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David Scott

Glorantha technology and Glorantha material technology

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

at least in some distance of the plains of Prax. (Keeping herds of them on the Praxian border would be a direct invitation to be raided...)

More likely your neighbours. The Pol-joni buffer zone stops most of the other tribes scouts (you have to scout the target first). It would be the Pol-joni who do the raiding and they would be after horses and cattle as they are the prizes in their tribe.

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On 20/04/2018 at 10:41 AM, Joerg said:

I am more curious about what keeps the impala riders on the backs of their steeds.

Born in the saddle, you get your own mount when you are big enough. Skill and practice of a lifetime on an impala. It's not second nature it is your only way of existing. I believe it's impossible for us imagine such integration between mount and rider. Most people are very disconnected nowadays with this kind of relationship. The only people who come close in our society are those who ride professionally every day as job - like park rangers or police or if you work full time in stables (and ride).

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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

So you put the development/discovery of the stirrup into the Dawn Age conflicts with Galanini and Pralori

This touches on an interesting point made by @M Helsdon a few pages back. Just because we have all the parts of the technology doesn't mean we have it. I think wheelbarrows were the example. I would also like to add that some advances are lost for perhaps cultural reasons. They may be taboo or the group of people who had the advance is wiped out foe some reason. The dwarves send goblers to eat lost/stolen dwarf secrets. The golden age of riders may have been full of stirrups and super saddles, but if they didn't make it to the dawn age no one has it. Are there stirrups and saddles on the gods wall? Have a look the dawn map in the guide who has these things, they were very small populations? 

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21 hours ago, Joerg said:

No intention to do that. What I tried to do was to explain to you the limitations that were blatant to me analyzing that depiction

Your attempt is a fail. Your patronizing attitude is not conducive to reasonable debate.

21 hours ago, Joerg said:

Sorry, but bollocks.

That kind of language pretty much destroys your 'analysis'.

21 hours ago, Joerg said:

The stirrup was invented by steppes horse-archers.

There's no more evidence for that assumption, than any of your many others.

The earliest actual evidence for real stirrups (not toe-loops which appear earlier in India) is in China. The answer in the real world is: no one knows for certain.

Edited by M Helsdon

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15 minutes ago, M Helsdon said:

The earliest actual evidence for real stirrups (not toe-loops which appear earlier in India) is in China. The answer in the real world is: no one knows for certain.

I don't actually know anything about stirrups, but I had to look up toe loops! and I can't quite understand why :-) The wikipedia article was very informative https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirrup. The funerary figure from 302AD is amazing (and is clearly a Pol-joni priest with a hazia pipe about to enter the gods world). I wanted to see the other side of the figurine and that led me on to The Great Wall in 50 Objects by William Lindesay. The figure and stirrups is describred there along with an excellent section on modern mongols learning to ride. The relevant section is on google books.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=UsTeCgAAQBAJ&lpg=PT82&ots=lwgTO8krrT&dq=Western Jin stirrup 302&pg=PT79#v=snippet&q="However, for most of"&f=false

William Lindesay does credit steppe nomads for inventing the stirrup, but he's clearly talking about a mounting loop, the next part makes much more sense with metal making skills needed for full development. The final quote of the section best sums it up for me - "Stirrups changed herders into warriors". However they seem too advanced for Glorantha with perhaps only dwarves using them when riding war-dinosaurs.

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28 minutes ago, David Scott said:

I don't actually know anything about stirrups, but I had to look up toe loops! and I can't quite understand why :-)

I suspect there's a suspicion that there was a technological evolution of toe-loops into full stirrups, but as usual our modern assumptions about technological innovation don't necessarily fit into the ancient world, where 'obvious' changes often didn't happen as we'd expect, and some innovations were due to a rare innovation (which sometimes seems to happen in multiple places at roughly the same time, suggesting that certain conditions make it more likely that someone will have an idea and implement it because "it's time is right").

28 minutes ago, David Scott said:

William Lindesay does credit steppe nomads for inventing the stirrup, but he's clearly talking about a mounting loop, the next part makes much more sense with metal making skills needed for full development.

It's one of those things (such as the bow and arrow, the fire stick etc.) where we will never know who, when, or where they were invented. Our window into the past is fragmented and blurry, even in times and places we think we know a great deal about.

28 minutes ago, David Scott said:

 "Stirrups changed herders into warriors".

