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Archers Side Arm

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:30 pm
by Julia
What sort of side arm would an Archer be carrying around the 1200 mark? Are we talking Quillon daggers? What are the other options?

J

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:29 pm
by Neil of Ormsheim
I would have thought that most archers, being relatively poor, would have used either an axe or a knife as a side arm cum utility tool.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:33 pm
by Julia
Neil of Ormsheim wrote:I would have thought that most archers, being relatively poor, would have used either an axe or a knife as a side arm cum utility tool.


This was my thought. But by 1200 the Saex has gone out of fashion as the utility knife come side arm, and the archers pick/bollock dagger has yet to come into fashion. So I am wondering what the bit in the middle should be to join the line up between them.

J

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:50 pm
by Dave B
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.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:42 pm
by Phoenix Rising
Came up same as Dave B - all the images that I've looked at of archers from the period you mention that have some sort of sidearm simply show a knife of what you might call 'indeterminate' design, which I appreciate 'aint a lot o' good!

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:53 am
by Hobbitstomper
Up close and against infantry or cavalry with shields, armour and spears archers, who have none of these things, all die. The bast option is to run away or hide behind better equipped soldiers. A dagger or an axe is not going to help you.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:46 am
by Fox
Hobbitstomper wrote:Up close and against infantry or cavalry with shields, armour and spears archers, who have none of these things, all die. The bast option is to run away or hide behind better equipped soldiers. A dagger or an axe is not going to help you.

And yet, 200 years later... Agincourt.

14thC and 15thC are both depicted and described as carrying swords, axes, maces and the welsh specifically a long, long knife. I wonder what changed their minds.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:43 pm
by Dave B
I presume that the equiping of armys became more organised. I guess that in the 13thC men at arms were trained and equiped by thier lord, but archers were just rounded up from the lords farmworkers immediately before deployment, and brought what they had? perhaps their bows were just sporting/hunting bows. I note that 13thC archers don't seem to have any armour either (although some in the 11thC bayaux tapestry did)

I seem to recall that the longbow did not peak in military significance, and archers to become the mainstay of armies, till the start of the wars in france (say mid 14th) so perhaps it is only then that archers start to get issued with armour and sidearms? Perhaps before that they just stayed behind the sword and spear equiped troops, and if they were routed then the archers fled or died?

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:46 pm
by Colin Middleton
Best guess

Hobbitstomper wrote:Up close and against infantry or cavalry with shields, armour and spears archers, who have none of these things, all die.


:wink:

By the 14thC, we'd started to appreciate the value of archers and with that, the idea that we might want them alive to use again. Earlier than that, wasn't all the focus on the 'unbeatable knight' and not those 'worthless peasents'. That all had to change with the black death.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:52 pm
by Fox
The Battle of Crécy: 26th August 1346

Black Death Arrives in England: June 1348

Perhaps there was a different cause and effect?

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:20 pm
by m0rt
This is interesting...

Colin Middleton wrote:Best guess

Hobbitstomper wrote:Up close and against infantry or cavalry with shields, armour and spears archers, who have none of these things, all die.


:wink:

By the 14thC, we'd started to appreciate the value of archers and with that, the idea that we might want them alive to use again. Earlier than that, wasn't all the focus on the 'unbeatable knight' and not those 'worthless peasents'. That all had to change with the black death.


Fox wrote:The Battle of Crécy: 26th August 1346

Black Death Arrives in England: June 1348

Perhaps there was a different cause and effect?


I think that across the start of the 14th Cen the upper echelons of society (those that fight) started to realise the battlefield usefulness of of the 'more common' folk (those that work). This introduces the idea of equipping your non-rich folk with better equipment. This is accelerated by the Black Death.

(Terminologies vague and poorly constructed, Opinions currently unsubstantiated beyond gut feeling. It's an interesting question)

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:57 pm
by guthrie
Dave B wrote:I seem to recall that the longbow did not peak in military significance, and archers to become the mainstay of armies, till the start of the wars in france (say mid 14th) so perhaps it is only then that archers start to get issued with armour and sidearms? Perhaps before that they just stayed behind the sword and spear equiped troops, and if they were routed then the archers fled or died?

See for instance Bannockburn. And at Falkirk, which the English won, the Scots were first attacked by the mounted knights, not the archers.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:30 am
by Fox
Much I'd tend to agree with there.

I think the Scotish campaigns of the early part of the century have something to do with the way the English think about warfare.
I think that Edward III is a forward looking king, which may have something to do with his education.
And I think a changing social structure is accelerated by the Black Death.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:06 am
by SirUlf
Also the point of "chivalry" is changing, see how the French at Crecy and even later at Agincourt still put the focus on splendor and individual glory rather than mass destruction. The French don't seem to keen on letting some Genoese mercenaries or some lowly levies carry the battle when there's scope for knightly deeds instead.

