Tag Archives: MEDIEVAL TIMES

KNIGHT ARMOR

At the museum, I saw all kinds of medieval armor that ranged from plate armor to chainmail. Some of the armor was fluted, others were trimmed with gold, and a few were forged into segmented scale plates. I included some of these designs in my fantasy series and I plan to include more of them in future works. It was like walking through a gallery full of superhero suits.

KNIGHTS JOUSTING

I went to my local museum today and it had a rich collection of medieval artifacts that came all the way from Florence, Italy. Among the artifacts were armor and equipment of jousting knights. A knight’s lance was tipped with a three-pronged piece of iron. It was designed this way so that the lance would not penetrate a knight’s armor too much and still be able to knock an opponent off their horse. Back in those days, jousting would have been completely pointless if it was completely safe. Imagine being struck in the face with a lance with the force of a 40 mph car crash.

BATTLE OF STIRLING BRIDGE

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One of the major battles of the Scottish War of Independence was the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Many of you would recall the Battle of Stirling in the film Braveheart, but the actual battle was much different in real life. Instead of an open field, the Battle of Stirling Bridge took place on a bridge in a marshy landscape. When the English marched north to quell the Scottish rebellion, the only way to northern Scotland was by crossing Stirling Bridge. The normal rules of engagement of the time required the Scots to let the English to march their entire army over the bridge and form ranks afterwards. However, if the Scots did this, the English would win so the Scots did not wait for the entire English army to cross the bridge. Once about half the English army was over the bridge, the Scots deployed the schiltron spear wall formation and started mowing down the English. Because they were caught off guard and were facing a tactic they never experienced before, the English had no way to counter the Scottish schiltron, resulting in massive casualties on the English side. When it became clear they were about to be annihilated, the English fled for their lives back over the bridge only to run into their comrades marching behind them. This collision of bodies caused the bridge to collapse and many English knights, horses, and men-at-arms fell into the river. Because the water was deep and the beaches were muddy and marshy, the English soldiers were weighed down by their heavy armor and sank to their deaths. By the time the battle was over, the English lost more than half their army. Among the dead was Edward I’s hated tax collector. This tax collector was so hated by the Scots that they each cut off a piece of him to take home as a souvenir. For instance, William Wallace flayed a strip of the tax collector’s skin from head to heel to be made into a sword belt. This battle was a significant boost in morale for the Scots and earned William Wallace the title Guardian of Scotland, which made him king in all but name. I am thinking of drawing inspiration from the Battle of Stirling Bridge for my spin-off fantasy series.

THE DESPENSERS AND LUSIGNANS

During the reigns of Henry III and Edward II, there were families who acted as enforcers to the king. For Henry III, his enforcers were his half-brothers the Lusignans. For Edward II, his enforcers were the Despensers. Both kings made these families their enforcers in exchange for being allowed to do whatever they wanted. Eventually, their brutality and greed created all-out chaos throughout England. The Lusignans fled for their lives from rebellious barons while the Despeners were hung, beheaded, castrated, drawn and quartered. I am thinking of basing some characters after these two families in my third fantasy book and their lust for power will result in civil war.

SIMON DE MONTFORT

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Simon De Montfort was a French knight who was given lands and titles by King Henry III of England. Henry III thought Simon De Montfort was the kind of man who could make the tough choices that he never could. However, Simon led a rebellion against the king and briefly made the barons more powerful than the monarchy. This resulted in the groundwork for what would eventually become Parliament. Henry was not strong enough to regain control of his kingdom on his own. However, Henry III’s son and heir, the future Edward I AKA Longshanks, led the assault to take De Montfort down. Eventually, Longshanks defeated De Montfort and had his body desecrated to send a warning to anyone who would dare defy the crown. Thanks to his son, Henry III regained control of his kingdom, but had to yield to the demands of Magna Carta forever. I am thinking of basing a rebellious noble after Simon De Montfort in the third volume of my fantasy series.