Arming the helots for the defence of the pass of Thermopylae was an act of utter desperation.
Originally Posted by PointyShinyBurn
Helots were very rarely armed, and didn't receive any regular weapons training.
Just like english serfs.
Armies, relative to the non-military populations required simply to produce food, were tiny. We're talking about a completely unmechanised society here.
That was the position of the vast majority of any campaigning military force of the period, no?
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Source? The normal estimate of the ratio of helots to Spartan citizens derives from the battle of Plataea and Xenophon has them fighting at Leuctra as well.
Originally Posted by Cullion
P.S. Thucydides has forces of helots at a whole series of major battles in the Peloponesian war (http://classics.mit.edu/Thucydides/pelopwar.mb.txt)
Last edited by PointyShinyBurn; 7/11/2011 8:32am at .
Usually medieval armies were quite small, in the order of several hundred to two thousand strong.
Interesting, but can you explain how the conclusion flows from the paragraph above it? I think I'm missing something.
Originally Posted by Moenstah
The answer is implied in Moenstah's post - not all skeletons exhumed from that time have those deformities. In particular, peasants and labourers, whose remains indicate a completely different lifestyle (and little or no fighting on battlefields).
Originally Posted by Truculent Sheep
You're correct. And I have this tendency to imply stuff when I write. Bad habit when studying, I can avoid it at work, but in my time off....
A nice piece of research from "Talhoffer", rather nicely informing the "well, they practiced with steel without protection and were fine" line of argument
True, but to clarify some of the incidents happened 'out on the street', while those that happened 'in-school' were certainly down to poor practice or simply really bad luck.
The next step would be to see the injury and mortality rates of students attending these schools, from which a pattern or patterns could be inferred.
Speaking from personal experience, we practice with relative care and mostly through drills but we still whack each other with wasters once in a while. 'Free Play' requires a fencing mask, vest, gloves and even a groin guard, and that's when you're going at it with wooden weapons, let alone 'blunts'.
Conversely, Kendo has one of the lowest fatality rates in modern sports, mainly because everyone is dressed up like a tank and for good reason.
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