The herders were warriors long prior to the introduction of the stirrup, so I suspect that's a line that reads well, but is only partially true? The Scythians (and perhaps related people like the Cimmerians if we trust Herodotus) were a terror to the settled peoples of the Near East, without stirrups (and at least one group of Scythians were allied with the Assyrians, for a time, but later aided in their defeat). Stirrups simply made the nomads of the steppes even more dangerous to sedentary peoples within their range: horse riding nomads have none of the logistical needs of state armies (save for fodder - which is why the nomads didn't get much further west than Hungary, as Hungary is the most westward extension of the steppes, and named for the Huns), and a long tradition of warfare with their fellow nomads, which makes most riders experienced fighters, in contrast to most farmers and peasants.

28 minutes ago, David Scott said:

 However they seem too advanced for Glorantha with perhaps only dwarves using them when riding war-dinosaurs.

Fortunately, we have pictorial evidence recovered from the Hero Wars, showing the use of toe-loops by Praxians, and at least some Lunars using stirrups (as recorded in the Guide to Glorantha - Third Age).

Personally, I suspect the Pentans (and some Praxians) use real stirrups. Who knows? They may have been introduced from Kralorela, but thus far archaeological evidence is fragmentary. 8-)

Edited by M Helsdon

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30 minutes ago, M Helsdon said:

(and some Praxians) use real stirrups. Who knows?

putting that together with their lack of metal working means that they could certainly use them, but they'd have to acquire them first.

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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

High Llama riders don't use missile weapons. They use the longer range of their weaponry to achieve a similar effect.

???

I have always presumed that most tribes used most common weapons (to one extent or another); that any "characteristic" tribal weapons were specifically favorites or specialties, not "only these weapons" limitations.

Otherwise... really? Bolas as the ONLY weapon a warrior will ever wield???!?

 

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1 minute ago, David Scott said:

putting that together with their lack of metal working means that they could certainly use them, but they'd have to acquire them first.

Hmm, I suspect that's true if you equate stirrups with metal stirrups, but, as with their use of bone and other materials to make weapons, I wonder if they might use other materials derived from their herd beasts? Bone, horn, hide, sinew?

Some authorities suggest that the earliest real-world stirrups were made of materials such as wood and leather, which tend to not be preserved in the archaeological record, except under exceptional conditions, so artwork may be the only means of detecting them, and often it isn't possible to determine what materials are being portrayed.

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7 hours ago, scott-martin said:

As they are fantasy animals I wouldn't be surprised if God simply adjusted our seat and their back for a "natural" fit. In this scenario Praxians have several different ways of "walking funny" that we don't talk about because they are violent people who hate being laughed at. It also sheds light on why riding another tribe's mount is never preferable and possibly why the horse is so alien.

And their beasts have different  maintenance and training requirements which would make it an inconvenience for the tribe to deal with at best.

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8 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Your attempt is a fail. Your patronizing attitude is not conducive to reasonable debate.

Yes, thank you for noticing. The post was a reaction to this:

You'd best go back in time and tell the various people who used the technique it's impossible, Joerg.

You also seem unfamiliar with the size of the bow.

Those comments were of course completely objective and in no way patronizing, so I apologize for getting annoyed out of nowhere.

 

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9 hours ago, David Scott said:

Born in the saddle, you get your own mount when you are big enough. Skill and practice of a lifetime on an impala. It's not second nature it is your only way of existing.

That isn't quite what I meant. There is the problem of the impala leaps, which I imagine would create a lot of bouncing that needs to get counteracted, and the rider needs to avoid simply being lifted out of his position.

The image of the shot impala in the Guide p..442 has a saddle with something like a ridge in front, but I don't know how much art direction went into that.

9 hours ago, David Scott said:

I believe it's impossible for us imagine such integration between mount and rider. Most people are very disconnected nowadays with this kind of relationship. The only people who come close in our society are those who ride professionally every day as job - like park rangers or police or if you work full time in stables (and ride).

I don't think that there are modern riders who come close - Praxian nomads probably spend more time on their steeds than on the ground. Every short distance will be covered riding. A bit like contemporary folk using their car for a 200 m trip for a package of cigarettes.

I don't quite get the bond in terms of intimacy with the species of steed or rather with individuals. My teenage niece is horse crazy, so I get to listen to horse character and individual oddities of certain horses. She recently switched horses and is in the process of training both the horse and herself to proficiency.

So I wonder how much of the rapport with the steed is on an individual, one-on-one basis, and how much is transferable to other individual mounts.

I also wonder how that life in the saddle affects Praxian (or Pentan) walking and running. They should be accomplished leapers (onto the steed, and off it), but they certainly don't train long distance running, that's for slaves.

 

 

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7 hours ago, g33k said:

???

