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Total War: Shogun 2 Heaven » Forums » Total War History » The Quick Question Thread
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Topic Subject:The Quick Question Thread
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Legio Yow
Ashigaru
posted 01-23-07 09:42 AM EDT (US)         
I decided we needed one of these.

The purpose of this thread is for little questions that have objective answers, and don't merit their own thread. For example, a good question you might ask here is "Who was the emperor who built the Colosseum?" or "Where can I find a description of the Battle of Alesia?". You can also use this if you are having trouble finding previous discussions in this forum. For example, you might ask "Where can I find a detailed description of the mechanics of a corpse bridge?", which would receive an answer.

This thread is not for introducing discussion topics. You do not ask "So, who was better. Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great?". Think of it as the AH equivalent of the Roman Party thread but do not spam.

If your query starts to get replies beyond two or three posts, then consider starting a specific thread if it looks set to run. If it gets to six or seven posts, start a specific thread on it.

This forum has needed this for a while. Please obey the rules.


"That which we call a nose can still smell!"
-Reduced Shakespeare Company

"Abroad, French transit workers attempt to end a strike, only to discover that they have forgotten how to operate the trains. Everybody enjoys a hearty laugh and returns to the café." -Dave Barry

[This message has been edited by Legio Yow (edited 01-23-2007 @ 05:15 PM).]

AuthorReplies:
MisplacedPope
Ashigaru
(id: misplacedgeneral)
posted 02-15-07 05:55 AM EDT (US)     51 / 188       
Are you sure about the Parthians? IIRC, most Roman injuries from arrows were on the limbs.

"It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good." Jack Nicholson
Gaius Colinius
Seraph Emeritus
posted 02-15-07 06:28 AM EDT (US)     52 / 188       
Armour technology improved considerably in that time.
Roman armour did not cover the entire body.

The Christians being forced to wear armour on the march had a part to play in the eventual defeat as they virtually roasted inside the armour and their water supplies were low.


-Love Gaius
TWH Seraph, TWH Grand Zinquisitor & Crazy Gaius the Banstick Kid

Got news regarding Total War games that should be publicised? Then email m2twnews@heavengames.com. My blog.
Nelson was the typical Englishman: hot-headed, impetuous, unreliable, passionate, emotional & boisterous. Wellington was the typical Irishman: cold, reserved, calculating, unsentimental & ruthless" - George Bernard Shaw
Vote for McCain...he's not dead just yet! - HP Lovesauce

Damascus
Ashigaru
posted 02-15-07 10:47 AM EDT (US)     53 / 188       
It says on Wikipedia that they could pierce armor:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_carrhae

Anyways, thanks for clearing that up for me.

fixed the link - DFV


The force is like duct tape: it has a light side, a dark side, and it binds the universe together.

[This message has been edited by D Furius Venator (edited 02-15-2007 @ 11:41 AM).]

lmao
Ashigaru
posted 02-15-07 11:46 AM EDT (US)     54 / 188       
There's an annoying myth about the ability of arrows to penetrate armour, but seriously I have here a Moslem source describing Christian soldiers keeping a perfect march going while have anywhere from one to ten arrows sticking out of them.

Imagination is more important than knowledge - Einstein
Porphyrogenitus
Ashigaru
posted 02-15-07 12:51 PM EDT (US)     55 / 188       
My understanding is that typically a Roman infantryman from the classical legions would have only a single layer of armor (more if an officer, probably), and soldiers from the middle and rear ranks might not have nearly as much armor as those in the front ranks. Thus, a powerful enough bow might very well have been able to punch through armor at a close enough range (say, 150 yards or less for a strong composite bow wielded properly). Also, it would undoubtedly matter whether the soldier was wearing lorica hamata, lorica segmentata, or lorica squamata.

The crusaders, however, would likely have been wearing double- or triple-mail over a padded coat. Combined with the fact that Persian inspired archery tended to be faster but weaker than Steppe style archery, and I am more than willing to believe that a crusader knight could easily have been walking around unhurt while ten or more arrows were stuck in his mail armor.

The key is in the weight of the armor. A legoinnaire would be an infantryman, carrying a heavy pack and a massive shield. A crusader knight would be a cavalryman, with his baggage carried by servants and a rather smaller shield (at most a kite shield, more likely something smaller). That means that for the same or even slightly smaller amount of personally carried weight, much of it alleviated by riding a horse, a knight could have far heavier armor than a legionnaire. Having double- or triple-mail (there is some debate about just what those are: one side thinks they were layers of mail, while the other thinks they were tighter weaves of a single layer of mail; in either case, the armor would be heavier and far more protective than a single layer of lorica hamata style mail) would render the knight essentially invulnerable to the (only moderately powerful) archery of the Arabs. His horse, on the other hand, would be another matter. At the time of the earlier crusades many knights would have had unarmored or only lightly armored horses, and many of their enemies exploited that fact to devestating effect.


