Iobagiones Castri

(just blowing steam here, guys)

are equipped with sabres?

Why, damn you, why? What power in 11th-and-12th-century Europe equipped rabble with swords? Was Hungary just that rich? And if they weren’t nobles, and they weren’t serfs… were they not rabble, therefore? But, in this case, why didn’t they have horses? Or, if they did, why didn’t they fight on them?

And if archers are supposed to hold ground, why are they not being equipped with spears for the purpose? You don’t *hold ground* with a sword… you go hack the guy’s legs off with it!

Argh. There are times when Hungary’s appalling lack of written primary source material just chaps my butt.

It’s not like they were some fourth-rate backwater like England, barely able to take on the Welsh and Scots without the aid of logistical and military geniuses… these guys regularly go head to head with the **HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE**, fight off the Cumans on a fortnightly basis…. you know, the Cumans? The guys who single-handedly crush the 4th crusade? And they’re constantly intervening in the Kievan succession, and were a pain in Byzantium’s royal ass. So we know they weren’t morons, or they’d have gone the way of the Avars. But noooo, they had to hang out in the rough neighborhood, the one where the Mongols and the Ottomans show up… so no poncy elaborate Rolls for me, thank you very much….


Leave a comment


  1. Anna

     /  February 20, 2007

    That’s Byzantium’s IMPERIAL ass for you, Western barbarian…:-)

  2. Well….er…..perhaps that is a weapon that a lot of these people simply felt comfortable with…..?

    It reminds me of the Comanche warriors who sometimes, even if there were firearms available, chose their traditional weapons over a gun that they did not feel as comfortable using. They thought of themselves as people of the bow and the lance, and the older era Comanches proved that when confronting guns they could kill more effeciently than the white man could even then. It was not until the Union soldiers showed up with superior numbers AND superior guns that the Quahadi had to surrender.

    The northern plains indians that confronted Custer had quite an array of the white man’s guns, but even then there were a large number that used the bow and lance at that late date.

    As to how the government could afford to issue swords to their troops in Hungary, who knows? I have a question along these lines. Was, in fact, the sword a weapon that was considered a ‘favorite’? I know that it was highly favored in Switzerland, for example, and that even until recently, if you are eligible to vote, you bring the family’s two-hander to prove your heritage and eligibility.

  3. Sabres are favored, definitely….

  4. Mike

     /  February 21, 2007

    You know, this post has led me to another reason I prefer more “modern” history.

    Better recording keeping.

  5. Mike

     /  February 21, 2007

    It’s much easier to do research when you have nice bigs files and photos (or drawings) of more or less legible material to research instead of having to go off of one or two primary sources written by someone who may or may not have been there, or wasn’t a properly trained scholar or military man.

  6. russ

     /  February 21, 2007


  7. Ah, but where’s the challenge then?

    One of the professors on my Master’s Thesis Committee questioned me ad nauseum about why I was writing ‘old dead white-man history’ when there was so much that was not known about the regular people or women or other types. I pointed out that I would love to be able to do that, but the time period that I was writing about simply did not have anything written by or about these groups. Dr. Lackner was the principle guide in this, and I remember him telling me that *he* was not interested in a paper that centered around social spin or political correctness, as he was looking for a ‘real’ history, and not to worry about these other guys.

    What was funny about that was that in our historiography class, I was given a paper by a random and un-named professor there to critique. It was a deconstructionist type of research that I thought was poorly conceived, so I ripped the hell out of the paper. The lady running the class laughed and said that I did an excellent job, and then says “it is that guy right over there!” (pointing) Turns out that this same professor winds up on my Thesis committee.

    My first introduction to academic politics.

  8. happycrow

     /  February 22, 2007

    Yeah… and said guys gave me all sorts of hell for not toeing the Marxist line on the Hussites…

    Hussites… religious fundamentalists, chiliasts even… a **Marxist** interpretation???

  9. Mike

     /  February 22, 2007

    You know, you guys are making me love my Master’s work in Military History so much more. No kidding, not to many weepy types in that particular field. So I get none of the “No Dead White Man’s Stuff” (hell I got an A for basically defending it since it beat down everything else), or the “victim porn” (See how terrible this was? SEE SEE????), just the “Okay, I think we have all agreed that the US Marine Corps are a bunch of bastards. We have also agreed that we are glad they are on our side. So we are now disagreeing on how intelligent they actually are. So let’s study their doctrine, how original it was and how well they put it to use.”


    Heh, general history is for the birds.

  10. Mike…where are you getting your Master’s?

  11. Mike…where are you going to school?

  12. There are times when that’s REALLY appealling.

  13. Mike

     /  February 23, 2007

    Yeah. I have noticed that since I started my Master’s Classes, my boomer relatives haven’t been so argumentative as in the past. I don’t think it is due just to this, but I think it plays a part. Their “we grew up in the 60’s” mentality looses steam when played against “I am better educated”. That whole little thing about a extra peice of sheepskin on the wall tends to shut their generation up, I am thinking it has something to do with the college garrison-days of boomers.

    I don’t even have mine yet, but I am liking what it is doing for me, and not just educationally.

  14. Anna

     /  February 23, 2007

    Yup, it’s fun, innit? 🙂 I LOVE what a degree in humanities that requires research does to your organization skills in general and how instantly you are able to find, retrieve and process information.

  15. Mike

     /  February 23, 2007

    Oh yeah.


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