I said I didn't think that the high llama tribe uses missiles, but that was German thinking slipping in. Missile in German is "Geschoss", something you shoot from a device (sling, bow etc) and which you are quite unlikely to recover. Javelins, darts and tomahawks are thrown weapons ("Wurfwaffen"). Most of these make somewhat decent melee instruments, too.

7 hours ago, g33k said:

I have always presumed that most tribes used most common weapons (to one extent or another); that any "characteristic" tribal weapons were specifically favorites or specialties, not "only these weapons" limitations.

We sometimes say that the tribes get their weapons thtough trade, but that is only partially true. Spear and javelin shafts and axe handles will be procudced by the clans, maybe from imported timber, but by local warriors performing this quite specialized craft.

Archery using horn bows requires yet another level of craftsmanship, and even some level of alchemy for the perfect glues. This is a craft that is hard to do while on a trek, you need a workshop for this where you can let your bow assembly parts rest, and possibly temper.

But then producing the pitch or providing the resin for affixing spear points is quite an alchemical process, too, even though it was known in paleolithic times. And again, this required at least a few days of "sedentary life".

Taking control over an oasis will provide such workspaces, but I imagine that there are certain places hidden in the wastes where some craft resources would attract a few people to stock up their ammunition or raw materials.

Do Praxians mine for flint or similar knappable rock, or do they find enough on the surface?

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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

Yes, thank you for noticing. The post was a reaction to this:

Those comments were of course completely objective and in no way patronizing, so I apologize for getting annoyed out of nowhere.

Perhaps instead of trying to show how knowledgeable you are, you should actually do some research about the topics? There's a great deal of ancient art depicting horse archers performing the Parthian shot, and many of those artists would have been producing their art from their own observations, or for a warrior elite intimately familiar with what was and what was not possible.

You should also take note of your previous and current behaviors.

From a Neo Assyrian cylinder seal:

New Assyrian.png

Edited by M Helsdon

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10 hours ago, g33k said:

???

I have always presumed that most tribes used most common weapons (to one extent or another); that any "characteristic" tribal weapons were specifically favorites or specialties, not "only these weapons" limitations.

Otherwise... really? Bolas as the ONLY weapon a warrior will ever wield???!?

 

You are correct. High Llamas don't start with great skills with Composite Bow as it is not used in ordinary life, but plenty of High Llama Riders know how to use composite bows. Especially those who serve as full-time warriors.

 

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34 minutes ago, M Helsdon said:

Perhaps instead of trying to show how knowledgeable you are,

You mean like requiring the lesson that the "parting shot" was derived from the Parthian shot? Thanks, I knew that before.

I am looking at the distinct possibility that that maneuver saw much greater variability in the escape vector with the introduction of the stirrup. Charging in, then riding away at an angle in good order is quite a feat on an ancient battlefield, where there were hardly any organized retreats. Riding away the direction one came from while continuing to fire still seems impossible to me without stirrups.

Some reality check - assumptions follow:

A cavalry charge with melee weapons can veer off to the left, in which case they can keep attacking foes with the reach of the forehand (or throw javelins or tomahawks), or it could veer to the right, interposing the shield with whatever missiles the attacked line might decide to lob at the riders. If a Parthian shot requires one direction only, a cavalry response to their charge could take that into account. It does take familiarity with the Parthian attack pattern, of course.

 

34 minutes ago, M Helsdon said:

you should actually do some research about the topics?

Again? Sure. This is hardly the first time archery and horse archery were discussed.

I am a bit more familiar with the Huns along the Danube than with Asia Minor.

Regarding archery, I have done quite a bit of research and a little bit of experimentation, too, including learning from highly reputed experimental archaeologists from the Schleswig museum. Much of that happened 25 years ago, admittedly, and it had a focus on my region, which doesn't have that much of a horse archery tradition that we know about. (The Tollense Crossing battle findings might change that.)

I didn't have to take in consideration that the bow could have been held in any other way but vertically because the bow hand on the bowl has very good detail. That's how I arrived at the problem with the bow horns.

Textual analysis and interpretation of imagery should always be taken to the test, and material finds need to be reconstructed to find out about their use. Book- and imagery-learned archaeologists did reconstructions that were complete fails, e.g. with an Iron Age yew bow that was found rather warped and whose reconstruction strung it the wrong way around.

Have you ever shot an arrow mounted on a moving saddle, without footholds? I have on two occasions, as one of the more original challenges of a fun archery tournament, probably not even approaching a horse saddle experience, but an experience of firing a bow from an awkward position.

As a non-rider, I have to rely on observation of others for issues of horsemanship, but thanks to my horse-crazy niece, those include first hand observations.

