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"Average travel speed in high medieval period. " Topic


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08 Feb 2019 4:38 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Avragre travel speed in high medieval period. " to "Average travel speed in high medieval period. "Removed from Crowdfunding board
  • Changed starttime from
    08 Feb 2019 11:41 a.m. PST
    to
    08 Feb 2019 11:41 a.m. PST


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©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse08 Feb 2019 12:41 p.m. PST

So pestering my wife about John (The blind) of Bohemia.
Then thinking about the fact he was also count of luxemburg. I started to wonder how long would it take for John and is smallest retinue. To go from Prague to Luxemburg.

Google maps says your can walk that distance in 6 days (I assume with no breaks. ) the distance is 681km.
Of course today you have to get over/under the autobahn quite often and in the 1340s you might be able to go straighter.

Various sources state a horse can comfortably travel 50+ a day at walking speeds. This means the trip would take 11-12 days. Which is probably what it would take today walking when you add resting and sleeping to those 6 Google maps days.

But do any of you have a better qualified answer?

Onomarchos Supporting Member of TMP08 Feb 2019 1:18 p.m. PST

I would recommend a great book that covers this and many other topics. It is Ian Mortimer's "The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England."

As a short answer, on page 127, he indicates that a large party on good roads can make about 20 miles per day. A smaller party riding on good horses and good roads can make about 55 miles per day.

Mark

Dynaman878908 Feb 2019 1:48 p.m. PST

Both of those also assume food and water is available. Going 55 miles a day is only possible if you either bring enough for the trip or there is an Inn to visit at the end of each day.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP08 Feb 2019 8:52 p.m. PST

70 miles a day seems a bit optimistic, even in today's world.

I imagine 15 – 18 miles a day is a lot more realistic. Perhaps even less, if you have lots of "baggage" to carry.

bsrlee08 Feb 2019 11:33 p.m. PST

Handbook of Medieval Exchange- Peter Spufford 1986 unfortunately only gives travel times for regular couriers from Florence to the more western parts of Europe. London -Florence 25>30 days, to Naples 11 > 12 days etc. but it might be useful to compare those times with Google.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse09 Feb 2019 4:24 a.m. PST

Thanks for the information.

lionheartrjc11 Feb 2019 6:23 a.m. PST

Weather conditions could make a huge difference. In wet conditions many roads would become boggy, some routes followed ridges and hill crests because they would drain better. Flooded rivers could be a huge obstacle. Travelling at night was almost impossible except on clear moonlit nights, so winter would reduce the distance that could be covered.

Griefbringer11 Feb 2019 7:32 a.m. PST

Regarding distances covered by couriers, it is worth keeping in mind that they could cover ground faster if they had opportunity to swap fresh horses every day (or even more often).

As for a high ranking noble like a king of Bohemia, unless he was on some urgent business he might opt to travel at less than full speed and instead take the opportunity to meet with other noblemen on the way.

Herce Salon de Guerre11 Feb 2019 12:44 p.m. PST

In my opinion after several years mustering cattle on a 32000 hectare farm, with tracks only for 4wd vehicles, that the horses would struggle to do 70 klm a day unless they were good walkers, roads were not direct in the period, multiple hills and rivers to climb and cross and perhaps swim on there trip also.

My guess comfortable would be 30-40 klm a day, plus the horses would require a rest day after 8-10 days, let alone the riders.

cheers
Matt

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