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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Have You Wondered How Brutal and Savage Medieval Combat Was?

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1) Raids / pillaging / marauding:

Often seen as the staple of the European, North African and Middle Eastern trade routes, roads connecting towns and villages and the nuisance of kingdoms and empires, these hit-and-run disturbances in daily medieval life are often described as quick to begin and even quicker to end. Decided by the ambush itself, the unsuspecting victims by historical records and archeological findings describe them being pierced by arrows, javelins, daggers or other thrown weapons. Usually the victim was either killed by a well-placed arrow to the chest cavity or by a lucky arrow head shot. It was rare if not outright outlandish for the ambush to escalate to a brawl between the two sides. In such rare instances that it did come to that, spears were used to stop the charge of marauders, swords/axes and shields combinations for the close quarter fights, and the fights would last nothing more than a few minutes. As time progressed on and the roads become patrolled by soldiers to ensure the safety and arrival of the transport, and as the traders started to employ mercenaries well equipped with dealing with the threats that the roads presented, be they nature or man-made alike, the trade routes became safer, albeit never truly rid of troubles.

2) Battles:

The fields of carnage and destruction were a repulsive and horrifying thing to behold. Historians often describe the battles to be that of a number game, and people rarely had the slightest idea the brutality that transpired on the days of fighting. Yet, archeological evidence provides us with the stuff for nightmares, explaining what horrors the soldiers had faced. The most common thing of note was how shattered, destroyed or hideously screwed the teeth of the combatants were. Noteworthy was the fact that the people had clenched their teeth so hard to be shattered wrestling with their fears of the ever-encroaching fate, withstanding repeated blows to the head was nothing short of an arduous and never-ending pain ridden trip. There are records describing such brawls, as to sometimes accounting soldiers withstanding more than 50 hits to the head before finally dying from their battered skulls. As developments were made in the eras, and as tactics used on the battlefields became more than a game of cat and mouse outwitting each other, annihilating or simply withstanding the carnage set upon your army by your opponent, weapons and armors became heavier, more sophisticated, sharper, blunter even more capable of slaughter. The wide difference between weather conditions and climate attributed to the ever lingering multitudes of diseases battered the armies, hindering their performance and chances of survival. If the armies had pushed deep into enemy territory and were cut off of their supply lines, it was nothing new for the men to starve and desertion to set in.

3) Sieges:

As the armies would reach their destinations, they would begin besieging the settlement. Long and arduous, to the point where cannibalism set in among the besieged populace due to the lack of supplies being brought in, sieges would last somewhere between mere hours, to those lasting entire decades! Surrounded by entrenchment and beset upon of all sides, battered by usage of siege engines that leveled the buildings and fortifications with never ending volleys of arrows, stone, glaives be they simply tossed or set on fire for further destruction, the besieged were at the mercy of their enemies, and that of hope for the arrival of the armies capable of breaking the siege itself. Pierced by arrows or bolts, crushed by stone thrown or crumbling buildings or worse, infected with plagues brought upon from corpses being flung onto them, history is ripe with records describing these nightmares, and art made to give a glimpse to the carnage.

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