The cavalry horse, tactics and training in Western Europe – the Euro-pean provinces of the Roman Empire of the West and the Frankish Empire – du-ring the Early Middle Ages (c. 500-1000) are still subject to many myths in both popular media and academic literature. Source material is admittedly thin, yet it is specific enough to allow us to correct many of these misconceptions and outright errors.
The article initially summarises the current state of knowledge on the war horse of the period, by reference to the archaeological record. It then reviews the cavalry’s battlefield tactics, derives the skill level required to execute the manoeuvres described in the sources, and analyses where and how this training could have been provided.
The information gleaned provides an insight into the skills and expertise neces-sary to achieve the requisite sophisticated level of horsemanship. We shall argue that these imply a considerable investment in organisational infrastructure, per-sonnel and institutional memory, which has so far not received much academic attention, and has wider implications for our view of the era.
The Icelandic sagas are a major source of information on the Vikings and their fighting prowess. In these stories, several mysterious pole-weapons appear, which are often called “halberds”, for lack of a better word. In order to better identify what these weapons could have been, and to provide a better understanding of how the sagas relate to the Viking-age events they describe, we confront textual and archaeological evidence for several of these weapons (the höggspjót, the atgeirr, the kesja, the krókspjót, the bryntroll and the fleinn), keeping in mind the contextualisation of their appearances in sagas. The description of the use of each weapon allows to pick several candidates likely to correspond to the studied word. Without a perfect knowledge of what context the authors of the sagas wanted to describe, it appears to be impossible to give a final answer. However, we show that some specific types of spears are good candidates for some of the studied weapons.
References Bork, HR 1989, ‘Soil erosion during the past millennium in central Europe and its significance within the geomorphodynamics of the Holocene’, Catena, Suppl., vol.15, pp. 121-131. Buko, A 2005, Archeologia Polski Wczesnośredniowiecznej [Archaeology of Poland during earlyMiddleAges], Trio Press. Dotterweich, M, Schmitt, A, Schmidtchen, U & Bork, HR 2003, ‘Quantifying historical gully erosion in Northern Bavaria’, Catena, vol. 50, pp.135-150. Górska, I, Paderewska, L, Pyrgała, J, Szymański, W, Gajewski, L & Okulicz, Ł 1976, Grodziska Mazowsza i Podlasia
: 187-203 (in Polish). Latałowa M, 2003. Holocen (Holocene). In: Dybova-Jachowicz S, Sadowska A, eds., Palinologia. Kraków, Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences: 273-292. łanczont M, Nogaj-Chachaj J and Klimek K, 2006. Z badań nad geomorfologicznymi skutkami osadnictwa wczesnośredniowiecznego na Wysoczyźnie Kańczuckiej (przedpole Karpat) (Investigations on the geomorphologic results of Medieval settlement on Wysoczyzna Kańczucka). In: Gancarski J, ed., Wczesne średniowiecze w Karpatach Polskich (EarlyMiddleAges in Polish Carpathians), Krosno: 338
Several expert teams composed of NM staff and other institutions took
part in this process. Historical topics were embraced in a novel perspec-
tive, their comprehensive presentation was so far absent in the NM. So-
cial science expositions in the History exhibition will map the develop-
ment of society from the EarlyMiddleAges until the end of the 20th
century. The People exhibition will interlink the topics of anthropology,
archaeology and classical archaeology. Natural science topics will be
elaborated on three levels – nature around us, stories of
Kłodnica valley (southern Poland). Quaestiones Geographicae 24: 63-73. Panic I, 1992. Historia osadnictwa w księstwie opolskim we wczesnym średniowieczu (The history of the settlement in the Opole Duchy in the earlyMiddleAges). Katowice, Dissertations and studies of the Silesian Museum: 196pp (in Polish). Podział hydrograficzny Polski (Hydrographical subdivision of Poland), 1980. Map 1:200000. Warszawa, Institute of Meteorology and Water Management (in Polish). Ralska-Jasiewiczowa M, 1999. Ewolucja szaty roślinnej (Evolution of vegetation). In: Starkel L, ed
The history of mining and metallurgy in Upper Silesia dates back to the early Middle Ages. Initially, appearing on the surface, calamine, i.e. oxidized zinc-lead ores, and limonite – iron ore were used. The development of mining technology allowed for exploitation of ore deposits at greater depths. It contributed to the intensive development of industry at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. At that time, one of the most important industrial settlements was today's Ruda Śląska. In its area, apart from hard coal mines, there were several forges processing locally exploited zinc, lead and iron ore. The testimony of the former mining and metallurgy, among others, is the dump, which is a remnant of the Hugo zinc smelter (1812-1932). Mineralogical and chemical analyzes of waste material collected on the dumping ground provide a lot of interesting information about the processed raw material.
Water management in Milan and Lombardy in medieval times: an outline
The abundance of water has certainly been a very important resource for the development of the Po Valley and has necessitated, more than once, interventions of regulation and drainage that have contributed strongly to imprint a particular conformation on the land. Already in Roman times there were numerous projects of canalisation and intense and diligent commitment to the maintenance of the canals, used for navigation, for irrigation and for the working of the mills. The need to control the excessive amount of water present was the beginning of the exploitation of this great font of richness that was constantly maintained in subsequent eras. In the early Middle Ages, despite the conditions of political instability and great economic and social difficulty, the function of the canals continued to be of great importance, also because the paths of river communication often substituted land roads, then left abandoned. After the 11th century A. D. the resumption of agricultural activity was conducive to the intense task of land reclamation of the Lombardian countryside and of commitment by the cities to amplify their waterways with the construction of new canals and the improvement of those already existing. The example given by Milan, a city lacking a natural river, that equipped itself with a dense network of canal, used in various ambits of the city life (defence, hygiene, agriculture, transport, milling systems) and for connections with the surrounding territory, can be considered as emblematic. In the surrounding countryside, the activity of the Cistercian monks of Chiaravalle represents one of the situations more indicative of how land reclamation and waterways contributed fundamentally to the organisation of the territory over the span of the ages.
References Adams, J. N. 2003. Bilingualism and the Latin language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Amsler, Mark. 1989. Etymology and grammatical discourse in Late Antiquity and the EarlyMiddleAges. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins. Bately, Janet. 1980. The Old English Orosius. (Early English Text Society, Supplementary series 6.) Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bodden, Mary Catherine. 1988. Evidence for knowledge of Greek in Anglo-Saxon England. Anglo-Saxon England 17. 217-246. Cooper-Rompato, Christine F. 2010. The gift of tongues: Women’s xenoglossia