Monday, April 14, 2014

How useful was heavy cavalry in the Late Middle Ages?

According to the Chronicle of the Good Duke, written in 1429 but talking about events about twenty years earlier, Duke of Brittany looked across a battlefield  at the troops led by  the Constable of France, the Lord of Clisson, and reacted as follows:
And the Constable Clisson, who was a valorous knight of bold enterprise, went boldly from his siege with his men arranged to give battle to the Duke if he dared to wait. And the Duke of Brittany seeing the battle order of the Lord of Clisson, told his men “My lords and companions, see Clisson there has arranged his companies and desires nothing but battle? I would not refuse that at all willingly but I see that he has arranged a great wing of his men who are mounted on great coursers of superior quality. Our horses are small; and those who are over there will come charge us and we will not be able to withstand them; and things will be the worse for us.” For this reason the Duke retreated that day with his men ...

1 comment:

  1. One of my colleagues at Calgary always argued that moderns talk too much about how horsemen were equipped and too little about the breeding and health of the horses. It is harder to be precise about the later, and texts before the second millennium CE rarely talk about it.

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