0 Lord, save thy people and bless thine inheritance:
To our Rulers grant victories over the barbarians,
And by thy Cross protect thine own Estate.

- Prayer on the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross (September 14), established by Heraclius, Basileus (610-41), after recovering the True Cross from its captivity by the Persians and the utter defeat of the Sassanians by Roman arms.

D Furius Venator
HG Alumnus
posted 02-15-07 01:04 PM EDT (US)     56 / 188       
The legions at Carrhae would have been wearing the same sort of armour universally, the Roman 'chain shirt'. As you say, much less effective than the layered armour of the Franks. Nonetheless, fatalities caused by the missile storm at Carrhae were few. Look at Plutarch's comments. The Romans had plenty of wounded: but these were mainly wounds to the limbs. The arrows demoralised the Romans and wounded many - and these wounded were abandoned as the Romans retreated. But the real disaster was caused by Crassus' moral collapse - both during and after the battle proper - not by Parthian arrows. The Romans campaigned very effectively against the Parthians subsequent to Carrhae and ten thousand men marched out in good order from Crassus' debacle.

Civile! Si ergo fortibusis in ero.
Wassis inem causan dux?
Gnossis vile demsis trux!

I suggest that before badgering for a translation you take the time to read it out loud. Thankyou.
AugustusCurly
Ashigaru
posted 02-15-07 06:16 PM EDT (US)     57 / 188       
Question:
The battle of Thermopylae has sometimes been called the last stand of 300, but:
a.) I just read that there were also 700 Thespians (actors fighting with their scripts? Just kidding) with them, so more like the stand of 1000 (though some of the Thespians surrendered, so maybe more like 700 or so), is this true?
b.) Every Spartan soldier was supposed to have a lot of helot slaves to carry around all their armor and stuff, did they let these guys go? Or did they stay and fight to the death, or until all the Spartans were dead?
c.) I also read in a book I just finished (the History of the Universe or something, I know it was part one) that the other Greeks may not have been going away but back to out-flank the Persian out-flanking move. Is this true?

Has anyone else heard of these things or can anyone tell me I'm right/wrong/purple?


(\__/)Gambling is a tax on people who are bad at math
(O.o )a Kilometre is whats known in American as "too far to walk", and a litre is known as "too much beer for one man".-Bored Scotsman
( >< )Beer brands are the power ranger action figures for adults.-Angelo the Sailor
Easter is indeed very commercial. But hey, that's what keeps the economy going. Discussion is useless, chocolate eggs are delicious. Voila.-TheKid951

[This message has been edited by AugustusCurly (edited 02-15-2007 @ 06:18 PM).]

Carthage
Ashigaru
posted 02-16-07 04:32 AM EDT (US)     58 / 188       
It's true that 700 Thespians stayed with the Spartans, there were also some other Greek allies that stayed with them but i'm not sure how many around 500 I think.

Carthage
And beyond, green fields under a swift sunrise
Oh well, thats not so bad, is it?
No, no it's not

Proud joint winner of the M2TWH Saladin award
Legio Yow
Ashigaru
posted 03-11-07 10:27 AM EDT (US)     59 / 188       
I have several busts that need identification. Should I post them here or in Baths?

"That which we call a nose can still smell!"
-Reduced Shakespeare Company

"Abroad, French transit workers attempt to end a strike, only to discover that they have forgotten how to operate the trains. Everybody enjoys a hearty laugh and returns to the café." -Dave Barry
D Furius Venator
HG Alumnus
posted 03-11-07 10:38 AM EDT (US)     60 / 188       
That entirely depends by what you mean by 'bust'. Assuming you mean what I think you mean, post them here (but in their own thread).

Civile! Si ergo fortibusis in ero.
Wassis inem causan dux?
Gnossis vile demsis trux!

I suggest that before badgering for a translation you take the time to read it out loud. Thankyou.
Legio Yow
Ashigaru
posted 03-11-07 11:00 AM EDT (US)     61 / 188       
And here I was expecting misplaced to make that joke.