Personally, I think a small axe would be quite reasonable to assume was used as a sidearm. Useful on the march and effective to dispatch anyone who comes too close, and something most people would have had on the farm.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:24 am
by Langley
What about the famous archer's maul? What is the timeline for mentions of those?

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:53 am
by Phoenix Rising
As has been said, perhaps it was the case that the importance of archers had become elevated and adapatations made with regard to using them more effectively on the battlefield. If you look at the progression of archery, the Vikings et al had a culture based around the sword as the primary weapon, and archers were seen as not exactly a thing to be. even the Normans didn't place a great emphasis on it, although they did use archers but the bows were perhaps shorter (although there is a debate as to whether the bows shown in the Bayeux tapestry might look that way because they might be being depicted as canted rather than straight).

But once the 'Longbow' of the Welsh is encountered and brought into play, with greater hitting power and penetration, then i think the importance of such weapons in the hands of the 'masses' was recognised and utilised, with a consequential increase in the archer's overall role which meant they needed more in the way of sidearms and training in them. When you think, the English were very good at doing that - the Bill after all came from a common agricultural implement that most ordinary people were used to using so only a short step to using it in warfare in a co-ordinated manner.

And of course, there's a lot of 'em so no shortage of bodies - until the Black death of course, but populations did recover after a while. Horrible disease it might have been, but it did wonders for peasant's wages!

Has always interested me that the 'Knightly classes' in this country never seemed to worry so much about the ordinary folk having revolutions etc, yet the French seemed to be terrified of the idea, hence the rigid Knight / men at arms culture that they had and their anger and resentment at being soundly thrashed by such ordinary folk as Archers, as the Grand Chronicle mentions! :P :thumbup:

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:26 pm
by Benedict
I'm no expert in the later medieval period, but I had the impression that the systematic use of archers in planned campaigns was led by Edward I, first in Wales and then (especially using Welsh recruits) in Scotland.

That's not to suggest that archers didn't play a part in warfare earlier (they certainly did), but they weren't at the top of the shopping list when organising a campaign. After all, you want men who have trained to fight all their lives, not peasant poachers who will need feeding and have the life-expectancy of a chocolate teapot when the milites hit them.

An interesting suggestion I've come across is that Edward's experiences in the Holy Land (before becoming king) made him appreciate the value of massed archery. This was a normal part of warfare in the middle East - not just shooting while moving as usually associated with steppe tribes, but also 'shower shooting', where cavalry archers would loose volleys on an area (or a body of troops), with something closer to a saturation bombardment than individually-aimed shots. Now, there are some rather important differences in the detail (aristocratic cavalry who were quite capable of following up with a charge, recurve bows), but the tactical effect this achieved is remarkably similar to the famed English longbow under Edward and his descendants.

Once you start recruiting archers for repeated campaigns, you quite rapidly build up a body of militarised men; if they know they will be paid for another bash next year, there's much more point in acquiring melee weapons and armour, and making a career out of war. So, by the time Edward III is campaigning in France, you're not dealing with peasant skirmishers as in 1200, but careerists - perhaps the equivalent of the 12th/13th century 'routiers'.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:53 pm
by Fox
I'm happy to be educated on a couple of points, but my understanding was.... :shifty:
Phoenix Rising wrote:the Vikings et al had a culture based around the sword as the primary weapon

I was under the impression that the majority of a Viking force would have been made of bóndi (freeman), who were typically armed with a spear and shield as primary weapons.
In fact, I'm not aware of any post-Roman army where a sword is the primary weapon.

Phoenix Rising wrote:the 'Longbow' of the Welsh

Despite what modern Welsh archers would claim, I didn't think there was any inidcation the weapon was specifically Welsh in origin.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:54 pm
by Fox
Benedict wrote: I had the impression that the systematic use of archers in planned campaigns was led by Edward I

And, personally, I don't think it's co-incidence that after they are largely ignored in the unsuccessful Scotish campaigns by Edward II, they are brought back strongly by Edward III together with the other tactic from Bannockburn, the long pointy stick.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:02 pm
by Colin Middleton
Fox wrote:In fact, I'm not aware of any post-Roman army where a sword is the primary weapon.


As far as I knew, the sword was rarely, if ever the primary weapon. Prior to the 14thC (and to a lesser degree afterwards) it was a symbolic weapon due to its high cost and the training required to use it, but lance, axe, mace and spear (and later bill and pole-axe), I'd always understood to be more popular.

The adoption of the sword for archers in the Late Middle Ages may also revolve around the dropping cost. There appears to grow a significant 'second hand' market turn up then.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:14 pm
by Fox
Colin Middleton wrote:The adoption of the sword for archers in the Late Middle Ages may also revolve around the dropping cost. There appears to grow a significant 'second hand' market turn up then.

