Audible Gift Memberships


7TH CENTURY VISIGOTHIC CAVALRYMAN

An extract from Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066
by Ian Heath


42.      7TH CENTURY VISIGOTHIC CAVALRYMAN

Visigothic cavalrymen were armed with lance and javelins; Isidore says 'they fight on horseback not only with lances but also with darts. They enter battle both on horseback and on foot; nevertheless, they prefer the swift course of cavalry, wherefore the poet says "There goes the Goth, flying on his horse".'

The heavy element probably consisted of the nobles' warbands and later the better-equipped slaves. Basic equipment consisted of corselet, helmet, shield, sword, lance and javelins. The corselet, as we have seen, could be lamellar or mail, while contemporary coins show 2 principal helmet-types in use, these being hemispherical, possibly with a faceguard, and conical with cheekguards as here. Nobles usually wore decorated armour, loot taken by the Arabs at Toledo in 711 including gilt corselets and richly mounted swords and daggers. King Roderick's horse at the battle of that same year had a saddle encrusted with rubies and emeralds.

Some horsemen may have been 'extra-heavy', Isidore mentioning that horse-armour was in use among the Alans of neighbouring Armorica, which suggests that it was probably also known to the Visigoths.

Unarmoured cavalry would have resembled 54 sans stirrups.



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