- From: cemanuel <cemanuel@xxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 22 May 2009 20:19:53 -0700 (PDT)
On May 22, 12:34 pm, Paul J Gans <g...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
cemanuel <ceman...@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
On May 21, 3:24 pm, ken...@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
By the way the situation changed a lot from when the Merovignians took
over to C. There was a change from infantry as the main force to cavalry
a hundred years plus of Merovignian rule and the abandonment of throwing
axes as a weapon.
Ken YoungNot really. Seems to be the same misconception as followed later
armies where the sources often minimize infantry to highlight the
nobility, who rode horses.
Martel's victory at Poitiers was completely due to his infantry.
Numerous later sources such as the Utrecht Psalter show infantry as
The bigger change is probably weaponry. Instead of the throwing ax, as
you say, they moved toward the seax, short sword and much more use of
the bow. Of course the spear is always prominent in infantry.
I don't want to minimize cavalry. They were very important to how
Charlemagne seems to have conducted warfare - critical even. Once
infantries engaged they'd charge, throw spears and then head back to
grab another spear and repeat the maneuver, though apparently
sometimes they'd dismount and fight as infantry. However the majority
of his forces seem to have still been infantry.
It is also a byproduct of reading Oman.
As you know, but the OP seems not to, there is a huge
difference between riding a horse *to* a battle and
riding one *in* a battle.
--- Paul J. Gans
That and when it comes right down to it, Charlemagne's campaigns were
similar to a lot of different medieval campaigns - a series of sieges
with destruction of the countryside, interspersed with the occasional
battle. The Royal Frankish Annals gives the best evidence of this.
For example, year 785, "He routed the Saxons who rebelled, captured
their castles, broke through their fortifications and held the roads
open until the right hour struck."
Year 786, "There they conquered many Bretons with their castles and
fortifications in swamps and in forests. As was said before, the
Franks proved they could overcome many fortifications of the Bretons."
Year 789, "Entering the country of the Wilzi he ordered everything to
be laid waste with fire and sword. But that tribe, though warlike and
confident in its numbers, was not able to withstand the attack of the
royal army for very long. Therefore, as soon as he came to the city of
Dragawit, who stands above the other kinglets of the Wilzi in age and
lineage, Dragawit at once with all his people came forth from the
Year 791 (Avar campaign), "... until they came to an area where the
Avars had prepared fortifications: on the south bank of the Cumeoberg,
on the north bank at a place called Kamp after the river which flows
into the Danube here."
There are a few battles - in 783 the annalist mentions two against the
Saxons. But clearly the bulk of Charlemagne's campaigning involved
devastating the countryside and sieges. While it's nice to be able to
ride instead of walk, cavalry isn't much good for sieges.
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