"That which we call a nose can still smell!"
-Reduced Shakespeare Company

"Abroad, French transit workers attempt to end a strike, only to discover that they have forgotten how to operate the trains. Everybody enjoys a hearty laugh and returns to the café." -Dave Barry
Ace Cataphract
HG Alumnus
(id: Ace_Cataphract)
posted 03-11-07 01:33 PM EDT (US)     62 / 188       
And assuming otherwise, I'm sure Furius and the rest of us wouldn't mind you looking up our e-mail accounts.

I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed. ~George Carlin
MEGAS_ALEXANDROS
Ashigaru
posted 03-11-07 02:17 PM EDT (US)     63 / 188       
Looking all this Thermopylae and the matrix style of the 300 movie i cant but recall Leonidas' answer when asked to surrender his arms:

Molon Lave = Come'n get 'em!

Aint that a badass answer or what!?


My son ask for another Kingdom equal to thyself for Macedonia is too small for thee!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Phillip II of Macedon towards his son Alexander the Great
Legio Yow
Ashigaru
posted 03-11-07 02:21 PM EDT (US)     64 / 188       
I'm trying to figure out a more efficient method than uploading each and every one. Any ideas? Like is there a more effective method than photobucket, or best of all, can I upload directly with Adobe?

"That which we call a nose can still smell!"
-Reduced Shakespeare Company

"Abroad, French transit workers attempt to end a strike, only to discover that they have forgotten how to operate the trains. Everybody enjoys a hearty laugh and returns to the café." -Dave Barry
Legio Yow
Ashigaru
posted 03-11-07 08:57 PM EDT (US)     65 / 188       
I have to say something about the famed Spartan wit: Looking at Spartan "wit", it is actually very unwitty. Most of the quotes are pretty much "Nuh uh, and you're stupid". Cicero alone supplied more wit than the entire Spartan state.

It's a bit like how Churchill's "I'm drunk, but you're ugly" isn't quite as good on examination as on first blush (His "If I was your husband, I'd drink it" is far wittier).


"That which we call a nose can still smell!"
-Reduced Shakespeare Company

"Abroad, French transit workers attempt to end a strike, only to discover that they have forgotten how to operate the trains. Everybody enjoys a hearty laugh and returns to the café." -Dave Barry
MisplacedPope
Ashigaru
(id: misplacedgeneral)
posted 03-11-07 09:05 PM EDT (US)     66 / 188       
Cicero wasn't as witty as many others. I would say Cleomenes II was far more witty than Cicero.

"It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good." Jack Nicholson
Legio Yow
Ashigaru
posted 03-11-07 09:09 PM EDT (US)     67 / 188       
Then I am sure he will have a nice home in the Classical Quips thread, hint hint.

"That which we call a nose can still smell!"
-Reduced Shakespeare Company

"Abroad, French transit workers attempt to end a strike, only to discover that they have forgotten how to operate the trains. Everybody enjoys a hearty laugh and returns to the café." -Dave Barry
MisplacedPope
Ashigaru
(id: misplacedgeneral)
posted 03-11-07 09:14 PM EDT (US)     68 / 188       
My first post had numerous quotes from him! You just never accepted none, you bum.

I was thinking of posting "Live like Crassus, build like Lucullus, talk like Cato" but I am unsure of whether it was Cato himself or some Anaeus fellow (which Plutartch suggest) said it.


"It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good." Jack Nicholson
Legio Yow
Ashigaru
posted 03-11-07 09:39 PM EDT (US)     69 / 188       
That's an odd thing to say. Cato was an energetic speaker, and the weight of his enormous dignitas made him listened to, but he pales in comparison to, say Caesar, and fades entirely when held up to Cicero.

"That which we call a nose can still smell!"
-Reduced Shakespeare Company

"Abroad, French transit workers attempt to end a strike, only to discover that they have forgotten how to operate the trains. Everybody enjoys a hearty laugh and returns to the café." -Dave Barry
MisplacedPope
Ashigaru
(id: misplacedgeneral)
posted 03-11-07 09:48 PM EDT (US)     70 / 188       
You never heard that quote?

basically, some one was up on the Rostra talking about how frugal and stoic he was, basically he was bullshitting every one, because, as the saying goes, he lived like Crassus and Lucullus but tried to speak like Cato (well known for his stoic beliefs and frgality)


"It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good." Jack Nicholson
BeerMatt
Ashigaru
(id: Olondi)
posted 03-12-07 07:37 AM EDT (US)     71 / 188       

Quote:

My question, however, is this: What are the chances of rediscovering lost works in this day and age? Is there a possibility that is some archeological dig, we might find a chest that has Sulla's memoirs (I remember that several letters from Roman soldiers were found in a dig not too long ago)? Or perhaps a work of Diogenes is sitting in some mosque gathering dust?

