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my <viking> kingdom for a horse

Discussion of topics concerning life in the middle ages around the world, including architecture, history, and warfare.

my <viking> kingdom for a horse

Postby timber_wolf899 » Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:28 pm

While playing with my 7020, which i at last was able to build thanks to a great suggestion on flourescent light, it hit me. The vikings had no horses! Yeah yeah i know, little slow on the uptake here but.....

Anyone else wonder at this? did historic vikings use cav much?

just wondering.
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Postby Jansen » Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:40 pm

Vikings didn't use mounts until late into their era ~1050 AD, and even then they barely used them. But the Normans, who are Vikings that settled in Northern France, did. The Normans were actually the first "knights." Hope this helps.
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Postby Sir Kohran » Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:51 pm

Well how much use is a horse on a ship :wink:

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Postby Jansen » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:36 am

After the pillagers get off the boat, then they could use them to conquer people... :wink:
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Postby Heir of Black Falcon » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:55 am

Vikings did not use horses in warfare is really more correct as they used horses. They and the anglosaxons would use horses to ride to a battlefield then dismount at times even. They used horses though. Viking warfare was more about quick raids and using terror to force people to their will.

As Jansen said they at times are used for mobility after they land but in England and Ireland once they set up bases of a permanent type they employ more horses for mobility.

The Normans actually did not invent the knight. They adopted french, french customs and french warfare in great part so they were not the first knights by any color. Charles the Great likely had some of the earliest soldiers that to me were knights, land for military service but manorialism starts as rome begins to crumble so there are earlier indications.

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Postby Sir Vincent » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:46 am

Wealthy Norsemen owned horses, but like any good men they fought on foot.
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Postby Jansen » Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:18 pm

Heir of Black Falcon wrote:Vikings did not use horses in warfare is really more correct as they used horses. They and the anglosaxons would use horses to ride to a battlefield then dismount at times even. They used horses though. Viking warfare was more about quick raids and using terror to force people to their will.

As Jansen said they at times are used for mobility after they land but in England and Ireland once they set up bases of a permanent type they employ more horses for mobility.

The Normans actually did not invent the knight. They adopted french, french customs and french warfare in great part so they were not the first knights by any color. Charles the Great likely had some of the earliest soldiers that to me were knights, land for military service but manorialism starts as rome begins to crumble so there are earlier indications.

R


You're right but in the numerous books I've read about knights, Normans seem to be accepted as the first or earlier knights.

Oh, also, the Vikings used horses for travel and trade more than battle.
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Postby Tanotrooper » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:21 pm

the first knights were Romans, as some noblemen belong to the "equites' wich means: horseman, knight.

At the battle of Hastings, horses were used though :?

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Postby Jansen » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:32 pm

But the Romans didn't use or develop the feudal system, did they? Because actual "knights" were obliged to give military servitude to the king, hence the mounted soldier part, and in return given land and serfs.
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Postby architect » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:42 pm

Since this thread is more about the use of horses in medieval times than LEGO Sets, I am moving it to the Medieval Life forum.

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Postby melonkernel » Tue May 13, 2008 6:57 am

This topic is very interesting.
I recommend the book trilog about Arn where the attitudes the post-vikings had about horses in warefare. They laughed at Arn's Arab horse and thought it was skinny and weak. Real horses should be strong so that it could work.
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Postby Damien » Sun May 18, 2008 8:25 pm

Vikings didn't use horses for two very separate reasons:

1.) They did not come from a culture of equestrians.

2.) Horses would not have fit very well on a longship. Horses had a hard enough time making sea voyages on much larger vessels. No way a longship was going to carry enough horses even for the elite to utilize.


As for why the culture Vikings came from (Vikings were raiders, not a people unto themselves) didn't utilize horses - they just didn't. Part of it was certainly a societal view of horsemen as 'away from the combat' and therefore unmanly. Part of it was military tactics (a favouring of the shield wall and two-hand axes, neither of which are suitable for mounted maneuvers).

There was also a distinct lack of battle-worthy horses in the European North. Even during the early period of the Normans - horses used in warfare were only passable, barely more than ponies. Most early medieval warhorses had bloodlines tracing from the Middle-east.



As for the Normans -- they are, in fact, largely accepted as the first real knights. That is not to say, however, that there weren't precursors to the tradition of the mounted soldier. There were many, tracing back well before Charles The Great. The Romans, even the Ancient Greeks, had armoured, mounted swordsmen/spearmen.

The Normans get the credit largely for really pushing the tactic of the heavily-armoured mounted warrior. They improved it, made far greater use of it, etc, than anyone to come before them in all of Europe. Some scholars also agree that they were definitely the first to use the couched lance technique that 'knights' would become famous for.

They adopted French customs and methods of warfare, but improved on the mounted aspects that had been mostly stagnating in that region. Following the line of history, it would seem moreso that the French adopted their mounted tactics to become full-fledged 'knights' from the Normans.

The Normans really are a fascinating subject. Such a culture. Magnificently heartless, inventive, ruthless, and powerful. Their military capabilities were really quite astounding, when you study them more thoroughly.
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Postby wobnam » Sun May 18, 2008 8:44 pm

Vikings did use horses. As beasts of burden, for transportation, and for battle.
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Postby Damien » Mon May 19, 2008 12:18 am

Vikings did use horses. As beasts of burden, for transportation, and for battle.


Except that they didn't use them in battle, and their use was even limited in the fields of transport and beasts of burden. Especially since Vikings were simply raiders, not a society.

Too many people seem to think 'Vikings' were an actual culture of people.
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Postby wobnam » Mon May 19, 2008 10:08 am

And too many people seem to think vikings were nothing more than barbaric warriors.

As other people have mentioned earlier in the thread, vikings didn't use horses in battle much before near the end of the viking age, when they "learned" this from other european warriors. It wasn't unheard of before that either, though rare.

For viking settlers, it was common to bring horses and other animals on their ships. Early in the age, for example, viking settlers brought horses, probably from western and northern Norway, to Iceland. This was the start of the Icelandic horse breed.

The horse had a prominent place in scandinavian culture during that age. Viking graves often contain horses and horse equipment. Horses were used as sacrifice in religious rituals, and there are many horses in norse mythology. They were also an important food source.
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