Sgt_Colon t1_jbo05o4 wrote

A not insignificant part of it was irredentist claims to areas inhabited by various 'Germanic' peoples such as the Goths based on archaeology of the time. Areas covered by what are today termed the Wielbark and Chernyakhov archaeological cultures were associated with these 'germanic' people and seen as areas stolen during the migrations by, at present at least, the Slavs. Such as it was, during the invasion eastwards, various places were renamed like Simferopol to "Gotenburg" and Sevastopol to "Theodorichshafen", reflecting this ideological justification.

Post war the old völkisch ideas of migration faced heavy criticism (in no small due to their use in Nazi propaganda) seeing eventual reform with the origin of the Vienna school of thought and criticism of ethnoarchaeology such as Kramer's 1977 “Pots and Peoples”.


Sgt_Colon t1_j9wt06z wrote

I'm guessing this is for some alternate history thing?

The first image for 1100 would have been broadly accurate for western Europe during the preceding 11^th C, while regional variations existed, they tend to be not overly pronounced unless economic factors (like in the celtic fringe) enter play. Later English plate armour did see variation from continental patterns, favouring longer rerebraces than other continental styles, perhaps as a reflection of the English predilection for fighting on foot at the time, but were at a glance similar to the general trend of plate armours. While Peter Jackson's Rohirrim are fictional, the use of leather over maille in the form of cuir boiulle was an actual historical trend during the late 13^th to early 14^th C as a sort of proto plate armour during the transitional period with some extent pieces surviving.

Regarding archery, while the Normans seem to have imported the Frankish custom of the poorest levies being armed as bowmen, the Saxons too practiced archery and seemed to have incorporated it into the 'shieldwall'. Archery for both peoples wasn't very respected, even compared to fighting in the main line of battle as a common levy and would only see a greater degree of use following the battle of Falkirk and the effective display of archery by the welsh brought along by Edward I. Prior to this, archers were seen as being of limited overall importance (see the ineffective stopping power against even unarmoured targets such as that at the battle of the standard for example) albeit a necessary one, being valued significantly less than crossbowmen who performed far better in terms of range and power. Clifford Rogers goes into some detail regarding what I've written. What the course of English warfare may have been had the Saxons repulsed the Normans is uncertain, although it is possible if the tradition of fighting on foot continued that it may have mirrored the latter English practice during the Hundred Years wars with massed archers and well armed heavy infantry although it may have just as likely have went the same path as Denmark and adopted aristocratic heavy cavalry in some form.


Sgt_Colon t1_j6cg1ix wrote

A significant issue is that trenches weren't singular lines of defence, but rather multiple ones designed with defence in depth as a guiding principle which had massive ramifications.

Gaining the outermost trench wasn't all that difficult, holding it however was a nightmare. The outermost lines were lightly defended with the bulk of the troops stationed on the ones behind that, away from enemy artillery while the front line was still well protected by theirs. This meant if you gain that outer trench line, you wound be facing immediate counterassaults from large units of fresh infantry as well as being under fire by enemy artillery whilst you were still trying to reorganise your units and move your artillery up to defend your line. The enemy also held other high cards such as having direct communication trenches leading to frontline trenches, defences between the first and second lines being designed with counter offense in mind and having clear, stable lines of supply behind their remaining trenches whilst you were stuck with the question of how to lug HMGs, ammunition, wounded and a hundred and one various things through the quicksand like quagmire that was no mans land and get your artillery forward to support you (which given said forward positions were square in that quagmire was a difficult task in the least). Logistically and tactically, you were quite utterly screwed despite your success.

So even if you managed to dig a trench into the enemies outer line (and not have the daylights shelled out of you in the process), you were still massively exposed to counterattack, especially by the Germans who were notorious for quickly and aggressively pushing back, whilst lacking artillery and logistic support.


Sgt_Colon t1_j0gbwc3 wrote

Can't say I buy the article's argument that this caused the Huns to become raiders, it seems especially ignorant of the relations steppe polities had with their settled neighbours.

An easy off the bat rebuttal is that the first time the Huns appear in Roman records is them rolling over the Goths and Alans in Eastern Europe (precipitating the migration of the Greuthungi and Tervingi into the Eastern Empire) that sees regular raiding into the empire from their on in, including during the Gothic war of 376-382.

Even so, steppe polities normally raided their settled neighbours to obtain various goods that were either unobtainable or in short supply on the steppe. The steppe being largely unsuited to farming and in turn unable to support any significant industry, raiding was a common activity to gain goods and wealth, helped significantly by the hardy steppe ponies they rode enabling them to engage in lightning raids able to move quickly and at distance. This isn't to say they were shiftless brutes that knew only to steal, trade was a significant interaction with their settled neighbours, but raiding often served as a means of political leverage with their neighbours.