In short, is there any hope?

I think the chances for something significant being found in a library are fairly high. There are scrolls and tablets being found in caves in the Middle East fairly regularly as well.

Personally, I find the wooden tablets found along Hadrians Wall to be most exciting. This was the stuff of day-to-day Roman life, written by everyday people, not the Roman equivalent of a journalist.

In answer to the Armour topic: wasn't there an improvement in the quality of steel used in Medieval times, compared with Roman bronze, iron and early steel?


-+- Non sequiturs and weak puns a speciality -+-

[This message has been edited by Olondi (edited 03-12-2007 @ 07:38 AM).]

von Nelson
Ashigaru
(id: General_Nelson)
posted 03-14-07 04:19 AM EDT (US)     72 / 188       
Does anyone have any good links describing artifacts found in either Masada or Persepolis? The Oriental Department of the Univesity of Chicago have a wealth of artifacts, but without descriptions they are almost useless to me in the current context, so please no one give me that.

Thanks, I guess.


< Jarrod Nelson>
Nelson looks good in his pics - Gaurdian_112
Wow, Nelson's awfully cute... - HP Lovesauce
Thanks for ruining something that I've waited over 6 years for. - Redneck93
It might be a bit of an odd moment to say so, but I still think Nelson's smile is awesome. - Hnossa
THIS SIGNATURE IS A TESTAMENT TO MY VANITY
Legio Yow
Ashigaru
posted 03-23-07 06:59 PM EDT (US)     73 / 188       
There have been several threads for purely objective questions. I am refreshing this thread so people can remember it exists.

"That which we call a nose can still smell!"
-Reduced Shakespeare Company

"Abroad, French transit workers attempt to end a strike, only to discover that they have forgotten how to operate the trains. Everybody enjoys a hearty laugh and returns to the café." -Dave Barry
Gaius Colinius
Seraph Emeritus
posted 03-24-07 05:25 PM EDT (US)     74 / 188       
It's worth stickying in fact

-Love Gaius
TWH Seraph, TWH Grand Zinquisitor & Crazy Gaius the Banstick Kid

Got news regarding Total War games that should be publicised? Then email m2twnews@heavengames.com. My blog.
Nelson was the typical Englishman: hot-headed, impetuous, unreliable, passionate, emotional & boisterous. Wellington was the typical Irishman: cold, reserved, calculating, unsentimental & ruthless" - George Bernard Shaw
Vote for McCain...he's not dead just yet! - HP Lovesauce

AugustusCurly
Ashigaru
posted 03-24-07 05:51 PM EDT (US)     75 / 188       
Did the guy who yelled "My kingdom for a horse" (whay's his name?) ever get that horse?

(\__/)Gambling is a tax on people who are bad at math
(O.o )a Kilometre is whats known in American as "too far to walk", and a litre is known as "too much beer for one man".-Bored Scotsman
( >< )Beer brands are the power ranger action figures for adults.-Angelo the Sailor
Easter is indeed very commercial. But hey, that's what keeps the economy going. Discussion is useless, chocolate eggs are delicious. Voila.-TheKid951
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 03-24-07 06:10 PM EDT (US)     76 / 188       
That was in the play Richard III by Shakespeare. As he was killed moments later, no, he did not get a horse.

Kor | The Age of Chivalry is upon us!
Wellent ich gugk, so hindert mich / köstlicher ziere sinder,
Der ich e pflag, da für ich sich / Neur kelber, gaiss, böck, rinder,
Und knospot leut, swarz, hässeleich, / Vast rüssig gen dem winder;
Die geben müt als sackwein vich. / Vor angst slach ich mein kinder
Offt hin hinder.
Chalupa Batman
Centurion
(id: ccsantos)
posted 05-17-07 02:05 AM EDT (US)     77 / 188       
Why is this part of the forum discussion limited to the 17th (or 18th?) century?

As-Salaam-Alaikum
Cordyceps
Naphal
(id: ArchDruid)
posted 05-18-07 00:47 AM EDT (US)     78 / 188       
The entire TWH History forum is limited to the 17th/18th century because HG has another history forum which supposedly covers all time periods. Realistically anybody talking about something other than WW2 or the US Civil War gets shouted down by the denizens there though, and since Medieval Total War and Rome Total War share forums, the TW History forum basically covers the time periods dealt with in those games. That time period is extended to slightly later however because there are apparently some mods out there which take place later.

