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How did Ancient Times horseriders fight without stirrups ?

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Anonymous
January 9, 2005 10:54:21 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.wargames (More info?)

Hello everyone,

Could you please tell me how did Greek, Macedonian, Lagid, Seleucid or
even Roman horseriders use to fight ?

If we except those using projectiles, I wonder how riders could fight,
since I read in a newspaper, when "Gladiator" movie was issued, a report
in which a historian showed all the anachronisms in this movie,
including the fact that Roman cavalry couldn't charge, as *stirrups
didn't exist yet* so the shock with the enemy would have made riders
fall of their horses.

Can one fight on a horse, with a weapon which is not a projectile (e.g.
a sword or an axe - in French "arme de poing") and no stirrups ?

Thanks a lot for your well inspired answers.

Regards,

Lézard Vert


PS : here follows a french translation of my post, as French is my
actual language and the one I write the best. ;-)

----------------------------------------------------

Bonjour à tous,

De quelle façon les cavaliers des armées grecques, macédoniennes,
lagides, séleucides ou encore romaines combattaient-ils ?

A part ceux qui utilisaient des armes de jet, je me demande comment ils
pouvaient faire puisque lors de la sortie du film "Gladiator" avec
Russell Crowe, j'ai lu un article où un historien relevait toutes les
erreurs historiques de ce film. Et notamment le fait que la cavalerie
romaine ne pouvait pas charger, puisque *l'étrier n'existait pas encore*
et le choc avec un ennemi aurait donc fait tomber le guerrier de son cheval.

Peut-on combattre à cheval avec une arme de poing, sans étriers ?

Merci pour vos réponses inspirées. A bientôt,

Lézard Vert
Anonymous
January 10, 2005 10:56:33 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.wargames (More info?)

Lézard Vert wrote:
> Hello everyone,
>
> Could you please tell me how did Greek, Macedonian, Lagid, Seleucid or
> even Roman horseriders use to fight ?
>
> If we except those using projectiles, I wonder how riders could fight,
> since I read in a newspaper, when "Gladiator" movie was issued, a report
> in which a historian showed all the anachronisms in this movie,
> including the fact that Roman cavalry couldn't charge, as *stirrups
> didn't exist yet* so the shock with the enemy would have made riders
> fall of their horses.
>
> Can one fight on a horse, with a weapon which is not a projectile (e.g.
> a sword or an axe - in French "arme de poing") and no stirrups ?
>
> Thanks a lot for your well inspired answers.
>
> Regards,
>
> Lézard Vert
>
>

One possible close combat style for fighting from horseback without
stirrups would involve striking down at opponents, perhaps with short
spears. The height of the rider would provide him with significant
advantages, and the downward motion of the stroke would not lead to the
rider unhorsing himself. Something similar could probably be done with
a properly designed sword, but I don't see how this would work with an axe.

As always, just my $0.02.
--
Jason E. Schaff

jschaff297061@comcast.net

"You can wash a pig as often as you like, but it will still wallow in
the mud."
--Russian Proverb
Anonymous
January 11, 2005 1:04:28 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.wargames (More info?)

>> Lézard Vert wrote:

>> Could you please tell me how did Greek, Macedonian, Lagid, Seleucid or
>> even Roman horseriders use to fight ?

Ancient cavalry which did no rely on missile weapons used a mixture of
spears (the Macedonian companions had extremely long spears indeed) and
swords. All of these could be used from horseback, essentially with a height
advantage to the rider, even if they didn't have stirrups. What they
couldn't do was use lances, as they rely on the momentum of the horse and
the rider being somehow attached to the horse!

>> If we except those using projectiles, I wonder how riders could fight,
>> since I read in a newspaper, when "Gladiator" movie was issued, a report
>> in which a historian showed all the anachronisms in this movie, including
>> the fact that Roman cavalry couldn't charge, as *stirrups didn't exist
>> yet* so the shock with the enemy would have made riders fall of their
>> horses.

Cavalry very rarely (if ever) used horses to physically crash into the
enemy, even with stirrups. They are a moral threat and will not charge into
contact with a formed body of troops, nothing to stop the rider trotting up
to the enemy and slashing/poking away at them, nor the enemy (the vast
majority of whom were untrained peasant levies in Anicent times) from
running away/breaking formation when presenting with a steaming mass of
heavily armed horsemen.