This post wasn't about academic knowledge. It was about matching experiences with book learning. How to shift your stance for upward or downward shots to get optimum stability from the waist. Where to be cautious of terrain features when firing your arrow - being tall and shooting a tournament bow with rather weak power for the heavy (because long) arrows I fire, I often had to kneel rather than stand to avoid entanglement with branches at the designated firing position. There are books about field archery that one can research on this topic, or one can take some training.

 

34 minutes ago, M Helsdon said:

There's a great deal of ancient art depicting horse archers performing the Parthian shot, and many of those artists would have been producing their art from their own observations, or for a warrior elite intimately familiar with what was and what was not possible.

Yes. That's what I did with the image of the archer, taking it as expert evidence.

Ancient art is lousy with perspective. The only way to determine whether the left arm of the archer is before, above or behind the horse is to deduce it from his anatomy and his equipment.

And my analysis suggests that he could fire back at an angle of about 150° from the head-to-tail line of his horse, not straight back. Observation of that re-enactor showed how he stood up above the saddle and twisted his hips for a shot in pretty much the same angle, but I am willing to believe that he could have made a shot over the tail of his horse. Security precautions prevent placing such shots, even on private no-admission lands.

 

I don't know enough about horse riding and training to be able to tell how twisting around and pushing the right leg into the horse flank will tell it to turn left, so I am asking people with riding experience how a normal horse would react to a rider twisting his upper body almost ninety degrees to the left. Would that normally guide a horse to veer left?

And is it possible to train a horse to keep course despite that leg signal, or how hard is that? Could such an reaction be too deeply grounded in the communication between rider and steed?

In the case of the re-enactor in the video, he sort of signaled the horse that he was doing stunts by standing up in the stirrups. Our stirrup-less Parthians may have had other means to communicate an "ignore my kegs now", but I am interested in how hard that would be to train horse and rider.

 

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I ride a fair bit and often turn around fully to talk to someone behind me when on a track and rest my hand on it's back. My horse never turns with me.

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27 minutes ago, Iskallor said:

I ride a fair bit and often turn around fully to talk to someone behind me when on a track and rest my hand on it's back. My horse never turns with me.

You’re clearly the person to help here. We just need to get a horse bow to you.

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22 minutes ago, David Scott said:

You’re clearly the person to help here. We just need to get a horse bow to you.

As kids we used to ride and play knights. i even remember riding as a young adult and discussing shooting bows from horseback. 

Im riding again this spring/summer so will pay special attention ;)

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1 hour ago, Iskallor said:

I ride a fair bit and often turn around fully to talk to someone behind me when on a track and rest my hand on it's back. My horse never turns with me.

That sort of behavior shows that horses can be trained to do even more complex manoeuvers. When the horse archers dominated the steppes (before and after the introduction of the stirrup) it is apparent that the relationship between rider and horse relied on life-long experience: children learned to ride and use a bow from a very early age, and horses were trained to work with them - those that didn't were probably culled or relegated to other uses, such as pulling wagons.

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11 minutes ago, M Helsdon said:

That sort of behavior shows that horses can be trained to do even more complex manoeuvers. When the horse archers dominated the steppes (before and after the introduction of the stirrup) it is apparent that the relationship between rider and horse relied on life-long experience: children learned to ride and use a bow from a very early age, and horses were trained to work with them - those that didn't were probably culled or relegated to other uses, such as pulling wagons.

Which gets reflected in RuneQuest, in that in most cases, one's ability to do stuff while mounted gets capped at your Ride skill. What we have found is that for Grazers or Praxians that is not much of a limit, as their Ride tends to be higher than their best weapon skill. But for settled folk, that is a significant limitation. 

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Something that may be of interest is that the horse nomads used some unusual weapons and materials. Pausanias, writing in the 2nd century AD wrote: On seeing this a man will say that no less than Greeks are foreigners skilled in the arts: for the Sauromatae have no iron, neither mined by themselves nor yet imported. They have, in fact, no dealings at all with the foreigners around them. To meet this deficiency they have contrived inventions. In place of iron they use bone for their spear-blades, and cornel-wood for their bows and arrows, with bone points for the arrows. They throw a lasso round any enemy they meet, and then turning round their horses upset the enemy caught in the lasso.

That's well outside the relevant period, though the use of materials is relevant to Prax and Pent. 

There's evidence of the Scythians also using lassos as weapons much earlier. The lid of a Greek pyxis from the 5th century BC depicts mounted Amazons using lassos as weapons against hoplites, and Herodotus is familiar with the horse nomads using lassos as weapons.

Edited by M Helsdon

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