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"Couched Lances and the Dark Ages?" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

rhymoraz15 Sep 2023 1:00 p.m. PST

I'm using some Dark Ages figures for an Arthurian RPG and I was noticing that all the Dark Ages or Norman mounted troops (excellent ones from Victrix, Footsore or or Gripping Beast) have spears but none of them are held "couched" like the traditional knight would.

The Pendragon RPG is ahistorical so I don't mind using "wrong" figures for the game but why don't we see miniatures couching their lances/spears in the poses until we get to the hundred years war range.

I hope someone would know on here

GurKhan15 Sep 2023 1:42 p.m. PST

The general orthodoxy is that the couched lance became common in the 11th century and universal by the 12th, so I wouldn't really expect to see that pose on earlier "dark age" figures.

There certainly are figures with couched lances earlier than the 100 YW – in Footsore's Barons War, a few in Mirliton's 13th century ranges, etc etc. A lot of other figures – for instance in Khurasan's 28mm 12th century range – have lances held at 45 degrees in a sort of "ready-to-couch carry".

42flanker15 Sep 2023 4:30 p.m. PST

Check out the Bayeux Tapestry. I believe majority of lance-armed mounted troops hold their weapons overhand.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2023 6:07 p.m. PST

It wasn't until the reintroduction of sturipps that allowed a mounted warrior to change with a couched lance.

Legionarius15 Sep 2023 8:06 p.m. PST

Using a lance in the underhand position from horseback is quite natural. Stirrups are useful if you are going to use it for shock like the late medieval men-at-arms did. However, any others could use it without stirrups in other riding techniques. For example, Roman auxiliary cavalry used the Celtic saddle with four horns for stability. Comanches were expert riders and are frequently portrayed in contemporary period art as riding with couched lances. In many ways, it is a more useful and natural position for a short lance used from horseback.

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