Just as some bodies, from the moment of birth, are endowed with beauty, while on others nature from their very beginning bestows blemishes and wrinkles, so with souls too, some are distinguished at once with extreme grace and attractiveness, while others leave a trail of sombre and deep gloom. ~Michael Psellus, Chronographia
dsmi1
Ashigaru
posted 06-10-07 01:11 AM EDT (US)     79 / 188       
My question is about standard bearers. It was actually something i was going to make a similar thread to ask, because its probably not worth its own.

Were they required to fight? I know they carried the banner and helped them stay in formation or what not. But when the lines met would they move to the back, or drop the banner and fight? Surely they would not be effective fighters if they had to spare a hand/ arm to hold it.

Or if someone had a good reference instead of an explanation that would be just as appreciated.
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 06-10-07 04:17 AM EDT (US)     80 / 188       
Medieval standard bearers would usually have their right hand free to fight, but you're right that this would not generally be enough to fight efficiently. That's why there were good men tasked to defend the standard and its bearer.
In the 18th century the standard bearer had a sort of belt he could stick the flag into, to make it easier to carry. Still looks odd, though:

Bad drawing, but you get the idea.

Kor | The Age of Chivalry is upon us!
Wellent ich gugk, so hindert mich / köstlicher ziere sinder,
Der ich e pflag, da für ich sich / Neur kelber, gaiss, böck, rinder,
Und knospot leut, swarz, hässeleich, / Vast rüssig gen dem winder;
Die geben müt als sackwein vich. / Vor angst slach ich mein kinder
Offt hin hinder.
dsmi1
Ashigaru
posted 06-10-07 05:52 AM EDT (US)     81 / 188       
Yeah I had the idea that later on there was some sort of sleeve they could use, similar to stuff you see today. So for medieval battles, your saying there were better soldiers put into formation near the bearer to specifically keep him alive. Seems like a good idea, although having the bearer on the third line might make sense. That being said i wasnt there and im not a military commander haha. Thanks for answering that question Kor.
D Furius Venator
HG Alumnus
posted 06-10-07 09:40 AM EDT (US)     82 / 188       
Roman standards were capable of being driven into the ground (so long as it wasn't solid rock...). They were also often placed slightly in advance of the unit, orders being given not to advance beyond the standards. Obviously if engaged the Romans would necessarily charge beyond the standard before the enemy reached it but it would then be a static rallying point to regroup on once the enemy had been repulsed.

Civile! Si ergo fortibusis in ero.
Wassis inem causan dux?
Gnossis vile demsis trux!

I suggest that before badgering for a translation you take the time to read it out loud. Thankyou.
MisplacedPope
Ashigaru
(id: misplacedgeneral)
posted 06-10-07 11:23 AM EDT (US)     83 / 188       
Roman standard bearers also carried a small, circular shield, and wore a sword for defense. I think, really, one would have to look at different types of standards though, since I'm sure some performed one role while another performed a different role (like a vexillae for a cavalry Alae)

"It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good." Jack Nicholson
Legio Yow
Ashigaru
posted 06-21-07 02:28 PM EDT (US)     84 / 188       
What was Philip's quote about oaths and fooling people?

"That which we call a nose can still smell!"
-Reduced Shakespeare Company

"Abroad, French transit workers attempt to end a strike, only to discover that they have forgotten how to operate the trains. Everybody enjoys a hearty laugh and returns to the café." -Dave Barry
Gaius Colinius
Seraph Emeritus
posted 07-14-07 07:08 PM EDT (US)     85 / 188       
Since I spent the last few days playing tourist, my mind wondered when the first recorded tourists travelled? I don't mean isolated travellers, I mean numerous travellers.

The earliest I've heard of was Romans travelling to Sparta as well as the rest of Greece to view what was a "for display only" agoge system.
Anybody got earlier examples?

-Love Gaius
TWH Seraph, TWH Grand Zinquisitor & Crazy Gaius the Banstick Kid

Got news regarding Total War games that should be publicised? Then email m2twnews@heavengames.com. My blog.
Nelson was the typical Englishman: hot-headed, impetuous, unreliable, passionate, emotional & boisterous. Wellington was the typical Irishman: cold, reserved, calculating, unsentimental & ruthless" - George Bernard Shaw
Vote for McCain...he's not dead just yet! - HP Lovesauce

MisplacedPope
Ashigaru
(id: misplacedgeneral)
posted 07-14-07 07:19 PM EDT (US)     86 / 188       
Most historians (such as Herodotus) traveled often, it seems, geography, customs and such.

