A few of you have expressed an interest in seeing some of the books I've used for research. Most of the titles listed here are historical in nature, much to the disappointment of my demonology fans, I'm sure. Still, those of you who enjoy exploring alternative belief systems might find some interesting information under the Religion heading. You will also see some overlap between this bibliography and the one I used for Miserere.Read More
Research is always my favorite part of writing. I thought I'd share some interesting things I've learned about armies and caballeros on the Iberian Peninsula during the fourteenth century. This information came from the article "Castilian Military Reform under the Reign of Alfonso XI (1312-50)" by Nicolas Agrait.
- Gentes de pie (or peones) were the infantry. The peones were armed with shortened lances or spears, which were used as either missiles or to hold a defensive position by planting the butt of the spear in the ground. The peones wore a loriga (mail shirt) or light leather armor and supplemented their armor with whatever they could afford (helms, shields, etc.). The peones also wielded guisarmes. Guisarmes were "a type of pole with a long curved blade edged on the concave side with a slender spear point opposite, used to either spear opponents, to hook and forcibly dismount knights, or to sever the sinews in horses' legs."
- Ballesteros. The ballesteros were specialists in the use of the crossbow. The bolts were narrow and designed to penetrate armor. The effective range of the 14th century crossbow was approximately 100 meters. The English longbow never gained a lot of popularity in Castile.
- The calvary or caballeros. There were two distinctive types of cavalry: 1) the men who rode a la brida and 2) those who rode a la jineta.
- Caballeros who rode a la brida used heavy plate armor for rider and horse. Their armor consisted of mail lorigas or hauberks reinforced with metal plates. They used straight stirrups and a high saddle.
- Caballeros who rode a la jineta were heavily influenced by Muslim equestrian practices. These men prized speed and agility over power and protective armor. They wore only a light hauberk without plates and were armed with shorter lances and lighter swords.
More random facts:
- The adalid. The adalid was not only an expert caballero who had adapted to riding a la jineta. Adalid also referred to specialized military officials, who were considered very valuable due to their expert knowledge of the terrain and their ability to lead their men.
- The institution of the caballería popular. If townsmen within certain incomes chose to keep a horse and armor, they were obligated to maintain their weaponry and serve when called. In return for this service, these men were given tax exempt status for themselves and their families for so long as the mount and equipment were maintained.
- In Castile, Alfonso XI in his Ordenamiento de León mandated that vassals were to spend their royal disbursements (known as soldadas) for the recruitment of caballeros and infantry. For every 1,100 maravedíes (roughly 55 florins), the vassal had to recruit one caballero, one lancer or spearman, and one crossbowman.
Agrait, Nicolas, "Castilian Military Reform under the Reign of Alfonso XI (1312-50)," The Journal of Medieval Military History 3 (2005): 88-126.
That concludes today's history lesson. Carry on.
Sorry for the long silence, but I've been off writing. I've also been watching Occupy Wall Street gather momentum.
I've seen a lot of posturing and postulations, statistics, pie charts, colorful graphs, and rhetoric that has been tossed back and forth with much vigor on both sides. It's always been my feeling that the truth lies somewhere between the extremes.
We can all pound our chests and jump up and down about who is right and who is wrong, but there is one thing I've observed during the course of all my readings, and it is simply this: When this many people are this angry, there is a cause, even if the people cannot clearly articulate the reasoning behind their movement.
And governments that ignore the people do so at their own peril.
Keep these events before your eyes at all times:
The United States of America was born of a revolution against what our leaders saw as unfair taxation and governmental oppression.
Frustration over England's disregard for our plight led to protests. I'm sure if the Internet had existed in those days, there would have been posturing and postulations, statistics, pie charts, colorful graphs, and rhetoric. But when push came to shove, the people of this country rebelled against England's 1%.
The royalty of the Great French Revolution never thought their people would rise up against them, yet they did. The French citizens rebelled against the 1%.
Several politicians have bemoaned Occupy Wall Street's lack of a central leader. Remember, Hitler and Stalin clearly articulated the frustrations of the people to ride their way to power. Look at what horrors they birthed into the world.
People are demanding to heard. They want their governmental leaders to pay attention to the people, not the corporate lobbyists. The feeling of disconnect between the people and their government has been brewing for many years. It's not about Democrat or Republican--it's about THE PEOPLE.
It is vital that the United States Government listen to the people and address these issues in a proactive manner. Forget re-election, ladies and gentlemen. This is about stepping up to the plate and governing.
We are at a turning point in American history. Our future is in our past. It is here before our eyes.
It is time to wake and respond.