And improving metal work decreases the cost of manifacture also.
It always makes me smile to see HYW inventories with a number of "barrels of swords" on them; cheap and cheerful, and by the barrel. :D

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:59 pm
by Phoenix Rising
Ah, my thinking is a bit muddled then ! (nothing unusual about that). Have to say more interested in the medieval period and my knowledge of Vikings is more postage stamp size - I was more thinking along the lines of how they celebrated the sword in their sagas etc, but now I come to think about it the other weapons make more sense for the 'common' man, the sword being a higher status one.

However from what I've read the bow was still seen as a lowest status weapon for a man to bear.

As for the longbow, I thought it originated from the Gwent area, or is that a matter of conjecture? Does anyone know of any mention of such bows (I know the term 'long' was added much later) in other parts of the country at about the same time?

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:14 pm
by Dave B
Fox wrote:I think that Edward III is a forward looking king, which may have something to do with his education.


Good old Walter de Milemete - its certainly interesting that we can see what the future king's education consisted of. IIRC he Eddy 3 was one of the first european kings we know of employing firearms, in the early 1330's.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:28 pm
by Dave B
SirUlf wrote:Personally, I think a small axe would be quite reasonable to assume was used as a sidearm. Useful on the march and effective to dispatch anyone who comes too close, and something most people would have had on the farm.


I'm not sure I would go so far. If someone really wants to get into the hand to hand, and therefore needs to be carrying a reenactment weapon, then fair enough, its not an unreasonable bending of the available evidence. However I would not go so far as to assume anything beyond what is shown in accounts and pictures.

To me the 'gold standard' would be to try to recreate the clothing and equipment shown in period art and not go beyond that without good reason.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:32 pm
by Dave B
Dave B wrote:
SirUlf wrote:Personally, I think a small axe would be quite reasonable to assume was used as a sidearm. Useful on the march and effective to dispatch anyone who comes too close, and something most people would have had on the farm.


I'm not sure I would go so far. If someone really wants to get into the hand to hand, and therefore needs to be carrying a reenactment weapon, then fair enough, its not an unreasonable bending of the available evidence. However I would not go so far as to assume anything beyond what is shown in accounts and pictures.

To me the 'gold standard' would be to try to recreate the clothing and equipment shown in period art and not go beyond that without good reason.


Image

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:38 pm
by Fox
Phoenix Rising wrote:However from what I've read the bow was still seen as a lowest status weapon for a man to bear.

Likewise, not my period, but I understand that to be correct.

Phoenix Rising wrote:As for the longbow, I thought it originated from the Gwent area, or is that a matter of conjecture?

Unless there is some specific evidence I'm not aware of, it's not conjecture, it's wishful thinking.

Phoenix Rising wrote: Does anyone know of any mention of such bows (I know the term 'long' was added much later) in other parts of the country at about the same time?

If I understand and remember them correctly, Hardy and Strickland propose that there was never a distinction between the short bow and the long bow as such; and therefore there is no origin of the weapon that can be pinned down.
It seems [again if I recall correctly] that "longbows" are probably used by both sides in Longshanks welsh campaigns, so again, no particular evidence of origin.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:58 pm
by Fox
Dave B wrote:
Fox wrote:I think that Edward III is a forward looking king, which may have something to do with his education.


Good old Walter de Milemete

I wasn't just thinking of him, but also Richard de Bury and others.

He's probably as well educated a king as any until Henry V [who had access to both Geoffrey Chaucer and Christine de Pizan]

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:57 pm
by Phoenix Rising
Fox - might find this article interesting with regard to Longbow origin. (just ran across it)

http://margo.student.utwente.nl/sagi/ar ... gbow2.html

The author claims claims is that Morris didn't translate the welsh properly, and that the claim of the longbow being from there is erroneus due to his misstranslation of the welsh language and what the author of the document is referring to is a short bow of Norman type.

P.R

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:44 pm
by Dave B
Fox wrote:I wasn't just thinking of him, but also Richard de Bury and others.


Yup, but IIRC Milemete is he one that left a pretty comprehensive record of what he taught young eddie, and who tutored him regularly in the three years or so prior to him getting crowned.

Re: Archers Side Arm

Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:49 am
by m0rt
Phoenix Rising wrote:And of course, there's a lot of 'em so no shortage of bodies - until the Black death of course, but populations did recover after a while. Horrible disease it might have been, but it did wonders for peasant's wages!


I would disagree; the populations in Europe do not recover for several hundred years, way outside the medieval period. I would also question the immediate impact on the wages of the lower classes; we see much evidence that the nobility do their best to prevent this for as long as possible, and we don't see much enough social change to be considered widespread until the late 15th/early 16th, right at the time the warbow is in decline.