"It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good." Jack Nicholson
D Furius Venator
HG Alumnus
posted 07-15-07 03:35 AM EDT (US)     87 / 188       
What was Philip's quote about oaths and fooling people?
'Cheat boys with dice but men with oaths.'


He really was a quality old rascal.

Civile! Si ergo fortibusis in ero.
Wassis inem causan dux?
Gnossis vile demsis trux!

I suggest that before badgering for a translation you take the time to read it out loud. Thankyou.
Legio Yow
Ashigaru
posted 07-15-07 08:28 AM EDT (US)     88 / 188       
Ah, that's it.

As for Gaius, I'm not sure. Presumably the earliest tourism would have been pilgrimages, but by about 150 BC (When the Seven Wonders of the World list, the first tourist guidebook I know of, was compiled), tourism must have been fairly prevalent.

"That which we call a nose can still smell!"
-Reduced Shakespeare Company

"Abroad, French transit workers attempt to end a strike, only to discover that they have forgotten how to operate the trains. Everybody enjoys a hearty laugh and returns to the café." -Dave Barry
Gaius Colinius
Seraph Emeritus
posted 07-15-07 06:20 PM EDT (US)     89 / 188       
Interesting. It seems reasonable for it to have begun before Roman citizens travelled the world for pleasure.

-Love Gaius
TWH Seraph, TWH Grand Zinquisitor & Crazy Gaius the Banstick Kid

Got news regarding Total War games that should be publicised? Then email m2twnews@heavengames.com. My blog.
Nelson was the typical Englishman: hot-headed, impetuous, unreliable, passionate, emotional & boisterous. Wellington was the typical Irishman: cold, reserved, calculating, unsentimental & ruthless" - George Bernard Shaw
Vote for McCain...he's not dead just yet! - HP Lovesauce

Cordyceps
Naphal
(id: ArchDruid)
posted 07-15-07 06:24 PM EDT (US)     90 / 188       
It was pretty common for Diaspora Jews to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem, as well, dating back well before the Romans (or even Herodotus).

Just as some bodies, from the moment of birth, are endowed with beauty, while on others nature from their very beginning bestows blemishes and wrinkles, so with souls too, some are distinguished at once with extreme grace and attractiveness, while others leave a trail of sombre and deep gloom. ~Michael Psellus, Chronographia
dsmi1
Ashigaru
posted 07-19-07 07:46 PM EDT (US)     91 / 188       
Some interesting discussion here so maybe I will continue.

My question comes from reading a novel last week, I know this forum is limited to 'early' gunpowder era so perhaps it fits. If not then the description on the forum is not detailed enough! Anyhow, onto the question.

When firing musket volleys, why was it so important for everyone to close ranks and stay tight? They even had ( which im assuming was in real life) rank or file closers to make sure everything was in order. Now I assume its so that each volley is more 'concentrated' and is sure to put down more enemies. But what wouldnt being that much closer together up make you an easier target for the return fire? My question really is about these rank closers and fillers their role etc.

Im not judging these tactics because as like most people, I have zero military experience, but the reasons why interest me.

Any reasons / ideas?
CavalryCmdr
Ashigaru
posted 07-19-07 09:12 PM EDT (US)     92 / 188       
Now I assume its so that each volley is more 'concentrated' and is sure to put down more enemies. But what wouldnt being that much closer together up make you an easier target for the return fire?
Yes.

It is IMO probabaly the stupidest era in warfare. Basically, Numbers, Guts and Dicipline were the major deciding factor in such battles. That's why England dominated that era, they were the most diciplined, and 'fear' was rather effectively drilled out of their line troops. There's more to it then that, true, but only little.

That's a major reason America won independance and why the Confederates did so well against the Union. The cheaters refused to line up and be shot like proper soldiers.

Tell me how wrong I am if you want, but if you look at any era of warfare in it's most basic form, I'm right. I like over-simplification, it makes things easier.
Mechstra
Banned
posted 07-20-07 04:43 AM EDT (US)     93 / 188       
Actually the US War of Independence was won on the strategic scale for the US, not the tactical scale, in which the British were generally victorious. It was poor strategic generalship rather than battles that lost it for the British. Also, the Confederates were just as fond of ranks and volleys as the Union soldiers were in the US Civil War - they were, however, generally more proficient, and as in previous eras that counted for a lot. Being able to reload faster and not break as early when under fire was what won straight fights when all facets of generalship were removed.

