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MEDIEVAL WEAPONS - The Stirrup

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  • MEDIEVAL WEAPONS - The Stirrup

    Hello!

    One of the great inventions of the middle ages was the stirrup. There are several theories as to who invented the strirrup, but it appears the Avars (no one is really sure who they were either) brought the stirrup to Europe (poetry unintentional .

    What did the stirrup do? It allowed better stability for horseman, and was critical in the development of the knight as a warrior and in later forms of cavalry (incl dragoons), which would not have been possible without the stirrup.

    So what do you think?

    Who invented the stirrup?

    What developments followed from it?

    What is the history of stirrups?

    What questions did I forget?

    JS
    Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
    Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


    "Never pet a burning dog."

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  • #2
    I'm finding bits and pieces of information. From what I've read, it seems the early Francks and/or Carolingians introduced it to Europe around 700 AD and that it lead to feudalism. What do you think?
    http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

    Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

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    • #3
      Lynn White's ("Medieval Technology and Social Change") theory was that the stirrup helped kick off feudalism. He published this theory in the 1960's but it's been pretty much demolished in the last ten years. Most medieval military historians today believe that the stirrup didn't play as big a role in changing military tactics of the middle ages as White thought. Bernard Bachrach pointed out in his book "Early Carolingian Warfare: Prelude to Empire" that very few medieval battles were won solely by cavalry. Bachrach and John France ( "Western Warfare in the Age of the Crusades, 1000-1300", and "Victory in the East : A Military History of the First Crusade")
      also show that the horses in early medieval times were simply to small to serve in the cavalry shock role that writers like White ascribe to it.
      "The legitimate object of war is a more perfect peace." General William T. Sherman , 20 July 1865

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      • #4
        Re: MEDIEVAL WEAPONS - The Stirrup

        Originally posted by Janos
        Hello!

        One of the great inventions of the middle ages was the stirrup. There are several theories as to who invented the strirrup, but it appears the Avars (no one is really sure who they were either) brought the stirrup to Europe (poetry unintentional .

        What did the stirrup do? It allowed better stability for horseman, and was critical in the development of the knight as a warrior and in later forms of cavalry (incl dragoons), which would not have been possible without the stirrup.

        So what do you think?

        Who invented the stirrup?

        What developments followed from it?

        What is the history of stirrups?

        What questions did I forget?

        JS
        The primary refernce that I recall is of the Normans having stirrups at the Battle of Hasting, and some historians have cited this a prime reason of their vvicotry. Certainly the stirrup did allow effective fighting from horseback, in many aspects, including archers, dragoons, swordsmen.
        Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
        (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by dannybou
          I'm finding bits and pieces of information. From what I've read, it seems the early Francks and/or Carolingians introduced it to Europe around 700 AD and that it lead to feudalism. What do you think?
          I agree...more or less...it depends on how you define Europe. The Avars (who were in what is now Hungary) brought stirrups to Europe, but the Franks (who crushed the Avars c. 700AD) made brought the stirrup to the west.
          Certainly I agree that it was the introduction of the stirrup in the west that made the armored horseman valuable in war, which led to chivalry.
          JS
          Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
          Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


          "Never pet a burning dog."

          RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
          http://www.mormon.org
          http://www.sca.org
          http://www.scv.org/
          http://www.scouting.org/

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pmririshman
            Lynn White's ("Medieval Technology and Social Change") theory was that the stirrup helped kick off feudalism. He published this theory in the 1960's but it's been pretty much demolished in the last ten years. Most medieval military historians today believe that the stirrup didn't play as big a role in changing military tactics of the middle ages as White thought. Bernard Bachrach pointed out in his book "Early Carolingian Warfare: Prelude to Empire" that very few medieval battles were won solely by cavalry. Bachrach and John France ( "Western Warfare in the Age of the Crusades, 1000-1300", and "Victory in the East : A Military History of the First Crusade") also show that the horses in early medieval times were simply to small to serve in the cavalry shock role that writers like White ascribe to it.
            Wow. Good thoughts, but I don't see these things as contradictory.
            The introduction of the stirrup enabled an armored horseman to really fight (and not fall off the horse), thus dramatically increasing his value in combat. It also enabled the individual armored horseman to wear more armor (since it was easier to mount), meaning he was much more effective than a footsoldier and therefore worth paying for. That made him a leader in battle and in local government. This means feudalism is here.
            How many battles were exclusively fought by heavy horse? Irrelevent. How many battles were fought exclusively by tanks in WW2? None. Great captains of the medieval era knew about combined arms, too -- usually a combination of men-at-arms (armored horse), foot, and archers.
            As for the size of horses and their lack of shock value, that's a good point. The Franks were known for mounted javelinmen (I guess you could call them that -- they threw their spears or stabbed down overhand) -- using stirrups makes one more likely to do that and not fall off the horse.
            JS
            Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
            Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


            "Never pet a burning dog."

            RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
            http://www.mormon.org
            http://www.sca.org
            http://www.scv.org/
            http://www.scouting.org/

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