An example of which is the Roman-Hunnic treaty of 422 which saw the demands of an annual tribute of gold by the Roman state and the return of any Huns fleeing Hunnic territory (being political rivals/dissidents of the new king Rua), this was forced into being by raiding into Thrace during the same year. The later Treaty of Margus was little different, with the tribute in gold increase, annual markets on the border and preventing the Romans from forming any alliances with Hunnic enemies. These were rather one sided affairs, favouring the Huns by new rulers eager to secure their legitimacy; something at odds with the article's claims of mutually beneficial arrangements.

It may also be worth noting that the data gathered is only for the Hungarian basin and may not be accurate for the larger steppe area, including the other parts of Eastern Europe the Hunnic empire encompassed.

With regards to the Eurasian steppe and the Huns in specific, Hyun Jim Kim is a current and notable publishing academic whose works like The Huns, Rome and the Birth of Europe or The Huns are well worth reading for a current grounding.


Sgt_Colon t1_izzwc7o wrote

> of the 8000ish english in the battle of Agincourt some 1 to 2 thousand wore heavy armour,

Part of the issue here is that the English fielded significant amounts of longbowmen as light infantry, as English doctrine of the time focused on heavy use of archers for ranged supremacy, contrast this with the French who were reverse in proportion and fielded primarily heavy cavalry/infantry (men-at-arms and knights dismounting to fight on foot for tactical reasons) with small numbers of lightly armoured specialists such as crossbowmen, cannoneers or pavisers.

It is also worth noting, that this is the point in western Europe where large scale manufacturing starts bringing down costs and that even common infantry were becoming better armoured than just a helmet and aketon.


Sgt_Colon t1_iyuol9o wrote

> People were writing, including those in Rome and those outside of it, but not all these writings survived into the modern day. Some of them may have been surpassed by later written works, some of them may have been a bit boring and just not enjoyed.

This is an important aspect, literature survives only if it's copied. The widespread use of papyrus meant works had a relatively short lifespan (especially compared to vellum) and unless it was copied, it would degrade until it crumbled into dust within a century. Since everything was copied by hand, the only way a work would propagate itself is if it was popular, if it wasn't it only survives (if at all) in mentions by other authors; Aristotle's Poetics part 2 only survives in mention by part 1 for example, no one else mentions it despite the popularity of the former. Combine this with the switch to the codex (book) from the scroll after the turn of the millennia and you have process which further compounds this with older works being left behind on the older, less dense format. Unless something happens to be deposited in ideal conditions such as with the Oxyrhynchus letters in Egypt (not exactly literature but close enough), literature will only survive if it is copied.


Sgt_Colon t1_ix2fyt5 wrote

Both had steel. The issue with steel is that creating it via a bloomery furnace is a finicky process on top of what was already finicky process just to produce a bloom of iron, enough that even during the (central) medieval when it was more common, the price of steel was four times that of iron, being able to outfit multiple legions with steel equipment was an expensive process such that making do with relatively inferior wrought iron for most of the gear was a more pragmatic choice that did little to hinder effectiveness.


Sgt_Colon t1_ix2f4jr wrote

Timber wasn't that valuable, especially as the cost of moving it from North America to Europe would have blow its price out of all reasonable proportion. Timber was valuable to those living in Greenland due to the scarcity of trees there, but much of the rest of Europe instead used managed woodlands to provide the timber they needed.


Sgt_Colon t1_ix2etai wrote

Certain deities correspond to certain areas with some degree of overlap, if you wanted things to go according to plan they needed to be appeased, you might not like them (Ares wasn't thought of fondly by the Greeks) but they all needed to be paid off nevertheless. Say you were a ship's captain about to leave port, obviously you are going to give an offering to Poseidon an offering as he's god of the seas, but because you want a favourable wind, you're going to give one to Zeus too, because if you neglected either one you'd face difficulty from that area even if you were good with other one(s).

If you want, there's a series of blog posts from a lecturer at the university of North Carolina that goes into the nuts and bolts of polytheism and how dealing with multiple gods worked.


Sgt_Colon t1_iw5htsw wrote

These are good and varied collection of texts that you'd find on any decent university level course and are accessible to the layman:

  • The World of Late Antiquity: AD 150-750 by Peter Brown
  • The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilisation by Bryan Ward-Perkins
  • The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians by Peter Heather
  • Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West, 376-568 by Guy Halsall

Really anything on the /r/AskHistorians book list for late antiquity is good, modern reading (although Jones is something to only skim unless you're studying it in earnest).