Musket volleys were as they were because muskets were horrendously inaccurate and ranks of men all firing at once (at least to start with) was the most effective way of using them. The standard French infantry musket didn't even have sights, I believe, while the Brown Bess had only a rudimentary stump which was no use to man or beast (although it was possibly the other way around). This was to discourage infantry from attempting to sight along the barrel, as muskets were so hopelessly inaccurate that a single shot fired at a single man standing 50 feet away would have a better than evens chance of missing him. Volume of fire, and aiming low so that the spread of musket balls would be more likely to hit something critical (they had a tendency of firing higher than it seemed to the soldiers), was what was important. Closing ranks was indeed to allow for a greater concentration of fire - this won battles. The much-vaunted British thin red line prevailed over the French columns because every musket in the line could fire - in the columns, mathematics dictated that only the front ranks and side ranks could fire. Also, closing ranks meant that the line stopped getting thinned out in places - a line with gaps is far easier for a charge of men to break through, starting a rout.

It was not until the advent of rifled barrels that modern infantry doctrine became at all applicable, although even musket-equipped light infantry used cover and concealment and skirmish order, much like later troops would. In the British army, each regiment had a light company which took these duties, and regiments such as the 60th Royal American Rifles (mostly made up of Germans by the time of the Napoleonic Wars) were distributed throughout the army in companies, to perform skirmish duties and nothing else. The French army had voltigeurs and chasseurs who performed light infantry duties with muskets, and in all armies which used rifles, the rifle-equipped troops fought with tactics more appropriate to their accurate weapons while the musket-equipped ones formed the line battalions. If it truly had been a stupid era of warfare, then the massed-ranks attitude would have been applied to the entire grand sweep of soldiery.

To say that the tactics of the 18th and early 19th centuries were stupid shows a gross lack of understanding of how these tactics had come about through trial and error and finding the best way of using the resources available. The middle of the 19th century is a far better example of 'stupid' warfare, as tactical mindsets were broadly stuck in the rut of ranks of men and volleys even though technology was racing ahead with breech-loading rifles and the like.
D Furius Venator
HG Alumnus
posted 07-20-07 08:08 AM EDT (US)     94 / 188       
While I broadly agree,

- a line with gaps is far easier for a charge of men to break through, starting a rout.
isn't quite right as in the horse and musket era men tended to flee before contact. In a close formed line one has the reassurance of one's 'mates' close by - once the line is thinned this substantial moral reassurance fades and flight becomes much more likely.

Napoleon acrtually withdrew rifled muskets from his light troops as he thought they were more trouble than they were worth (supply, longer reloading). This was one of his more short-sighted decisions as it meant his skirmishers were at a huge disadvantage with respect to the range of their weapons.

Civile! Si ergo fortibusis in ero.
Wassis inem causan dux?
Gnossis vile demsis trux!

I suggest that before badgering for a translation you take the time to read it out loud. Thankyou.
Mechstra
Banned
posted 07-20-07 08:41 AM EDT (US)     95 / 188       
isn't quite right as in the horse and musket era men tended to flee before contact. In a close formed line one has the reassurance of one's 'mates' close by - once the line is thinned this substantial moral reassurance fades and flight becomes much more likely.
That's more or less what I meant - I don't mean that it's easier for a charge to carve through the troops still standing, but that the line becomes so weak that the enemy can simply march onward and through as effective resistance fails and the 'defenders' retreat.

The French did this in the battle of Buçaco, ending up behind the main British and Portuguese lines with one of their advances, I believe. Didn't do them any good in the long run in that battle, but even so.
D Furius Venator
HG Alumnus
posted 07-20-07 09:17 AM EDT (US)     96 / 188       
I can see that's what you meant now I look again, sorry.

Interestingly, Wellington's skirmish line was often so thick (and his main line concealed) that the French sometimes mistook his skirmishers for a disordered 'main body'.

Civile! Si ergo fortibusis in ero.
Wassis inem causan dux?
Gnossis vile demsis trux!

I suggest that before badgering for a translation you take the time to read it out loud. Thankyou.
dsmi1
Ashigaru
posted 07-23-07 00:36 AM EDT (US)     97 / 188       
Thanks for the responses CavalryCmdr, D Furius Venator and Mr Dunn. Sorted those issues out.

On the point of reassurance from having your mates around, i was reading an account of an American officer in Vietnam and how he felt something similar. One part in the book he said that when the man in front went around the corner, even though he knew he was less than a few metres away he ran to get around the corner so he could see him again. I guess its important to feel like your not the only one there. And if theres more people about then your perhaps less likely to be shot / attacked, and more likely (at least in your mind) to be able to get them before they get you.

