive cavalry and infantry host, or pikemen, they got hammered, but it never seemed to change their minds about their Role. (One British historian, more than slightly tongue in cheek, suggested that the reason knights kept trying to charge pikemen was that so few of the knights that did that survived to tell the rest what a bad idea it was)
    Certainly Knights or men-at-arms would fight with whatever seemed effective (which is why the post-Medieval Gens d'armes were heavily-armored knights with pistols instead of lances!) but the 'knightly charge' with couched lance was for much of the Medieval Era the defining tactic of the knight, and other tactics were exceptions to their 'default tactic', once described tellingly by an old cavalryman as "Hi-Diddle-Diddle, Straight Up The Middle!"

    In fact, the English word is illuminating, because it comes from Old German, as knecht or knuich and has been assigned such original meanings as boy, youth, retainer, or servant. This is specifically unlike the usual continental word for 'knight' which is related to the Latin word for a 'rider' or 'horseman', and is in turn derived from the Equestrian Class of the Roman society - people wealthy enough to be able to afford a horse. This brings the whole thing back to the expense of being a Mounted Warrior but the Germanic root of the English word also hints at a much older meaning: the comitatus or 'bodyguard' of German tribal leaders mentioned by Pliny and Tacitus - his 'retainers' or sworn warriors (and 'sworn warriors' is also the term used to describe a Gallic chief's bodyguard, who were frequently Mounted). Given that the common ancestor of Germans and Gauls were the original Yamnaya or Indo-European migrants into Europe, I strongly suspect that the idea of an 'elite' warrior group around the Chief is Prehistoric, so that the idea of a relatively small group of warriors with the best and most expensive equipment - which by the middle ages meant mail armor, sword, lance and warhorse - predates our Medieval 'Knight' by 1000s of years.
     
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  16. Lonecat Nekophrodite

    Lonecat Nekophrodite King

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    Then
    1. Do you think there should be intermediate heavy cavalry units between Chariots and Knights? if so should the term 'cataphract' or should they use different names?
    2. About Byzantium Tagma under Basil I Leadership. Do you think they fit replacements of knights better?
    3. What are reasons why there are no Cuirassiers in US Army? is it because Federal Government didn't allocate enough budget to the army beyond the use of state troops and stirred up volunteers? isn't it 'American' ways of war particularly with their army is shaped primarily around both Old English Militia and Native Warpaths that eventually turned American military developments of the early days towads (in game) rangers, mounted infantry, and carabineer cavalry rather than fancy Cuirassiers? or is it because Cuirassiers are strongly associated to European Aristocracy (because members usually came from knight family, as many units were and still are Elite Guard like British Life Guards, Prussian Gardes du Corps (dazzling white cuirassiers with red collars and rims with FR emblem)) which did not (and does not) characterize American Elite classes (which are purely bourgeoises ... or not?? but they earned wealths by their mercantile and industrial skills rather than extorting peasantry and anyone else) . Or is it because there were no armorers among settlers who went to Either Virginia or Plymouth Colonies?
     
  17. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    I think @PhilBowles had it right when he said that in effect the Horseman represents everybody on a horse in the Classical Era. The exceptions, like the Hetairoi of Alexander or the Cataphracts/armored lancers of some of the horse-oriented armies are better handled as UUs or perhaps the latter put together under a new unit of Noble Horsemen that reflects the 'aristocratic' equites and similar that are, say, only available as a tiny percentage of the total force/population or only under certain political/social structures. Such a unit, by the way, would Upgrade naturally into the Medieval Feudal Knight later.

    In weaponry and equipment the Medieval Knight is a successor to the Cataphract represented by the Tagma, but in origins they are utterly different. The Byzantine units were raised, trained and equipped by the State - and, incidentally, disappeared when the State ran out of the resources required to maintain them. The Medieval Knight arose out of a self-equipped, self-recruited class of warriors and only later became a group of mercenaries paid by the State.
    I have suggested before, long ago in other Threads, that a possible 'Knight Mechanism' might be to have an Improvement of a Castle. When built it reduces output from a tile by half or more, but upon declaration of war each Castle produces a Knight which requires no maintenance, but cannot be Promoted. At the end of the war all such Knights disappear again. Once Metal Casting or whatever Tech produces Bombards is discovered, all Castles become Castle Ruins, which can be turned into Chateau or Manor Houses and in the Industrial Era become Tourist Attractions. The Knights when the Castles disappear can be 'bought' by the State by paying, say, half the cost of buying a normal Heavy Cavalry unit and then paying Maintenance - which would be high, since armored heavy cavalry was always expensive to keep.

    Expense. Cuirassiers were the most expensive troops you could form and maintain, with the possible exception of a Siege Train of heavy artillery, and no government in the United States ever wanted to spend a penny more on the military than they had to. In the USA we've lived with a large military establishment for almost 80 years now, so people think that's normal. Historically, it is Not. Paul Dickson's recent book Rise of the G.I Army 1940 - 1941 goes into considerable detail on how much effort it took to change the traditional American view that No Military = Good Military and start preparing before World War Two to fight World War Two.
    Also, for most of American history the opponents of the US military were light forces - native mounted and infantry forces, or European armies operating in what was for them very rough country. For example, the British never sent any heavy cavalry to the Americas in either the Seven Year's War (French and Indian War in America) or the Revolution or in the War of 1812.

    Finally, Display in America was largely limited to the self-paid and self-raised Militia. So, for example, before the Civil War there were numerous militia units all over the USA and future Confederacy uniformed like French Zouaves - the most fancy infantry costume of the time, in red baggy trousers, embroidered short jackets, red kepis or fez. There were also German Immigrant militia units in Tyrolean Jager costumes of green and gray with feathered hats and silver braid everywhere. The New Jersey National Guard as late as 1901 even had a cavalry regiment (its only one, in fact) in what can only be described as a Napoleonic Hussars' uniform in silver, white, red, and blue. The government would never pay for all that frippery, but individuals and individual associations (and the American militia were always as much a fraternal organization as a military one) would cheerfully pay for it all.
     
  18. Lonecat Nekophrodite

    Lonecat Nekophrodite King

    Joined:
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    So. Cataphracts shouldn't be generic intermediate heavycav between Heavy Chariots (which associated to the something like Indian Ksatriyas) and Middle Ages Knights?
    And what about Cuirassiers as portrayed in Gathering Storm Expansion Pack? Did they come in correct era or abit anachronism like Bombard (Which should appear in Late Medievals actually)?
     

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