Sure there were plenty of decent infantry - mostly armed with polearms of one sort or another. I'm not going off romances but the history books. The Scottish spearmen at Bannockburn were a suprise to the English which wouldn't have been the case if there were English spearmen of similar competance. The military doctrine of the time said no infantry could stop a knights' charge so no infantry were trained to do so. The Welsh and Scots taught the English they were wrong. The English taught the French and the Swiss taught the Holy Roman Empire.
>>Where they remained (e.g. Scotland and Switzerland) they are drawn
>>from the ranks of freeman not serfs. I'm doubtful that peasant levies
>>were expected to fight.
>Just be careful here - peasants are not automatically serfs. A
>tenant farmer is a freeman and a peasant at the same time.
The point I'm making is that there are two different groups and treating them as a single group causes problems. Also "tenant farmer" confuses the issue because a serf is a tenant.
>More importantly, I feel you are blurring two particular issues:
>the legal requirement to fight and their ability to fight in practice.
Without a legal requirement to train the majority are unlikely to have much ability. Of course if large numbers of people avoid their legal obligations they won't be any better.
>If the Malkioni peasants have the legal right to fight but in
>practice aren't used very much, then it poses no problem
>for our Hero, Malkioni Jones. If on the other hand, peasants
>are forbidden from fighting then Malkioni Jones might be in
>for some legal trouble,
I don't think anyone is suggesting that the farmer caste is forbidden from fighting even in Seshnela. We know there is a ban on carrying and using swords. We also know that the farmer caste includes some sort of bonded peasantry and free craftsmen. It probably includes some free peasantry as well but maybe not. I'm suggesting there is a significant difference in attitude towards a freeman carrying a weapon than a bonded peasant doing the same. An obvious gray area is the point at which a knife becomes a sword.
-- Donald Oddy http://www.grove.demon.co.uk/
Powered by hypermail