Anyone got any other points to talk about?
dsmi1
Ashigaru
posted 08-09-07 07:02 PM EDT (US)     98 / 188       
Was Procopius' description of Justinian a fair one? Im wondering what kind of state he left the empire in after he died, and if it really as bad as he made out. It has left a fairly negative view in my mind that soon (post university project period) I hope to find out some more details. What do you guys think?

I did do a search of Justinian on the forums which returned no results so I thought about asking here.
Cordyceps
Naphal
(id: ArchDruid)
posted 08-09-07 11:03 PM EDT (US)     99 / 188       
Porphyrogenitus will probably provide a better answer, but it depends which Procopius you decide to follow. There's his history, which is several books long and fairly objective, but he also wrote a panegyric (complimentary biography) of Justinian as well as allegedly writing the 'Secret History' (which is unfortunately the most commonly available of Procopius' works).

Basically the panegyric and 'Secret History' are both obviously and blatantly biased for and against Justinian, and should likely be dismissed. Procopius' major work was History of the Wars which while apparently unbiased must still be taken with a grain of salt - Procopius was deeply involved with the people about which he was writing, accompanying Belisarius on numerous campaigns. He should probably be read with the same sort of attitude you'd take while reading someone like Anna Comnena or Julius Caesar.

Just as some bodies, from the moment of birth, are endowed with beauty, while on others nature from their very beginning bestows blemishes and wrinkles, so with souls too, some are distinguished at once with extreme grace and attractiveness, while others leave a trail of sombre and deep gloom. ~Michael Psellus, Chronographia
Porphyrogenitus
Ashigaru
posted 08-09-07 11:10 PM EDT (US)     100 / 188       
Was Procopius' description of Justinian a fair one? Im wondering what kind of state he left the empire in after he died, and if it really as bad as he made out. It has left a fairly negative view in my mind that soon (post university project period) I hope to find out some more details. What do you guys think?
Justinian had one problem, which wasn't even under his control: the first bout of bubonic plague in European history.

The theoretical situtation - Justinian completes his reign (ie dies) without the plague having arrived. Italy, despite the devestation of a long war, still is profitable enough to pay for the twenty thousand or so soldiers needed to defend it. Likewise Africa is well able to support its own garrison, and the large population and strong economy provide a plentiful treasury despite extensive grand building programs. There are now sufficient troops led by the great Belisarius and the eunich Narses to ensure a final end to the Persian War favorable to the Roman Empire. The Hunnic tribes to the north have been entirely pacified, and Spain is the next target for Justinian's successor (quite possibly Belisarius himself, actually).

What has changed in this scenario? The plague. Without it, the empire would not have lost upwards of half its population (concentrated in the economically vital coastal and urban regions). Without it, Justinian would never have been at deaths door (he contracted the plague but survived it) which led Belisarius to begin plans for a takeover of the government, abandoned immediately upon hearing that Justinian was alive but enough to cause his effective removal from power until hunnic raiders necessitated his return to military command in the final years of his life. In general, the empire would have been far wealthier, its troops far more satisfied (regular pay, rather than the continual pay delays that sparked mutinies and reduced military performance). Justinian's successors would have had a far easier time of it (Maurice, had he still become emperor, would not have been overthrown, as the financial emergency that resulted in his murder would not have taken place), and in general things would have been a lot better for the empire.

The plague effectively ruined Justinian's careful plans for Europe, wiping out the imperial treasury, cutting the population by an incredible amount, and leaving the empire vulnerable on nearly every front. It is almost unbelievable that the empire managed to survive the plague at all, given the terrible impact that it made, and that fact is something of a testament to Justinian's prowess as a ruler. Despite the ravages of the plague he left an empire capable of surviving.

Edit: As for Procopius' biases, he was paid for the Buildings, and the Secret History was pretty much a vent for his frustrations and anger (he considered himself to be part of the upper class, which "suffered" under Justinian, primarily in a financial way, and so he was somewhat put out about tax policies, etc.). Both were written according to genre rules, and should be read as such (panagyric and invective, respectively). The Wars is better as an objective history, but even so Procopius shows some bias (pro-Justinian early on, but in the end pro-Goth).

0 Lord, save thy people and bless thine inheritance:
To our Rulers grant victories over the barbarians,
And by thy Cross protect thine own Estate.

- Prayer on the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross (September 14), established by Heraclius, Basileus (610-41), after recovering the True Cross from its captivity by the Persians and the utter defeat of the Sassanians by Roman arms.

[This message has been edited by Porphyrogenitus (edited 08-09-2007 @ 11:13 PM).]

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