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Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:20 pm
by Phoenix Rising
As I understand it, one of the consequences of the Black Death (at least in England ) was that food prices went up due to higher inflation, sometimes by four times as much in some places. Those who survived the Black Death believed that there was something special about them – almost as if God had protected them, and therefore they took the opportunity offered by the disease to improve their lifestyle. Feudal law stated that peasants could only leave their village if they had their lord’s permission, but with many lords short of desperately needed labour for the land that they owned lords actively encouraged peasants to leave the village where they lived to come to work for them. Trouble was that when peasants did this, the lord refused to return them to their original village!

However, with the lord being desperate to get in his harvest, the peasants could (and did) demand higher wages...

So the government then faced the prospect of peasants leaving their villages to find a better ‘deal’ from a lord thus upsetting the whole idea of the Feudal System which had been introduced to tie peasants to the land, and in 1351 introduced the Statute of labourers which stated that no peasants could be paid more than what they had got in 1346 and that no lord / master would offer more - and furthermore, that no peasants could leave the village they belonged to - on any account.

Some of course chose to ignore the above, but the punishments for disobeying were serious ( to say the least), all of which when combined with other matters such as the Poll tax etc all served to fuel the anger and resentment that finally boiled over in 1381 - the Peasants Revolt, which, although a failure in its immediate aims, did succeed in ensuring that the upper classes had a large jolt and showed the ability of those who laboured below them to wreak havoc. It also paved the way for reforms that came later.

So it could be argued that the Black Death did make a very large contribution to bringing about better wages and better social justice, both directly in the immediate aftermath and in that it led to a revolt which, in effect, signed the death warrant for the Feudal system.


Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:14 pm
by m0rt
Now that above ^^ was a nicely constructed argument.

I'm not saying the Black Death wasn't a catalyst for social change, my argument is that by the time you see widespread, accepted, social mobility as a consequence, which most historians agree does not occur until the 16th century, the warbow is no longer a prolific battlefield weapon. Therefore citing the Black Death as a reason for a change in the equipment of those soldiers seems like a tenuous link at best.

The Black Death is a massive turning point in European history, with widespread ramifications. However, it is important we don't use it as a reason for everything in the late medieval period, as many of the repercussions are not felt for decades.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:53 pm
by Phoenix Rising
Mmmm - agreed, can't really say it was responsible for everything. So, if perhaps the Black Death bit is tenuous (although if Fox is right about the peaking of the longbow / archers as mainstay of armies in the mid 14th I still think this might play a part), was it another factor that altered the arming of an archer and brought him further into the battle with better close hand to hand weapons?

Maybe the answer is that no one factor did it - but a combination of them? As Colin and Fox mentioned the cost of metal dropped and so swords became cheaper to make, hence more swords and wider availability - couple that with maybe a realisation that archers could be more effectively deployed / utilised through hard experience (Bannockburn etc) and less rigidity in social order, at least on a battlefield (unlike the French who were) and the above disease and they may all have played some part in it all.

The intriguing thing about history in this context is how little we really know and how much we have to use conjecture - and after all this none of us have answered the original question definetively - what would the 1200's archer be armed with!!! :roll:

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:27 pm
by Fox
You could argue that the Black Death is factor in the early decline of fuedlism in England; possibly in a way it is not in Europe because of the larger overall population.

You could. If you wanted. :D

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:30 pm
by Hobbitstomper
A 1200 archer would be armed with a bendy stick and some feathered twigs. He wouldn't want to fight proper infantry and would avoid cavalry like the plague. There is no "dead arise" on a real battlefield.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:11 pm
by Julia
Dave B wrote:Interesting. I thought I knew what the answer would be, but I've just had a look through all the 13thC images of archers I can find quickly (such as the Maciejowski bible), and most seem to have no sidearm at all, all I can see is the odd modestly sized knife, Just a common or garden knife.

Do you have a link to the images you are looking at?

A simple knife may well be what I am thinking of. It doesn't have to be anything fancy.

For Saxon/Norman period shows I have a saex hanging off my belt, along with a quiver. The space where the saex would be feels so empty in our crusade era shows and I would like to have something there, even if it is just a battle safe version of an "ordinary" knife.


Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:13 pm
by Dave B
I don't have them to hand, but if you just google Maciejowski and Archer, several pop up.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Tue May 20, 2014 9:52 am
by Fox
jermleenats wrote:i know archers back then were suppose too be the best and took alot of training but i wanted to know when the enemie came in too close what were there side arms dagger? sword axe or mace? or something else?

I think we cover this quite well in the thread; just start reading from the beginning.