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Re: (TFT) Targeting Horses and their Riders

> I've read some of those same statements, PvK. This is why I personally
> discount them:

You shouldn't, for places invested in European Chivalry. You can't look at
it from the perspective you're taking. There's a lot more involved than
just winning a fight.

> Logically, knights, in particular, should be well-motivated to kill their
> opponents' horses because then it would be easier for them to capture and
> ransom said opponents.

This is not logical. The horses were worth more than (lower-class) people.
And if you did deliberately kill the other guy's horse, regardless of
whether you captured him, you'd still need to pay up, or risk your
reputation. And that reputation is what made the other guy try to capture
you in preference to killing you.

See, however it's stated, the Chivalric Code (inasmuch as there could be
said to be one and one only) had to do with how guys who could kill each
other kept from doing so. A large part of it had to do with economics. If
you captured your enemies and ransomed them, they'd be economically unable
to continue fighting. Kill him out of hand (accidents do happen), and your
future enemies would likely just kill you, if for no other reason than
disturbing the social system.

Logic does enter into it, but it's a wider logic than winning a fight.
Politics and economics figure very prominently in the whole thing.

These guys were the law, but so was everyone else with the means to be a
Knight. You can't think of them, as a modern person, like they are an
individual. It's more like how nations act towards each other today than
anything else.

> Peasants and militias would have no motivation whatsoever NOT to attack
> horses since they wouldn't get any of the proceeds of looted knightly
> horses, anyway.

Peasants rarely fought, and when they did, they weren't subject to the
laws of arms that constrained the nobility. Militias and other
professional non-Knight soldiers took their commands from Knights.

> And when a really big dude in armor with a really big weapon is bearing
> down on you trying to kill you you're pretty much motivated to stop that
> individual in any way possible, regardless of where or when you're from.

Not when you may as well die being charged as take your chances with
punishment afterwards.

> I'm not sure why super heavy cavalry was so dominant in the early middle
> ages before Crecy and the Mongols and Agincourt, but I strongly suspect it
> wasn't because horses were "off limits".

It was pretty dominant afterwards, too, for a span of time. It more died
off because of political changes that changed the composition of armies
than anything else. When you start seeing the rise of national armies, you
start seeing the end of the lance cavalry. This is because the rulers
began to be able to use their country's monies to maintain armies, rather
than their own personal wealth. So the rulers began to use more yeoman in
their armies, as they needed more soldiers than the upper classes could
provide. Officers remained of the Knightly classes, though.

Part of it was that wars were waged not by armies, but by groups of
nobles. The nobles were the ones who had the money, and money wins out.
They were the ones who could afford the armour, horses, and trappings
necessary at that time to wage war. Others just didn't have the money to
do it.

Some scholars out there attribute the rise of the manorial system to the
need to pay for the mounted knight. I'm not quite of that opinion. I think
that the manorial system arose indirectly from the collapse of the Roman
Empire, and the consequent formation of the feudal system (which is also
more complex than people think). When Rome went away, there was an awful
lot of land to govern. So the strongest guy of the bunch said to his
buddy," you rule that land over there for me. You be my vassal, and I'll
be the lord. Whenever one of us in attacked, the other has to come and
help." And the buddy took the offer. Why would he take the subordinate
position? Because it got him out from under the immediate thumb of the
warlord, that's why. And he got richer than he would ahve staying in the
warlord's lodge.

Note that all this only holds for western Europe during the age of
chivalry. Other places did it differently.

Neil Gilmore
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