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"Place of honor Right of the line used in Dark Ages?" Topic


13 Posts

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645 hits since 15 Jan 2022
©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Korvessa15 Jan 2022 3:14 p.m. PST

As I understand it, for centuries the place of honor was to be on the far-right flank. In some instances, this was followed by the placement far left. For example, Napoleonic French battalions tended to put Grenadiers on the right and the voltigeurs on the left.
I also know that Alexander almost always put his best troops on his right. On the hand Hannibal tended to be a bit more flexible with his dispositions. At Hastings, Duke William placed his Norman Knights in the center.
My main question is how prevalent was putting your best unit on the right during Viking age Britain?
In wargames terms, do you typically place your best unit on the right? Or does it change from battle to battle?

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2022 3:35 p.m. PST

I always thought the place of honour in the dark ages/Medieval period was in the centre with the King/Commander?

Augustus15 Jan 2022 5:33 p.m. PST

I would be amazed if half the armies knew left from right….

Deucey Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2022 11:43 p.m. PST

Augustus. Really?

Cerdic16 Jan 2022 3:19 a.m. PST

I don't think they had 'units' in the Viking Age. Not as we would understand a unit to be.

They had what were essentially warbands. The warlord would be in the middle with his most important mates around him.

What happened when you had a larger army of several warbands is not clear. But social status was a massively important part of life in this era. So probably the King, or whoever was leading the army, would be in the centre surrounded by his warband. On either side would be the next most important warlords, in terms of wealth, power, social standing. They would each be surrounded by their own warbands. And so on.

War was not just about solving military problems. It was about honour, prestige, wealth, power and demonstrating where you stood in the hierarchy.

If you were an important, powerful warlord, and the King sent you and your men to stand on the flank when your rightful place should be next to the King, then that would be a massive dishonour. A public disgrace. Enough, maybe, to make you reconsider your loyalties…

mildbill Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2022 6:36 a.m. PST

At culloden, not giving the place of honor to one of the clans had a direct impact on the battle.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2022 9:41 a.m. PST

At culloden, not giving the place of honor to one of the clans had a direct impact on the battle.

Indeed, though only Hollywood makes 18th Century Scotland look like the 'Dark' ages! LOL!

Zephyr116 Jan 2022 10:04 p.m. PST

"So probably the King, or whoever was leading the army, would be in the centre surrounded by his warband. On either side would be the next most important warlords, in terms of wealth, power, social standing."

And also trustworthiness; You wouldn't want potential traitors next to you in a battle…

Perun Gromovnik17 Jan 2022 4:45 a.m. PST

It was due the position of shield. Soldiers wore shields in left arm and sword in right arm so their right side was open. Thats way right flank was consisted of veteran and experianced soldiers

42flanker21 Jan 2022 11:24 a.m. PST

Do we have contemporary reference to this custom? Was it possibly a 'factoid' circulated in 'Early Modern' times. Shields were, by and large, obsolescent in the C14th.

Perun Gromovnik24 Jan 2022 12:25 a.m. PST

I drow my conclusion from antic times

sidley24 Jan 2022 1:05 a.m. PST

The OP refers to the Dark Ages so to be generous, let's say before Hastings 1066 although some historians say that they came to an end with the random date of 800 CE with the crowning of Charlemagne as Emperor. Assuming there was such as thing as the Dark Ages. But in any case a long time before the fourteenth century referred to above.

I would agree with most of the above that in the period the place of honour was in the centre. The right being the place of honour is mostly (please note the caveat "mostly") a Hellenic and Hellenistic thing. By the rise of Rome this was no longer the case

Regicide164903 Feb 2022 2:00 p.m. PST

Huscarls/nobles in the centre, fyrd/levy outside them and archers on the flanks. Horse, if any, usually a reserve if defending or flanking if advancing. These are perhaps the groundless assumptions of an old man but I have seen little in opponent's armies over the years to think this is wildly wrong.

Where you put berserkers or religious fanatics is moot. Many opponents have sent them in first (I have never played Vikings or similar, only Saxons).

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