Cheers
Martin
Anonymous
January 11, 2005 9:54:28 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.wargames (More info?)

Jason E. Schaff wrote:
> Lézard Vert wrote:
>
>> Hello everyone,
>>
>> Could you please tell me how did Greek, Macedonian, Lagid, Seleucid or
>> even Roman horseriders use to fight ?
>>
>> If we except those using projectiles, I wonder how riders could fight,
>> since I read in a newspaper, when "Gladiator" movie was issued, a
>> report in which a historian showed all the anachronisms in this movie,
>> including the fact that Roman cavalry couldn't charge, as *stirrups
>> didn't exist yet* so the shock with the enemy would have made riders
>> fall of their horses.
>>
>> Can one fight on a horse, with a weapon which is not a projectile
>> (e.g. a sword or an axe - in French "arme de poing") and no stirrups ?
>>
>> Thanks a lot for your well inspired answers.
>>
>> Regards,
>>
>> Lézard Vert
>>
>>
>
> One possible close combat style for fighting from horseback without
> stirrups would involve striking down at opponents, perhaps with short
> spears. The height of the rider would provide him with significant
> advantages, and the downward motion of the stroke would not lead to the
> rider unhorsing himself. Something similar could probably be done with
> a properly designed sword, but I don't see how this would work with an axe.
>
> As always, just my $0.02.
I believe curved swords - Scimitar, Tulwar, sabre were all used before
stirrups were invented. As slashing blades there is not so much force
required.

Kharsis
Anonymous
January 14, 2005 12:07:41 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.wargames (More info?)

Thanks very much for your bright answers, gentlemen.

Lézard Vert
Anonymous
January 16, 2005 12:51:57 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.wargames (More info?)

I seem to recall that historical researchers identified alternate saddle
designs which gave the rider very secure seating without the need for
stirrups and so could explain how some ancient armies were able to deploy
lancers with effect.

Regards,

Darryl

"Lézard Vert" <lezard-vert@iquebec.com> wrote in message
news:41e17df1$0$29445$626a14ce@news.free.fr...
> Hello everyone,
>
> Could you please tell me how did Greek, Macedonian, Lagid, Seleucid or
> even Roman horseriders use to fight ?
>
> If we except those using projectiles, I wonder how riders could fight,
> since I read in a newspaper, when "Gladiator" movie was issued, a report
> in which a historian showed all the anachronisms in this movie,
> including the fact that Roman cavalry couldn't charge, as *stirrups
> didn't exist yet* so the shock with the enemy would have made riders
> fall of their horses.
>
> Can one fight on a horse, with a weapon which is not a projectile (e.g.
> a sword or an axe - in French "arme de poing") and no stirrups ?
>
> Thanks a lot for your well inspired answers.
>
> Regards,
>
> Lézard Vert
>
>
> PS : here follows a french translation of my post, as French is my
> actual language and the one I write the best. ;-)
>
> ----------------------------------------------------
>
> Bonjour à tous,
>
> De quelle façon les cavaliers des armées grecques, macédoniennes,
> lagides, séleucides ou encore romaines combattaient-ils ?
>
> A part ceux qui utilisaient des armes de jet, je me demande comment ils
> pouvaient faire puisque lors de la sortie du film "Gladiator" avec
> Russell Crowe, j'ai lu un article où un historien relevait toutes les
> erreurs historiques de ce film. Et notamment le fait que la cavalerie
> romaine ne pouvait pas charger, puisque *l'étrier n'existait pas encore*
> et le choc avec un ennemi aurait donc fait tomber le guerrier de son
cheval.
>
> Peut-on combattre à cheval avec une arme de poing, sans étriers ?
>
> Merci pour vos réponses inspirées. A bientôt,
>
> Lézard Vert
Anonymous
January 29, 2005 4:27:34 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.wargames (More info?)

My understanding is that the Roman saddle was designed with four horns,
designed to keep the rider firmly seated, prior to the advent of stirrups
(which came to Europe sometime in the fifth century AD).
!